‘RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under’ S1E6 Recap: Run It Up The Guts, Gently First Okay No Now Harder

An excellent episode of 'Drag Race Down Under'? It's more likely than you might think.

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An excellent episode of Drag Race Down Under? It’s more likely than you might think. This week’s makeover challenge contained everything I love about the show, and only a few frustrations.

The makeover episodes are usually a highlight of any season, especially when the queens’ partners are LGBTIQ+ people who haven’t done drag. The transformation is always emotional, but there’s nothing quite like seeing a queer person mentor another as they play around with presenting their gender and sexuality. (If you haven’t seen Canada’s Drag Race, S1’s makeover episode features LGBTIQ+ refugees who migrated to Canada with Rainbow Railroad. It’s one of my favourite eps of the show in years.)

Without fail, it swells my heart, and the relationships between (most of) these queens and their new drag daughters —  six teammates from a NZ gay rugby team — were magical. ‘Important Conversations’ are practically written into each episode’s storyboards pre-filming, but it always feels less forced here just because we’re given time to see the werkroom explode with energy and excitement.

Elektra really sums it up, saying that putting someone in drag properly isn’t about makeup or looks alone, but nurturing them and bringing out some inner confidence. Or, as Kita puts it: bringing out the ‘crossie energy’.

RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under S1E6 recap

Why does this make me emotional?

RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under S1E6 recap

This also makes me emotional.

This week was a reminder that despite all our frustrations about Drag Race Down Under, there’s a lot to love at its core. This has the most Australian/Kiwi queers I’ve ever seen on a single TV show, and it’s a delight to get to know them and their art. With only two episodes left, it feels like the show finally got out of its own way to let us just sit and enjoy the queens’ personalities.

Makeover? I Hardly Even Know Any Basic Facts About Australian And New Zealand Native Animals

Before we get into this week’s main, the post-runway chat from last week teases a few storylines. Karen’s frustrated she’s not doing better, others are surprised Scarlet wasn’t in the bottom two last week, and Elektra has decided that no one in the world is more annoying than Scarlet, and she must be sent home.

I forgot momentarily about their rivalry as ‘the two dancers’, but this seems really amped up — almost as if something happened last episode that made Elektra really angry…

This week’s mini-challenge is arguably the most horny thing Drag Race has ever done. We’ve had a ‘brief reveal’ quiz game before, where the pit crew drops their shorts to reveal an answer, but this one was particularly steamy. Lots of close-up shots of crotches and underwear riding a little dangerously low because of the stuffed animals in front.

As Mariah would say, ‘I was entertained’, but oh my God it stretched on for a little too long. It’s pretty clear by this point the fast turnaround — filming in January, airing in May — really impacted the editing. US Drag Race normally has around a year of post-production: who knows why they decided to rush this one out, but it really could’ve used just a little more polish.

RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under S1E6 recap

Max Currie onlyfans when

Out with one scrum of hotties, in with another, as the six Falcons players enter, and mini-challenge winner Maxi pairing them up with queens. All of them are incredibly sweet and charming, and introduce themselves by their position on the field, which, to quote Art, means nothing.

RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under S1E6 recap

Can they squish a watermelon with their thighs though?

Oh, we also get a meta cameo from the Aunty Donna ‘boys’, where they joke they have no idea what Drag Race is. Scarlet says she’s more excited for them than she was to talk to Dannii Minogue, and I begin to wonder whether she’s been engineered in a lab to be one of the least charismatic contestants ever.

Part of why I love the LGBTIQ+ makeovers so much is that there’s pretty much instantly this rapport between the queens and their partners. Where Joslyn Fox had to deal with a partner who was so uncomfortable he tries to literally run away, everyone here is so excited and ready to be in on the joke.

RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under S1E6 recap

These people have JUST met and they look happier than most straight couples on their anniversary dinners.

RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under S1E6 recap

In a Drag Race first, HelixStudios will be making fanfiction content based off this single screenshot alone. Representation matters.

Kita may end up nabbing the win, but this is Elektra’s episode. She and her partner Sofara really bond, in large part because Elektra is so gentle and nurturing during their chats and really gets to know her drag daughter.

