Pose: Episode Three

Let’s rewind it back to 1978, to Elektra working the piers and making money that the other girls don’t. As her and a friend walk back to her car, Elektra talks about her dreams of being rich and being able to afford anything she wants, any lifestyle she wants. Her friend then says how she forgot her keys to her car, which is bad news for Elektra. She has her change of clothes in there, and she’s afraid to go home looking the way she is because her mother doesn’t approve. Yet, she has no choice and tries to sneak in the house without her seeing. That doesn’t work, because her mom is waiting for her. She immediately dead-names her, calls her a boy/mis-genders her, and in a terrifyingly strict voice, tells Elektra that she doesn’t want her wearing dresses in her house. Her name is on the lease, and she refuses to have her “son” wear that. She violently begins to rip the dress off of Elektra, and tears off her wig and forcefully grabs her face and pulls her in front of a mirror, as if she should be disgusted at how she looks. But no, Elektra stands her ground, and as her mother continuously dead-names her, defiantly yells, “My name is Elektra!”

She runs upstairs and begins to pack her things. Her mother follows her and continues to berate and humiliate her. “You may have birthed me, but you refuse to see me,” cries Elektra, something that so many have felt and relate to. Her mother denies her access to her own belongings, including precious clothes and items in a trunk that Elektra purchased and received herself. Her mother has no claim to it, but playing the “my name is on the lease, I’m your mother” card gives her a false belief that she owns it because it’s under her roof. She then yells at Elektra to get out, and pushes her out of the house with nothing of her own with her. Elektra stands up from the ground her mother threw her on, applies lipstick, and with courage and finesse, tells her, “This is who I am. Farewell, mother dear.” She walks off into the morning dew, with nothing but the clothes on her back.

Fast forward to present day, 1994, Elektra is walking down the street wearing the finest of clothes, and entering a building as cops watch on. She gets buzzed into a luxurious office space, where she has her own office. Elektra now owns a phone sex business, a True Entrepreneur!! She goes to listen to her voicemails, one of which is from Lulu telling Elektra that she’s fine and to not come looking for her. Suddenly, there’s a loud knock on the door and detectives enter, telling Elektra she has to come with them to the station, to which she obliges. At the station, they tell her that Mayor Rudy Guliani is adamant at cleaning up New York City, and that includes cleaning up the “smut” that Elektra is a part of. The detectives want her to to reveal who she works with and who some of her clients are, but she doesn’t talk, asking for a lawyer. They tell her that while she waits for her lawyer, they’ll get warrants to search her apartment. This freaks out Elektra a bit because, well, she still has a dead body in her closet. Remember that??? She uses her one phone call to call Blanca, and luckily she answers. She tells Blanca to go to her apartment and get money from her safe to pay for her release, and to get her trunk and take care of it. Blanca agrees to help, obviously, and as soon as Elektra gets off the phone she gets arrested. The cop puts her in a male jail cell with a creepy dude, and Elektra tries to protest, saying she’s a woman, but the transphobic cop tells her to “prove it,” and leaves her there.

Blanca recruits Papi to help her and goes to Elektra’s apartment, where Ricky is staying, and lets them in. She opens up the closet, where there’s a lot of air fresheners hanging from the ceiling. She grabs the money from the safe and then tells the boys to grab the trunk. Papi tries to move it himself and can’t, and asks Blanca why it’s so heavy. Blanca is silent, she doesn’t want to get them involved. Papi tells her that she hast to trust them, that they’re family and they’re there for her and Elektra. So Blanca tells them about Elektra’s client who overdosed, and because Elektra couldn’t go to the police, she hid his dead body in the trunk. Although Papi and Ricky are nervous, and a bit grossed out, they help move the trunk over to Blanca’s, where they disguise it as a shrine in Damon’s room. Blanca then tells them that this trunk has a history, that it used to have all of Elektra’s prized possessions, and that she gave it all away for them.

We go back to 1983, in the early days of the House of Abundance with Elektra, Candy, Lulu and Blanca. They’re not living in the best place, and there’s no food to eat. Elektra doesn’t have enough money to give to Blanca to go get food, so Blanca offers to go to the piers, but Elektra tells her no, and goes instead. At the piers, Elektra sees a few young kids there—Angel, Cubby and Lemar!— and asks them what the heck they’re doing there. The three of them had run away and sleep in shifts at the piers, and only work when they get really hungry. A man then drives up and calls for Elektra and tells her to bring her friends. Elektra tells Angel and the others that they aren’t doing anything but going to her house and asking for Blanca, that they’ll find a home and family there. She then goes off with the man in the car to earn some money for her daughters. Later that night, they’re all stuffing their faces with Chinese food. Elektra tells them that they should always expect her to provide for them, but as soon as she says that, the lights go out in the apartment. They begin bickering about what to do to get money, all of which involve some type of robbery, to which Elektra refuses any of them to do. She has an idea, though, and tells everyone to grab their coats so they can go get something that is rightfully hers.

