The inclusion of Jimbo just kinda highlights this season really lacks a true breakout character, huh?
As I feared, the show’s treatment of Eve is getting to be extremely wishy washy. After presenting her as annoying but seemingly “necessary” the last two episodes, this one gives her a top placement and her own sad mirror moment, moments that fly into the face of her edit before. These inclusions bother me because, while I wouldn’t call the edit of Eve “kind,” it’s getting sympathetic and corny. And so doing this just makes me ask “what angle is the show presenting Eve?”
You can’t have Eve be both a Twitter troll who everyone, host included, hates and have her be an insecure Queen with a negative home life. The latter just reminds me too much of Lawrence’s early UK2 edit, an edit I wasn’t fond of until the show became more honest and copped to her negative attitude to be not from her being an outsider but from her own crippling depression. And if I can’t deal with Lawrence with such an edit, like hell I’m entertaining Eve with it. As for the former, it’s much more honest, but again, how much water can you get from that stone? Eve already feels exhausted of all of her worth, and I can’t imagine any more of her.
So much for Steel-Type Jan.
Here’s the thing about Synthia “Stressica Simpson” Kiss: she lacks her own identity. I’ve said before that I find the inclusions of her and both Gia and Kendall to be questionable because all three fill the same niche. This episode helps at least cement who Kendall and Gia are: Kendall is a sympathetic, down-to-Earth Queen who struggles with her addiction, while Gia is an untouchable goddess whose presentation is so robotic and perfect the show is mocking it. That leaves Synthia as… what, exactly? A Jan? Okay, but God she’s like the 8th this year, do we need another?
This isn’t just about how Synthia fits in show-wise, it’s about her Drag in general. Synthia has had the laziest runways of the season, both in being rudimentary made and for their lack of style. I’m willing to cut her some slack with how costuming 101 they are considering she makes all her outfits, but her lack of taste is a massive issue. Last episode, while everyone came out in various circus looks that were well-crafted and thought-out, Synthia went out in a flowing top that looks to have taken twenty minutes to make. This episode, her “Good Girl Gone Bad” only reads as such by someone who exclusively wears pink and orange. They just lack any story, they’re garments and nothing more. To me, it’s not pretentious to call fashion design a form of art, and all art is at its best when it says something. And Synthia’s just doesn’t.
Synthia’s approach so far in Canada 2 has read as half-assed, and I don’t know if it’s better or worse if she actually is trying.
This is how Gia looks fresh out of the factory.
Normally I’d leave it at that because I have little else to say about Gia, but can we take a moment to appreciate the show running her ragged for giving a Miss Canada speech in response to every judging? That’s some outstanding shit.
I’m pretty sure the product placement has received more screen time than Kimora.
Not a lot to cover on Suki unfortunately, which isn’t a great sign. So far Suki has only held any camera time when she’s not doing well, and so the lack of it outside of that is troubling for her character.
Pythia is a front-runner, right? Like she feels that way. Her edit so far is exclusively tropes we associate with front-runners. Everything kinda points to Pythia lasting a very long time.
I just don’t know who the hell Pythia is.
I think this points to the overall problem I’ve seen brought up of Canada 2 so far: the show lacks a big stand out character. This cast feels like a much safer follow-up to the far more explosive Canada 1, which by this point had Ilona annoying everyone, Kyne threatening people at her elimination, and Jimbo being Jimbo. This cast lacks a catalyst to really start the ball rolling and get reactions out of people, something even UK3 had in Choriza. Sure, there’s Eve, but you want your catalyst to have agency and be taken seriously. Right now the main characters haven’t been the Océanes or the Stephanies, it’s been the Brat Pack and Adriana and Pythia. And while there’s nothing wrong with any of them, they don’t bring out anything from each other. This cast is just so… pleasant. And that’s not bad but like… not what I watch Drag Race for.
