Sunday, May 2, 2021

REVIEW: 'Pose' - Blanca and the House of Evangelista Rally Around One of Their Own at the Hospital in 'On the Run'

FX's Pose - Episode 3.01 "On the Run"

1994. With the AIDS epidemic reaching fever pitch, Blanca finds purpose working as a nurse's aide at Roosevelt hospital alongside her new love, Christopher. But Blanca's history with a new patient leads to a challenging ordeal. Lemar shakes up the ballroom community when he becomes father to the unruly House of Khan forcing the House of Evangelista to consider reassembling.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the season premiere of FX's Pose.

"On the Run" was written by Steven Canals & Janet Mock and directed by Janet Mock

Blanca raised the House of Evangelista on the family values that best define the ballroom community. She guided them to excellence while also encouraging them to chase their dreams and pursue their wildest ambitions. It hasn't been an easy life. The world would rather the LGBTQ+ community die instead of being embraced. It's been years since HIV/AIDS first emerged as a vicious disease. People are still dying from it with no treatment on the horizon. It's devastating and demoralizing. Some members of the community have lived with the virus for years. Their health is always important. And yet, any moment could quickly turn tragic as a result. That's the life they have imagined for themselves. It's what the world has conditioned them into believing. The ballroom community sets out to be a celebration. It champions those who aren't given the praise they clearly deserve elsewhere in society. That also means the various characters have achieved some great things over the course of the series. Some of their dreams have been crushed. However, their spirits haven't been destroyed. They still rely on family. And yet, the ballroom scene is changing. Now, it's becoming a way to actually earn money. Sure, the emcees struggle to raise the cash necessary to make it exciting for the various houses to compete. That also runs the risk of removing the essential quality that made this community so life-saving in the first place. It lives in the underground. People have to scramble to get by. And yet, the balls offers a place to thrive. It's the community coming together to lift up those who deserve such recognition. The House of Evangelista is a legacy at this point. It's remarkable when the former members decide to walk together again. In fact, they may get high scores from the judges simply because of the stature and legacy they embody through their sheer presence. It's not all that defines their lives. This celebration allows them to be more confident elsewhere. However, they must always remember and give back to the community. They can't be too consumed in their own lives that they forget about the other people who are suffering at the moment. Lemar is determined to be the face of the future. He already embodies the perfect mixture of voguing with 90s style. The show has moved into a new decade. The movement is changing. However, so much remains the same as well. This community needs each other for safety and protection. The family must rally when Cubby is dying at the hospital. They share that brief moment of happiness together. Sure, it's also high-stakes drama when they sit around the television watching O.J. Simpson being chased in the white bronco. That's a part of history. These characters experience that as well. They too are divided on the question of his guilt. That's a conversation the rest of the world is having. This community sees that and experiences it too. Their lives though have been cast aside and diminished for a long time. Cubby's mother believed he was destined to die of AIDS. That was her uninformed opinion. He found a place where he could be his true, authentic self. Sure, he does die from this disease. It's not confirmation of the worst prejudices though. That's not the fate for every member of this community. Blanca is chasing her own dreams. Part of that is the legacy of her house. She defends her title as well as the history and importance of the balls. That's important. The newcomers can't forget that legacy. She also wants to give back at the hospital. She feels empowered to apply for nursing school. It may be her changing career paths again. But it's also an opportunity available to her. She doesn't have to be frightened or make herself smaller over the fear of how society will react to her presence. She is so inspiring to her children and community. She finally introduces her new boyfriend, Christopher, to them as well. Her life is capable of being fulfilled and nourished in this way. Everyone is deserving of such greatness and happiness. Sustaining that can certainly be difficult. Angel feels she isn't being booked for shots she would be perfect for. Damon has become sober, while Pray is actively showing a problem with his drinking. Cubby dies. Lemar misses that moment. He only witnesses the aftermath. Trauma and loss remain part of this world. So many more emotions do as well. That's life. These characters continue to engage in that full spectrum in a way that is so often overlooked or discounted. Their human stories are being shared. They set out on these dreams. And now, it's compelling to see them rise and fall within them. This premiere offers confidence and reassurance that the show remains as intimate and visceral as ever before.