They arrive at Elektra’s mom’s house, and Elektra has Blanca and Angel go to remove the AC unit from the window so they can get in. Candy takes out her hammer and gives it to them to help get it out, but it falls to the ground. Lemar talks some smack and in a hilarious moment, Candy quips, “I thought someone without a hammer tried to say something.” Blanca and Elektra climb into the house, while Elektra’s mom is sleeping. They go to her room and Elektra grabs cash she had hidden, and the trunk that has all of her precious items. They carry the trunk down the stars, but are stopped by Elektra’s mom, who is now awake and threatening to call the police because Elektra “doesn’t look like the man who owns this trunk.” Elektra threatens her back, telling her she’ll embarrass her and air her dirty laundry on the streets if she does. Her mom gives in and tells her to take the trunk so there won’t be a reason for her to come back. Blanca tries to stand up for Elektra, but her mom continues to say hurtful things. She explains that she had prayed for a boy every day when she was pregnant, so now she feels betrayed from what Elektra has become. “I’m more ferocious than any man…No one would have touched you,” Elektra tells her mom. “What do you want from me, mother?” She responds by asking to find common ground and to work something out between them, “if you could just tone it down a little.” Elektra refuses, and expresses something many in the LGBTQ community strive for: “My whole life is dedicated to toning it up.” Elektra and Blanca leave with the trunk, Elektra never to see her mom again.

Back in present day, Blanca, Ricky and Papi are looking at maps to figure out where to dispose of the body. Christopher then comes into the apartment, Blanca forgetting that he was coming. She tells him that Elektra is in jail, waiting for the judge to set bail. Christopher smells the funk and asks Blanca what it is, and she tries to say it’s a bunch of other things, but he goes towards the trunk, recognizing that it’s coming from there. Blanca is scared to tell him because he wouldn’t understand the situation. But Christopher wants to try, wants her to let him in. She then tells him everything and how Elektra couldn’t do anything. “The system blames us when it is the system that fails us. Nobody got our backs but us.” She mentions how she had been in jail once and the only reason why the men didn’t touch her was because Elektra bailed her out in time. Christopher empathizes with her, telling her that he wants to be there for her and for all of them. They then get a phone call, which Papi answers—the judge has set bail! The four of them go to the precinct and pick up Elektra.

In1983, the House of Abundance moves into the loft space we were introduced to at the beginning of the series. Blanca goes into Elektra’s room and sees the trunk, which is empty save for the picture frame of Elektra and her mom. Blanca knows what Elektra sacrificed for them live their life comfortably and free to express their true selves. Returning to present day, the group drives up the river to dump the body. They pull off the road by a sewage plant, and the guys go to take the trunk out of the back of Christopher’s car. It falls and opens, the body falling out. Ricky immediately vomits, while Papi and Christopher grab it and carry it to the dock. They wrap the trunk in chains and throw it into the river. Blanca tells Elektra that none of this was her fault, and Elektra is beginning to feel some peace with her past as that trunk sinks into the depths of the river.

They all go back to Blanca’s to eat dinner and Christopher reveals that he called a friend and got Elektra’s charges dropped. She runs off from the table upset, because she doesn’t want to be beholden to any man, or have to owe him or Blanca. Blanca chases after her and tells her that this was all paying back Elektra for all that she sacrificed for her and the others. She pulls out the photo of Elektra and her mom that she kept, and tells her that it’s the people/family you surround yourself with that matters most, not anything else. She then tells her that she got into nursing school, and Elektra embraces her, telling her that she’s so proud of her. Elektra tells Blanca that she called their House Abundance because the others filled her with love and family. They take a trip down memory lane to when they walked together as a house for the first time…

That night’s walks were an utter failure, and Pray Tell was over it. But then he’s told there is a new mother in town, Elektra, and introduces the House of Abundance to the scene. Lulu comes out looking gorgeous as Cinderella, followed by Cubby and Lemar. Then Angel walks out, looking absolutely FIERCE, as Red Riding Hood. Candy walks out as Sleeping Beauty, then Blanca as Snow White. Finally, Elektra struts out as The Queen looking FABULOUS. They get all 10s and win their first trophy and walk out of the room with PRIDE.

Elektra announces to the table that Blanca got into nursing school, so Papi grabs a bottle of wine from the fridge and they open it up to celebrate. They raise a glass “to family,” and Elektra looks at those around her, proud of what she’s accomplished, and happy to have these people, this family, in her life.

Isabel Maina

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