Why I’m Mad About RPDR S14E11

This is going to be full of spoilers about RuPaul’s Drag Race season 14, episode 11. If you have not seen the episode, and you plan on watching it, you should wait until after you’ve done so before reading this.

This season of RPDR has been good. Better than Drag Race has been in a while. It’s not just the excellent selection of talented queens, but the whole show seems lighter and more fun. Even last week’s episode, where everyone but Deja bombed Snatch Game, was treated with a laugh. Michelle’s investigation into what went wrong was constructive criticism delivered with light humor. It could’ve been a much darker episode. Then it ended with Ru announcing everyone but Deja would have to lip sync for her life in the next episode.

In episode 11, “An Extra Special Episode”, Jasmine Kennedie lip synced for her life three times and lost. She was sent home. I’m not mad that a queen lost a LSFYL and was sent home. I’m mad that this queen lost three LSFYL’s on this episode and this queen was sent home.

Before this episode, Jasmine had LSFYL three times, winning two and tying the third. She sent those queens home effortlessly. There are good reasons why Jasmine was in the bottom for those episodes, but it wasn’t because of her lip sync performance. Jasmine Kennedie is a performer.

I may not be funny, and I may not be a singer or a damn seamstress, but I am a fierce queen.

Alyssa Edwards

Jasmine Kennedie is a fierce queen. In each LSFYL in episode 11, she performed. She was fantastic. She was dynamic and fun to watch. In each one, Ru chose her opponent as the winner. The worst of these was her loss to Daya Betty. They’ve been playing up this sibling rivalry storyline in the most forced fashion. Daya did not outperform Jasmine, but she has more range in the competition. Still, she did not win this LSFYL.

I’m mad that this show put Jasmine through three LSFYL’s and, each time, told her she wasn’t good enough, when she was outperforming everyone else in those lip syncs. Coming down to Jasmine, the best lip sync performer of the season, and Bosco, the worst lip sync performer of the remaining 8, just broadcast that this was all to send Jasmine home. It was done in the worst way possible; by making her do what she does best and telling her it’s not enough.

RPDR had several opportunities to send Jasmine home. She could’ve been sent home after any of her previous three LSFYL’s because her challenge performance wasn’t good enough. They could’ve made her lip sync someone else after the dismal Snatch Game and sent her home. They could’ve put together any other challenge, make her LSFYL again, and sent her home. It’s absolutely ridiculous that they would make Jasmine do the thing she’s actually great at over and over and tell her that she failed to do it well enough to stay in the competition.

I hated it. It’s a terrible way to send a queen home, it was a terrible way to send this queen home, and a terrible episode of Drag Race.

FAR: Changing Tides

Take FAR: Lone Sails, replace the train with a boat, and now you have FAR: Changing Tides.

Okay, that’s not exactly fair. Changing Tides is longer too.

Okay, that’s also not fair. There is more to do in Changing Tides, though it felt like they mostly added to what you do in the boat rather than out in the world. Lone Sails stopped the journey fairly frequently to get out, solve some puzzles, and continue on your way. Changing Tides may be longer but it felt like it had longer stretches of just the journey. This repeats the pattern of keeping the steam engine hot, but not too hot, or keeping the wind in the sails. With so much going on, it’s sort of hard to relax and enjoy the trip. That makes these long stretches the lows of this game. Busy work.

Changing Tides also puts more environmental storytelling into the world. In Lone Sails, you get an idea that some catastrophe happened and now the world is mostly dead. Changing Tides makes you walk past murals depicting events from before but I’ll be damned if they told me anything. I still finished knowing no more about the world than I did at the end of Lone Sails. There’s a narrative connection between the two games, and you should play Lone Sails first.

This may sound like I’m really down on Changing Tides, but I enjoyed it. The problem with it is that it is more of Lone Sails, which was a tighter experience. It doesn’t quite overstay its welcome, but it pushes it. Lone Sails, by being a shorter game, makes better use of its time.