If you’re looking for a show to fill the “RuPaul’s Drag Race“-sized hole in your hearts, then “AJ and the Queen” is for you.
The 10-episode Netflix series stars RuPaul Charles (Robert/Ruby Red) and Izzy G. (AJ), and also includes some iconic “Drag Race” queens like Manila Luzon, Katya, and Trinity the Tuck. It tells the story of how Robert travels to various US cities to perform and ultimately join a drag queen pageant in Dallas. But this doesn’t come easy as he has to take care of 10-year-old AJ, who stowed away in his RV after being abandoned by her mom, and escape his grifter ex-boyfriend.
The show is a rollercoaster ride from start to finish, mostly because Robert and AJ have a love/hate relationship 80 percent of the time. It is also reminiscent of the buddy film “Thelma & Louise,” especially with the unusual circumstances that Robert and AJ get into each episode. But the common theme of “AJ and the Queen” is finding the true meaning of being a mother—be it through AJ’s biological mother or adoptive drag moms.
If you haven’t watched or finished “AJ and the Queen” yet, we suggest you click away right now as you might see mini spoilers. If you’ve seen it, then stay with us as we discuss the main maternal figures in the series.
As mentioned in the intro, Robert took care of AJ during his cross-country drive to Dallas. Both have gotten into trouble with social services because people think AJ was kidnapped, and we don’t blame those who were concerned.
Despite the obstacles they faced, Robert was AJ’s temporary parent after leaving New York and her estranged mother who was in jail. Robert taught (or tried to teach) AJ how to embrace her individuality, not to demonize women, and how to address LGBTQ+ people. He was also ready to set AJ straight when she’s scamming people for their money and when she’s being stubborn.
Towards the end, their love/hate relationship softened as Robert admits that he couldn’t give AJ away to her grandpa in Texas. Even though they weren’t blood-related, it shows that people can find family in anyone.
AJ’s mother, Brianna Douglas (Katerina Tannenbaum) was a hooker who was thrown into jail after trying to pick up an undercover cop. Throughout the series, AJ talks about how her mom wasn’t around a lot and that they were evicted from their apartment because Brianna would use their money to buy drugs. Robert and his roommate Louis (Michael-Leon Wooley) have seen Brianna passed out on their building’s porch multiple times.
Halfway through the series, Brianna gets her sh*t together after getting out of jail and realizing she couldn’t contact AJ. She tells Louis in one episode that she stopped using drugs to focus on finding her daughter. Despite being an absent figure in AJ’s life, Brianna was determined to fix their family and be a better mom.
On the last episode of “AJ and the Queen,” Brianna finally finds a very emotional AJ while Robert stares at the reunion. The scene ends with a cliffhanger, leaving us to wonder how the two moms would interact and deal with the issues they have with each other—from Robert resenting Brianna for leaving AJ on her own, to Brianna accusing Robert of kidnapping. We’ll have to wait for the second season to see how this will go down.
Photos courtesy of Netflix
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