This episode was a graveyard smash

My "Drag Race" better half is out of town this week—at what I have affectionately dubbed PrinceCon—so I'm handling this recap solo.

The episode started with confirmation that Vanjie and Brooke Lynn are indeed a thing, or at least on the cusp of becoming a thing. "It's real fresh. Out the womb," Miss Vanjie quipped at one point. (Although if Instagram is any clue, it looks like their budding relationship has continued off set.) Even though she's out this week, I have to give a shoutout to my partner in crime Erica, for dubbing the couple "Branjie" a full two weeks ago. The woman knows how to craft a good celebrity relationship name.

While Vanjie and Brooke Lynn were getting cozy, Yvie and Ra'Jah were back to their week two selves: Yvie confronting Ra'Jah about one of her personal failings (this time the crime is not bringing it) while Ra'Jah resorts to name-calling, off camera of course. 

This week's maxi challenge was positively boo scary as the queens prepared for a "Drag Race" tradition—the ball—this time with a Halloween theme. But first, they had to make it through a mini challenge: turning themselves in life-size dolls to serve as RuPaul's (the doll version) BFF. Several felt like cringe-inducing stereotypes including Ra'Jah, who ended up winning. It was a bit of a surprise for two reasons: 1) She was at the bottom last week; and 2) Her doll—Starr-Keisha Booty La’Rajah—wasn't that great. The highlight of the challenge was a work room visit from season seven favorite, and the winner of "All Stars" season three, Trixie Mattel.

This week's challenge was all about the runway as the queens were tasked with making three ghoulish looks: Trampy Trick-or-Treater; Witch, Please; and MILF Eleganza: Monsters I’d Like to Freak. It was the perfect challenge to get the creativity going and to see which of the queens would step out of her comfort zone and embrace the theme. The work room was soon a flurry of witches, ghouls and whatever the hell Scarlet Envy was supposed to be. Also, for reasons that no one explained, A'Keria spent a good chunk of the first day wearing a fake beard and a bemused expression like it was the most natural thing in the world, which of course made it even funnier. We haven't touched on it much in our recaps, but through her facial expressions and quick, on point confessionals, A'Keria has become the face and conscience of the audience. If you ever want to know what everyone is thinking, look at A'Keria.

Let's fast forward to the runway show, because with 33(!) looks, there's a lot to get through. This week's guest judges were Cara Delvingne and Elvira. Once again we saw Yvie (who was made for this challenge) and Brooke Lynn at the top. Yvie's sexy dinosaur costume, complete with clawed feet and tiny arms, and Brooke Lynn's mummy who was literally on pointe, were standouts for the judges. Plastique Tiara was another favorite with her beautiful yet haunting skull makeup in the MILF Eleganza round and her witchy Maleficent getup.

Of course, we have to talk about Nina. Her personality, playfulness and love of pop culture shined in each of her looks from her sexy Venus flytrap costume a la "Little Shop of Horrors" to her old-school witch that was straight out of Salem to her final look, a creepy "House of Wax"-inspired face-off. She felt much more comfortable in this design challenge than she did in the first week's. She got out of her head and started having fun.

In the end, Brooke Lynn picked up another well-deserved win while Ariel, whose costumes were more pretty than scary, and Shuga, whose outfits left the judges scratching their heads, had to lip sync for their lives. Ariel hasn't stood out this season, and after a few bars of last night's song, Whitney Houston's "Be My Baby Tonight," it was clear Shuga was the stronger performer. This fact was cemented when Ariel tripped on her mermaid "monster" dress and wiped out on the stage. America let out a collective "oooooohhhff."

Although the drama and tears were light this episode, the camp, flirting and creativity were high. Five episodes in, some queens are consistently standing out while others are floundering. Let's see who steps it up next week.