Pose: Episode Two

The two-part season premiere continues with Blanca and Judy at the hospital, talking about Pray Tell. Blanca is extremely worried about his condition, saying he’s been drinking constantly and popping pills. Judy tells her how he also has stopped contact with her after she attempted to confront him when he showed up to a funeral high. Blanca decides that they need to hold an intervention for him so he can face his addictions, grief, and fears, and get better.

Angel and Lulu walk into a meeting, high, with the House of Evangelista about Pray Tell’s intervention. Blanca has gotten someone to help them learn how to go about it in a proper way. One method is to have each of them write letters to Pray Tell to express exactly how they feel. They all have different opinions, and while they’re bickering, Blanca yells out that they need to stop, and come together to help Pray Tell. She then mentions that Damon has relapsed and has gone back to live with his family for good. Although this was an abrupt exit for this loved character, but it is because the actor unfortunately lost his sister while they were filming the final season and could not understandably continue working. I hope he makes an appearance in the series finale, so we get a proper goodbye of the character, but if we don’t, then it will be ok given the situation.

Blanca continues the conversation by saying that they should send Pray Tell to a rehab center, and to get the money to pay for it, they need to sweep the ball. Elektra makes it her mission to whip everyone back into shape to win every walk. It then transitions to an epic montage of Mother Elektra re-training Ricky with vogueing, and taking over Papi’s office to find the perfect dress for Angel.

We then go to Lulu and Angel at Angel’s apartment, and they are not looking good. Their skin is pale, lips chapped, and Lulu has left school. Papi comes home and when he sees that Lulu is with Angel, he becomes upset, telling her to leave. He desperately doesn’t want Angel going down this road and becoming a cocaine addict like Lulu has become. He attempts to make her see that they’ve lucked out—they didn’t get AIDs, they are living comfortably, they have each other—but the way Papi is talking makes Angel become paranoid that he’s sleeping with other people and the reason she isn’t getting jobs is because he doesn’t have his attention on her. He tells her he hasn’t looked at a single woman since they’ve been together, and that he doesn’t want to marry her if she doesn’t want to be sober and healthy for herself and for them.

Lulu still isn’t doing well, as she attempts a lackluster lip sync for Elektra, who is not impressed, and would rather Pray Tell perform instead. She is noticing Lulu’s change in health and tells her she needs to stop smoking crack, and that until then, she will stay behind the scenes and not walk in a ball. Lulu is visibly sad to see Elektra’s disappointment in her, and it makes you wonder if she will try to make a change.

Over at Blanca’s, she is getting ready to meet her boyfriend Christopher’s parents, with Angel helping her. She’s worried they won’t accept her for she is—you can tell she really cares about that because she loves Christopher. She then brings up Lulu, saying she looked out of it at their intervention meeting, and before she can ask Angel any questions, Angel dips out. We then go to Blanca and Christopher at a restaurant, meeting his parents. At first glance, they are warm and welcoming. However, his mother starts asking about her parents, and you can see the difference in class/status. Blanca was raised in the projects, in a place of community, but also that of survival. Christopher was raised by middle class parents, in what seems like a suburban, highly educated area. Christopher’s mother then asks the feared “do you want children” question. Blanca responds by saying she already has four kids, to which Christopher tries to explain that she’s a “House Mother,” and tries to build her up by saying she’s an entrepreneur. His mother doesn’t quite get it though, and talks down to her. Blanca retorts with a passive aggressive note of “call me, I can fix those cuticles any time.” Christopher stays silent.

Back at the ballroom, Blanca, Elektra, and Angel are in the dressing room talking about the dinner Blanca just had. She is starting to believe that he’s good for her, but Elektra refuses to allow her to think like that, saying, “you are my daughter, you are every fucking thing.’ Blanca deserves the best, and Christopher should have stood up for her. They all agree that she needs to confront him about that.

Elsewhere, Pray Tell arrives to Castle’s apartment. He is sick, but Pray Tell is trying to get him out of bed to bring him to the ball. He finally convinces him to get up, and get ready. As Castle is getting ready, Pray Tell sees a bottle of sleeping pills and asks him what he plans on doing with them—to which Castle responds he’s saving them for a rainy day. If that day were to come, he would do it at the Plaza. But it won’t happen as long as the OJ trial is happening. They finish up and head to the ball, where Castle, against Pray Tell’s wishes, asks the bartender for a drink.

