Pose Season 3 aired a two-episode series finale last Sunday. While I will miss such a groundbreaking show, at least I can say I’m satisfied with the endings the characters got.
Pose has always been a show about not shying away from the hardships faced by the queer community. Yes, the characters got to have fun too, but as Blanca stated in the finale, people like them don’t necessarily tend to have “happily ever afters”. What they do get are happy moments they should do their best to cherish. I do think the finale drove that particular message home quite well.
Throughout the three seasons, we have seen our main cast experience hardship after hardship. Yet they always found some sense of hope from their community. Even during the series finale, while things got better for a bunch of them, there’s still a lot the queer community had to fight back in the ’90s.
Unfortunately, the battle for obtaining basic human rights is still going on to this day. The fear of certain legislation taking away everything the community has worked so hard for is ever-present. Sigh!
The first part of the two-episode Pose Season 3 finale followed Blanca and Pray Tell being signed into a clinical trial for a new cocktail of meds for HIV/AIDS. With the cocktail working for them, and the protests for providing better medical access to people of color not producing results fast enough, the two characters began to experience survivor’s guilt.
Along with fighting for the health of the queer community, Pray’s story arc involved wondering about the future of Ballroom culture. Pray’s interest in leaving behind a legacy and helping raise funds for the community lead to him and Blanca performing a lip-sync duet to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Diana Ross.
While I enjoyed seeing Pray get the spotlight, I couldn’t help but feel something was off. And sure enough, it was revealed that Pray had planned to sacrifice his life to help Ricky live. He had been giving his trial medication to Ricky!
Even though Pray’s death wasn’t unexpected (episode 4 was all about Pray going back to his hometown to say his goodbyes), it still packed a punch. His final moments were about dying on his own terms while ensuring that the person he loved, Ricky, would live. I loved the scene where Pray took off his makeup and looked at who he really was.
Part two of the finale involved the aftermath of Pray’s death and offering satisfying endings to the remaining cast of characters. I liked seeing Blanca and Pray’s mother finally getting to meet. Pray had made certain changes to his will after episode 4. He even wrote little messages for everyone important in his life. And Blanca used his ashes during a protest involving scattering the ashes of AIDS patients on the mayor’s front lawn. Blanca also completed Pray’s AIDS quilt featuring the show’s tagline, “Live. Werk. Pose”. All of the scenes showcased how important Pray had been to the community and that his legacy will continue to live on through Ballroom culture and the people who knew him.
After providing everyone closure regarding Pray death, I was surprised to see the show jump ahead to 1998. The time skip was where the creative team did their best to deliver hope to the audience and share how this beloved group of characters were going to be okay.
The medication for AIDS was working. Blanca had become a certified nurse and celebrating her four-year anniversary with Christopher. She was now dealing with new AIDS patients and providing them with the necessary resources. Judy was working in the maternity ward, now surrounded by new life compared to the numerous deaths she had to face when trying to take care of patients fighting AIDS.
The episode featured Blanca getting together for lunch with Angel, Elektra, and Lulu. I liked the Sex and the City nod during that particular scene. And yes, Blanca calling out how the show didn’t feature a single Black or Latina cast member (even in a supporting role) made me laugh. “They need to call it Being White and the City,” she shared.
The lunch helped offer information about what Blanca’s crew had been up to. Lulu was working in the tax department. Ever the versatile businesswoman, Elektra had pivoted her phone sex business to webcams. Of course, she was still working with the mafia. But she kind of made up for her shady dealings by secretly funding programs to help her community (including paying for surgeries for a number of transgender people). Angel was content raising a kid with her husband Papi and still working as a model. We even got a letter from Damon talking about his new relationship and his career teaching dance.
The lunch made it clear that Blanca’s still connected to Ballroom even though Elektra, Angel, and Lulu had moved on. Blanca’s core character trait is having a motherly instinct. So, it made sense to see her raising the new generation of the House of Evangelista (with Ricky now being the House Father).
The final performance in the finale involved Elektra making a surprise appearance at a Ball to bestow legendary status on Blanca. Pose has always been about family and doing what’s possible to represent and help your community. Blanca’s done everything in her power to help those around her during the three seasons. Seeing her gain recognition as a legend in the community was something she deserved.
Not only that, the final moments of Pose Season 3 involved Blanca encouraging another House to keep trying and never giving up. The scene linked back to what Pray had once told Blanca about the importance of creating safe places for queer kids. Even in the year 2021, lots of queer kids are in need of love and support. And that’s what the Ballroom scene gives freely and will continue to do so. This is something that’s quite evident in the HBO Max reality-competition series Legendary (which I cover over on our YouTube channel), with the House members sharing the hardships they had to experience before finding family in Ballroom culture.
All in all, the Pose series finale was very satisfying. This is definitely an iconic show that will continue to be part of TV history. Here’s to hoping we get more media featuring transgender talent in front and behind the camera. Fingers crossed we continue to see the cast in other stuff.
What did you think of the Pose series finale?
Let us know.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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