TV

‘RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under’ S2 Finale Recap: And The Winner Is…

As S2 ends, we can confidently call DRDU the 'Most Improved' of the franchises - an excellent and distinctly 'Down Under' season.

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This just in: New Zealand decimates Australia. Two for two, our Down Under winners are Kiwi, with Spankie mothertuckin Jackzon now $50,000 richer. And it feels right.

All season long, Spankie has been a star — like Bimini, she stumbled in episode one but has crushed it pretty much ever since. Three wins but arguably deserving of four considering Ru and Michelle can’t stop saying “FUCK YEAH!”, Spankie feels like the perfect encapsulation of what makes Down Under drag so special: larrikin charm, a piss-taking attitude and a focus on performance rather than focusing on Drag Race trends.

It’s refreshing that she’s our winner at a time where a very narrow definition of “polish” on Drag Race favours certain queens and discounts true stars (obligatory “Rock M. Sakura was robbed!” reference) or ‘older’ (ie. over 30) comedy acts.

While this was probably among the tightest top three in recent seasons — truly, anybody could have taken the crown — Spankie’s win leaves Down Under S2 as an excellent improvement on S1: there were a few missteps, but for the most part, this season understood our drag scene so much better and let it shine.

Even before her win, though, this finale was one of my favourites in recent memory. Where these final episodes often lag, the top three were having so much fun with the challenge — a RuMix of ‘Who is She?’ — and messing around that it side-stepped that staleness of the ‘TicTac lunch, rehearsal, number, talk to old photo of self’ structure, even if it follow it to a T.

I can’t wait to see Spankie on All Winners S2 and fucking demolish the other queens wearing baggy latex, big titties and no tights. Bring it on!

Who Is She, And, More Importantly, Who Would Play Her?

After a baffling RuMail (“the nerve of a Koala”???), the queens get started on their final challenge, a performance of their rumix of ‘Who Is She’ from Ru’s surprisingly fun 2022 album MAMARU.

The queens don’t seem particularly stressed — we mostly see them mucking around and giving the cherubs a much-needed makeover (a S3 mini-challenge, perhaps?). Consider it Spankie and Hannah’s makeover redemptions.

rupaul's drag race s2e8 finale recap

#CherubForAllStars4 omg who started that???

We also, of course, get the top three’s chats with Ru and Michelle. Maybe I just felt a bit more invested than usual, but these were less contrived and awkward than usual, with each queen revealing something new to the audience.

Kween talked more about how Ru’s comments around her “neglected inner child” during the Snatch Game werkroom walkthrough really freed her up; Hannah discussed her perfectionist drive and how her social media presence and being well-known previously inflated her ego; and Spankie reveals she’s a childcare worker who has found a lot of joy and community in her work since returning to Palmerston after leaving Melbourne.

rupaul's drag race s2e8 finale recap

Me buying sugary treats whenever a movie is longer than 90m so I don’t fall asleep.

We get a little more insight into Spankie later too, after Kween and Hannah read out very sweet letters from their partners. (Side note: I love Kween’s particular style of talking about feelings, and her line “My partner knows how to work with the complexities of Kween Kong” is a perfect example.)

Spankie hasn’t had a partner in 12 years, with a small dating pool in Palmy, something I’m sure a lot of regional queers can relate to (and non-regional, too!). I’m sure she’ll be swept off her feet and get to experience many love stories while touring the world.

rupaul's drag race s2e8 finale recap

Okay frame this image and put it in the AGNSW.

The queens are choreographed by none other than Elektra Shock, who is always a welcome presence on my TV. Her and her assistant Josh feature in the final performance wearing bananas and huge hats to obscure their faces: it’s quite funny that she gets to be in the S2 finale when she didn’t make her own season’s.

rupaul's drag race s2e8 finale recap

Always a pleasure.

Finale Eleganza

The performance itself is fun, if not amazing: I like all the verses though the vocals sounded a little quiet or somehow off to me. There’s a fun moment where Elektra has to run across the stage to lift up Hannah and almost misses grabbing her arm, which was the only noticeable fuck-up. Always stealing the spotlight!

rupaul's drag race s2e8 finale recap

So much Orville Peck & emo hair representation this season.

The finale looks are stunning: or, should I say, Hannah and Kween look regal and Spankie, while beautiful, has a bootleg Marilyn costume on. Kim K did have dibs on the famous JFK dress while they were filming, so maybe she was outbid last minute. Either way, Ana de Armas is shaking.

rupaul's drag race s2e8 finale recap

Ru’s ‘oh she brought Faux Fur back!’ line made me cackle.

rupaul's drag race s2e8 finale recap

So beautiful.

rupaul's drag race s2e8 finale recap

The queen lives, and her name is Hannah Conda.

After some praise from the judges and a chat to a photo of their former selves, we head backstage where the queens struggle to drink out of straws and Hannah spills some cocktail on Spankie. It’s al nice show of just how silly Drag Race is as a concept, which the show often forgets.

rupaul's drag race s2e8 finale recap

This woman exists at every RSL & pokies room in Australia.

rupaul's drag race s2e8 finale recap

Same.

rupaul's drag race s2e8 finale recap

“Who can be bothered to rack up just put the note straight into the bag and inhale slightly it’ll be fine”

Back on the main stage, we get a lip-sync to Kylie’s ‘Wow’ that’s a tough one to call. Thank God they all got to perform alone: can you imagine a three-way lip-sync on that stage?

After they’re redressed, in comes Kita Mean to crown our next winner. I LOVE her ultra-campy winged outfit, and have missed seeing her on our screens so much! Put her and Spankie on All Winners, stat.

rupaul's drag race s2e8 finale recap

Speaking of lines!

And the moment arrives: SPANKIE wins (slay) and we’re done for another season — though Phillippines is currently airing and UK4 starts next week. After recapping 13 seasons in three years (omg), I’m gonna take a break for the rest of the year. Hoo roo for now!


RuPaul’s Drag Race: Down Under streams on Stan in Australia.

Jared Richards is Junkee‘s Drag Race recapper, and a freelancer who writes for NMEThe Big IssueThe Guardian and more. He’s across the internet as @jrdjms