Many have died along the way, but their sacrifices were needed. The Boulets have killed for you, the viewer, and now you’ll finally understand why. I assume that if you don’t, you’ll end up on the body pile yourself. Fall in line, Ugly, and bow to your new leader.
For this review, I’ve combined the reunion and finale. There isn’t much to say about the reunion, unfortunately (more on that later). As stated earlier, I feel S2 is the current pinnacle of Dragula, in presentation and players. With S3 over, I’m hoping the new budget compensated the Boulets, Von Odd, and anyone else involved. They sincerely deserve it for what they’ve made here. Make no doubt about it, Dragula is something special.
That said, I’m wondering why this reunion fell so far from the heights of S2. If you haven’t seen it, the S2 reveal is that the Boulets kept the bodies of the exterminated. For the reunion, the dead are reanimated to share the T on the Top 3. They arrive in proper dead-drag makeup, all beautiful corpses, and it’s a fantastic visual. S3 wasted the last two cold openings with arbitrary kills. Obviously the Boulets don’t want to repeat themselves, but the lack of narrative really hurt here. Yes, there was little shade to be had also, but that’s up to the contestants—they either deliver or they don’t. With a greater budget, I expected more from the storytelling, not less.
Still, the finale is satisfying. I love the opening witchy gathering, the passing of the crown ritual. It’s always good to see Von Odd and Bqitch Puddin’. In the boudoir, the remaining monsters are all on the same page. They’re playful, but not selfish. Call me squishy, but I enjoy a warm exchange over reality-common shouting matches. As is tradition, the final challenge categories are Filth, Glamour, Horror. This means three runway looks that best embody the categories. In the past, these categories bring out the best.
They’re given time to speak their minds to the camera. Priscilla reflects on her struggles with abuse, doubt, but also her drive to do her new momma proud (Louisianna drag-adopted Priscilla, the best moment of the reunion). Drag is now her drug of choice.
Dollya’s story is one of proof. No one in the competition believed she’d make it this far, and this journey reinforced her strengths. Despite her youth, the crown is her destiny.
Landon’s story is untold, until now. He discusses battling Squamous Cell Carcinoma, which threatened to take away his ability to talk and eat (part of the tongue had to be surgically removed), and he recounts how he prepared videos for fans and loved ones because this might be the last the world would hear Landon’s voice. He jokes that being tongue-less isn’t ideal for a lesbian relationship. The strength to pull through came from his mother’s own medical battles and wife support. This struggle (and these people) brought out the persona that is Landon Cider. As a drag king, he’s out to show other communities that make up queer life.
The finalists explain their looks, but they speak for themselves. No complaints here, as everyone brings the evil, as promised in their wonderful audition videos (seen here for the first time!).
Glamour gives us Dollya in a ball gown the color of her namesake, Landon in a regal suit plus umbrella (very reminiscent of the Grey Ghost from Batman TAS), and Priscilla channels Marilyn Monroe, complete with pills. Definitely a change to see the competitors cleaned up, emphasizing Dragula‘s loyalty to horror aesthetics. This category is a three-way tie, for me. Every look was polished, and pageant pretty.
Filth showcases lunch lady/bad mom Priscilla, Dollya’s baby-eating witch, and a side of Landon I’ve never seen before—tighty-whities Daddy, who lounges around smoking and drinking, among other questionable activities. This was the tipping point, in my opinion. While Landon’s aesthetic isn’t always my bag (but done well), this look completely sold me on his chance at the crown. I think I just wanted to see him go beyond tailored clothes, further than squibs and gore accessories. This look is another level.
Category Horror: Priscilla as a succubus with removable face reveal(!), Dollya’s skin suit with faces sewn to the headpiece, and Landon’s strange Tin Man hacking a Judy corpse. Priscilla wins this one in my opinion.
But that’s up to the Boulets to decide. Voiceovers inform us of strengths, of weaknesses. As strong as the 3 are, there must be a winner, one monster to represent Dragula for the next year or so.
The Boulets decide. And thus we have a new Drag Super Monster—Landon Cider! The King is showered in blood, as he so deserves to be. The first king in North American drag history to do so. If you follow drag, then you know what a seismic shift this is. With S3, the Boulets welcomed all to the stage, a move that other drag competitions will do well to follow. In the spirit of Dragula, I say change or die.
This means all our favorite creepy crawlers must descend back into darkness. Or Austin, Texas if your name is Louisianna Purchase.
Thank you for following Dragula S3 with me. I hope you’ve enjoyed these recaps. Maybe I’ll retro-review S2 someday, but here’s hoping the wait for S4 won’t be too long. Until then, Rest in Pieces.
Episode reviewed via Amazon Prime