RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 9, Episode 9 Recap: Mask-Crack of the Century

Previously on Drag Race: Peppermint finally came out of her wrapper (not even sorry) and won a challenge. Alexis Michelle humiliated a guest judge, which is always a great way to get everyone to like you. And Farrah Moan was finally allowed to stop whining and go home.

The queens discuss the lip-sync and Alexis Michelle is a little bit shook after landing in the bottom two. “To choke like that,” she says, “I scarcely know what happened.”

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C’mon, thesaurus!

As the girls banter during de-dragging, Shea Couleé snatches Trinity Taylor‘s wig clean off and it’s a riot.

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She’s never looked more sickening.

On a more serious note, Peppermint confronts Nina Bo’nina Brown about her defensive, paranoid attitude – to no avail, of course. And in her confessional, Trinity heavily implies the remaining “filler bitches” (Nina and Alexis?) need to go.

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She ain’t wrong though.

The next morning, RuPaul comes in to introduce the next challenge and oh dear god that is a really bright suit.

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MY EYES!

In this week’s episode, the queens need to team up to create, direct, and star in their own TV pilots! Everyone rejoices at the idea.

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Everyone except Nina, who’s too busy imagining the other queens talking shit behind her back.

The girls need to form two teams of two and one team of three. Sasha Velour and Shea Couleé immediately run to each other, and Peppermint is about to join them when Alexis Michelle stops her and make her join her team instead.

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Can you say “awkward?”

Valentina and Nina Bo’nina Brown weren’t requested as teammates by anyone, so they join forces – and Nina has an obligatory “no one loves me” moment.

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To be fair, Valentina may be thinking the same thing. But she’s smiling through the pain.

Alexis, Trinity, and Peppermint start to plan out their TV pilot and Alexis and Peppermint clash over who should do the voice-over narration. This should be fun.

Meanwhile, Valentina is getting in her head a little bit over the skillsets required to pull off this challenge. “I’m not not happy that I have to write something. It’s just I feel like I have to prove that I have a talent that I might not know that I might have but I hope I do.”

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That wasn’t confusing at all, thanks!

Rather than bog themselves down with lots of lines to memorize, the two queens decide to play it by ear and improvise almost all of their dialogue. Sounds like a foolproof idea!

The ladies start to get ready and Shea Couleé has conspicuously moved over next to Sasha Velour’s station to get herself dolled up after last week’s Untucked drama basically made Shea give up on trying to be nice to Nina Bo’nina Brown.

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It’s really sad but it’s also great television, so…

Filming for the TV pilots begins and it seems Peppermint got the narrator role in the end – but being the shit-stirring perfectionist that she is, Alexis Michelle feels the need to step in after Peppermint’s done recording to ask the judges if they felt that was good enough.

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Pepper seems delighted at being second-guessed by her partner.

Shea Couleé and Sasha Velour are doing this half-blaxploitation, half-Russian superspy shtick that’s simply flawless – and so funny they make Carson Kressley laugh until he chokes.

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R.I.P. Carson. You were fabulous.

“Thanks for being prepared,” Michelle Visage concludes, foreshadowing the complete shitshow that Nina and Valentina are about to bring to this set.

Their show is supposed to be called “Nina and Tina,” but the girls keep saying “Nina and Valentina” in the voice-over. They haven’t written any lines down and it shows – making decisions on the fly, asking the judges what they think should happen next…

I will say, however, that for all her faults, Nina makes the best of this situation by being fun and believable with her improvised acting.

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Another masterpiece of Nina Bo’nina Brown makeup artistry.

It’s time for the main stage! RuPaul introduces this week’s judging panel and holy crap Carson Kressley is wearing makeup.

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Well… kind of.

This episode’s runway category is “Club Kid Couture,” and it’s so wild I’m going to share every lewk with you guys.

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Sasha Velour is serving glam clown realness. I really like the color coordination and the makeup… but that’s about it. The outfit is not very flattering.

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Shea Couleé is looking cray (it rhymes!). She hot-glued most of those ornaments onto her mask while wearing it, so it’s a good thing she looks good, because, ouch. The crown actually reminds me of Sasha a bit, so that’s cute because they’re best buddies/lesbian lovers.

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Nina Bo’nina Brown’s look is almost not surprising for her – but it’s still pretty mind-blowing. The detail on that makeup is incredible. And there’s a stuffed raven on her head. Toot.

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Valentina… this getup would’ve probably slayed any other week. But next to all these crazy-ass Club Kid looks, this is a little… tame.

Get it? Matador? Tame? Nevermind.

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Trinity Taylor is unrecognizable. She looks like a microbe and a clown had sex and their very illegitimate child put on Hannibal Lecter’s face mask.

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Peppermint… no words. Her look is flawless, gorgeous, and completely on brand for her. The bitch brought it.

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Alexis Michelle is serving fabulous Native American war paint realness from the neck up, and bodacious dominatrix from the neck down. Those looks would both slay individually – but together, it all just feels very confused.

The judges and queens review their finalized TV pilots. Sasha and Shea’s blaxploitation/commie duo fighting bad fashion is genius, hilarious, and plays to both their strengths. Look out, Katya, there’s a new Russian ho in town and she means business.

