By Joey Nolfi
April 02, 2019 at 08:30 AM EDT
RuPaul's Drag Race CR: VH1
Credit: VH1

Almost as if she’s run her emotions raw by gleefully investing her entire life in four seasons (plus one Christmas special!) of RuPaul’s Drag Race since January 2018, Silky Nutmeg Ganache is tired.

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Is it mere physical exhaustion? Is her energy waning after “ordering the breakfast-es down *tongue pop*” each morning? Is she crashing from her five seconds of (challenge-winning) performative jush during last week’s main stage challenge?

No! It’s actually Scarlet Envy’s deliciously entertaining ego — which toots its own horn once again as the ladies congregate in the Werk Room at the top of this week’s episode — that’s sucking the energy from the room in the best, most watchable way possible.

Diverting us (and Ariel Versace, who’s none too pleased with Scarlet’s assertions) from impending Scarlet overload, however, is Detective A’Keria Chanel “What’s Going on, Here?” Davenport, who uses her metaphorical monocle to size up the budding romance between Brooke Lynn Hytes and Vanessa Vanjie Mateo (again).

detective akeria what is going on

It is then that the look of love is finally confirmed, right there in front of Detective A’Keria’s quizzical eye!

the look of love

Let me clear my throat: *clap* It’s *clap* the *clap* look *clap* of *clap* love!!!!!!!!!

How do I know? Because Vanjie’s oral motion had enough jush to latch onto Silky’s hair and try to snatch her wig off the top of her head. If that doesn’t scream passion and both literal and figurative static electricity, I don’t know what does! Sparks can’t fly unless wig does, too, Mary!

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As the Werk Room collected itself, Yvie Oddly and Ra’Jah O’Hara get back to their bullsh— when the former criticizes the latter for her commitment to, um, slaying lip-syncs? (I love Yvie, but I’m still not sure what her point was, here, other than to get under Ra’Jah’s skin.) Ra’Jah, however, responds with a gloriously empty response ripped straight from the mouth of Paula Abdul during the Hey Paula era: “What I have to do is silence all of these demons, all of this extra outside inside noise, and prove who I am by continuing to be true to myself.”


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In fitting Ra’Jah fashion, she goes on to make a palpable connection to her highest self, scaling the peaks of genuine humanity and self-assuredness by insulting Yvie’s hygiene:

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The next day — as people who do bathe (some of whom perhaps share a tub together!) prepare for the mini challenge — Silky and Nina West upstage Brooke and Vanjie’s romantic tease in one fell (and very loud, moist, and slurpy) swoop of the lips:

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Oh, and tongue!

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Plastique is shook!

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Vanjie (and her highly visible chewing gum/enlarged-and-ready-for-a-dental-checkup molar) is gagged!

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Like specific verbal incantations conjure the presence of Bloody Mary in a mirror, when two sloppy kisses transpire in a studio workspace where people place wigs on their heads and makeup on their mugs, All-Stars 3 champion Trixie Mattel appears to help guest-judge a challenge where drag queens have to style themselves as plastic companions for the new RuPaul doll.

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Mom’s home, ya’ll!

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Continuing the Drag Race tradition of mini challenges eclipsing those on the main stage in terms of humor, the dollapalooza yields some hilarious results, including Ra’Jah O’Hara’s challenge-winning take on a “best friend” doll, who carries around a “cup of drink” and “drives a bus” instead of a pink sports car.

And just because she’s Vanjie, she gave us a decent performance elevated exponentially by this gem of a moment that will flash before your eyes when the time comes to draw your last breath on earth:

life-size sequel we deserve

Back in the Werk Room, the girls prepare for the fan-favorite ball challenge, which tasks queens with creating multiple looks around one central theme. This season, RuPaul requested the queens don spooky, ooky, kooky (and creepy) attire for the Monster Ball (a move that triggered my repressed memories of sleeping under a bush in Philadelphia because I spent all my money on bus and concert tickets to see Lady Gaga perform on her same-named 2009 concert tour). Ru informs the girls that they’ll take a trio of stabs at Halloween fashions: Trampy Trick-or-Treater, Witch Please!, and MILF (Monster I’d Like to Freak) Eleganza.

From the get-go, Silky gives us perhaps the most subtly iconic (give this one time, because it’s going to grow) line of all-time:

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While, for reasons that are never, ever initially explained, referenced again, or mentioned beyond these fleeting shots, Detective A’Keria wears a gray beard to put her looks together.

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While A’Keria gets her Pai Mei on, Silky struggles with an approach (reminder: she’s not a spooky bitch) while Brooke — resident look-turner of season 11, second only to Yvie — scraps a rather genius MILF Eleganza ensemble (she wanted to embody a “monstrous” beauty queen runner-up who made a crown from the heads of those who beat her for the title) because RuPaul seemingly advised against it. Oh well. Not everyone’s a spooky bitch!

