I lightly addressed the underlying themes and issues in FX’s Pose, now its time to get into narrative.
I’ll try not to spoil too much for the late adopters.
This. Show. Is. Everything. As I write this, I’m listening to the season one soundtrack and getting all my life. The music that accompanies the show is PHENOMENAL. I wasn’t even alive during the 80s but listening to the music, along with the costume and set design, is really what helped transport the viewer to that world – even if they’d never been there before.
The 80s might be my new favorite decade.
We’re first introduced to the royal and the fierce House of Abundance, headed by none other than Ms. Electra Abundance. Seeing where she began and where she ended up was an amazing journey. Electra was a character that initially put a bad taste in my mouth but that who I could also recognize still had some redeeming qualities in her. She wasn’t just a shrieking bitch for nothing and after seeing her journey and battle with deciding on and finally getting her transexualism surgery, I could at least empathize with her. In getting what she truly wanted, Electra really almost lost herself for a moment but what are children good for if not for putting things into perspective.
Though we know Ms. Blanca as Blanca Evangelista for the majority of the season, she started out as Blanca Abundance – one of Electra’s children. Fed up with Electra’s petty shenangins, she started her own house – The House of Evangelista, thus beginning this epic tale. Blanca is easily a fan favorite. She embodies the best of what the human spirit has to offer: compassion, love, dedication, and persistence – and of course, everybody loves an underdog.
So the action begins. ENTER Pray Tell.
Pray. Tell. Pray. Tell. This man is everything. He’s first introduced to us as the M.C. of the balls but really becomes like a father figure to the Evangelistas throughout the season. A gay man caught up in the thick of the HIV crisis, he never lets his personal tragedies interfere with his ability to keep the show going. But we all need a little help sometimes and just as he was there for Blanca and her children, they’re right there for him in his darkest hour.
I think my favorite of Blanca’s children is her first, Damon. Originally from some town in Pennsylvania, Damon’s found his way to New York City with dreams to be a dancer. He’s got talent and drive but until he meets Blanca, he’s sleeping on a park bench after being ejected from his home by parents who were not down with the gay shit.
But Blanca finds him dancing in the park and pushes him to apply to The New School for Dance. I think I like him so much because his journey is most similar to mine. Though I left home willingly, I too sought out the glitz of New York City and enrolled at The New School.
Before meeting Blanca, Damon didn’t know what a ball was but by midseason, he can vogue the house DOWN.
Angel. Angel. Angel.
I could write paragraphs lusting over this woman but I won’t. Angel Evangelista is another fav of mine. Blanca’s second born who had also had enough of Electra’s shit. I loved her story with Sam and that whole ordeal. A bit on Sam Bose at the end. Angel’s story is another about wanting things we can’t have and eventually coming to terms with that. As much as I wanted a happily-ever-after for Angel and Sam, I was proud of Angel for realizing that her worth wasn’t tied up in Sam and that in the end, that white man couldn’t save her.
I didn’t know how to feel about Ricky at first. Those first couple episodes where he appeared I was getting some strong fuckboy vibes but I began to see the good in Ricky as the season went on. Sleeping on park benches and making coin at the piers is enough to give anyone a rough exterior… but praise be to Mother Blanca.
I live for the relationship between Ricky and Damon. A lot of times, relationships are built into a story just to be broken down and tested and while each of them had their own tests, those things never put a wedge between them. From the moment they met, they were a complete item – inseparable – and I live for this queer black boy joy.
Lil Papi is my little brother in my head. From the first time he appeared on screen I thought he was a little cutie pie with charisma. Much like Blanca’s other children, life had dealt Papi a tough hand yet he never let that turn him all the way sour.
One of the most heartbreaking moments of the season was when Blanca had to put him out. I agreed. Everyone knew the rules and the consequences for breaking said rules but it hurt my heart watch her enforce them but it was for the best and Papi was made better for it.
Electra’s children deserve some mention as well even though they turned out to be as abysmal as their mother.
Kandi and Lulu
I really liked Kandi up until the last two episodes. Even as a recurring character, she had arc and her own struggles with body image. Kandi was funny, outspoken, and quick with the quotables.
Lulu on the other hand was just a bag of sour grapes for the whole season honestly. Her allegiance to Electra, or to anybody, was always contingent on what they could do for her. She was the only character who was thoroughly unkind.
She was fine though, I suppose. Perhaps we’ll get some fleshing out in season two. I’m pretty certain we won’t be seeing Mr. Sam Bose, Angel’s lover, in season two. While he did have some substantial screen time in season one, it was clear that he was no longer serving Angel or the larger story in the last episode. But not for nothing, I liked Sam and like the rest of the characters, I could empathize with his plight. In his own way, he just wanted to achieve some kind of realness. But it wasn’t going to be at Angel’s expense.
The season finale was probably one of the best finales in I’ve ever seen for a television show. A dynamic cast, a dynamic story, a dynamic show – I have to take my hat off to Ryan Murphy, Janet Mock, and every other person who went into creating such a masterpiece. Nearly every episode brought me to tears at some point.
There’s already tons of speculation in the Twitter and Tumblr streets about what season two will bring to us, but until then, I’ll just be making sure there’s enough coins in my account to keep season one in my Amazon video library.