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So, this is going to be an actual show, right? Because I need to watch it. Now.

Next up, “Nina and Tina”… You know what? All I’m going to say about this trainwreck is that when the clip ends, the only person clapping – or reacting in any way, really – is Carson.

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And he’s clearly just being polite.

Finally, Peppermint, Alexis, and Trinity’s project about a nun teaching homophobic mothers a lesson is pretty amusing – Alexis is okay, Peppermint is good, but Trinity completely steals the spotlight just like she did in 9021-HO.

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Just another Tuesday at the nunnery.

This week’s winner? Why, it’s none other than Team Sashea, back at it again with the double challenge win!

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Did somebody say “double crowning?”

The winning reward is a supply of hair products, and to avoid making Sasha feel bad, Ru specifies the products don’t just have to be used on her head. Goodness me.

The remaining queens are critiqued on the runway while Sasha and Shea kiki backstage. As Alexis is being told her role was the least interesting, she tells them her on-screen performance may have been a little subdued as a result of taking on most of the creative and administrative duties for the team.

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And Peppermint is NOT having it.

Pepper calls her out on her bullshit, and Trinity supports her, confirming they all put in the same amount of work. I think Alexis was trying to make herself look better by saying all this, but she just made things way worse for everyone involved. Unless her intent was just to start shit, in which case, brava, Miss Thing.

RuPaul sends the queens away and she looks so, so done with all of them.

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“You all suck. Sasha and Shea win the season. Go home.”

Backstage, Alexis continues to make things awkward by trying to claim ownership of the name “Sister Mary Koont,” when Trinity has been using the name “Koont” in her shows for years. I’m a little surprised Trinity is so calm about this, considering how confrontational she’s been in past Untuckeds. Maybe she only raises her voice when Eureka is involved.

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Peppermint, on the other hand, is 100% over it.

With all that fuckery out of the way, the queens return to the main stage. Shockingly, Alexis Michelle is safe and Valentina lands in the bottom two with Nina Bo’nina Brown.

Now, here’s where shit gets real gaggy, y’all. As Greedy by Ariana Grande starts playing and the queens do their thing, it becomes very very obvious that Valentina keeping her mask on, during a lip-sync, is a problem. So much of a problem, in fact, that Mama Ru has to stop them halfway through.

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SHOOK, HENNY. SHOOK.

“This is a lip-sync for your life, we need to see your lips,” Ru orders. “Take that thing off of your mouth.” Eek!

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“I’d like to keep it on, please,” she responds. THE NERVE.

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“It’s a lip-sync. What part of that do you not understand?”

And just like that, Valentina just went from being one of Ru’s favorites to being season 9’s Pearl. Finally, she relents and takes the mask off. Aaaaand she doesn’t know the words. Nina, on the other hand, kills it.

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Look at Valentina’s face. She already knows she’s going home.

The lip-sync ends and Ru doesn’t even give it a full second before announcing Nina is staying. Just to make sure Valentina never sleeps again, though, she tells her, “I thought you had the stuff to go all the way.”

As soon as Tina turns the corner backstage, she breaks down sobbing against a curtain.

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Do you hear that? That’s the sound of a million hearts breaking.

Oh, Valentina. This was a bad break. You know she was being set up to take out Nina, who’d been in the bottom several times. But that’s not the way the cookie crumbled this time.

Silver lining, though: I have no doubt she’ll be on All Stars 3 whenever that happens. Or, hey, if they decide to bring a queen back later in the competition, Valentina’s it for sure. She’s a wonderfully talented gal who just needs a little perspective and experience. She’ll be just fine.

One last time for the road, y’all: You’re perfect, you’re beautiful, you look like Linda Evangelista, you’re a model…

Time for a run-down!

Sasha Velour – Sasha’s finally won her second challenge, and with one of the competition’s frontrunners unexpectedly gone, I believe she’s a shoo-in for top 3 now. But I doubt she can take the crown unless she wins several of the remaining challenges – and without Shea’s help.

Shea Couleé – This is three challenges Shea has won now. Is she unstoppable? Yes. I think she is. She’d have to have a mishap of Valentina-sized proportions to lose the season at this point.

Nina Bo’nina Brown – Nina was slightly less stuck in her own head this week, and it allowed her to survive a lip-sync that was practically setting her up to fail. Now, what remains to be seen is whether she can keep that up.

Trinity Taylor – Trinity kills it on a weekly basis too, and she’s so much more versatile than I ever anticipated. Definitely set in stone for a top 3 spot, barring any more gaggy twists.

Peppermint – Pepper is really surprising me after so many episodes spent in the background. I think she’s the only one in the group who could possibly kick Sasha, Shea, or Trinity out of their top 3 spots.

Alexis Michelle – No T, no shade – Alexis was only safe this week because she brings the drama and y’all know it. But with the competition getting this tight, she’s either gonna have to step her game up or sashay away.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an entire tub of ice cream I still need to eat before I can be done mourning this week’s elimination. See y’all next weekend!

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