[Review] "Dragula" S2E2: Old West Ghouls

July 20, 2019

Episode one starts with a bang (or rather, with a poke), and it is abundantly clear that shit is all the way real for season two. What lengths will the Boulet Brothers go to find their next drag supermonster?

 

In the cold open, the Boulets appear to be executing a heist, with the help of their manservant Israel. Once they hop the fence, they dig up a grave, only to reveal a new manservant, former "RuPaul’s Drag Race" pit crew member Shawn Morales. It’s good to see Shawn back on mainstream queer programming, and this Lex Luger on the first Nitro sort of moment is a great catch for the keen-eyed drag superfan.

 

A hooptie of a vehicle takes the girls to somewhere that can be described by a technical term: Bumfuck, Nowhere. Though James Majesty is quick to shade Monikkie, thinking she went home first, Monikkie arrives on the scene, and gets her own heartfelt moment when she talks about her mother’s suicide three years prior. It’s a hard pill to swallow for the girls, but everyone is behind her, just as the Boulets make their presence known in a tricked-out Cadillac.

 

The challenge is delivered, and it is a doozy. In the hellish heat of the Old West, the girls must portray a Western-themed character. The absolute shade of it all that comes from Dracmorda is one of the sickest burns in a drag competition show. The library is open, and I refuse to spoil the line here. Watch for yourself, if you haven’t already, and if you have, refresh your memory and relive this scorcher of a read.

In the dressing room, Erika Klash reveals that her father was a pastor, highlighting the complicated relationship they had given her sexual orientation. By that same token, her dad is also who got Erika into classic horror, further driving the duality of their relationship. Kendra Onixxx talks about her difficult time in the military, especially her "barracks boo" being assaulted because of his orientation.

 

After having two heartfelt moments, we get right back on the same ol’ bullshit, as James Majesty and Monikkie Shame take it outside to talk about their issue. James sounds sincere enough, but Monikkie is not having it whatsoever. Though the shit is apparently squelched between Monikkie and James, it is far from so between Biqtch Puddin’ and Abhora. The verbal war earns the ire of Dahli, who is all the way over the drama. James gets back into the spotlight for a moment when she reads Biqtch for reusing the latex mask that she made for the Cenobite challenge last week. All due respect to James, but does she have any idea how much work goes into making latex prosthetics? If you’re able to reuse it, do so.

 

As Israel rings the bell in the tower, the girls scurry to get finished, and we get to the outdoor floor show. Nightlife legend Miss Kitty is the guest judge for this one, dressed in a lovely gothabilly moment. Abhora’s look is an old black and white cartoon robber. Had this come out maybe a year later, we could draw comparisons to Bendy and his ink machine. Kendra gives us a brothel girl gone wild, with rotting flesh and disgusting delivery. All I had in my notes for Disasterina was "THINK OF THE CHILDREN" so take from that what you will. Monikkie had a water-carrying wench moment that looked a little too clean, if I’m honest. James swung on a swing with a hairpiece that was way too close to Jesus for some, but just close enough for drag.
 

Dahli had a huntress look (not the Dead by Daylight killer, mind you) that was dark, but wasn’t quite Old West enough. Erika Klash’s wolf look was Erika’s anime style at work, and I realize that means big paws, but they read a bit comical on camera. Biqtch had a grungy farmer girl that you won’t find on that dating site. Victoria Elizabeth Black’s fortune teller fire stunt was a true highlight, and played into her amazing character work.

During deliberation, Kitty picks out Disasterina, Kendra, Biqtch, and Dahli as her favorites, even though during discussion on Dahli, she slips and says "Charmin" instead of "shaman," to hilarious effect. Swanthula Boulet loved what Abhora brought in her act, but wasn’t as high on Disasterina. Erika and James are summed up as nothing special, but also not terrible. The question is begged of Victoria’s performances: do the gimmicks outweigh the overall presence? Does she rely too heavily on the props in her act?

 

Come judgment time, Dahli, Victoria, and Abhora are named the top three of the week, with Victoria taking home the victory, even with the criticism on her gimmicks. The remaining six get their critiques, starting with Disasterina. Her costume was incredible, but her lack of character work brought her down in the end. Erika’s vision was too limited given the scope of the criteria for the challenge. James fell hard from the previous week, as did Biqtch, though the performance by the latter saved her from falling too far. Monikkie’s mask is going to be her downfall, so the Boulets fear. Kendra took a risk with her look, but it paid off to some degree.

 

In a shocking twist, those not in the top three will all be up for extermination this week. The six queens will be paired off and given paintball guns, with which they will have a duel at ten paces come dusk. The only way for the war to end is by running out of ammo or tapping out due to the pain. The lineup is Erika vs. Disasterina, which gets wild in its trash-talking madness, Kendra vs. James, which winds up being one-sided in favor of Miss Onixxx, and Biqtch vs. Monikkie, which features some epic selling by Biqtch. When asked who should go home, Biqtch throws Erika under the bus, which literally every other queen calls out.

 

Later that night, Monikkie gets the Judith Myers treatment, in an homage to Halloween complete with slashes, gashes, and even a cute cat. (Relax, the cat does not get harmed.) The field is reduced to eight with Monikkie’s extermination, and it’s clear that exterminations this season will be more akin to physical challenges that make "Fear Factor" look more like "Double Dare". What lies ahead is a heavy metal fantasy in episode three, with even more drama and shade, as has been par for the course for these last two episodes.

 

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