After two back-to-back excellent episodes, Pose took some wild turns last night in an episode written by Our Lady J and directed by Janet Mock.
The first unexpected development was of course the sudden romance between Angel and Papi. After learning that she did not get selected as the winner of the modeling competition (despite a very convincing speech about giving hope to kids everywhere that feel worthless), Papi attempts to cheer her up. Maybe it was her disappointment or his kindness or some combination of both, but she kisses him. She’s even ready to get a room, but Papi wants to take things slow. He’s been waiting for a girl like her.
He arranges a very fancy date for them, but as she’s picking out her outfit, Angel gets a call from Ford. Turns out there’s a new gig she’d be PERFECT for.
If you’ve seen any rom-com, you know where this is going.
Angel is whisked off to a cosmetics shoot, missing her date with Papi. He’s surprisingly understanding, and it’s hard not to be overwhelmed when they all see Angel’s face all over the makeup aisle in Duane Reade.
Throughout, Indya Moore is fantastic, of course. She stuns in any photoshoot scene, and it’s always magic when she walks the ballroom. Even if the Papi relationship feels a little out of nowhere, giving Angel some more emotional material is always a worthwhile exercise.
The other bananas story followed Elektra. Visited by regular john, Paul, Elektra once again breaks her “no drugs” rule at the dungeon (for the right price, natch). He’s brought a gas mask to help distribute his poppers and requests she leaves the room for 20 minutes until it all kicks in.
Of course, when she returns, he’s super dead.
Elektra has enough sense to realize having a dead white man on her hands is trouble, regardless of the accidental nature of his death. She turns to Blanca first. The mother of the House of Evangelista obviously champions the idea of calling the police, but Elektra still ain’t sold. So, she turns to Candy next.
Candy beautifully summarizes exactly why Blanca was the wrong choice to turn to in this situation: “Your problem, Blanca, is you think doing the right thing is always the right thing to do.” Brilliant.
While this was really Elektra’s story, Candy consistently stole every scene she was in. Angelica Ross deserves a lot of praise for grounding these scenes between Elektra’s theatrics and Blanca’s earnest virtue.
To gain further perspective, they visit a friend portrayed by RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Peppermint. She shares a story of a john that roughed her up, and the cops believed it was all her fault. She went to jail and was abused by guards and inmates.
Instead of calling the authorities, they go to the woman who injected Candy with the bogus silicone last season. Turns out she can do it all: Lips, butts, boobs, sewing corpses in a pleather cocoon full of lye, you name it!
The entire caper, from removing the body in an old suitcase to sewing the pleather tomb, felt like something out of an Almodovar film. It felt like a farce, but it still drove home this very important theme of how these women support each other no matter what, because no one else will.
I struggled the most with Elektra, who is always a force when she’s in HBIC-mode, but struggles to deliver vulnerability with as much finesse. You just never lose sight of the fact she’s ACTING, whereas Moore and Mj Rodriguez make it all seem effortless.
There’s little doubt the Tell Tale Sub decomposing inside Elektra’s closet will factor into future episodes. Personally, I’m here for it. Like recently revived Tales of the City, it’s these soapier storylines that help balance out all the gravitas of the ripped-from-the-history-books portrait of queer life.
I’m also intrigued by the Papi/Angel angle. The two of them do have a chemistry on screen that I’m eager to see more of.
What did you think of last night’s episode?