RuPaul’s Drag Race is buckling under its own weight.

This isn’t a new phenomenon. I alluded to it in the first recap of the season, and it’s been something happening for the past few seasons. After 15 years of Drag Race, everyone involved is trying to see the future through visions of the past. To fans, every queen is getting the [insert name or archetype here] edit, and to contestants themselves, every move made is a part of some nefarious strategy. It all manifests as an often annoying level of paranoia, which we saw in spades on Friday’s episode. Let’s get into it.

The episode starts with drama. After returning to the Werk Room, Plane Jane (our reigning villain edit) tries to close the loop on her spat with Amanda Tori Meating (keyword being tries). Amanda clearly isn’t ready to let it go and Plane is only bowing the head so much. So instead of getting resolved, it’s put on ice. 

Q vents her frustrations about not winning the ball challenge; while her frustration is heard, she arguably made a stand-out piece while Nymphia Wind made more of a stand-out ensemble. 

Before long we are casting for RPDR Live. Begin the paranoia.

Mirage wants to host. But Sapphira Cristal also wants to host. Instead of fighting about it, Sapphira gives up the host slot to Mirage who … reluctantly takes it? She smells sabotage. This comes back up when Sapphira explains how the casting decisions were made to Ru. When she says that she let Mirage have the role — she did!! — Mirage doesn’t like this idea being put in Ru’s head. 

Morphine Love Dion carries a similar suspicion when Plane Jane encourages her to choose another role(and given Jane’s history, this is probably fair).

And then there’s Plasma, who is upset that Dawn pushes her to take a singing role … as a singer. She fears the critique of not showing versatility, and it’s only episode four.

Maybe Sapphira was right and this place is “haunted” — of the storylines and schemes of seasons past. 

Not going to lie here, RPDR Live wasn’t  great. It never really is, in my humble opinion. Maybe it’s a vehicle to pitch more drag talent to Saturday Night Live. Who knows? But it just wasn’t too fun. Plane makes a solid showing. Plasma gives a true-to-form Barbara Streisand imitation with enough comedic bits. And I’m just going to say it: I don’t understand why Sapphira doesn’t get any notice from the judges. She sounded beautiful, looked gorgeous, and made me laugh. But who are me to judge?

On the Night of 1,000 Bob Mackie creations for Cher, Plane Jane and Sapphira shine again alongside Q. No Immunity Potions are consumed so all 13 contestants face the judges. Q, Plane Jane, and Plasma land in the top. Mirage, Geneva Karr, and Mhi’ya Iman LePaige are in the bottom. Plasma pulls out the win, putting a tidy button on the storyline of Dawn’s involvement in her casting. And Q comes in close but no cigar yet again. Is she getting the Jan edit? Will she have the face crack of the season next week? Will the pressure of skating under the wire ignite her inner saboteur, causing her to spiral out? Only time will tell.

Geneva and Mirage wind up in the lip sync and Mirage carries out her own coup de gras with a wholly unthinkable mistake in the 16th year of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Michelle Visage puts it best (though an exaggeration): “Not one word.”

I’m sorry my hot indigenous queen, but it’s definitely time to go back to Vegas.