Drag Race season 10 episode 5 recap: ‘Man, I feel like a woman – total Mayhem’ A Newbie’s hot take

Every week, we here at PinkNews are forcing RuPaul newbies to watch and review the show for the very first time. 

This week, resident Drag Race noob Max Benwell passed the sequin (or should that be sequinced?) gauntlet to London-based journalist Josh Barrie who – although he once dragged up himself – has never seen an episode of the Race itself.

This is absolutely the maddest television show I have ever seen. Or the craziest that has actual meaning, anyway. We’ve all seen EastEnders. But that’s fake. These girls are real.

I spend most of this hour in confused fascination. I’ll be tuning in again – not least because I need to see whether Asia O’Hara ever gets over the god damn fact she helped out her fellow girls in a big way… and it nearly cost her her place in Drag Race.

Related: The Vixen gets death threats after Untucked racism row

This week’s show begins with our drag queens arguing over whether Asia should’ve helped out her fellow contestants. Contestants being the word. This is a competition after all – and Asia needed to be reminded of that.

Asia, aka the ‘Black Martha Stewart’ as she is now affectionately known, was upset that the other girls had taken her help and offered little in return. Her Tweety Pie success of episode 3 (I looked back, and girl, she nailed it) seemed a distant memory. She should do her thing.

Asia O’Hara aka the black Martha Stewart (VH1)

“I kinda feel used,” she said. “I was doing stuff and what needed to be done. Not one person ever came over and said: ‘Hey, are you cool?’”

Apparently it ‘broke her heart’. Miz Cracker wasn’t empathetic. She didn’t want to eat the dish Asia was dishing out.

“I don’t want to eat it.” The Vixen reminded us of the $100,000 prize. Also, “I have enough sisters,” she said. No need for any more friends.

Mayhem Miller nailed the overall sentiment of the room: “When you give a gift, you give it freely.” What would her gift be this week? You’ll see.

Related: Most of Drag Race is disappearing from Netflix and we are not OK

In any case, Asia’s ‘concept’ of the game has changed. She’s stepped it up a gear and renewed her focus. The drag queen who’s worked on dresses for Gladys Knight and Dolly Parton would be the motherly sister no longer. And it worked a treat for her.

“If y’all want to just compete we can just compete. It’s fine,” Asia said. After that, episode 5 is less bitchy, more raucous.

Before the first big challenge – appearing on daytime show Bossy Rossy – RuPaul does her thing. Girls are tasked with making military themed outfits. Their gear is delivered by two fine gentlemen; their big packages hard to ignore.

One thing RuPaul tells her girls sticks with me: “Don’t write a check that your ass cannot cash”. So true.

Asia performs – I told you, she’s back – and Monét’s ‘Operation Trippin’. Balls impresses. I think Blair St Clair puts in a good show.

Related: Dad turns to Reddit to learn about RuPaul’s Drag Race to engage with ‘drag fan son’

It’s the Vixen who wins it, though. But her joy soon dissipates after a lacklustre appearance on Bossy Rossy, which seems to be some sort of camp American Jeremy Kyle sort of affair.

The girls are paired off by Vixen.

“Oh fuck”, is Eureka’s reaction to hearing the news. It’s a good moment. She’s a funny girl. And thank god she’s still on the show. Too few of these drag queens are throwing enough shade as far as I’m concerned.

Miss Eureka (VH1)

Bossy Rossy really gets things going. It’s RuPaul’s bizarre themes that do the business. My favourite is: “Save me from my fear of pickles.”

A skit which involves Mayhem reaching into a box to cure her fear of a brined cucumber is as infantile as it is wonderful. I found it amusing, anyway.

It turns out the pickle’s not a pickle at all. You’ll see.

A close second is Blair’s cactus, Lloyd, she comes out looking like a ‘50s housewife, peroxide blonde, sweet – but so played.

Her cactus has been cheating on her with Monique: “Bitch, he was with me last night”.

Save me from my dead fear of pickles (VH1)

Bossy Rossy offers few solutions to these problems. Pink handcuffs are the best he can muster.

It’s RuPaul and her team of judges who have the answers. Her two ‘white Oprahs’ and Cassie are joined by none other than Shania Twain on Elimination Day. I didn’t know Shania was such a drag queen hero.

Related: Gus Kenworthy’s dream has come true: he’s a Drag Race judge

Maybe I’m more suited to all this than I thought. She was a favourite at my school discos. Her 1997 record Come on Over was the first album I ever owned.

There’s no bold message (like climate change) on the runway, and no huge drama. Just diamonds and denim. Monét and Mayhem do the least to impress and have to face off to save their place.

It’s tense and intense. Both are told by RuPaul: “Don’t fuck it up”.

The final showdown (VH1)

Neither do. They lip sink battle to Shania’s Man, I feel like a Woman with style and panache. This is my disco. This is everyone’s disco.

Mayhem doesn’t do quite enough. RuPaul tells her to sashay away. A convivial, even friendly episode ends as such.

“You are all beautiful,” Mayhem tells her girls. “Don’t you let anybody tell you different.

“I got here. It’s okay. Something that I never thought would happen. I did it. I may have not won, but my dream came true”.

Josh is a London-based journalist who can be found tweeting @joshbythesea.