35 thoughts I had watching RuPaul’s Drag Race season 16, episode two: ‘This queen is literally rotted’

Your recap for RuPaul’s Drag Race season 16, episode two has arrived! The latter half of the cast is introduced in a second blisteringly fabulous premiere – and this time around, tensions are higher and reality TV gold is mined.

After the first instalment of a split premiere featuring Charlize Theron as a guest judge, Mirage’s instantly iconic heel-clacking talent show and Saphhira Crystal snatching the season’s first win, the second batch of season 16 queens are here – and this time, it really isn’t RuPaul’s Best Friend Race.

There’s another talent show, another top two lipsync, and another round of the queens voting for each other. Becky G guest judges and seven more divas strut through that Werk Room door, including one who apparently thinks the Reading Challenge is an all-season-long type of thing.

But while the first group of queens played (relatively) nice, strategy and some serious shade go hand-in-hand for episode two.

Here are 35 thoughts I had while watching RuPaul’s Drag Race season 16, episode two: “Queen Choice Awards”.

  • Our first (but really eighth) queen into the Werk Room is Hershii LiqCour-Jeté, who instantly introduces herself as infamous season 14 contestant Kornbread’s drag sister. Getting good vibes – but last week, Xunami Muse proved that having an iconic family relation on the show does not a winner make. Let’s hope Hershii has stronger ankles!
  • Hershii doing snow angels on that crusty Werk Room floor makes my skin crawl.
  • Plasma’s next into the room, and father, please forgive me for the pun I’m about to make: this is Twinkx Monsoon.
  • Geneva Karr enters in a Mexican flag dress. She seems nice! Is the name a pun? Or am I dumb? Don’t answer that.
  • Plane Jane enters, immediately reads beloved Drag Race alum Katya, then tells the girls that she’s a b***h, and then that she looks the best. Then, she calls Geneva a “pig”, Plasma “hideous” and terms the trio “The Brick Squad”. Jane is here to make TV, but I fear there may be some turbulence along the way.
  • Megami’s ‘geek-chic’ look is cute; more alternative drag on Drag Race please! And she apparently has a “spicy” reputation, werk.
  • Mhi’ya Iman Le’Paige enters with an immediate proclamation of TikTok fame, and the promise of being the ‘Queen of Flips’. Let’s go, Cirque du-so-Gay.
  • Jane’s read of Mhi’ya is insane. “I’ve never seen a corset add weight”. If I could add the weeping emoji here, I would. 
  • Nymphia Wind’s entrance is unlike anything I’ve ever seen on Drag Race. Consider my stan card application IN. 
  • Ru enters, we get the usual, “Oh my god, it’s Ru!”, “The competition has officially started” and the introduction of a photoshoot mini challenge beats. If it ain’t broke!
  • I don’t know where the mini challenge budget went this season, but I’m laughing at the ‘SheMV’ concept – featuring Ts Madison (!) – after last week’s ring camera concept.
  • Jane declares herself the trade of the season which is an ick.
  • This group of queens is immediately more strategic about the voting twist – talking about alliances, whether to vote fairly, or to vote the worst performer lower to bump themselves higher… which I’ve earmarked Jane to do.
  • Hershii has TWO CHILDREN? That is literally mother.
  • Derrick Barry is back to host as Britney and I have to say, I live. For all the producer meddling that goes on on this show, they couldn’t have come up with a twist to save her from being eliminated first on All Stars 5?
  • Geneva Karr’s number is good! I won’t be writing home about it, but it was fun.
  • Hershii’s doing a jungle-themed original song, which I have to say I’m confused about, but I can see Kornbread’s humour in her, which is always a win.
  • Twinx Monsoon (Plasma)’s impressions/comedy/cabaret performance was great! A few reveals, lovely.
  • Nympia’s dance has me gagged in the first two seconds of it. I LOVE when queens use the stage to showcase their culture. And, because Nymphia’s so stupid (complimentary), it’s nice to see her doing something relatively serious.
  • Did NOT see Megami doing a political performance for her talent show. “Protect Queer Art” is absolutely right, but I have to say, I agree with Plane Jane; the talent was essentially holding up posters.
  • Mhi’ya is flipping and dipping and doing headstands! This is not a drag queen, this is a human slinky!
  • Jane is wearing Katy Perry’s burger MET Gala outfit and then reveals it into a massive breastplate. And, in the same vein that Megami’s talent seems to have been posters, Jane’s seems to be pretending to have boobs. Not sold.
  • Derrick Barry being slimed … somewhere India Ferrah is hootin’ and hollerin’.

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  • Nymphia’s reveal runway charting the lifespan of a banana is great; fresh green fruit to a brown one. This queen is literally rotted.
  • All of the runways are … serviceable. Megami notably does not in fact have a reveal. Which seems to be missing the point slightly.
  • I hate when Michelle critiques the queens for doing too much, à la Plasma. Like… sorry that she’s trying to showcase her talents in her talent show.
  • As Hillary Clinton once said, it’s time to Pokémon Go to the polls for the Rate-A-Queen twist. AND I WAS RIGHT! Jane is voting the people she deemed worse in higher up positions to ensure she’s in the top spot! What did I say about good TV and turbulence?
  • It is refreshing, however, to see someone fully playing Drag Race like the reality TV competition show it is. It’s always been part Survivor, part Project Runway, and even in All Stars seasons, where voting is more common, no one really disrupts the system too much. So Jane, I have strapped in for landing.
  • Jane and Geneva land in the top two to lipsync to “Shower” by Becky G, which arguably should be swapped out for the US national anthem. 
  • Jane also slips a nipple during the lip sync. What is it about this season and breastplates going rogue (CC: Sapphira Crystal)?
  • Nympia should have been top two! There, I said it.
  • Jane wins. This evil diva is tough competition, and has snatched immunity for a future elimination. 
  • On that, I have questions. The rules for immunity are left purposely ambiguous. Do the queens save themself from a challenge? Do they have to play their immunity before or after that challenge? Or critiques? Or even after a lipsync? Only time and RuPaul will tell.
  • A sneak peek of next week’s episode shows Morphine coming straight for Jane’s jugular; and if this week is anything to go by, I’m not sure she’ll take that lying down.

RuPaul’s Drag Race season 16 airs on MTV in the US and WOW Presents Plus internationally.