After last week’s emotionally-charged (and creatively-questionable) episode of Pose, this week gave us a production-heavy installment to lighten the mood.
Shifting the focus from our principle (now) quartet of trans actresses (R.I.P. Candy), I wasn’t thrilled at the prospect of a Damon and Ricky centered episode. Instead, the series wisely chose to use this opportunity to highlight its dance sequences — one of the show’s greatest strengths.
Even with minimal Pray Tell, Blanca and Angel, the simple emotional arc was easy to invest in. I’ve often bemoaned Ryan Jamaal Swain’s broad interpretation of Damon, but in this week’s episode, he brought the sort of ease and grace of his dancing to his speaking scenes.
Dyllon Burnside, who portrays Ricky, is a dependably solid player, but he really had a chance to shine last night.
As Madonna’s hit “Vogue” continues to top the charts, Damon’s vogue class is surging in popularity. A woman approaches him after class and invites him to audition for Madge’s “Blonde Ambition” tour. He is, of course, elated.
However, he’s not alone. Ricky also got the audition. What follows is crisply edited contrast between house mothers Blanca and Elektra as they react to the news. Blanca, of course, is warm and supportive, realizing this is a huge opportunity for Damon and for their entire community. Meanwhile, Elektra obviously makes it all about herself and getting her close to Madonna.
All of the dance scenes are stupendous, including Damon’s class and this first audition. Damon and Ricky share some sweet moments after the audition, conveying a sort of very natural ease between the two exes. I was never impressed with their on-screen chemistry previously, but they really filled these small, pleasant interactions with what felt like real residual feelings and history.
The pressure of the callback pushes Elektra to take desperate measures. She tries to convince her house to pull a Tonya Harding on Damon using Candy’s hammer. There was even a very heavy-handed justification that this is what Candy would’ve done. It was a slight and silly scene that really went nowhere, save for a sharp exchange between Blanca and Elektra wherein the former threatens to kill the latter if she lays a hand on any of her children.
Ricky and Damon both make the callback, of course. In a very strange editing decision, we don’t actually see them dance at the callback, but we do learn they didn’t get it.
Don’t fret just yet.
As they waited outside, they were offered another gig — dancers on a reboot of Solid Gold. They film the pilot, which means we’re treated to an extensive dance sequence. They’re hopeful the show will go to series, but Ricky is even more hopeful about their romantic future. Damon is resolute, though: There is too much at stake. They need to put all their energy into dance.
It’s interesting to see these characters start to get these bigger breaks. I hope they use the rising stars of Damon and Angel to dive further into the levels of privilege within this queer community of color. How would Damon’s career be affected if he were outed versus Angel? It’s an opportunity to explore the balance between our shared struggles and recognizing our unique experiences.
And it feels more relevant today than ever before.
What did you think of the episode?