(By the way, this entire recap is one long spoiler. Consider yourself alerted.)
We start the first episode with introductions to the queens about to compete in the world's best reality show.
First up is Willam, who I like despite her not being from Chicago or spelling her name correctly. As soon as she sees dress forms for bigger girls, she says, "I hope they don't have diabetes!" I fall in love.
Our three Chicago queens are Phi Phi O'hara, who is super cute out of drag and pretty and well put-together in drag; The Princess, a very artistic German-dominatrix style queen; and Dida Ritz. Dida Ritz is a Chicago queen, so there's no way I'm going to trash her. All I will say is that if she has a good friend, that friend should do Dida a favor, steal that blond wig and burn it.
Jiggly Caliente is a Queens queen who's cute, self-deprecating and fluffy. Sharon Needles promises to bring a high-art look with plenty of deep references. She describes her alter ego as "beautiful, spooky and stupid."
Kenya Michaels is "from the Eyesland of Enchantment," which turns out to be Puerto Rico. She's gorgeous and Willam hates her. "Kenya looks fishy. I was like, 'Crap. Now I'm gonna have to be the funny one, not the pretty one.'"
Chad Michaels has had a BIT of work done, folks. Chad, a celebrity impersonator, looks more like Cher than Cher does, in and out of drag. That is professional commitment.
After Ru appears on the scene, Shangela pops out of a box for the third time in her life. Thankfully it's just a mean tease and not harkening the return of the "one sickening bitch."
The challenge is a Ru-pocalypse-themed photo shoot with photographer Mike Ruiz (who should abandon "America's Next Top Model" and "The A List" forever to just be on this show).
The queens spin around in a white dress while the Pit Crew sprays them with toxic neon paint.
"I want the queens to embody the apocalypse, but maintain a lot of beauty and fashion sensibility," Ruiz said. Makes total sense to me.
Jiggly Caliente wins both the photo shoot, despite taking a tumble from the spinning podium, and some side glances and shade-throwing from the queens who question her win.
Whatever! It's forgotten.
Now it's time for the main challenge, which is delivered in an abandoned apartment complex, shot in some camera style I'm sure I would have learned the name of had I gone to film school like everyone else at the college where I got my degree.
As part of the challenge, the queens have to walk the apartment complex, ripping the fabric for their outfits out of the hands of roving zombies, as well as aggressive past contestants like Ongina, Raven and Shannel, who are serving up "Walking Dead" realness. After gathering their material, they are tasked to make a "post apocalyptic" outfit, which makes for some quality humor moments as we listen to Lashawn Beyond refer to her "post apocaloptic outfit."
Back in the workroom, Ru does a walkthrough, asking Latrice what her lowest moment in life was. She is greeted with serious honesty.
"You really want to know?" Yes, Ru really wants to know. "I went to prison."
Shit just got real, you guys.
When the girls finally hit the runway, we're treated to the return of judges Santino Rice, Michelle Visage and Mike Ruiz. They're joined by the mistress of the dark, Elvira. Sharon Needles loves Elvira. She also loves Tammy Faye Bakker, if that prison tattoo on her shoulder is any indication.
Sharon's zombie vampire monster turns out to be a hit with the judges, topped off by the mouthful of fake blood she releases as she walks the runway.
On the bottom are Jiggly, who looks like a muppet playing pickup basketball in hell, and Alisa Summers, who is super hot out of drag (like a "21 Jump Street"-era Richard Grieco! For real!) but a disappointment in her "dominatrix" couture.
After a slow-mo lip sync for their lives, Alisa sashays away, bitterly.
See you next week when things get wrestle-y! I'll leave you with a smattering of my favorite quotes:
- Willam: "This is called 'Drag Race,' not 'Drag Walk.'"
- Willam, after being recognized: "You must have a television."
- Willam: "I'm going to learn Spanish by the time I win."
- Not sure who said it: "I'm not a virgin, I don't want a virgin cocktail."
- Santino Rice: "Maybe we do need another hero."
- The Princess to Sharon Needles: "You are exactly the type of guy that I go for, too. Like, that whole meth look."