This season of UK vs the World is currently on track to dethrone season 12 as the ultimate edition of RuPaul’s Best Friend’s Race, with episode two eliciting a lot of laughs and squidgy “aww!” moments between the cast. But, with the final moments teasing some season one-esque shenanigans ala Jimbo and Pangina Heals’ eliminations, how long will it stay, y’know, squidgy? (In the profound words of Katya Zamolodchikova, “I don’t know, I’m not a scientist.”)

Following the events of the premiere, which saw Marina Summers defeat La Grande Dame in the lip-sync smackdown and reveal Mayhem Miller’s lipstick, the 10 remaining queens returned to the werkroom to discuss her shock exit and which name Dame had in her titty. Like Marina, the France runner-up chose to save Gothy Kendoll, who memorably made history as the British franchise’s Pork Chop when she placed last on the first season of Drag Race UK. “I feel like the world deserves to know you a little bit more,” said La Grande Dame. Hers and Marina’s strategy is seemingly less Naomi Smalls and Blu Hydrangea and more Trinity the Tuck, but it’s early days and another Manila Luzon/Pangina shock elimination is still possible. (I’m honestly terrified for my faves, who I won’t reveal out of respect for DeLa.)

In the mini-challenge, the queens were tasked with answering a series of questions by writing one of their sisters’ names on a mirror. The majority voted Marina as the “fairest” and “mightiest in the land”, Hannah Conda as the “shadiest” and Arantxa Castilla-La Mancha as the contestant whose drag is “in the most need”. The Espana alum took it well, although Jonbers Blonde, who has returned to prove that she is, in fact, a fashion queen, was noticeably miffed when she came in second place with three votes.

RuPaul invited the queens to serve three fairytale looks for the ‘Happy Ending Ball’ in their second maxi-challenge: ‘Lady Prince Charming’, a twisted take on a fairy tale hero; ‘She-vil Queen’, pretty explanatory; and ‘Drags to Riches Eleganza’, in which they must use scraps of fabric to create a ball gown fit for a princess.

The werkroom interactions are, again, such a joy to watch, from Tia Kofi’s utter shock over Choriza May hoarding materials to Jonbers launching an investigation into which of her sisters voted her as the neediest. (I feel a storyline brewing here.) There’s also the potential showmance with La Grande Dame flirting with Tia in exchange for gold fabric and Tia’s very relatable response to receiving attention: “Let me tell you something about Tia Kofi: if you try and get things from me by flirting, it’ll work.” (Will this be a Jinkx Monsoon and Ivy Winters situation, or more Vanjie and Brooke Lynn Hytes? Time! Will! Tell!)

At the moment, Best Friend’s Race is in full effect and Arantxa is the defacto head honcho after expressing how “lucky” she feels to be part of this cast. She brings so much light to the werkroom with her one-liners, such as her response to Michelle Visage’s question about the origins of her fashion sense: “You have to have one for it to come from some place.” (I wouldn’t be made if Arantxa is on every season of Drag Race, to be honest.)

On the runway, Arantxa continued to deliver in the one-liner department – “I’m looking at the judges’ faces and I know exactly what they’re thinking: NOTHING, because they are stunned by my beauty” – while Marina, Dame, Keta Minaj and Scarlet Envy dominated with all three of their fairytale looks. There’s a lot to praise re the aforementioned queens, but it’s La Grande Dame’s She-vil look that cements her as UK vs the World’s supreme runway queen, as well as the one to beat (so far). Reminiscent of the neomorphs from the Alien franchise, the French runner-up crawled down the stage while emulating demonic, sheep-esque noises (there’s a recurring theme here for La Grande Dame) in one of the most sadistic runway presentations Drag Race has ever seen.

To the shock of no one, she rightfully won her second consecutive challenge alongside Keta, while Spanish besties Arantxa and Choriza fell into the bottom. We understand why Tia was declared safe, but we were really hoping for some kind of interaction with the judges. Earlier in the episode, Tia confided in Choriza that it was important for her to honour Cherry Valentine, her season two co-star who tragically passed away in 2022. “I want to do this to dedicate it to Cherry’s legacy but also, on behalf of all the queens of series two who got to share this special time with her,” she explained. Tia delivered her own stunning interpretation of Cherry’s red promo look, one that more than lived up to the late star’s signature glam and spooky aesthetic. Although Michelle Visage and RuPaul’s expressions insinuated that they knew what Tia was doing, we just wish it was celebrated a bit more.

With the tops and bottoms revealed, Arantxa and Choriza pleaded with both La Grande Dame and Keta. The latter’s poker face makes me think that she might be the kind of queen who sends home her biggest competition. She even said she’s here to “play the game”. With that said, Scarlet even revealed that going by track record doesn’t interest her and that she will chop the queen she sees as a threat: “Who wants to do the right thing?” Best Friend’s Race is in trouble!

In the lip-sync, to the beat of Cascada’s ‘Everytime We Touch’, Keta’s energetic choreo was upstaged by La Grande Dame’s frenetic and comedic take on the dance classic. She more than redeemed her lip-sync last week, because she was pretty much slaughtered by Marina. After being declared the winner, La Grande Dame revealed Arantxa’s lipstick, which doesn’t shock me as her runway package wasn’t as strong as Choriza’s. But, I’m still devastated because she lit up this competition. More Arantxa on our screens, please!

Next week, the queens will create their own immersive experience for “Drag Race World”. Each team will produce and star in a video that sells their unique experiences.

You can read our exit interview with Arantxa Castilla-La Mancha here