Tears were flowing in the werkroom this week.

Last week’s episode of All Stars delivered on every level, with soon-to-be iconic performances and runaways, meme-able drama and scandalous confessions from the judging panel. And while this week didn’t match those heights, it certainly delivered in emotional moments with the queens.

After returning to the werkroom, Alexis Mateo was still struggling with what India Ferrah had accused her of, especially since it came from someone who she considered a friend. Shea Coulee told Alexis that she came close to voting her out of the competition, and Alexis said in confessionals that she was now “worried” about her place in the competition as India put seeds of doubt into everyone else’s minds.

For this week’s maxi-challenge, RuPaul was throwing a family backyard ball, and the queens were invited. The queens had to create two looks, Country Cousin Realness – a cousin persona with comedic backstory based on Ru’s Louisiana roots – and Backyard Eleganza, a high-fashion look made out of materials found in backyards, think lawn chairs, hammocks, and even the kiddy pool.

As the queens created their looks, Blair St. Clair and Shea found that India had left them notes, both praising them. Alexis also found that India had left her a note, but decided to ignore it, before ultimately allowing Jujubee to read it out loud. Anyone hoping for more drama from India’s letter would be let down, as it simply read: “Open your heart! Alexis, I still love you.”

The emotions then came flooding in as RuPaul entered the werkroom. It started off fairly tame, with Alexis speaking about her sadness of seeing her drag daughter, Vanessa Vanjie Mateo, as the lip-sync assassin, as it would’ve been embarrassing for her to send Alexis home.

But it was when RuPaul spoke to Shea and Jujubee that the tears began to flow. Shea told RuPaul that not long after filming for Season 9 had wrapped, but before the live finale was filmed, her father passed away from cancer, robbing Shea of having her “Christian, military, Black father” rooting for her in the finale. And then, a month after her father’s passing, her older sister, who introduced her to RuPaul’s album, Supermodel of the World, also passed away from breast cancer.

When Ru spoke to Jujubee, she spoke about how while she was able to live with her aunts, her sisters had gone into foster care after their mother abandoned them when Jujubee was 15. Jujubee also spoke about her difficulties with keeping friends, and that most of them came from AA meetings, now that she had split from her fiancé of 12 years and was cutting off drugs and alcohol. This prompted a normally stoic RuPaul to get emotional, and tears came down both of their faces, as Ru revealed her own attendance to those sorts of meetings in the past, and how powerful the connections made between people there are.

On the runway, RuPaul introduced special guest judge, Bebe Rexha, as well as members of Ru’s family, including her sisters, for the family ball. Miz Cracker came out as Jocelyn Opal Rose, a cousin formerly removed, who is also known as “She Has A Lot of Nerve Showing Herself Here After That”, Jujubee was Ru’s Asian best friend, Ping, Blair was Darlene from Indiana, Shea was Ru’s baby niece, Sheaquita, while Alexis was Carmencita, Ru’s former housekeeper, who was still after some unpaid backpay.

On the runway, Cracker brought a badminton-inspired look, Jujubee brought lots of melons, Blair looked fresh from the pool, Shea rocked a backyard bridal gown, while Alexis brought a beautiful gown, complete with a hidden kiddy pool.

In all honesty, while some queens, Blair and Alexis mainly, missed the mark on the Country Cousin Realness comedy aspect, they all nailed it when it came to the looks.

On the runway, Cracker received unanimous praise for both of her looks, and the country cousin backstory, with Bebe declaring her look to be her favourite of the night. Jujubee and Shea also received a lot of praise for their looks. Blair got negative critiques for both her look and hair, and her backstory for the country cousin, while Alexis got mostly positive critiques for her eleganza look, but negative ones when it came to the look and backstory for the country cousin. Cracker and Jujubee also praised Shea for the support and advice that she gave them both while they were creating their outfits.

Cracker was declared the winner, and admitted that she felt Alexis and Blair were the bottom two of the week. This shocked Blair, who said in confessionals that she was truly “doubting her friendship with her.” When it came to Cracker to choose a lipstick, she jokingly picked up Shea’s saying: “Can you imagine? You secretly want me to do it!”

Back on the main stage, the lip-sync assassin was revealed as Season 5 and All Stars 2 legend Roxxxy Andrews, who even reprised some of her iconic verse from Read U Wrote U . Cracker and Roxxxy lip-synced to Ariana Grande’s 2014 dance-pop hit, One Last Time.

Although Cracker brought out plenty of moves, Roxxxy had the perfect ru-veals, including her “thick & juicy” ass, and ultimately triumphed. Roxxxy then revealed that the girls had chosen Alexis to be eliminated.

This episode was high on emotion, but next week promises to bring all the drama back. The queens are tasked with performing in a stand-up comedy smackdown, and as this week’s winner, Cracker is given the task of deciding the running order, and she openly admits to the girls that she wants to “wants to fuck you guys up as much as possible.” Could being this open with strategy be a risk though, as the girls may not take too kindly to it if Cracker ends up in the bottom? But Shea is also worrying over the challenge, admitting during the episode that she “wasn’t able to come up with any material.”

All will be ru-vealed next week, with Jane Krakowski making her judging debut.

The first five episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 5 are now available to stream in the UK on Netflix.

Related: Drag Race producers reveal how queens are picked for All Stars