The House of Evangelista is finishing their walk, with Elektra coming out looking absolutely fabulous. The person she’s against gets a bad score, and of course, Elektra gets all 10s. She receives a large trophy, after refusing a small one, because Elektra ALWAYS gets the big trophy, no matter the category she’s walking in. The lip syncing category then begins, and the House of Khan goes first, receiving multiple 10s and one 9. Pray Tell competes for the House of Evangelista, charges up the crowd, and gets all 10s. As he gets his trophy, we see Castle at the bar, not looking so hot. On the floor, Lemar claims the category was rigged and pulls out a switch blade. But before anything more happens, Castle begins to have a seizure. An ambulance is immediately called, but they won’t let Pray Tell into the ambulance.

This event sends him a bit over the edge, so when they all go back inside, he goes straight to the bar. As he’s drinking, Lemar comes over to him and basically proceeds to be an absolute dick to him. Pray Tell takes a shot, stands up, and punches him right in the face, as he should!

The House of Evangelista return to Blanca’s to eat, but Pray Tell isn’t taking a single bite, only drinking. Blanca decides to call the intervention at this moment, and that they have arranged him to have a getaway. Elektra is more direct, and tells him they’re sending him to rehab. Pray Tell doesn’t want them wasting money on rehab, and when Papi speaks up, he accidentally mentions Lisa, the counselor, who told them to write letters to him. Pray tell immediately becomes bothered by that. But they take out their letters and Blanca begins to read hers. Pray Tell is defensive about what is said about him. Ricky then goes, and in his letter, gives him an ultimatum that if he doesn’t get sober, that he will leave him. Pray Tell begins to get even more defensive and agitated. Elektra goes last, and like usual, tells it as it is, which causes Pray Tell to explode with anger and insult her, Blanca, and Angel, calling them things like an HIV charity case and crackhead fiancé. He storms out, refusing to accept their help, leaving Blanca in tears.

At Pray Tell’s, he is fixing himself a cocktail, while Ricky is packing up his things. He tells Pray that he is leaving and doesn’t want to stay in an unhealthy relationship like his mother did. Pray becomes emotional, saying he doesn’t want to go to rehab, asking who he’s hurting, and gaslighting Ricky. “I will not let you hold me hostage because of HIV,” Ricky says. That causes Pray Tell to have an outburst, hitting Ricky and crying, yelling out that everyone leaves him and that he needs Ricky to stay. With courage, and respect for himself, Ricky tells him he can’t, and leaves as Pray yells at him.

At Angel and Papi’s, he has just made a nice candlelit dinner, but she is assuming there is an ulterior motive. He tells her that he has none, he just wanted to make a nice dinner for his fiancé, and to celebrate that Calvin Klein wants her for his new fragrance. This softens Angel a bit, and she tells Papi that she has spoken to Lisa, the counselor, to begin prioritizing her sobriety so she can be better and clean when she walks down the aisle. Papi responds with nothing but love and support—“I gotchu, gorgeous, I gotchu.” (Excuse me while I cry at how much I love them.)

Blanca gets home to Christopher’s and immediately tells him that he needs to stand up for her. He tells her that his parents want to meet up again, and she reluctantly says yes. However, Christopher’s mother immediately becomes snotty about how Blanca was raised, to which she defends herself, and comes out as trans. The mother responds with blatant transphobic comments, causing Blanca to stand up to leave. At that moment, Christopher stands up for Blanca, telling his mom to stop, and that if she can’t accept that he loves Blanca, then she’ll lose him.

We return to Pray Tell, who has shown up to another funeral, and sees the other council members there sans Castle. They tell him that he wasn’t home and that his meds were gone. Pray immediately knows where he went, and storms into a room at the Plaza, where Castle is laying on the bed, with the pill bottle, still full, next to him. He sobs in Pray’s arms, telling him he couldn’t do it and that he wants to live. They make a deal that if Castle gets rid of the pills, Pray will get rid of the alcohol, and in a tender moment, that “I’ll keep fighting, if you promise me that you’ll do the same.”

Pray goes to the hospital where Blanca works and apologizes, telling her that he drinks because he hates himself, and hates himself because he drinks, and that he doesn’t want to feel that way anymore. So, Blanca drives him to upstate New York to the rehab center for him to start his journey to sobriety. They share a sentimental exchange of goodbyes and support, and Pray is brought into the center, as Blanca drives away. Pray is now on a path of healing, and Blanca couldn’t be more proud of him.

Isabel Maina

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