The queens are greeted by an expectedly lengthy mirror message from eliminated queen Jasmine, who didn’t get to say any goodbyes in person. While Bosco is concerned that there might not be enough cleaner, Daya is more focused on her omission. In the final part of her message, Jasmine voiced support for Angeria, DeJa, and Jorgeous to make it to the finals. Daya is perturbed by Jasmine, but what else is new.
At the work table, DeJa, shrewdly, refocuses attention on her recent win, after being a forced spectator for the entirety of the last episode, by asking what lessons everyone learned from Snatch Game. Daya tries to turn the failure into a positive suggesting that RuPaul wants to see the real you over some impersonation. This is absolutely true with, of course, the notable exception of Snatch Game. Jorgeous, in her best moment of the season, proudly proclaims that she “didn’t learn shit.” RuPaul’s video message redirects the contestants and is peppered with hints like “Paris,” “France,” and “Can Can.” The maxi challenge is revealed to be Moulin Ru: The Rusical, a drag version of the Broadway musical that is in turn inspired by the 2001 film Moulin Rouge.
Greater than the drama of the tragic love story, this episode finds its drama in the casting of roles. In the absence of a mini challenge, no one is assigned the role of casting the rusical. Producers discovered the tension this can produce from the girl group challenge that led to Daya’s first victory. Like that last episode, Daya firmly claims her role of Uniqueness while confessing “compromise is for losers.” DeJa quickly follows claiming Nerve, claiming that she deserved it as both winner of Snatch Game and for relinquishing her preferred song in the girl group challenge. While it is all moot as no one wants that part, DeJa does set a framework for the other queens, as the passive aggressive, and plain aggressively angle for parts.
Willow’s argument is the most convincing, that when anyone hears absinthe-drunk fairy, they think Willow Pill. It is enough for Angeria to forfeit the part. Angeria turns to her second choice, Talent, which is being targeted by Jorgeous. Arguing that she is the showstopper of the season, Jorgeous claims to have been a team player throughout the competition as well as dismissing the open role of Charisma. While Jorgeous’ disdain for the role of Charisma lacks a sound argument, Angeria relents, taking the part. The final face-off, between Bosco and Lady Camden over the lead role of Saltine, sucks the oxygen out of the room.
When the rusical was announced, Bosco and Lady Camden proved to be the most excited, making this battle for the lead role as thrilling as NBC’s Smash. The psychological trickery utilized in the selection of roles is truly impressive, sadly more impressive than what ended up on the stage. Bosco, similar to Jorgeous, argues that she is not connected to or able to play the other character. Using weakness as strength in some kind of Sun Tzu move is shot down by Lady Camden, who holds strong. As the queens sit wasting time, Lady Camden eventually suggests it will have to be settled with a coin toss. Despite this relatively fair request, Bosco moves for a group vote. Adding drama to the election exercise, Bosco denies Lady Camden’s request for an anonymous vote. Angeria, close friend of Lady Camden, is the first to vote. Angeria votes Bosco. Lady Camden, having performed as William Shakespeare in Snatch Game, must be thinking, “Et tu, Brute?” Jorgeous, turned off by Bosco’s approach to getting the role, even though it wasn’t unlike what Jorgeous did with Angeria, votes Lady Camden. DeJa seconds Lady Camden, leaving Willow and Daya, who is tallying votes, to decide. Willow hesitates. Daya, who has proven herself as a producer’s dream for producing drama, jumps in and votes Bosco. It’s a genius move that forces Willow, a very strategic and subtle player, into the deciding vote. Willow fluctuates between the two, not wanting to offend, before finally casting her vote for Bosco.
Unfortunately, the battle for the lead role is the high point of the episode. Bosco, momentarily apologetic in victory, gets an angry response from Lady Camden, who warns her she better be great. With the tension between Jasmine and Daya now neutralized, the producers are heavily invested in Bosco versus Lady Camden this episode. The Bad Boy girl group rallies around Bosco, while Angeria provides a pep talk to Lady Camden, who becomes revitalized.
With parts chosen, the queens head to rehearsals greeted by their composer, choreographer, and special guest director, Leslie Jordan. Despite the tension between Bosco and Lady Camden, both seem to excel with their material. Angeria slightly struggles with her choreography, and Willow worries about making her part land. Jorgeous is lectured on the importance of knowing when to stand out and when to blend in during an ensemble performance. DeJa and Daya, besides some good commentary, are relatively unseen.
In the work room the queens get ready when Jorgeous confesses to not liking musical theater, which does not bode well for the challenge. In an unfocused episode, Bosco imparts a lesson she learned about Ginger Rogers, which is the thing that most people know about Ginger Rogers. Perhaps the most interesting part of the sequence is learning the unexpected origin of Jorgeous’ dance ability: Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The strange rhythm of the work room scene may be, as Daya suggests, “not having Jasmine to fight with.”
RuPaul arrives on the runway wearing a graphic reptilian mini dress to greet Michelle, Ross, and the guest judge, Oscar-nominee Andra Day. They await the premiere of Moulin Ru. Despite some strangely invasive camera work, this rusical fails to impress. The early number inspired by the era-defining Lady Marmalade music video pales in comparison. Forced to rework RuPaul songs into the Moulin Rouge narrative, the show is long and labored. Worst of all, it’s not funny. Considering that they are lip syncing, you’d expect the choreography to be more impressive. Perhaps the only musical number that worked well came from Willow. Lady Camden as the MC holds the whole thing together, but without that role the entire musical would be unwatchable. This is not a critique of the contestants, but rather the material they are given.
