As viewers are still recuperating from the Alyssa vs. Coco showdown, let us have a minute of silence to remember a beloved Drag Race star…time’s up, moving on. This week’s episode Super Troopers, gave way to the long awaited makeover week! And let’s just say for some, it was definitely an upgrade. Shoutout to Alaska for winning the mini-challenge because it set the tone for the entire episode. As Ru introduces the gay veterans, Alaska has a trick (or two) up her sleeve and sets herself up by picking the “twinkiest” looking veteran in house. “This competition has gone from sisterhood of the traveling pants to sisterhood of I’m going to kill you so I can win,” well said Alaska. Some of the queens had more difficult partners to work with than others and complained (Roxxxy) or flirted (Detox), but no one had a sweeter and cuter vet to work with than the pairing of Jinkx and Dave. There really is no coming back from “I think I killed Judy Garland,” which is flat out blasphemy!
This week was not only about makeovers but also brought up discussions surrounding Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT). Several veterans expanded on their reasons for joining the military and how their lives had changed because of DADT. Coco’s partner in particular, (Horchata), stated he joined the forces because he didn’t know how to deal with being gay. He believes the military then made him comfortable in his own skin as a gay man, and “not to take life so seriously,” which Ru correlates to drag performance. Although DADT is a serious topic, I appreciated the show’s take on it and tailoring it for viewers who may or may not be aware of its pertinence in a gay-straight culture. Some may or may not agree with this approach, but in this sense the show’s producers are conscious of its audience. This is a similar concept found in Ron Becker’s essay, “Guy Love: A Queer Straight Masculinity for a Post-Closet Era” because it circles ideologies of ways to think about “straight masculinity,” and that concept is literally drilled into individuals in the service regardless of gender. This notion of straight masculinity comes up several times throughout the show and it’s more probably more evident because this challenge focuses directly on working with veterans. Ru also asks one of the veterans how it feels living out and proud as a result of DADT, and the general consensus was being more comfortable, living in their own skin without fear.
One of the most pivotal moments in the episode everyone could agree on was Dave’s admission that he was living with AIDS. Due to medication it was one of the reasons he could not properly walk in heels and he felt as though he had to let Jinkx know. And rightfully so, because it is the only time this season the topic of living HIV positive has come up. For me, one of the most educational moments (because I had always wondered) was the issue of tucking and how to tuck. But performing drag goes beyond tucking and makeup. Much to her surprise, Roxxxy and Izzy win the challenge and it comes down to Detox and Coco lip-synching for their lives. I for one am ELATED to see Coco go (let’s keep it 100 Horchata looked busted), and we can now officially put that Alyssa and Coco drama to bed, no pun intended. One of the many take aways for this week is how veterans have come to shape this country. And although it’s not always evident ,fighting for freedom also means fighting so boys can dress up as girls and express themselves.