What happens when one lip-sync assassin meets another? That’s the question Drag Race poses on its latest episode. After whittling the pack down to a final three, the show has called back all of the eliminated competitors for one final challenge: a lip-sync Lalaparuza. The prize: a guaranteed $50,000 in cold hard cash (minus taxes) as well as the title of She Done Already Done Had Herses.

There’s a funny thing about this fandom and the title “lip-sync assassin” over the years. As time has gone by, like many terms, it has sort of lost its meaning. These days, any person who makes it through two or three lip-syncs is an “assassin,” when in reality many are simply survivors. On a season that’s boasted an alleged three “lip-sync assassins” (that would be Geneva Karr, Mhy’ia Iman LePaige and Morphine Love Dion) the notion is really put to the test.

For this Lalaparuza the first battle is Dawn and Amanda Tori Meating. Dawn gets washed by the characteristically wide-eyed Amanda in a performance Dawn practically phones in. And then it’s an immobile Q versus a heartfelt Megami — and Q doesn’t even attempt to take centerstage.

Now, we have our first battle of “lip-sync assassins.”

Morphine and Geneva take on ‘Million Dollar Baby’ by Ava Max and Morphine turns out the charismatic, perfectly paced performance we’ve come to know her for. Contrasting the pair is truly a lesson in giving a show: while Geneva is looking up into the lights for much of her performance with choices that don’t really consider the song, Morphine is considering it all. She allows the show to build, taking everything into account, including Geneva. It’s quite masterful.

The reality is, surviving through nine lip-syncs is not only about your ability to dance, remember lyrics, and keep your energy level high. It’s also a hell of a lot of strategy. Sure, there’s the strategy of who you will battle, the song, etc. But keeping people engaged and locked on you, song after song, is much more difficult than it sounds. Silky Nutmeg Ganache made this point in All Stars 6. Morphine, also, has the juice.

Mirage is next up with Hershii LiqCour-Jete and while both of them have the words down, Hershii oddly gives more hypeman than headliner. Then, Mhi’ya bulldozes her way though a threesome with Plasma and Xunami Muse with her flips and headstands.

Megami’s next battle is where she plants her stake as a possible undiscovered lip-sync assassin. While Amanda is still doing her wide eyed hair flipping thing, Megami goes for a comedic Cher performance that hits all the right points. It’s a clear inkling that she too has the goods.

Morphine is back, now up against Mirage. To Donna Summer’s ‘This Time I Know it’s For Real’, Mirage serves up the same flirty, bubbly and long legged limbs she’s known for while Morphine embodies the actual song. As she says herself, she’s giving “WOMAN,” soaking up the moment (and the spotlight).

The result leaves us with the actual three lip-sync assassins of the season: Megami, Morphine, and Mhi’ya.

Megami chooses Mhi’ya. The choice is very clearly an attempt to get her lick back as Mhi’ya eliminated her in a matchup she didn’t feel was fairly judged. Their redo is almost tied, but there’s something about Mhi’ya that feels like she’s going through the motions. Megami’s touches of comedy win her Ru’s favor, sending her to Morphine for the final lip-sync. The queens are gagged that Megami wins over Mhi’ya, which is fair, but it is what it is.

As we say in ballroom: it’s Morphine and Megami in the battle “for the cash”. They perform to ‘Gonna Make You Sweat’ by C + C Music Factory — as a complete side-note, I wouldn’t be who I am if I didn’t say that Martha Wash provides the power vocals here, though she had to sue for credit.

As Megami says at the top, “I will never outdance Morphine, but I know I can out-stupid Morphine.” Not going to lie, it’s clear that both girls are feeling the test of endurance but they still give us a show. Megami cements herself as a lip-sync assassin with yet another surprise: instead of rapping along with Freedom Williams, she has her hand puppet take the role. It’s a hilariously high start to a performance that sort of coasts downhill from there. Morphine’s high performance fights through to the literal last beat (mock-shooting Megami with a cannon, a move she’s pulled before).

I hope she enjoys that cash.