Over in Scarletville, the foundation is laid for potential disaster as she lives her best gays-preparing-to-go-outside-in-the-Bird Box-universe life in anticipation of a Creature From the Black Lagoon-inspired garment:

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Ra’Jah — newfound prophet of self-enlightenment — has something to say, though, and calls out what has been a recurring problem in Scarlet’s closet: “holes,” or, as Ra’Jah corrects herself, “booty holes!” The editors take note and construct a visual manifestation of Ra’Jah’s sage observations, filtered through their all-seeing perspective via a powerful connection of two back-to-back shots. The first shows a tear in Scarlet’s costume, followed by a close-up of her butt (this concludes my Introduction to Philosophy and Film: Holes and Booty Holes in Contemporary Cinema course).

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After this iconic shot of Nina applying her makeup:

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Things get back to normal as Silky surveys the room’s progress and turns the volume up to 11 to share the scientific findings from her journey.

In observation of Shuga Cain’s purple face paint:

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In observation of Yvie’s padded, dinosaur-themed costume:

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In observation of Brooke’s toilet paper mummy, exhibit A:

toilet tissue

In observation of Brooke’s toilet paper mummy, exhibit B:

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In observation of Brooke’s toiler paper mummy, exhibit C:

charmin to the runway

In observation of Brooke’s toilet paper mummy, exhibit D:

angel soft

To the real runway, the queens brought some of the best looks of the season thus far, namely…

The Mariah Carey-averse Plastique Tiara:

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Ra’Jah (who’s been low-key serving fabulous unsung lewks):

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Scarlet (who, truthfully, should have won the challenge):

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And Yvie, whose sexy, creative, boundary-pushing dinosaur (complete with claw-adorned stilettos!) served it from the front…

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… the side…

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… and the back!

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As Robert Muldoon would say right before being ripped to shreds by a carnivorous reptile: “Clever girl!”

Ariel also deserves a shout-out for breaking free from expectations this week, rocking what she called a “punk rock Silent Hill Nurse” that showcased a commitment to oddity (Bloody-syringe-a-ma-bobs? She’s got 20… on each shoulder pad!) and evolution we’ve yet to see from her (even if it wasn’t the most technically polished thing on the runway).

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Shuga’s general sweetness couldn’t save her from disaster this week; she meant to conjure a troll doll for the “sexy” portion of her collection, but the pop cultural gods sent a hung-over Diva Plavalaguna from The Fifth Element to her instead.

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The worst of the worst (and she’s since said as much) was, unfortunately, Ariel’s MILF Eleganza…

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… which Yvie’s voodoo doll had the perfect reaction to upon stomping down the runway:

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At panel, Scarlet, Vanjie, Nina, Ra’Jah, and Detective A’Keria are declared safe, while Plastique and Yvie are praised for their ghoulish intuition, though the latter is dragged (slightly) for her voodoo attire. Yvie vows to do better, and her version of taking constructive criticism and molding it into excellence and perfection for her next time on the runway is asserting that, next time, she’ll eat a baby:

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Her mind!

In the end, it’s a Shuga-and-Ariel bottom two, with Silky narrowly avoiding the thing she’s clearly been dying to do since two Untuckeds ago.

The lip sync (to Whitney Houston’s “I’m Your Baby Tonight”) starts off well, with Ariel connecting with the lyrics, serving a hint of attitude, and far exceeding expectations as a nervous Shuga flits about.

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See! Everything’s going… dare I say… swimmingly!?

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You can tell! It’s all in Ru’s eyes!

Still going strong!

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Yes, mama’s into it!

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She’s holding on! She’s gonna make it, awkward arm-rolling and all!

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Does Ru approve? Yep! Girl, look how orange proud you f—ing look, girl!

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Until… it happens.

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Well, it’s over. Those eyes say, “You’re f—ed, Mary!”

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Because this is Drag Race, they show the whole thing again — slightly slower.

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Because the broadcast didn’t show Ru’s reaction twice, I’ll insert it here:

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Still, Ariel recovers like a pro, and continues to out-perform Shuga.

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Guest judge Cara Delevingne’s left eyebrow agrees!

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Look! Ariel took it in stride and incorporated two intentional falls into the rest of her performance!

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And to think it’s all because she’s still touched by the spirit of Britney!

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Alas, the hair-flip didn’t toss the mane in her direction, and Ariel sunk back beneath the Jersey Shore.

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But she left us with this, so it’s all kind of worth it:

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Until next time, spooky bitches! Watch your step!

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RuPaul’s Drag Race season 11 returns Thursday, April 4, at 9 p.m. ET on VH1.

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RuPaul — as host, mentor, and creative inspiration — decides who's in and who's out.

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