RuPaul’s Drag Race UK: Snatch Game

Posted on October 30, 2021

Dammit, Ru. Why’d you have to get all messy with an episode that was going surprisingly well without your shenanigans? We tend to approach any Library/Snatch combination episode with a good deal of caution, since both challenges tend to be heavily weighted in the competition, which means the potential for fuck ups and train wrecks is always higher than any other episode.

 

But to our delighted surprise, the reads were mostly pretty funny and managed to thread the needle on being sharp without being hurtful. Scarlet used the moment to settle a few scores, but even then, everyone seemed to think she’d earned the right to be indulged a little bit. Choriza was as good a choice as any for the win. Given how much importance is placed on the Library mini-challenge, you’d think they’d hand out some sort of benefit to the winner. Anyway, the girls all got to work on their snatches and we wonder if the relative ease and confidence with which most of them approached the task is why Ru decided to fuck with so many of them.

 

Listen, we’ve been recapping reality competitions for a long-ass time and we get that successful ones have perfect a system for producing dramatic or entertaining results. Ru usually comes into the Werk Room to give coaching on general matters and maybe get inside the heads of a few contestants, but there are other times, like this episode, where he basically just starts telling people what to do and implying that it would be a mistake for them not to listen to him. There has probably always been something of an issue that the show’s mentor and the competition’s ultimate decider of everyone’s fate is the same person, but moments like these come off especially clumsy and in some cases, downright embarrassing. We couldn’t believe our ears when she insisted that Choriza do Cher. Bitch, come the fuck on. In any other episode, she’d be warning anyone who was thinking of trying Cher to consider someone a bit less of a cliche. It came off like an obvious setup. Choriza didn’t take the bait, but look where that got her in the end. Having said that, steering Ella toward Nigella, Kitty to Gemma Collins, and Scarlet to Macauley Culkin paid off, but each of them brought the options up themselves.

 

There’s no denying that Kitty and Ella were the absolute standouts here. We can’t say we were all that surprised to see Kitty nail this one, but Ella really was a surprise, tapping into comic skills we didn’t know she had. She never missed a beat as Nigella and as Graham noted, she managed to do a slightly bawdy take that relied on wit rather than blowjob jokes. Scarlet’s Macauley was wildly over-praised and it felt very much like Ru was forcing his laughter simply to reward a queen who did what he told her to do. Similarly, it really felt like Choriza got singled out for not taking Ru’s ridiculous advice to do Cher. It’s true that Choriza petered out and didn’t seem to have many jokes at hand, but there’s no way she was worse than Krystal, Vanity or River, none of whom truly managed to nail a moment.

 

We got another of those moments that tends to win Drag Race all kinds of awards and attention when the queens decided to trade coming out stories. We know these moments are forced and that these conversations don’t just happen organically, but there’s no way the show isn’t doing a service and having an effect on young fans who get to hear stories like these for the first time and recognize some of themselves in it.

 

The runway category was “Feeling Fruity” and when we look at them all lined up, three queens stand out for looks that are clearly not on the same level as the other four. Only one of those queens wound up in the bottom.

 

Choriza’s look was great and again, it felt like the cool reception she got from the judges was more engineered than genuine. Krystal’s look was fun, but they were right to call her out for recycling a similar costume. Still, Ru’s “You were born to be a drag queen” speech was a little embarrassing and weird, given how mediocre Krystal’s efforts were this week. Scarlet’s look was honestly awful, from color to textile to execution, she looked an utter mess. But she did what Ru told her to do and they sure do like  a redemption arc (if not a chance for downtrodden queen to tell her competitors to go fuck themselves), so she got both overpraised and under-criticized this week.

 

There’s just no denying that River was inching ever closer to the exit. Her snatch wasn’t among the better efforts and her costume this week was downright sad. There’s nothing wrong with working a homemade look, but that “bowl” is simply awful. There’s nothing drag about a massive piece of matte brown fabric, girl. That’s just sad. Ella had her best week yet, following up her flawless snatch with a flawless runway look. We still think her makeup is a bit underdeveloped. He’s rather fine-featured as a boy, so there’s no reason for his face to consistently look so harsh, even when he’s serving a gorgeous look like this.

 

Like River, Vanity is simply failing to connect, week after week. Her snatch was uninspired and while we agree with Michelle that this is probably her prettiest runway look yet, that’s actually a bit damning as an observation, given the lateness of the hour and the fact that this look is just okay. We can’t really argue with Ella’s win this week, but we were really hoping Ru would hand out a second badge to Kitty. As Graham noted (and we’ve been saying all along), she established herself as one to watch. Even so, as interesting and unusual as this costume is, the concept seems a little vague. We don’t get “fruit” when we look at it.

 

For all our whining about how Choriza was set up this week, there’s no denying that this was a hellaciously bad lip sync from both queens.

 

 

Given the double save a few episodes back, this outcome was inevitable, but Choriza was done dirty. No shade against River, but it was long past time for her to go. Choriza may not be final queen material, but she’s definitely one of the last of the truly interesting queens in this season’s cast.

 

Legendary Children: The First Decade of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Last Century of Queer Life, a New York Times “New and Notable” pick, praised by The Washington Post “because the world needs authenticity in its stories,” and chosen as one of the Best Books of 2020 by NPR is on sale wherever fine books are sold!

 

 

 

[Photo Credit: WOW via Tom and Lorenzo]

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