Producers forgo the queens getting ready and move straight to the runway, as if to wipe clean the memory of the the rusical as quickly as possible. The category is Mirror, Mirror. Lady Camden presents an androgynous and whimsical look inspired by Le Petit Prince. Paying reference to recently departed designer Thierry Mugler, and his obsession with Maria-the-Robot from Metropolis, Bosco is striking. However, the impact is dampened by the majority of Bosco’s previous looks all consisting of the same corset and thong silhouette. More impressive than Willow’s look is her dead-on references. She dons exactly what you would expect if you threw Evel Knievel, Joan Jett, and David Bowie into a blender, and it’s stupendous. Once again, Angeria presents a pageant interpretation to the category. While most of her looks have been pitch-perfect in detail, this one falters. The mesh, which was oddly placed, seemed to produce some sort of moiré pattern optical effect. Next up is Gottmik – I mean – Daya Betty. In a KISS-inspired look, utilizing a truly mirrored fabric, Daya gave the week’s best look. Following Daya did DeJa no favors, but regardless, her look was awful. Considering how far it is in the competition, this look feels like a waste of everyone’s time. Jorgeous closes the runway in a look thankfully devoid of a bra and panty. The dark take was refreshing, but the cut and bulk of the dress combined with the gloves and boots really shortened the already short queen.
During the judging, Lady Camden receives praise for taking on the MC role and managing to infuse it with character. The judges were underwhelmed by Bosco’s performance—with Michelle oddly focused on her eyebrows. The eyebrow comment felt like, despite a lackluster performance, Bosco was more hindered by poor material. It really makes you wonder why there was such a battle for this part. The best parts were clearly Mama Z, the Green Fairy, Uniqueness, and Nerve. Willow, astutely selecting the best part, is praised for her performance. While the judges aren’t exactly getting mirror from her look, they applaud her ability to put her unique stamp on all the categories. The judges’ reaction to Angeria’s performance almost makes you think they understood that this was a poorly written rusical. Their response to her look also suggests that it worked better in person than on television. Daya gets praise for making a smaller part memorable, which increasingly seems to be the best strategy when given bad source material. They rightly love her look as well, placing her in the top for this week. After a memorable Snatch Game, DeJa has fallen into the background. While she came alive during her rap, the judges thought that she was forgettable otherwise and that her look doesn’t match the brief. To close, Jorgeous is once again critiqued for not translating her natural performance charisma into a challenge, as the judges says she faded away and was disconnected. It is fairly clear that the top three will be Lady Camden, Willow and Daya, and the bottom three Bosco, DeJa, and Jorgeous.
After a relatively decisive top and bottom divide, RuPaul finally throws out the standard curve ball of each season. Which queen do the other queens think should go home? Somewhat surprisingly, everyone (sans Bosco) selects Bosco. While her performance was unexciting, Bosco’s past performance, in contrast to others like DeJa and Jorgeous, seemed enough to make it less unanimous. The most interesting development was the growing strain between Bosco and Jorgeous. Bosco selects Jorgeous to go home based on overall performance throughout the season, and Jorgeous goes into great detail airing out behind-the-scene information about how Bosco went about securing the lead role.
The ultimate winner is Lady Camden. It is deserved, as the entire show would have fallen apart without her. Willow and Daya are a close second and third. Angeria, who seems to only be struggling to meet her own high standards, is deemed safe. DeJa, like the last episode, escapes the lip sync. As if a morality play, Bosco and Jorgeous are the bottom two, proving that queens should be careful what they wish for. Both Bosco and Jorgeous fought hard to get the roles they wanted, but still landed in the bottom.
Jorgeous in the bottom for the fifth time. and Bosco having just had to lip sync three times during the LaLaPaRuZa, is a testament to just how long this season has been. Clearly a lip sync assassin, Jorgeous has the added advantage of being RuPaul’s favorite when Bosco jokes about organ donation. It feels like a forgone conclusion that Jorgeous will win. After confessing her preference for club music over musical theater, the decision to use a club remix of Whitney Houston’s “Heartbreak Hotel” feels like an unnecessary safeguard to keep Jorgeous. It would have been interesting to see how Jorgeous would have adapted to the original version of the song. Predictably, Jorgeous is declared the winner over Bosco.
The producers really show their hands when, finally, Bosco is the queen who unwraps the golden bar. Overwhelmed and relieved, Bosco drops to the ground in joy. Despite each queen suggesting Bosco be the one to go home this week, the whole cast seems pleased by this outcome. With the fifth non-elimination episode, you have to hope that, for the next extended season, the producers and writers come up with material more worthy of the cast’s talents.
- This was one of RuPaul’s best looks of the season.
- Does anyone else remember how great rusicals are when they actually sing the roles? Will they ever achieve the excellence of Shade: The Rusical again?
- Favorite part of the episode: The queen named after a chocolate sauce is the one with the golden chocolate bar. It is both ironic and iconic.
- A little upset and disappointed that Bosco’s save wasn’t immediately followed by a cut away of Daya rolling her eyes.
- They really should have the queens open the bar away from the other queens. How much better would it have been for them to say goodbye to Bosco and have her come in next week after each of them said she should go home.
- It seems strange that Willow doesn’t have a double win like Angeria, Bosco, and Lady Camden.
- I really wish someone would have incorporated some kind of Mirror Message inspiration into their Mirror, Mirror look.
- My top four remain: Angeria, Bosco, Daya, and Willow.