Sunday, May 30, 2021

REVIEW: 'Pose' - Angel and Papi Get Married in an Extravagant and Beautiful Ceremony in 'Something Old, Something New'

FX's Pose - Episode 3.06 "Something Old, Something New"

While the dust settles on their unforeseen life change, Papi adjust to being a guardian and Angel seeks guidance from an unexpected source.

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 next episode of FX's Pose.

"Something Old, Something New" was written by Janet Mock and directed by Janet Mock

Angel and Papi's wedding was thrown into turmoil with the discovery that Papi had a son. It was a melodramatic plot twist meant to throw a wrench into the proceedings. It was the source of drama in the previous episode. Angel was celebrating this momentous occasion. Elektra was making as many extravagant purchases as she could because of the power of this moment. Angel gets to serve as inspiration for an entire community. They too can dream about a life as a wife and a mother as a reality for them. Angel remains terrified until the actual ceremony though. At first, she is willing to call the wedding off. It's completely because of how uncertain she is about being a mother right now. That drama is mostly resolved early on though. It's clear right away that Papi is a great dad. Moreover, the episode serves as an examination for what it means to be a man. Papi has learned so much because of the people he has met and loved in the ballroom community. Blanca took him in when his past wanted to condemn him to a bad path. He made mistakes along the way. And yet, he has built a successful life for himself. He has a steady and lucrative job. He is engaged. And now, he has a son and gets to be an integral part of his life. He is beyond happy and thrilled. He wants Angel as a part of this family. She is tentative about the prospect. It takes seeing her father for the first time in two years to realize just how much unconditional love Papi has always shared with her. Now, that has always been apparent. He would do absolutely anything for her. Angel is fortunate to have this connection with her biological family. It's not something she talks about. Nor is it something that should be propped up as a meaningful declaration of love. Her father still misgenders her. He doesn't understand her world. He doesn't get it. Angel is scared of someone telling her she can't marry Papi as well. She should have this opportunity. And yet, this is a world that doesn't support gay marriage. It's a world that looks at a birth certificate for all the information about a person's identity. It's incredibly limiting. Elektra certainly has the means to make this all work out for Angel. That continues to be a radical change-of-pace this season. Through her partnership with the mob, Elektra can do whatever her loved ones need. She gifts wedding dresses to everyone attending. She buys an apartment for Lulu. She spares no expense when it comes to this wedding. All of this could make it seem like the characters no longer have any adversity. Their dreams are coming true because Elektra has this money and is willing to spend it. It could develop the sinking feeling that something bad is about to happen. And yet, it mostly exists to prop up the celebration of this moment. It's necessary to see this wedding happen onscreen. A trans woman is being celebrated as deserving of all these precious moments. The world is limitless in what it can provide for her. The moment is about her. Her love with Papi is strong. But it's also an inspiration for all those who can potentially follow in her footsteps. She struggles as a mother. Blanca always knew that Angel would pick up her legacy as house mother. She is embracing that role in a new way. She has that opportunity now. Angel and Papi's lives are full and more enriching because of their son. He too becomes a critical part of this wedding.

The ceremony itself is absolutely magical. Papi sets high expectations for himself because of how he has embodied his love and affection for Angel all this time. He is very vocal about loving her completely. He feels the pressure to create the perfect moment that tops everything he has already done. His vows are memorable. He performs All-4-One's "I Swear." It's such an unexpected moment. That's the advice his friends give him though. He appreciates all that Pray, Ricky and Lemar have done for him over the years. They have shown him how to be a man. They have taught him how to walk through this world with dignity and respect. He knows when to be tough. He knows when to be vulnerable too. He needs Angel and his son in his life. He proudly proclaims all of this. Meanwhile, Angel shows her own appreciation and gratitude for the woman who have supported her throughout this journey. She too has had her struggles. She didn't believe she was deserving of this love. If she was, she would have to accept less than ideal treatment. But she found Papi. He has given her so much. His love is limitless. They both celebrate the people who got them to this moment. It's a happy celebration. And yet, not every influential person can be there. Some of them tragically died before all of this could take place. Some of them are actively dying right now. Life must be lived fully. Candy and Cubby offer their moments of celebration. The friends they've left behind mourn their losses. They know that even more lives will be lost along the way. Pray doesn't want to dampen this day for Angel and Papi. He too wants to celebrate and cherish their love. He is going blind. He may not have long left. That tragedy has proven to be the core through-line of the season. It offers a sense of tragedy paired alongside all of the new possibilities for the ensemble. It creates a bittersweet sensation. Angel and Papi have their family now. They celebrate all that is possible for them. Life can still be tough though. Discrimination still exists. A virus is still hellbent on taking as many lives as possible. Pray is ballroom. Blanca finds a way to honor his life. Everyone is expecting the end soon. And yes, the show itself is coming to an end. This isn't it though. Instead, it has one final chapter to go. As such, it should be fascinating to see how the show inspires through the achievement of great ambitions for some characters while cementing the tragic stakes of this world as well.