*Warning: This recap contains spoilers relating to who went home this week. Do not read ahead if you haven’t seen the episode yet*
Autumn is fast approaching and the nights are closing in. What better way to celebrate that fact with the return of a show where everything goes bump in the night? This week, Amazon Prime premiered the first episode of the third season of The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula, a show that celebrates the alternative and dangerous sides of drag. I’m very glad to see that this show has been promoted to a leading streaming site; the first two seasons showed that the concept of the show, especially in the modern era, has so much potential and room for growth.
After a short film of the Boulet Brothers’ escape from an ambulance and the brutal murders of the crew that showcases the improved budget and scripting right off the bat (though their stated murder count of eighteen seems one too many, unless they are counting Meatball as dying twice), we are introduced to the eleven competitors. In addition to winning the title of Dragula, the World’s Next Drag Super Monster, the winner will also receive a cash prize of $25,000, an increase of 15K on the previous two seasons.
Now it is time to meet the monsters; in order of introduction:
|Name||Home Town||Production Notes|
|Maddelynn Hatter||Brooklyn, NY||Drag Mother of |
|Landon Cider||Long Beach, CA||First Drag King in |
|Priscilla Chambers||Asheville, NC||First Trans Contestant |
|Yovska||Toronto, Canada||First Non-US Contestant|
|Dollya Black||Orlando, FL||Drag Daughter of|
|St. Lucia||Atlanta, GA|
|Hollow Eve||San Francisco, CA||First AFAB Queen|
|Evah Destruction||Dallas, TX|
|Maxi Glamour||St. Louis, MO|
|Louisianna Purchase||Austin, TX|
After Landon Cider is the unlucky competitor who has to face the first mini-Extermination challenge of the season, to eat a chalice filled with several live spiders, the eleven receive their first maxi challenge of Season 3. They are tasked with creating their very own super-villain look, using all of their skills and their aesthetics to highlight who they are as performers. As someone who does like watching comic book-based films, I was excited for this challenge when I heard it.
Another upgrade for this year comes in the form of the ‘Boudoir’ segment, where the performers unwind and also butt heads. Gone is the darker lighting, in favour of a palette that fits in with the show’s aesthetic but also allows the viewers to see everything that is happening. For Week 1, there were a couple of incidents right off the bat, neither of which were caused by beef competitors had before they came on the show. There already seems to be a divide between the more seasoned individuals who have a greater understanding of the meaning of words heard in everyday drag lingo, and those who are younger and perhaps don’t know what the words they try to reclaim actually mean. The show is definitely trying to embrace all groups of drag performers, and not just the female imitators that we see on most other TV reality shows; that should be applauded in today’s day and age.
The second disagreement came when the competitors started saying who they think will go home first and I think that is such a slippery slope to go down, not least because it is simply mind games based on the first impressions people give out. Last season, Biqtch Puddin and James Majesty were both called out on their looks and personality; both of them finished in the top three, with Biqtch winning the whole thing. In this episode, St. Lucia, Violencia! and Dollya all come under some kind of heat, especially St. Lucia for apparently having no personality. However, to me the one who I have the biggest concern for is Maddelynn Hatter; she seems overly confident and none of the looks she pulled out this week stood out. Seasoned contestants like herself either suffer a close call and push to make the top three or four, or go home extremely early, so it will be interesting to see how she does.
The floor show begins with the Boulets showing off their fashions, both wearing a stunning metal headpiece that looks straight out of some Hellish mythology. Helping the pair judge this week are comic-book artist Phil Jimenez and RPDR alumni Phi Phi O’Hara. Now it is time for the eleven to perform their asses off as the latest super-villains and here is what I made of each of them.
|Hellboy’s next adversary, love the double red eye and white skin pops out.|
|If Hela and Maleficent had a sister; loved the headpiece and movements.|
|Gag of the face pulling was the only stand-out thing here.|
|Much better from the neck up; nothing special below that point.|
|Ordinary and middle-of-the-road, performance was okay.|
|Green face contrasts with decent enough costume but no fireworks here.|
|Nothing super-villain in the slightest, not much attack in floor show.|
|She must have made an appearance in Watchmen or Kick-Ass.|
|Great mask and attitude of an assassin, outfit seems one note.|
|Has the performance down, costume stands out, not super-villain at all.|
|Relative of the Babadook; more horror icon than super-villain though.|
Before the judges gave their critiques, it was announced that Hollow Eve, Landon Cider, Yovska, St. Lucia and Maddelynn Hatter were safe and through to next week’s task. Louisianna’s period aesthetic was praised but was told she was read as villain rather than super-villain. Violencia! was praised on the finish of her outfit but accused of misunderstanding the task with her comedic and bright concept. Priscilla, Dollya and Evah were given near unanimous praise for their costumes and concepts, with very minor comments on the length of Priscilla’s trousers and whether Evah’s cape was necessary. Maxi received the worst feedback of the bunch, with the judges feeling that the head and the body looked like two separate costumes and didn’t tell a story, and that the detailing wasn’t consistent.
Dollya Black won the challenge, but the Boulets commented that Evah and Priscilla did a really great job to make deciding a winner tough. Louisianna was reprimanded but thrown a lifeline, leaving Violencia! and Maxi Glamour to face the first extermination challenge of the series. I understand why these two were in the bottom, though on first watch I did prefer Violencia! to Louisianna.
The extermination challenge this week was to test the two to their limits in probably the most extreme one to date; each of them will be strapped to an instructor and thrown out of a plane from 18,000ft. Heights is Violencia’s biggest fear and they were obviously terrified going into it. Louisianna and the other contestants quickly rushed to support them and tell them that they have so many good ideas and should stay. If they were to overcome their fear and do the extermination challenge, they would almost certainly stay over the lacklustre Maxi Glamour.
Except, as the plane was about to take off, Violencia! abandons the challenge. Knowing that she was going home, she told Maxi that she is goin to turn it out in this competition and hope she goes far. Maxi manages to achieve this amazing feat and is given a chance to stay. As Violencia! walks home from the airfield, she is ambushed and beaten several times with a hammer, before getting dragged to an industrial container and melted in a barrel of boiling liquid. The first contestant has been exterminated and now ten remain to fight to become the Next Drag Super Monster.
What did you make of the opening episode of Season 3 of Dragula? Let me know in the comments section below and I’ll see you for another recap next week. It’s going to be a great season.