[Review] 'Dragula' S1E2: GLOW, Glamour, and Gore.

Two weeks after the shot in the arm that was the pilot episode of “Dragula,” episode two kicks off with a lover’s quarrel between the hostesses. The method of Pinche’s execution in week one may call unwarranted attention to the manor, and following a drink to the face, a brief physical altercation ensues. The Boulets back off of each other when they realize that they could channel their aggression and frustration into a challenge for the girls, who are “already trying to kill each other.”

Back in the preparation room, the girls not in the extermination challenge all wait to see who returns from their compulsory dirt nap, and who didn’t quite make it. While the girls have differing opinions on who may have gone home, the general consensus is that Vander truly deserved to win the first challenge. In her own confessional, Vander talks about how this win has validated the work she has put into her drag, and almost makes up for all of the times that her work was overlooked by showrunners and bar owners who passed her up for more experienced performers. On the topic of experience, it’s let out that Pinche previously won the club version of “Dragula” not once, but twice, meaning surely she couldn’t have gone home.


Loris returns to the prep room, and the crowd goes mild. Foxie flat-out calls her the weakest contestant in her confessional, and it appears as though her survival shocked the remaining field. When Meatball walks in, therefore confirming Pinche’s elimination, reality sets in. It doesn’t matter what you have done before, or how good you think you are, this is a competition, and any given week, anything can happen. Anyone can rise above, anyone can fall short, and anyone, even a former champion, can go home.

The challenge for the week is assigned after the girls get a shot of something red from the Boulets. This time, the girls are charged with creating a look inspired by '80s female wrestlers. While the Boulets don’t explicitly mention the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW) from this era, several of the contestants do, as they talk about the fact that these character actresses took on larger-than-life personalities to get anything close to a big break. Now, the Dragula girls get to pay tribute to the girls of GLOW.

The guest judge for this week’s floor show is celebrity photographer Magnus Hastings. The work of Hastings has highlighted many a drag queen for years, and he knows all about getting the look right. While aesthetic is first and foremost for any drag, the warning of Dracmorda Boulet echoes: “If you came here not expecting to get punched in the face at least once, you have definitely signed up for the wrong competition.”

Meatball is first to show off her wrestling persona, Meatball Supreme. The hairpiece is as big and loud as Meatball is, and the red and yellow color palette screams a certain fast food chain. Melissa Befierce’s alter ego is Kitty Kunt, with a Catwoman-like mask that was pieced together, rather than painted on or put on as a single piece. Overall, it is played as darkly sexy and dangerous. Foxie Adjuia dons all brown and calls herself The Shit. I won’t say too much here, so as not to give everything away, but let’s say that of the three tenets of Dragula, Foxie definitely gets perfect marks on filth. Loris’ Nuclear Nellie is well put together, with neon colors and decay from the fallout. This is a huge step forward from her look in week one, which I personally enjoyed, but can concede was a bit pedestrian.

Ursula Major comes out next as Saturday Night Beaver, a disco queen with a beat mug (seriously, her paint is some of the best I’ve seen), but a battered costume that doesn’t quite read go-go girl. Vander von Odd gives us Matadarling, a daring genderfuck matador with a pink triangle across her face. The reclamation of that symbol earns points in my book, but the fact that she wrestled the dummy and made it look good spoke to the wrestling fan in me. It was bold, it was different, and I’m here for it. Xochi Mochi’s Lizard Queen has a sickening cover-up that hearkens back to Ric Flair and Randy Savage, though once her costume is revealed, the look is a bit more struggling indie wrestler. Frankie Doom’s Pink Flamingo, an homage to the one and only Divine, reads very workout video instructor, so on that front, it’s very '80s. Otherwise, I wasn’t a huge fan of this look, and Frankie was admittedly my favorite when I first watched this season.

The top four of the week are Meatball, Loris, Foxie, and Vander, with Loris snatching the win, if for no other reason than the massive step-up from last week. It seems as though the extermination challenge lit a fire under Loris’ ass, and Vander recognizes this, though Meatball is visibly annoyed by this. Vander earns high praise for her commitment to the character and her performance wrestling with the dummy. Meatball is also recognized as nailing the challenge, as she did look like she could have been right at home with the girls of GLOW. Foxie is warned that her costume very nearly put her in the bottom this week, but her selling of the character and concept put her in the top.

This week, if you’re not in the top, you’re in the bottom, and that means that Xochi, Melissa, Frankie, and Ursula will face extermination. Xochi is clocked for her look and for her uninspired attitude, which she attributes to her costume falling apart shortly before showtime. While we have to feel for Xochi, the reveal gave us visuals that held her back from true success with this challenge. Melissa is criticized for her lack of delivery and execution. The Boulets point out that they know what Melissa is capable of, that she can slay whatever runway she walks down, and that it seems like she isn’t bringing 100% of what she really can offer. Perhaps it’s the feeling of not being a true “monster,” as she alluded to in week one, but the Boulets make a great point. Frankie’s costume is summarized as “horny punk bitch” by Swanthula, though it is panned as basic and accused of not going quite all the way. Ursula gets similar critiques, though her makeup is praised.

The fatal four are paired off, with Ursula pitted against Frankie and Melissa against Xochi. Each match-up will square off in a mud wrestling pit, complete with makeshift turnbuckles and ropes around a kiddie pool. Look, I wasn’t kidding when there wasn’t shit for a budget for season one. The plus-size pair of Ursula and Frankie are up first, and there’s not much to say except Frankie fights her ass off and dominates a good 80% of the matchup. Ursula gets a second wind in the third round, but the match ultimately goes to a draw, as no pins were scored.

Prior to the second match, Xochi and Melissa have their own personal moments in confessional. Xochi volunteers that she is HIV-positive, and has looked at her life since her diagnosis as a fight, and that her battle with Melissa will be no different. Melissa reveals that she was attacked at a party when she was only 16, and she remembers feeling so helpless then. The would-be hype package gives way to what is easily the stronger of the two matches, as Melissa and Xochi are both out for blood. The structure of the makeshift ring doesn’t hold up, and by round two, the girls are exchanging open-handed blows in their fight for survival. Dracmorda wasn’t kidding with what she said earlier after all, it would seem.

After the second match ends in a time limit draw, The Boulets deem Melissa Befierce to be the winner of the extermination challenge, therefore saving her from extermination. She fought her ass off in the match with Xochi, and earned her safety for the night. Later that night, in the extermination scene, Ursula Major is revealed as the eliminatee, as she is killed by a wicked swirly in a bathroom stall, effectively 86’ing the Studio 54 wannabe.

Episode three features living dead girls as the remaining seven monsters become zombies, or, to name a Murderdolls track, "Death Valley Superstars". Bring out your dead!


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