RuPaul's Drag Race Season 10 Episode 4 Review: The Age Of Aquaria

13 April 2018, 14:15

Monét Xchange and Aquaria
Monét Xchange and Aquaria. Picture: VH1

By Josh Lee

Aquaria rises to the top this week and Monét gives the girls a lesson in linguistic history.

Happy friday, fellow homosexuals! It's episode four of RuPaul's Drag Race season 10, and this week Mayhem gets snakey, Monique commits Beyoncé blasphemy, and Aquaria's 11th house is rising in the ascendent... or something. Sorry, I'm not good with horoscope puns. Shall we just get into it?

Monique calls out Mayhem and other post-runway drama

It's drama from the get go in episode four, as the fallout from last week's runway continues in the werkroom. Monique is still (rightfully) pressed that Mayhem made her out to be some sort of dictator figure in last week's group challenge, and Mayhem is in a weird state over denial over what was said; even in her talking head, she's resolute in her belief that Monique backed her into a corner, despite that not even being slightly true. We've all seen the tapes, and Mayhem should have really swallowed her pride, admitted that she panicked on the runway and got messy, and apologised. I have a strong feeling that Mayhem's behaviour will bite her in the ass in future episodes. The Vixen makes a quip about Asia borrowing Blair's gloves for her Tweety Pie fantasy, and luckiy Aquaria has the good sense to keep any thoughts and feelings to herself. We also see Monét discuss not standing out so far in the post-elimination segment, which after 10 seasons we should all know is setting her up for either a top two or bottom two result this episode. And judging from her performance so far this season, I don't see "condragulations" in the tea leaves for Monét this week.

Photobomb realness

This week's mini challenge challenges the girls to create the funniest celebrity photobomb photo possible. Aquaria inexplicably wins with a photobomb of Kim and Kanye, making it clear from the off that this week is going to be Aquaria's rudemption episode. In reality, Asia or Monique should have won, but.


You shall go to the ball!

This week's maxi challenge is a ball, which has come about seven episodes earlier than usual. Holding a ball so early on in the episode is a double-edged sword for the girls; on one hand, it gives every contestant an opportunity to show off a full range of looks, but on the other hand pulling off three looks in one challenge is a tall order, and could trip up queens with less stamina. The theme of the ball is "Last Ball On Earth" with the categories being "Alaskan winter realness" (a summer look), "Miami summer realness" (a winter look), and "Martian eleganza extravaganza," a look that represents the future of drag after global waring forces us to evacuate Earth. They're great categories that call for totally different aesthetics, and the final category really allows the queens to take their creativity to the next level. Aquaria is visibly excited at this challenge, and you only need to take a look at her Instagram to see why. My expectations for Aquaria are sky high, and I have every faith that she's going to exceed them.


We don't have time to discuss every queen in the werkroom, so I wanted to touch on the few that really stood out for me. Did someone else stand out to you that I didn't cover? Are you pressed about that? If you're feeling some type of way, I refer you back to the first gif in this review. Let's continue.

Monét isn't everything

Monet struggles from the off, making any hope of her stomping her way into the top two pretty unrealistic. Monet has come off as a little complacent so far this series, which is surprising given the quality of looks that have been going on around her. Having listened to Monet and Bob The Drag Queen's podcast Sibling Rivalry, it's clear that Monet is a super smart queen, so I'm not sure why she hasn't taken any cues from the level of drag that her competitors are giving. Perhaps she's so super focussed that she's just not taking in what the other girls are up to, but at this point she should really be open to listening to queens such as Asia O'Hara who have been able to stand out from day one.

Dusty's heading for the bottom

Dusty manages to do the most and the least at the same time with a whole metal fantasy attached... to a corset. Not only do we all know, as Blair pointed out, that accoutrements attached to a corset is a huge faux pas, we also know from last episode that Dusty and corsets don't mix well. The light up wig looks interesting, but as we saw from Ginger Minj and All Stars 2, light up couture is a huge risk as the stage lights can completely overwhelm it. It looks like Dusty Ray Bottoms might be one of the actual bottoms this week, and the only good thing about that is that I can make that pun.

Blair is here to slay

I'm going to hold my hands up and say that I totally underestimated Blair St. Clair when she first walked into the werkroom, but the level of confidence she exudes episode after episode is really changing my mind. What I appreciate about Blair is that she knows her lane and her brand and she works within it. Don't bring around a cloud to rain on Blair's parade, because this broadway queen is fast becoming a serious competitor.


Does Aquaria have a sugar daddy?

Miz Cracker brings up a rumour from the New York drag scene that Aquaria's drag is financed by an army of sugar daddies. This gives Aquaria a chance to talk about the work she puts into her drag, and I'm glad she took the opportunity to explain how she pulls her looks together, because doing what Aquaria does on the cheap cannot be easy. Miz Cracker references the whole face-stealing debacle, clearing the air between the two in the process. I'm getting the sense that Aquaria has had a bit of a Violet Chachki moment after last week's mess in Untucked, and is really working on how she comes across.

