There’s some moments where you watch an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race and you have to ask yourself: how in the hell is the fandom going to react to that? This week, for me, that happened twice.

As the remaining six queens return from the elimination of reigning lip sync assassin Mhi’ya Iman LePaige in a stand-out battle with Morphine Love Dion, the episode starts on a tense note. Q is sulking because she feels that she should have won (or taken half the win along with Plane Jane). While everyone else is supporting Sapphira Cristal and asking how she is feeling, Sapphira points out that there’s a pall over it all due to Q who… continues to sulk.

Q doesn’t go into it which is fair but when Sapphira offers the olive branch of “I love you” to acknowledge that though competitive tensions may be high, there’s still a sisterhood, Q’s response is “Ok.” Woof. 

And it goes further: at the start of the next day, Q says that Sapphira didn’t “deserve” it. Sapphira, consummate professional and ever-aware, again attempts to extend an olive branch, offering alternative phrasing like “you don’t agree.” But Q is resolute. Sapphira didn’t deserve it. 

As Dawn pointed out, it’s a part of a pattern of behavior from Q of being an extremely sore loser. (I say this as someone who also thought Plane or Q would win last week.) And maybe the fandom will say nothing and chalk it up to the emotions of the show. But it’s one thing to be a sore loser. It’s another to underscore that with a type of bull-headed attitude that won’t allow you to hear other people trying to help you. I don’t know about anyone else but in elementary school we were taught the difference between “I” statements and “You” statements and how the crux of the argument sharply shifts with that one edit.

Thankfully, Q cleans it up later on in the episode, although it’s fair to point out that this was at Sapphira’s request (a third time.)

For this week’s mini challenge, the queens smear their painted faces on the Pit Crew’s abdomens and Plane walks away with the $5,000 worth of cosmetics from Anastasia Beverly Hills. For the maxi challenge they are asked to conceptualize, design, and present gender-inclusive public restroom designs for an eclectic couple’s new nightclub to appear on Bathroom Hunties

As Carson Kressley points out in the judging, there’s really three key elements here: concept, design, and lastly the presentation, or as he phrases it, teamwork. All three teams pull off solid concepts. Nymphia and Dawn might edge out the other two groups here — they all also deliver at-least serviceable design. Q and Morphine win by a point or two for the joke-of-a toilet paper placement and the tickle-me prisoner, but only one team shines for the presentation. 

Putting Sapphira and Plane together for a comedy based challenge at this state of the game is frankly unfair. Their concept and design is straight-forward (1920’s speakeasy with a gloryhole) and their presentation shows off an expertise as on-the-mic performers. There’s an ease and a well-placed trust between them that, frankly, the other two groups lack: when Q momentarily takes a step back in her presentation for Morphine to have a moment, Morphine blanks and has to kick it right back. And Nymphia … rarely offers up a moment to Dawn. 

I found myself thinking of Joel Kim Booster’s comment on joke density from last week. In terms of lines (and even physical comedy) Plane and Sapphira clearly won out here. Where the other groups largely let their concepts be the joke, Plane and Sapphira created a concept where they had enough space to say the jokes themselves. There’s no way that Sapphira knew Michelle would perfectly tee her up for that powder room joke at Carson’s expense. But both Sapphira and Plane both knew that if they gave themselves the space, the jokes would come.

Going into the judging, I thought it was Sapphira’s week again. That chained-up latex pup look, combining six different kinks in one ensemble was the perfect thing to put her at the top. The judges went with a joint win (Sapphira and Plane) which was understandable. The bottom was Morphine and Dawn, both of whom played second fiddle to their partners for two very different reasons: either their partner wouldn’t stop talking, or their partner gave them the opportunity and they had nothing to say.

In the end, Morphine wore Dawn out to Megan Thee Stallion’s “Body.” And with that… a new lip sync assassin is born?