*Warning: This recap does contain spoilers as to the results of the episode. Turn back now if you intend to watch this unspoiled*
The alternative, horror-themed drag TV show known as Dragula has been going from strength to strength in the first few episodes of its third season, down to a combination of an increased budget, more interactions between competitors before the floor show and, of course, magnetic performances from the hosts, the fabulous Boulet Brothers. Last week the nine remaining contestants performed a rock and metal number in two competing bands – with one performance a complete disaster. Evah Destruction won the challenge – the third challenge winner in as many episodes. On the other end of the spectrum, alas, it was the quirky Canadian Yovska who became the third to be exterminated.
As a side note to this episode, I just wanted to say what a great job the production is this year in the short films that precede the main episode. This one, featuring a group of young people playing D&D and smoking joints in the basement getting massacred, follows on directly from the one in the previous episode. The camera work feels a lot tighter and the music really helps to take it to the next level. I hope that this narrative will directly lead into one of the main challenges later on in the season and I am looking forward to seeing where the narrative goes.
I also really like that the contestants are not holding back on their feelings when there is drama between them. In a certain other drag show *cough cough*, the ‘drama’ has become so scripted that it feels like the contestants are walking on eggshells to be portrayed in a particular way that doesn’t get them targeted by toxic fans. Dollya Black makes it clear once again of her dislike of Maddelynn Hatter and Hollow Eve – she has given out so many opinions this season and it feels like it is all coming to a head now. Hollow is also annoying the younger contestants, Dollya and Priscilla Chambers in particular, with how she interrupts people’s slanderous words towards others. I don’t think that is reflecting badly on her in terms of how it is portrayed but I imagine this will come to a head in a future episode.
The acting challenge this week is a really brilliant one; the Boulets have put together the first ever ‘Dungeons & Drag Queens’ campaign (I knew the pre-episode film would come into it somehow) and the competitors must perform their roles in a Renaissance village, with the hosts acting as the Dungeon Masters. They are then given their roles and classes, most of them are very run-of-the-mill but I found it absolutely hilarious that Priscilla has been assigned the role of a Bard and knows NOTHING about D&D besides the stereotype. Dollya also receives a key that allows her to save and maybe harm one of her fellow competitors, which I’m sure she might use in a negative way.
Rehearsals go pretty ordinarily, bar from Maxi Glamour, who puts on a strange accent, whilst Hollow proclaims that she has degrees in theatre and performance so the spotlight will be on her. When the competitors are practicing their physical movements and Maxi again shows that she is one of the weaker performers by annoying Evah and not following direction. Maddelynn and Dollya also walk off (to the annoyance of Evah Destruction) to talk again about the events pre-competition. Despite a lot of emotions being let out, I hope that this is the last we see of this storyline. Mental health is shown to be very important in this episode and the portrayal of it is very well done, including when Evah Destruction breaks down after revealing her troubled upbringing. As Louisianna puts it “Drag allows you to go into those deep places” and you can see how strong Evah is as a competitor from having to fight for herself.
It is now time for the floor show in the Renaissance village. The Boulets are looking as amazing as ever, especially their fantasy inspired headpieces and necklaces, giving them the appearance of ancient priestesses. Joining the pair as the guest judges are screenwriter and podcast host Michael Varrati and film-maker Darren Stein. In this week’s recap I will be commenting on each contestant’s outfits and the acting skills displayed in the challenge.
|Brilliant prosthetic and make-up use on the face and the tunic looks detailed. Did she run out of time to paint her arms and legs though? I can’t remember much of her acting in this challenge.|
|Wow, she even brought a tail to her look! Reading fantasy through and through and one of the most complete looks. Did very well in the acting portion as well, using her whole body and facial expressions, even in prosthetics.|
|One of the few very committed to her class, looking like a rogue through and through. Decent acting skills shown, though was overshadowed by a couple of others.|
|Another knock-out look for me, all of the colours on the facepaint and hair go together and the armour looks good too. Did quite well in the acting portion of the challenge.|
|Definitely going for more of a ‘real’ approach to her look, love the way all of the silvers go together and the legs look great. Acting was decent as well.|
|If it weren’t for the brilliant detail on the staff then this would be a meh look, especially with the dry wig. Acting is a bit flat, which isn’t good since she only appears in one scene.|
|Great use of body paint and make-up on the face to convey the reptilian race, not sure how the belly dancer costume goes with the rogue class. That ‘voice’ wasn’t great at all, muffled by the face mask.|
|Might have raided the closet of a low-budget fantasy film for the look. It reads half-elf but not bard in the slightest. Reads as a drunken southern girl in the acting.|
After the challenge, Dollya was asked to step forward. Gaining the Key of Life in the boudoir means that she can automatically remove herself from extermination or put one of her fellow competitors in the bottom. She picks the good option and chooses to save herself, which was wise given that her look was off and her acting wasn’t much better. Priscilla Chambers was also announced as safe, something as a surprise to me because her look and performance was just okay. It was also stated that they are looking directly at the performance mainly because that is the point of the challenge.
During the judges’ critiques, Maddelynn Hatter was praised on her direction but it was stated that she was upstaged by her massive torch/staff prop. The Boulets were very happy with Louisianna Purchase since she was taking direction from the critiques the previous week, a position she has been in every episode to date. They challenge her to create a bigger silhouette for next week. Positive critiques were also given to Landon Cider for her look, with the acting only occasionally seeming one-note. Evah Destruction was another to receive acclaim for her look, especially elements such as feathers on the armour and for the tail. She also became the character in the performance, owning the scene for the entire time she was in it. Hollow’s Shakespearean interpretation of the acting was commended on, as was the look. In contrast to everyone else, Maxi Glamour was torn apart for the lack of feeling and expression in the mask; she is definitely in the bottom this week.
Louisianna and Hollow are called as safe. For the second week in a row, Evah Destruction takes home the glory; she is turning into the real front-runner in this competition. Both her and Landon are asked to leave the stage. That means Maxi and Maddelynn are up for extermination; the latter would not be in this position had Dollya not used the Key to save herself. I knew that the storyline between the pair would come to a head and maybe Maddelynn will go home before she can retaliate. The extermination challenge this week is an interesting one; the pair will be lead through town and humiliated by their competitors, whilst pleading for their survival in the competition. If neither one does this, then they will both be leaving the competition.
Even before the extermination, Maddelynn is fuming and taking out her anger on the crew on set. This may be down to the fact that she was up for extermination for the second week running for someone else’s choice, or because she has been at the top of New York club life for over a decade and doesn’t want her reputation damaged. She comes off really poorly in this moment; let’s not forget Week 1, where Violencia! refused to skydive and was sent home. As the Boulets remind the contestants, the exterminations are meant to test and gauge them to see who has the guts and desire to go all of the way and is not meant as a way to harm or punish them. It looks like Maxi Glamour will again be spared because someone else pulls out, but right at the end Maddelynn decides to make some damn good TV.
At the start of the extermination, Maddelynn comes out with some reading of the other competitors – it is very much pantomime villain stuff and she is having fun with i. On the other hand, Maxi decides to read Maddelynn for filth and puts her case forward a lot stronger as why she should stay in this competition. In the end, despite fighting hard, it is the end of the road for Maxi Glamour; her extermination involves her head getting bisected with a longsword, gory stuff indeed but deserved on the lack of impression she made on the competition. That means we are down to seven competitors and you can find out the results every week from The Blogging DJ, with more recap posts coming soon.
What did you make of this week’s challenge and did you agree with who went home? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!