They end up chatting about how ‘masculinity’ is performed as a kind of sexual peacocking within the gay world, and how Sofara finds himself going back into the closet at times to present a stoic, quiet masculinity that is deemed ‘appropriate’ or ‘non-threatening’ for Pacifica men. We also hear that Elektra will never stop doing drag for a man, no matter how big their dick is: good to know!

On the other end, Art takes a bit more of a tough-love approach with her drag daughter Jonah/Craft, which the edit tries to make us think is cruel. It’s a funny storyline — especially watching Art paint her face for an hour while Jonah just sits there — but I doubt she was actually a bitch to her daughter.

Little points that the show left out, like the fact Art was taking so long to paint as she’s legally blind in one eye, suggests she’s just playing a role on the show. And she plays it well.

A Family That Drags Together Slays Together Yes Gawd Work Diva!

Credit where credit’s due, Ru looks stunning this episode, wearing one of Elektra’s wooly jackets and some Ugg-esque heels.

RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under S1E6 recap

Very ‘Kylie Sonique in the Holislay Spectacular‘. A sign of her success in AS6, obviously.

Category is family resemblance, but Kita got confused and accidentally arrived in her sponsored content look promoting Cruella. Thankfully, Down Under‘s budget can’t afford CGI dogs, so Kita won’t be thrown off a cliff.

RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under S1E6 recap

Ben DeLa Creme and Michelle Visage’s High School Reunion.

Karen continues her homage to 9 to 5 by creating a drag family that doubles as a reminder of the power of women working together to overcome sexism within the workplace, but stops short of being full unionist propaganda even though Jane Fonda really wanted to push a message. White collars of the world unite!

RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under S1E6 recap

Lily Tomlin every award possible when

Keeping with the film theme, Art and Craft pay homage to both Priscilla and Art’s own drag family. Art performs at the Broken Heel drag festival every year with drag mother/mentor Philmah Bocks — for this challenge, she dolled up Craft in a version of the outfit she usually wears for their Priscilla number, taking on the matriarch role. It’s a really sweet nod to what family is for so many queer people, and a shame that these details didn’t make it onto the show.

More frustrating that Michelle and co. read this pairing for having no ‘family’ resemblance, when considering that the show’s throughline really is ‘we as queer people get to choose our own family’. It’s an oddly limiting way to view drag.

RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under S1E6 recap

I do think Kita deserved the win, but it easily could’ve been Art’s too.

Maxi and Cilla Wet (excellent name) come as Boohbahs, to argue that television should be interrogated and examined to the same critical standard of film. They both look great, and I love their hair.

RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under S1E6 recap

I love these looks and I’m not exactly sure why.

Elektra agrees, and comes as Miss Fame’s intro look in S7. Her daughter looks a little rough, but she was also working with a very masculine face — like Rosé, she looks good but there’s a ruggedness that can’t quite be taken away.

RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under S1E6 recap

Elektra looks stunning though.

Scarlet does get extra points for creating her garment in the werkroom, but ultimately her Velma Kelly vs. Roxie Heart look is a bit too simplistic — and her partner’s makeup is pretty off. In short, she had it coming when she ended up in the bottom, and she only had herself to blame. If you had of been there, you would have said the same [as Michelle, Ru, and Rhys].

With Kita’s win, the competition’s pretty even — Scarlet’s leading the pack with two, but the rest of the wins are spread out with Karen, Elektra, and Anita (RIP).

Scarlet and Maxi are in the bottom, and we get an absolute show from the both of them with a ‘Better The Devil You Know’ lipsync. I regret to say it, but Scarlet is so good here, and absolutely deserves to stay. Elektra isn’t happy and refuses to even meet Scarlet’s eye when she returns to backstage: I love this petty rivalry and am excited to see it explode when they both make it to the top four/three.

Maxi’s time has come, but I’m so glad we got so much time with her. What an absolute legend — a kind titan of Sydney’s drag community, a classic performer at ’46 fucking years old’.

Next week, the queens have a talent quest. Can’t wait to see Elektra pull out a Dakota Johnson and just put things between her gap tooth.

RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under is exclusively streaming on Stan. A new episode streams every week from 4pm AEST.

Jared Richards is Junkee’s Drag Race recapper and a freelancer who writes for The Big Issue, The Guardian and more. He’s on Twitter as @jrdjms.