Tuesday, July 30, 2019

REVIEW: 'Pose' - Blanca and Pray Set Damon, Ricky and Lulu Off a Mission to Protest HIV Misinformation in 'Blow'

FX's Pose - Episode 2.07 "Blow"

The House of Evangelista plans a large prank to antagonize Frederica. Meanwhile, Angel is introduced to the unsavory side of modeling.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of FX's Pose.

"Blow" was written by Janet Mock and directed by Jennie Livingston

This season started with the appeal and allure of Madonna's "Vogue" sweeping the nature. Blanca saw it as the ballroom scene going mainstream. She inspired her children to take full advantage of the moment. Many of them have received new promises at a better life this year. There has been plenty of tragedy as well. Plus, the audience is fully aware of the history of this particular moment. One song wasn't enough to change the culture in a substantial way. Damon and Ricky may have still been dancing to "Vogue" a few weeks ago. But now, time is passing and the passion has died down. It's still a lifestyle and community for so many people though. It was a huge service on Madonna's part that brought visibility and validation to this community. But now, the narrative is choosing to focus on what's next. This can be a very depressing time. Things seem dire at the moment because it's unclear how the ballroom scene will survive in a world that no longer cares to understand them. Of course, it existed long before pop culture was aware of it and it will continue to have a healthy and beautiful life afterwards. Right now though, Pray feels the need to deliver an uplifting message of hope. Things may be dark and dire at this moment in time. But the community still has each other. That is the most powerful message that comes from this series as a whole. It's the responsibility of every person in this world to care about others and lead with compassion. Sure, some people are allowed to be selfish. They want to move up in society without having to sacrifice too much for the greater good. That is a perfectly valid reaction as well. But this is also a matter of life and death. The world at large wants this community to completely die out. That can be absolutely soul crushing. In fact, it feels like the HIV crisis is creeping even further into this world. So many people have died already without any progress made on a cure. And now, more people come back with positive results. That's absolutely devastating. It proves that this virus doesn't discriminate. It doesn't matter if it's a person who has already lived a full life or someone who is just getting started. It can strike at any point in time. It's especially damning when there is so much misinformation out in the world. That's why Blanca wishes to disrupt the system with a massive form of protest over Frederica's house. It's such a powerful visual to see a giant inflatable condom in this world. It presents as a problem that Damon, Ricky and Lulu have to find a solution for. They absolutely succeed in doing so. They find the creative solution. It also brings them back to life. They emerge with newfound focus. It allows Lulu to have confident in herself once more. It's enough to get her to enroll in community college and restart her career in accounting. She now has a future that is full of opportunities. That is the greatest outcome of this particular story. Of course, it doesn't all go according to plan. No, it doesn't immediately lead to massive arrests of those who vandalize Frederica's house. But it's also unclear if it makes much of a difference. Ricky still tests positive for HIV. He does so even though he has had Blanca as a mother trying to pass along the lessons she has learned throughout her life. That is such a devastating and personal moment for him as well. He at least has allies to help him through this difficult time despite his weird flirtatiousness with Pray. This doesn't have to be a death sentence for him. The show just depicts how all of this continues to consume this world. It's fun to see people perform in the balls and embark on colorful acts of protest. But this remains a matter of life and death. These are powerful lessons that need to be continually learned. Condoms are important. So is responsibility over one's own actions. Love and intimacy is so crucial. It's powerful to see Angel and Papi engaging in sex. But it's also dangerous to see them high on cocaine. That could lead to the destruction of their own progress they have made this year. Angel gets some tough love from her agent after showing up late to a photoshoot. She can't blow up this opportunity now. The show wants to empower everyone by saying that members of the LGBTQ+ community can achieve whatever they set their minds to. It just remains a fight. That is the realistic perspective at the moment. It may be dark and difficult but that's often the cost one has to pay in order to be a success. One has to stand firm with their convictions while also trusting that the system will support them and lift them up when they need it the most. Damon gets that after his diagnosis from Pray and Blanca gets that in her initial victory in court against Frederica.