Tuesday, August 6, 2019

REVIEW: 'Pose' - Damon Graduates from School But Is Devastated by Tragic News Elsewhere in 'Revelations'

FX's Pose - Episode 2.08 "Revelations"

Relationships are irreparably damaged when Damon reveals the secrets others have been hiding.

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.

"Revelations" was written by Steven Canals and directed by Steven Canals

Blanca and Helena are full of appreciation and admiration of one another following Damon's dance recital graduation. Helena remarks on how special and loving Blanca is as a mother. She fulfills the role as it should be. It's a parent's job to love and support their child. They have to fight to ensure that their children get the opportunities that they deserve while also helping them get up after getting knocked down by the cruel fates of the word. Damon is at this moment achieving his dreams because of these two women and their fierce devotion and love for him. Blanca didn't want anything to distract Damon from receiving this diploma. He is onto a world of opportunities now. Helena can see the light that shines within him. She sees it within Blanca as well. The passion that fuels her is so powerful and effervescent. She is the reason why so many good things happen for her family. She lifts people up while still holding everyone to high standards. She wants everyone to accept their own value in this world and fight to prove that they deserve to be noticed and appreciated wherever they go. This episode should be a huge accomplishment for Damon. He graduates and he gets an opportunity to tour Europe with Malcolm McLaren. And yet, the story also highlights how he can still be immature in a lot of ways. He is lashing out at the world because he doesn't get to bask in the glow of this success. Other people are stepping in on his spotlight. Angel is too self-destructive at the moment to fully celebrate him while Ricky is incapable of providing any intimacy because of the news that he tested positive for HIV. The episode never makes it clear whether or not Damon gets tested and is still negative. The show always asks the audience to be aware of the HIV status of its characters. It never wants that to be the sole thing to define them though. It's just something that is hugely defining of this world and therefore always has to be at the top of everyone's minds. It's strange and unexpected to see Pray Tell and Ricky suddenly become a couple. That flirtatious energy was really only introduced in the previous episode. And yes, Ricky being seen as a player in this world is a fair criticism. But he is incredibly vulnerable right now because his entire life is changing. He sees Pray as a comforting figure who can help him understand what all of this means. Pray and Blanca are still figuring it out for themselves. They struggle with how to feel sexually attractive and desirable when they carry a disease they see as a death sentence. They understand the importance of living in the moment because they never know how long it will last. They feel as if they are constantly living on borrowed time. They have to make a lasting impact on this world. That's their guiding principle. But it also allows them to have vastly different reactions to things. Pray had a health scare recently. The drugs that work for Blanca don't work for him. They may for Ricky. Or they may not. It's all a complete unknown. Pray embraces this new love because he sees it as a way for him to feel valid and loved once more. He no longer has to be the strong one keeping it all together for his community. He can be vulnerable and taken care of too. That shows a new side of Ricky. One that highlights how this bond can actually help him mature. Sure, it runs the risk of him almost avoiding the consequences of what this diagnosis means for him. But it remains freeing in a way too.

Of course, all of this comes crashing down in a way that could destroy everything the show has worked to build across two seasons now. Change isn't necessarily a bad thing. Blanca wants great, big things for her children. She is proud to see Angel's face in stores and magazines. She is proud that her daughter has a thriving modeling career. She is so excited to see Damon perform like he has always dreamed of doing. She doesn't want to hold any of her children back. That just means she is left all alone feeling as if she now doesn't have anyone to confide in. That's not true at all. She still has Elektra and Lulu. And yet, their support can only go so far. Lulu still has moments of being an immature child who needs guidance from the mothers of this community. Meanwhile, Elektra has a much more firm grip on what it means to be a parent and how children should show their affection. She is loving and vulnerable with Blanca some of the time. She has experienced so much alongside her. And yet, they have such different styles that prevent them from being the closest and most trusting of friends. They support each other because they may be all that they have at the end of the day. But it's a bond out of necessity instead of something truly special. Blanca had that for so long with Pray. And now, they are openly fighting because she thinks he's being careless and reckless with this fling with Ricky. She doesn't want to see her vulnerable boys get hurt. She sees that Damon is in pain. He is now angry at the world. He is still victorious at the balls. He walks home with a trophy. But he doesn't do so as a proud member of the House of Evangelista. Instead, he does so because he has the confidence that he is the best when it comes to performing. That is quickly validated in so many ways for him. He deserves everything that he gets here even though it sends him to another continent. It leaves Blanca all alone because she has to accept the fact that she must abide by her rules no matter what. It's time for her children to spread their wings and establish lives outside of Blanca's house. It's the reality that Angel has to force Blanca to accept. It's not something that Blanca readily does despite the evidence that Angel is still abusing drugs. It's actually remarkable how clear-minded Angel is throughout this as well. Sure, she lashes out at Damon for no apparent reason. But she understands that Blanca must stick to her rules while also operating with the confidence that she won't be working the piers again any time soon. She too is moving on up in life. That may be painful right now for the family. But it could all be for the best. That too is a reality of parenting that Blanca has to accept. She made a difference in her children's lives. But she is now eating dinner all alone. This season started with the House of Evangelista full of people. The various members have all come and gone. And now, Blanca can no longer turn to Pray for support. That's a significant change. It's the most drastic development the show has produced to date. It may not last. It's painful to see the two of them fighting over this. But it could also highlight how they have different ways of coping with the world. They judge each other without fully being able to commit to loving each other and themselves regardless. That is the aspirational tone of this world and what this friendship has always done. There is the confidence that they will eventually get back to that point. It just probably won't be easy especially with Blanca also having to find her own place in the world once more. She is a businesswoman and a proud mother. And now, she must explore what else is possible for her.