'RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 2' Reunion: 5 questions about Alaska's win, Phi Phi and more
RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars' second season was one of the Drag Race franchise's best. Quality-wise, it was second only to season five of the flagship series; ratings-wise, Logo's show broke records for not just the show, but the entire network.
So it's somewhat disappointing to see a thrilling season of TV come to an end with a pretty mediocre reunion. Without Phi Phi O'Hara, the season's villain, any remnants of drama were pitiful feints toward interesting developments at best, awkward and pointless interludes at worst.
The reunion falling short doesn't diminish the quality of the season, of course, though it does leave us with remarkably little to talk about. So we've dug up the five most pressing questions left after Thursday's final episode.
How pissed is RuPaul at Phi Phi O'Hara?
Holy mackerel, RuPaul has had it, officially. First, at the top of the reunion, Ru avoids mentioning Phi Phi by name — when saying one queen is not there, when talking about how Roxxxy Andrews found redemption this season while Phi Phi didn't, and even calling bullshit on a queen blaming the show's edit for her bad behavior.
Ru's anger is understandable, of course; Phi Phi has been highly critical of All Stars 2, and Ru showed her cards previously when she unfollowed the season four queen. But considering the motherly image Ru tries so often to present, watching her ice out Phi Phi was all the more jarring.
Does the show not get why Adore Delano quit?
While Ru and the other contestants are compassionate when Adore is talking about her choice to quit, it seems like Drag Race as an entity may not get why she opted out this season. By all accounts (including her own on the reunion), the season six queen left because she realized trying to step back into the world of Drag Race after becoming confident in her own, grunge-inspired aesthetic was a recipe for disaster.
Yet at the end, Ru asks Adore if she'd be down to compete in All Stars 3. Not only does that misunderstand Adore's problem, it also potentially deprives another talented Drag Race queen a slot in the next season. Though Adore answers in the affirmative, we'll hope that was just for the cameras.
Were Detox and Alyssa Edwards cold as ice to each other?
This one wasn't obvious, but there were a few suggestions that all is not well between the former season five queens. During the season, Detox chose to eliminate Alyssa despite believing Roxxxy was the correct pick to go. Upon hearing Detox confess this in the reunion, Alyssa gets quieter than she's ever been on the show. When Ru asks if she holds a grudge, Alyssa says she doesn't, but her answer is more about what a grudge can do to the holder than a real affirmation of positive feelings toward Detox.
Combined with Detox's assertion that Alyssa did indeed get judged differently because of her "Alyssaisms" — the many things that make Alyssa who she is — and Alyssa's strong rebuke of that idea, it does feel like something is amiss. Both queens are professionals, so a blowup wasn't likely, but there's almost certainly tension there.
Was Katya robbed by the timing of the reunion?
There was no exact date announced for the filming of the reunion, though sharp-eyed Reddit users noted that Alyssa gave a rough date in one of her videos: two weeks after Sept. 15, which was before winning queen Alaska's infamous meltdown during the top five episode aired. That meltdown, if you'll recall, boosted Katya's fan support to sky-high levels.
But if the reunion was shot before that episode aired, that means fan reaction didn't really matter. Ru had already crowned Alaska, and no number of #TeamKatya tweets could change that. Her fate was already sealed by that point.
Did RuPaul choose Alaska for her marketing prowess?
Of course, judging by how RuPaul spoke about Alaska during the reunion, it's very possible it was always going to be her. Interestingly, Ru cited Alaska's "marketing genius" as one of the major reasons why she won — "which is really the future of drag," Ru says.
It's an unexpected point, but a good one. For drag queens in the age of social media, shutting a bar down with a killer lip sync isn't enough. A strong brand across multiple platforms, with different products for fans to purchase, is vital. RuPaul knows that — she's known it for years. "I'm a marketing motherfucking genius," she boasted in the season's sixth episode, and she was right.
Alaska is the one who embodies Ru's understanding of the "future of drag" so well. She may not have been an enjoyable competitor to watch in the same way Alyssa, Tatianna and Katya were, but in the battle to be America's next drag superstar, Alaska proved herself to be beyond the competition. She's working on another level, and for that, she's a worthy winner.