RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 13, Episode 4: RuPaulmark Channel
Disclaimer: This is a recap of the show for fans by a fan, with a mix of facts, opinions and hearsay, not strict objective journalism. So this piece is best enjoyed in levity and deep love for Drag Race. IG links and other references sourced from the cast respective IG’s!
The episode starts by the joining of both premiere groups together for the first time (at last!). The main challenge this week is to over-act in cheesy holiday movies for the RuPaulmark Channel. The runway category is Trains For Days, and the girls really do Bring It. Symone wins the challenge, Denali and Kahmora Hall lip-sync with Denali coming out victorious, sending our beloved Mackie Doll back home to Chicago.
Stirring the pot right from the start, RuPaul assigns the girls teams and three cheesy films to rehearse: Misery Love’s Company, God Loves Flags and April Fool’s Rush In. Do not be fooled by the different names though, they all have the exact same plot.
Right from the bat, a highlight here was Utica who had chosen a pot-loving hippie character to over-act for the challenge. RuPaul asks whether she has ever smoked, Utica silently but visibly short-circuits into panic and basically charms her way into RuPaul’s heart who basically cackles for ages as she makes all kinds of faces.
Season after season, like clockwork, New York queens get on the show and very confidently assure us that they are sure frontrunners because They Are From New York. Think of Brita in S12 or even Lemon on Canada’s series. I say this only to prelude this season’s inevitable NY storylines: Rosé feels the heat of competing with Tina Burner and their mutual desire to win many, many challenges, as well as Kandy Muse elbowing girls left and right to choose the part she wants. Gotta love New York.
Category Is… Trains For Days!
Now that all the girls are together, at last, we get our first full runway of the season! First up, Oliva Lux stunned in an angelic lavender blazer paying homage to classical music, designed by NY staple Domino Couture (also responsible for Monet X Change iconic Motocross Boots look from AS4). Olivia did excellent in the challenge, and I could have easily seen a higher placement than safe this week.
Another stunner was Gottmik, who came out in the colours of the trans flag with a stoned wind blower. The dress by G is for Godoy was a lovely homage to trans rights, as were Mik’s coloured coordinated nails by Queen Custom Claws (gotta love commitment).
Tonight’s winner Symone showed out to the max, paying tribute to her black culture and wearing a bright pastel durag by Marko Monroe (also a frequent collaborator of pop-superstar Lizzo!). It was one the most innovative interpretations of trains on the runway, with her durag having possibly the longest train of anyone; her energy was unapologetic and electrifying, we love a frontrunner.
As far as fascinating interpretations go, we can also count on Utica Queen to take us there! This week her Carol Burnett-inspired curtain dress made a real impression. As was fan-favourite and everyone’s favourite drag mother Tamisha Iman, who came out in a bright pink creation made by herself; and after pulling off a Cher impersonation in the challenge, I was happy to see her shine on the runway.
Lastly, our Mackie Doll Kahmora Hall wore a showstopping golden gown by Joshua Aponte Designs and Andrea Montoya, a perfect cross between a Dragon Queen and a Bob Mackie design. Although Kahmora is now eliminated, her exquisite visions will stay with us throughout the season and we will be checking her IG throughout for unseen lewks!
And the Oscar Goes To…
In Misery Love’s Company, Olivia Lux gets a distinction for her super consistent performance and her shining smile! I stan her presence and I thought it could’ve been a highly placed performance.
In God Loves Flags Symone takes all the awards, with her insane pronunciation of fac’try, that ridiculous red wig, and a real rhythm delivering her lines. Although in a close second, Rosé’s gnome was very strong.
Lastly, in April Fool’s Rush In we actually have several standouts, Tina Burner definitely getting the award for most confident performance and the most villainous characterisation.
Lowlights of the Week
This week’s lowlight goes to Kahmora’s performance as a tree on Misery Loves Company, it was hard to watch, and her inability to put the right emphasis on “I was rooting for us!” had the potential to drive everyone crazy.
Denali’s performance as Misery Love was also slightly underwhelming, although I didn’t agree she deserved to be in the bottom, the staleness in her delivery was not super compelling.
Lip Sync… For Your Lifeee!
Denali has established herself, in only three episodes, as one of the fiercest lip-sync assassins to get on Drag Race. This week’s song was the 1994 dance classic 100% Pure Love by Crystal Waters and the Bottom 2 were Denali and Kahmora Hall.
It was not a competition, in fact, RuPaul did not even say “I’ve made a decision.” Denali’s dancing took over every inch of the main stage and had the judges rooting her on from the beginning. In the end, Denali lived to see another day and Kahmora departed gracefully.
Werkroom Moment of Grace!
My favourite moment had to be Tamisha Iman, revealing to the girls she has three biological children over the age of 30, and how eventually she came to her self-discovery as a gay man. It was touching watching that intergenerational conversation reminding us just how colourful the lives of queer people can be.