The British accent debate

I want to take a quick second to say that MONÉT XCHANGE IS (somewhat) RIGHT ABOUT THE BRITISH ACCENT. What's seen as the standard British accents has changed radically over the past couple of centuries. Back in the day when England colonised America, most people in England pronounced R sounds a lot more - a hallmark of American accents. According to "The Cambridge History of the English Language," the stuffy British accent we've come to associate with the upper classes here developed because newly-wealthy communities wanted to differentiate themselves from common Brits who still over-pronounced r sounds. I don't think she had the exact mechanics of migration down, but the core of the argument was kind of true. Sadly this isn't RuPaul's Best Linguist Race and Monét is still probably f*cked in the challenge.

Bring it to the runway!

After suffering from some sort of throat infection last week, RuPaul decided to steal the show with a gag-worthy extraterrestrial look complete with balaclava. The iconic Tisha Campbell Martin from My Wife And Kids is a guest judge, and within five seconds RuPaul has advocated for climate change awareness, so really this is all going wonderfully. The first runway is Alaskan Summer realness, a.k.a bikini look. Swimwear can very easily look basic, so I'm looking out to see who can elevate their looks to something more conceptual. The Vixen's transparent look is the first outfit to gag me, swiflty followed by Aquaria's FLAWLESS wrestler loook, complete with Beyoncé Formation Tour ponytail plait. Dusty Ray Bottoms is probably wearing the worst swimsuit of the runway, closely followed by Monét. I would personally put Monique in the bottom two specifically for saying that her Watermelon outfit is a reference to Beyoncé's "Lemonade," but sadly this isn't my show.


Next up we have Miami summer realness. Eureka's icy leotard looked beautiful on her, and Monét gave us a beautiful reveal complete with snow queen crown. I personally found Kameron's outfit to be a little busy, but judging from last week's runway "busy" might be Kameron's MO. The Vixen had a beautiful and different take on the winter look, giving us Christmas in Paris, 1780. But it was Aquaria's dip-dye faux fur that really stole the show. Monique's look was probably my least favourite look in this category, with random patches of fur appearing to sprout out of her outfit with little explanation. In fact, it looked like the much rougher version of Miz Cracker's Penelope Pitstop fantasy that came shortly afterwards.


Final category is Martian eleganza extravaganza, and I'm ready to be launched into space with these looks. Monét's outfit was a stinker, the quilted material gave me 70s sex club wallpaper realness and the Marilyn Monroe hair made no sense. I was disappointed by The Vixen's eleganza after giving great looks in the first two categories. Aquaria, on the other hand, was completely standout, and almost certainly secured her win.


Who won this week's runway?

It's a three-way tie between Aquaria, RuPaul and Logan Browning.


Were there any shockers?

I was very surprised to see Asia in the bottom three. Her looks weren't up there with the best, but I was expecting her success last week to push her into safe territory. Monique could have happily slotted into the bottom three instead. Hopefully Asia takes the lesson of looking out for number one on board because she is too good to be pushed out of this competition by her own helpfulness. I think I would have liked to have seen Blair in the top 3 over Kameron, but that's really just personal preference - they both brought it to every category.

Did Aquaria deserve to win?

Yes, she was fierce. No arguments needed or required.


The bottom two lipsync for their lives

Dusty Ray Bottoms and Money Xchange wind up in the bottom two, which was 100% the right decision. They get given a Nicki Minaj song and I instantly worry for grunge girl Dusty Ray Bottoms. We haven't really seen much of Monét as a performer so far this season and this lipsync was a great opportunity for her to show us why she runs New York. Luckily, she managed to do just that, with her death drop fake-out bringing back some of that humour we saw in the very first mini challenge. I really like Dusty, but Monét lipsyned circles round her in this one.


Did the right girl go?

It's a difficult one this week. I get the impression that I'd prefer to see a Monét Xchange show over a Dusty Ray Bottoms show IRL, but at the same time Dusty has stood out more in the competition so far. But at the end of the day it all comes down to the lipsync, and Monét won fair and square. Also, side note: has anyone noticed how the production on Pound The Alarm's verses is almost exactly the same as the production on Sissy That Walk's verses?

Final thoughts - it's so hard to say goodbye this season

In seasons past the first three or four girls to go have always seemed pretty expendable, but this year the quality of talent is so high that every elimination leaves me crying out into the night sky. I'm gutted to see Dusty go. I was super excited to see her in a challenge that really allowed her to do her, but I think she's made enough of an impression to go on to have a very fruitful career post Drag Race. We love you Dusty!