RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 9, Episode 2 Recap: Give me a C!

Oh- my- gosh, you guys, this episode was, like, so totally great. I’m going to, like, talk like a cheerleading valley girl for like, at least half of this recap because of all the cheer factor. Like, wow.

Okay, nevermind, that got annoying real quick.

Picking up right where we left off, we begin the episode with – gasp – Queen Cucu herself, Cynthia Lee Fontaine, ruvealed as the ruturning fourteenth queen. The range of emotions around the room is just delicious. Shock, glee, annoyance, anger even.

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Aja’s face says it all.

Of course, it’s awesome that Cynthia is getting a second chance. But Shea Couleé and Peppermint‘s feelings are completely valid – Miss Cucu comes armed with significant knowledge of the way the competition works and has a clear advantage over them because of that. And that, as you can tell from a lot of those queens’ faces, is just like, totally uncool.

The next morning, Lisa Kudrow shows up in the werkroom, does her best Valerie Cherish for the girls, and … leaves. That’s about it.

Mama Ru announces this week is cheer squad-palooza, and I instantly start to worry for Charlie Hides‘ fragile, prehistoric bones.

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“I’m too old to die!”

It’s time for the first of several drama-filled team-making seshes of the season, with Nina Bo’nina Brown (I can never remember how to correctly capitalize this bitch’s name) and Cynthia designated as team captains.

Nina chooses Jaymes Mansfield midway through team-making “because I have a heart for the underdog.” I’m sure she did it from a place of genuine kindness, but it came out incredibly shady and I live for it.

Oddly, Valentina is picked last. Eureka is probably right when she suspects it’s because the girl’s only been doing drag for 10 months. But Valentina is more polished than most of these girls and underestimating her is seriously foolish.

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“I’m not mad. Oh, at all.”

The ladies start rehearsing their cheerleading gig, and Jaymes’ insecurities quickly rise to the surface. Alexis Michelle attempts to convince Jaymes to take a part that suits her more, but there’s definitely a part of Alexis that’s just looking out for number one here. I feel bad for Jaymes and how out of her element she is here, but… girl. Come on. Step it up. In the end, Jaymes and Alexis switch to the roles Alexis had initially suggested they take. Ugh.

Meanwhile, Kimora Blac asks what bloomers are and says they sound disgusting and then whines about how much work it is stoning an outfit. Kimora… this is not a good look on you. But let’s move on, I guess.

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“I have no idea what I’m talking about but I’m gonna keep talking anyway because screentime.”

Mama Ru comes down the runway looking stunning…  except for that makeup? Let’s just not talk about that. The B-52s are the guest stars this week and I guess Lisa Kudrow really was just stopping by for a second.

What follows is a series of crazy cheers, twists, spins, somersaults, and… whatever other words that relate to cheerleading. I was a nerd in high school, not a cheerleader.

It’s honestly a little hard to pick out who’s doing well and who’s not here, so we kind of have to trust the editing and the reactions, which… well, judging by Peppermint commenting harshly on a perfectly fine stunt from Jaymes… the perspective’s a little skewed. Valentina slays, as she said she would, and Miss Cucu bites her tongue. Nice. Trinity Taylor‘s half-terrified, half-thrilled facial expressions are a real treat, too.

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“THIS IS SO MUCH FUN PLEASE HELP”

Next up is the “White Party Realness” runway (Why it gotta be white?!). Nina Bo’nina Brown looks human for a change, and she’s gorge. Sasha Velour is showing some versatility too: She’s wearing actual hair, on her head. Valentina is… nope. No words. As Ross Mathews so wonderfully puts it: “If anybody has any objections, shut the fuck up.”

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Winner.

The judges deliberate, during which time Charlie tells Eureka to “shut up a second” backstage (DAMN, girl!), and then the girls come back and Valentina wins the challenge, because duh.

Jaymes and Kimora fall into the bottom and, following an extremely lackluster lip sync, Jaymes Mansfield is designated as the first queen to go home. It’s been grand, girl, but you were not quite ready for this competition. Better luck in season 10!

Time for the weekly queen assessment!

Nina Bo’nina Brown – Nina got a lot less screentime this week, despite being cheer captain. That said, she showed a much more feminine, natural side on the runway, and that’s excellent. Still a great contender.

Alexis Michelle – Alexis’s competitive side is slowly starting to show now that eliminations are a thing. She makes impassioned inspirational speeches for the other queens but acts pretty uppity about them in the confessionals later. I feel like it’s only a matter of time before she starts to clash with some queens.

Shea Couleé – She’s still doing solidly so far. She was a great cheerleader and her runway look was pretty fab. Not a frontrunner yet, but maybe 3rd or 4th place? I’m not super fascinated by her just yet.

Charlie Hides – Poor old lady cracked under the pressure in Untucked this week and I hope we’re not already seeing her unravel. I was hoping (and still am) that Charlie would stick around longer than a few episodes.

Sasha Velour – Sasha’s screentime was pretty minimal this week – she’s sticking to doing a good job in the challenges and laying low in Untucked, which would be a solid strategy if not for the fact that she hasn’t really endeared herself to the audience at all yet.

Aja – Same as Sasha, Aja was almost completely in the background for this episode. Her runway look was pretty good, but her makeup is still a little rough, in my opinion.

Cynthia Lee Fontaine – Am I ready for her cucu? Ehhh maybe. I’m genuinely happy Cynthia got a second chance, but I really hope she steps it up and proves she deserved it.

Farrah Moan – Farrah accidentally smacking the confessional microphone out of sheer excitement was the best thing ever. ‘Nuff said.

Valentina – Valentina is an absolute force of nature. She knows it, the judges know it, and hopefully, the other queens know it too now.

Trinity Taylor – For someone I’d completely underestimated at first glance, Trinity continues to surprise me and I find myself really rooting for her. I think she may be one of my favorites.

Kimora Blac – Kimora’s clearly not as good as she thinks she is, but her confessionals are absolutely hilarious – if completely lacking in self-awareness – and I hope she sticks around a while longer just for the sake of entertainment.

Peppermint – Girl got a lot of screentime during the premiere and very little this week, which is almost reassuring – there’s no clear winner edit this season, unlike in the past couple of seasons. Peppermint is just okay so far. Middle of the pack, I guess.

Eureka – Like Kimora, Eureka urgently needs some self-awareness. She was so shocked when Charlie rightfully told her to shut her facehole, it’s like she has no idea how loud she is. I’m not a fan so far.

13 queens remain. See ya next week, loves!

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