Our of the entire cast, Kendall seems to be the most primed to be the breakout, and it makes sense why. Clearly the show wanted someone from the Brat Pack to be the season’s big deal, and the other two are a Drag robot and Metal Coat Jan. Kendall gets it be default, but at least she’s trying to be more of a character. Kendall has pretty good confessionals, she has pretty good runways, and she has pretty good personal moments. Kendall isn’t breaking new ground, but she is by far the most telegetic and open of her group, so her big edit checks out.
Really, my only beef with Kendall is that she’s just not enough. Kendall is trying to stir morale and present well, but she’s powerless to incite drama by herself. Kendall being popular isn’t shocking, but seemingly betting the house on her is. This is not Kendall’s fault, however, all my issues with her are with the show. As is, she’s a great side character for Canada 2.
Stephanie never really had a chance, but God damn did she try.
The thing is, I think Stephanie knew she was doomed. She might have not have called herself Filler Queen the way Joey Jay did, but she might as well have. Stephanie’s place in the season was always nebulous, and like I said with Choriza with UK3, the show’s treatment of foreigners has been spotty and usually unkind. Add in the general aesthetic Canada 2 is simping for, and Stephenia’s days were numbers from the get-go.
And yet, Stephanie tried. She tried to be a fun background character in episode 1. She tried to be a “mean girl” in episode 2. She tried to be a know-it-all in episode 3. Stephanie’s over-eagerness should be annoying, and as seen with Scarlett it can be, but her doomed fate makes it far more palatable. She’s not being rewarded for being desperate, so it makes her moments weirdly charming. I’m glad Stephanie is leaving now, because I think three episodes is the perfect amount for her.
Now, if anyone should be the breakout character of Canada 2, it’s Icesis. Icesis has a lot going for her: she’s insanely relatable, her confessionals are always well-articulated, she’s brimming with a quiet charisma that informs a down-to-earth wisdom. Icesis isn’t that much older than the rest of the cast, but she’s a lot more nuanced and self-aware, and because of that her character is also more nebulous. I talk a lot about archetypes and Queens fitting into them, intentionally or not, but Icesis is the exception. She doesn’t particularly feel like any past contestant specifically. You can draw comparisons, but that’s just the franchise now hitting almost 200 Queens. In most respects, Icesis is an original.
And I think it’s for this reason that Icesis is so hard to sell. I think the show is very aware of Icesis and her power, but doesn’t know how to sell it. Hell, Icesis doesn’t know how to sell it. This can change as the season develops further and we see where this uniqie figure fits into the minutia, but right now Icesis is the biggest question mark of the cast.
So at the end of the day, with my hesitation about the lack of a true breakout star, why do I still like this season? And, why is Adriana number one? Simple: Adriana shows you maybe don’t need one.
This was a banger episode for Adriana: not only did she win, she got a legitimately heart breaking sad mirror moment. While the other heads of the pack of this season had a few episodes to really show their stuff, this was the first time Adriana really turned out, and it was great. She doesn’t set my world on fire, but… well, does she need to?
History has done weird things to Canada 1. She was never not popular, but I think the idea that Jimbo was a fan favorite from the get go is revisionist. She didn’t really dominate until her fight with Ilona and then Snatch Game the next episode, before that the real focus on the season was on… well, Tynomi, the one who lip synced three weeks in a row leading up to said Snatch Game. Jimbo was around, certainly, as were Pri and Lemon and Rita, but they were only as visible as Gia or Kendall or Icesis or Adriana are now. So to say Jimbo was the sole star of Canada 2 isn’t correct, as her character took its time to blossom.
Now I agree to the general consensus that this cast is a lot tamer, and still question the dominance of the Brat Pack. But these are marginally negatives that, all in all, can be overlooked if the season knows what it’s doing. Who knows, maybe Canada 2 stays as listless as it seems. But what I do know is that in now time, the show made me excited for Adriana, who knows what can happen next week. I think the cast, Eve aside, has sturdy bones, they just need to be fleshed out.