Potential Spoilers below!
Tonight is another episode of All Stars 4, so let’s talk about Manila, because I clearly don’t do that enough. Earlier this week, I wrote about Team MoMo, and I also wrote another piece on Medium about Valentina’s elimination. While the Blackhole was more fun in its idea, ClubHive was hands down the winner when it came to execution, and most of that was thanks to Manila’s hard work. She shared her concept art on social media for the club’s décor and it was amazing. The look of the club and the aesthetic choices were literal genius, something we’ve come to expect from Manila especially because she used to be a graphic designer. So, it was clear that Manila was disappointed that she was safe in the judges’ critiques, and her downfallen expression was quickly repurposed into memes.
The best part about that post was that all the comments delved into stories about group work, which as everyone knows, sucks. I was always the Manila of group projects, and it was the worst when people did sh-t all until the final day, at which point they asked if they could help with anything. Bitch what are you going to do, it’s done!?
With shows like Drag Race, a lot of the behind-the-scenes gets edited out, so I don’t want to make the grandiose claim that Manila did everything in that challenge, I don’t think she did. Nevertheless, Trinity and Latrice did make it a point to acknowledge Manila in the discussion afterward. Trinity even offered to share her prize with Manila! Latrice and Manila are good friends, and Trinity gave her credit, so I doubt that there’s any animosity amongst them. However, I just want to put it out there: Manila was robbed.
The producers of Drag Race are a little blunt with their storylines, but effective in the way they edit them. Last week’s episode, if you hadn’t watched any episode before, would make you think that Manila hogged the limelight, that her teammates hated her, and that her jokes weren’t funny. None of this is true. Her jokes were on brand (crazy eyes included), and her teammates had plenty of opportunities to shine themselves. Trinity showed off her comedy during the Spelling Bee, and Latrice once again faded into the background (like Snatch Game and Jersey Justice). If all that is true, why edit Manila like this?
I have two theories. The first is that Manila’s getting boring as a character. She’s too perfect to the point where it’s pretty clear that she is heading straight for that crown. Drag Race’s appeal is drama, so if you can predict how the season is going to play out, the show is failing at its most basic goal. Perhaps the edit, and Manila being safe, are all factors to start a “stumbling” arc, where the frontrunner trips up and suddenly throws predictions to the wind. Manila will probably still get the crown, but the chance that she might not keeps viewers engaged.
The second, and the one I’m fearful of, is that Manila is getting an ”exit” edit. This would mean *sobs* that Manila is going home soon. Since that currently doesn’t seem likely, the show is attempting to cut her success down to make the progression seem more natural. No one likes to see their favourite go home, so just like Valentina, the editors have to make it seem like an elimination was shocking, but still understandable.
I try and stay away from Drag Race spoilers (especially because they’re usually incorrect), but I’ve caught glimpses of people posting about next episode. Rumour has it that Manila is leaving this episode in which case:
I’m not ready for this, and I don’t think she deserves to leave, particularly when she has been nothing but strong and consistent for the past 5 episodes. If Manila leaves, I will take compassionate leave from writing for mourning, because I am dramatic, and because I will always be #TeamManila.