Pose Season 2
A discussion of Pose
I had the privilege of watching the season 2 premiere of the hit FX series Pose on Tuesday night and it has taken me up to this point to fully process my thoughts and to realize why I was so struck by the episode. I sit here now with a head full of thoughts and observations about the show and why it both made me laugh and cry as well as feel pretty much every emotion in between.
As with most shows that experience major success in their freshman seasons, I was a bit worried that Pose might lose what made it special the first time around. Before the episode started I gathered my snacks and wine and waited until I knew I could fast forward through commercials in order to allow for a mostly uninterrupted experience. Once the show began and we saw Blanca and Pray Tell on their way to visit yet another friend who has died from AIDS, I had my worries extinguished. This scene, in my opinion, truly sets the stage for the tone of the episode.
Without spoiling too much of what happened, Blanca and Pray Tell were shown exactly how inhumane the deaths of all of these AIDS victims were treated. They were separated from the other bodies despite the fact that they were already dead, which shows how ignorant people were at the time about the disease and how it’s spread. I also felt horribly for the lady whose job it was to attend to the people visiting these unmarked graves. She was rude and seemed to be incredibly insensitive, but I started to imagine the emotional toll it must take on a person to have to look at loved ones and tell them that their brothers and sisters are buried out back without even the slightest amount of respect shown to them. Her rudeness could be seen as a defense mechanism in order to keep her sanity while having a job that exposes her to such grief.
As the episode progresses, we are fully immersed in the world of Pose. The thing that I often don’t like about season openers is that there is this sense of playing catch up- typically. Much of the episode is spent playing a game of “here’s what happened during the off season” and this usually bores me because it’s not really action that adds to the story. Pose did it differently; it picked up with their lives now and didn’t dwell too much on what we didn’t see. I felt that this tactic really helped with pacing as well as just telling a compelling story.
One of the hardest scenes to watch was when Blanca was told that she no longer only had HIV but that she now had full blown AIDS. Watching her range of emotions was extremely hard and really stuck with me. The way her face cringed when she said, “So I have aids now” is what acting is really all about and it was the first scene in the show that made me cry. The other truly sad aspect of this scene is that she was given AZT to slow the progression of the virus, which was later learned to do the opposite. Many people look back on the widespread use of AZT with sorrow and regret so it makes it difficult to think that this could make Blanca’s situation worse.
Another important scene came after Angel is told that she needed to get professional pictures done before she could compete for a competition that she is passionate about. This is Angel’s chance to rise above her situation and to get to the life she wants. Once she gets to the photo shoot, the photographer takes advantage of her and I was literally left with my mouth open gasping for air. I won’t say what happened because I don’t want to take away the emotional impact this show can have but it really displays the turmoil that trans people endure when they are put in situations like this and I was glad that in the end she had her support system, which is something that many trans people in real life would not have.
I thought the season premiere of Pose was fantastic and I actually re-watched the episode the same night that it aired. It was the perfect blend of everything that made season 1 great and a more political edge, which would have been present in the 1990’s, which is when season 2 takes place. Pose airs Tuesday nights on FX at 10/9C.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Barnell Anderson