There’s always a lot to unpack after a whole season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. The contestants have to turn looks, performances, and personality, are subjected to criticism week after week, and must find a way to work together with peers who probably do drag in very different ways. Unsurprisingly, these elements tend to create various unresolved conflicts.
With that said, reunion episodes aren’t always necessarily just about having more conflict. Over the course of 12 years, Drag Race has proven that having more fights on a season doesn’t necessarily equate to a better reunion. Instead, these episodes succeed when they combine different elements, including a bit of drama, a bit of comedy, and a lot of honesty.
12 Season 11
Season 11 of RuPaul’s Drag Race wasn’t too heavy on the drama, but what made its reunion so weak is that it failed to provide closure to even the very few unresolved situations that took place during the season.
After so much talk about Brooke Lynn Hytes and Vanessa Vanjie Mateo dating, they announced on the season 11 reunion that they were no longer together. RuPaul tried to get the facts straight regarding Ariel Versace’s “wig-gate,” but the discourse only left viewers even more confused. Even the main conflict of the season – between finalists Yvie Oddly and Silky Nutmeg Ganache – had no significant development during the reunion, as Silky was surprisingly reserved during the episode.
11 Season 8
The reunion portion of the RuPaul’s Drag Race season 8 finale felt redundant and gloomy.
On one side, Thorgy Thor stated once again that she was constantly distracted by Bob the Drag Queen, which fans already knew. Derrick Barry, who had fought with Bob throughout the season, backed down during the reunion and gave nothing but perfectly polite answers.
Then, during the emotional sections of the reunion, fans learned that Cynthia Lee Fontaine had been diagnosed with cancer shortly after filming season 8. Later, RuPaul grilled Kim Chi on whether she had finally revealed to her parents that she did drag, but she hadn’t.
10 Season 7
Drag Race fans did not enjoy season 7 when it aired, and the reunion portion of the finale certainly suffered for it. In many ways, fan-favorite Katya carried the entire episode along with RuPaul – so much so that she was called up on stage yet again before Ru announced the winner.
It was fun for fans to see more of Jasmine Masters, Miss Fame, Trixie Mattel, and Kennedy Davenport, but there wasn’t much else to the season 7 reunion other than the opportunity for these queens to get more airtime on TV. It was also very exciting to watch Katya being crowned Miss Congeniality, even if fans had seen it coming from a mile away.
9 Season 5
There weren’t too many developments, fights, or funny moments on the Drag Race season 5 reunion. By that episode, Roxxxy Andrews was no longer picking on Jinkx Monsoon, Alyssa Edwards and Coco Montrese had squashed their feud, and even the feisty Serena ChaCha was nothing but polite.
The season 5 cast is one of the strongest in the series, making it impossible for this reunion to not still be somewhat entertaining. Fans didn’t get much else to talk about after the reunion aired, but seeing those queens on TV one more time definitely made up for it.
8 Season 12
The cast of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 12 went through a lot. First, one of the season’s top contestants was disqualified after the show was completely filmed. Then, the coronavirus pandemic happened – canceling every gig, special appearance, and DragCon events that these contestants could have capitalized from.
Due to social distancing guidelines, the season 12 reunion was entirely virtual, with RuPaul and the contestants filming themselves from their homes. All things considered, it is undeniable that Drag Race did a great job with this episode, even if there wasn’t a lot for them to discuss other than the situation (the contestant’s disqualification) that they were likely legally prohibited to talk about.
7 Season 6
Many fans consider Drag Race season 6 the best year in the series. However, with such an exciting group of contestants and so much to talk about, the reunion certainly did not enter the herstory books.
In comparison to other years, the season 6 reunion sits in the middle-of-the-pack placement. It was fun to see more shadiness from Gia Gunn and Darienne Lake, as well as to get more quirkiness from BenDeLaCreme and Laganja Estranja. Moreover, it felt right for the show to prominently feature Vivacious and celebrate that style of drag.
With that said, all of the great moments from season 6 of Drag Race happened throughout the season, which turned the reunion into more of a recap episode.
6 Season 10
The season 10 reunion of RuPaul’s Drag Race was heavy on Vanessa Vanjie Mateo and heavy for The Vixen. It is impossible to dismiss a reunion that recapped the viral sensation of Miss Vanjie, that featured RuPaul losing his composure with a contestant for the first time ever, and The Vixen walking out halfway through the episode.
The season 10 reunion also featured very honest and emotional moments from Dusty Ray Bottoms and Asia O’Hara discussing their Drag Race experiences. And on the comedic side, fans got to see more of Monique Heart and Monet X Change bantering with other queens.
5 Season 2
A significant part of the Drag Race season 2 reunion was highlighting the success that Shangela had despite being the first-eliminated queen that year. The contestants got to hash out the Morgan McMichaels vs. Mystique Summers Madison feud, and queens like Tatianna and Raven did not hold back on their opinions.
It was during that reunion that fans learned about Sonique transitioning into a trans woman, getting the support from the entire Drag Race cast. Furthermore, viewers got a lot more funny moments from Jujubee on the show.
4 Season 1
Tammie Brown telling the judges that she doesn’t see them “walking children in nature” was an iconic enough moment to make the season 1 reunion one of the most memorable and entertaining episodes of the entire series.
Moreover, the season 1 reunion featured Shannel going all in on Santino Rice, RuPaul solidifying Victoria Porkchop Parker’s place in the franchise, and Nina Flowers being crowned Miss Congeniality. Fans can continue to make fun of the season 1 filter, but it is time to celebrate just how unfiltered that reunion episode was.
3 Season 9
Many fans declared that season 9 was RuPaul’s Best Friends Race, but the claws certainly came out during the reunion episode. First and foremost, fans got to see Aja changing the name of the Miss Congeniality award to “Fan-Favorite,” accusing Valentina of not being congenial enough for the title.
The reunion also included Farrah Moan crying and calling out Valentina for not being a good friend, and there was an honest back-and-forth between Nina Bo’Nina Brown and Shea Coulee discussing their complicated friendship on the season.
2 Season 3
There were several separate conflicts on Drag Race season 3, and fans got to see it all unfold during the reunion.
Season 3 reunion highlights include Mimi Imfurst getting heavily criticized by India Ferrah and Mariah Balenciaga, Shangela having more beef with Mimi Imfurst and Carmen Carrera, and Alexis Mateo criticizing the judges for their harshness. What’s more, Stacy Layne Matthews was given the chance to open up about her experience dealing with criticism from her peers, and Yara Sofia was crowned Miss Congeniality.
1 Season 4
From the Phi Phi O’Hara vs. Sharon Needles feud to the disqualification of Willam, there was a lot to unpack on the Drag Race season 4 reunion. Thankfully, everyone involved delivered on the laughter, gossip, and actual drama.
Overall, the season 4 reunion clarified what Willam had allegedly done to get kicked out, crowned Latrice Royale as the season’s Miss Congeniality, and hashed out what Sharon Needles and Chad Michaels thought of Phi Phi O’Hara as a competitor.
Viewers were able to see fan-favorites such as Jiggly Caliente once again, and the episode even featured celebrity guest Charo having a funny moment with Kenya Michaels. Lastly, this was the fans’ first time meeting Alaska – then Sharon’s boyfriend –, who would compete on season 5 and win All Stars 2.
NEXT: RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 4 Queens: Where Are They Now?