The truest gifts of all: Why episode 3 of 'Pose' is more heart-wrenching than you think
The recent episode focused on three different homes: the House of Evangelista, the House of Abundance, and the Bowes and it's the Evangelista house that warms and breaks our hearts
Christmas was in June last Sunday in Ryan Murphy's 'Pose' and there was not much to complain about. Given that the show has already established itself to be a revolutionary one, with a story on '80s drag ballroom culture and LGBTQ+ casts, while at the same time being a family drama.
The recent episode titled 'Giving and Receiving,' focused on three different homes: the House of Evangelista, the House of Abundance, and the Bowes. A point of distinction between Blanca's Evangelista and Elektra's Abundance could easily be sensed just by the way they celebrated Christmas together.
The scene opens with Blanca and the house members decorating and trimming a Christmas tree, while seated for dinner. She also announces that she will give each of her children one requested gift, within reason.
While everyone is in the feels of the season, Angel isn't very keen about this particular holiday and we learn why.
Angel narrates the story on how she had stolen a red patent leather pump shoes with 4 inches heel when she was a child, and when her father found out that his son had stolen heels, he slapped her.
With this story on hold, Angel walks out and we see her later walking into her new uber apartment gifted by Stan Bowes. But it is not this expensive gift that touches our heart. It is the thoughtful gift that Blanca gives every single member of the house including the newly joined Ricky, who is Damon's boyfriend and Pray Tell, whose lover is almost dying with pneumonia at the hospital.
Even when Angel isn't in the mood for Christmas, especially after being stood up by Stan, Blanca insists her to open her gift. And when she tears open the layers, she finds red pumps, the one she talked about. You can only imagine how overwhelming the scene is and how clear the message is. Even if Angel was not loved by her father, she is very much cared about by Blanca.
Blanca is more than determined to better the lives of her children and do good for the community and all because she knows about the fragility of a human life. She herself is diagnosed with HIV AIDS, which was plaguing the world at that time. We learn that even pneumonia was an equal a plague then.
We see Pray Tell and Damon's dance teacher, Helena, at the hospital together, crossing paths to meet their beloveds. Pray Tell is there to visit his lover battling pneumonia and Helena is there to see her favorite student dying of AIDS. When the news of his passing away arrives, Helena vents her anger on Damon, who is half an hour late for practice.
Blanca is called by Helena to complain about Damon and there's a brief argument between them when Helena states that Damon cannot invest his time on drag ballroom if he wants to succeed in his field. This, in turn, leads to another conflict between Damon and Blanca, when she grounds him from the upcoming drag competition. Damon throws a fit and acts like he is a 7-year-old boy who can only be consoled with a lollypop. But Blanca is a strict mother and keeping true to her words, she restricts Damon from the ball and they become runners-up. She confesses to Damon that Evangelista would have won the title if Damon was there, but since it's only for the better, it happens for the best and Damon says he understands.
While Blanca's character has drastically evolved in just three episodes, Damon's character is yet to mature. He's been whiny for a while now and despite having sex with Ricky, he still isn't ready to be a sustainable character even though he is one of the protagonists of the show.
As for the beautiful Angel stealing shows with her drag skills, Stan Bowes still has her heart. And because she hates the holiday season, she requests him to visit her for an hour for Christmas. He agrees briefly but breaks his promise as soon as trouble starts brewing in his house with his wife, Patty, who doubts him of infidelity. She has two reasons to doubt him; first of all, Stan's evil boss, Matt (who works in a Trump Organization) visits his house when Patty is alone hinting towards the fact that Stan is cheating. Recap to episode one when Stan confessed to his boss that he indeed was. The reason for Matt taking this step is because he is getting envious of Stan since he managed to please the higher-ups. Matt even kissed Patty, but after few seconds, she pushed him away.
The second reason why Patty's suspicion turns concrete is when her daughter says that her father bought two sets of jewelry. Stan persuades her that he is loyal and he is not cheating by gifting her both the pieces of jewelry, a bracelet and a necklace. He proves his apparent loyalty further by spending Christmas Eve with his family and dismissing his promise to Angel. At this point, there's no room for empathy in our hearts for Stan. He is a weakling and I doubt if we can ever go back to even trying to like him.
The other important house and in stark contrast to Blanca's Evangelista is Elektra's Abundance. We find her seated in a hospital with a doctor who reaches out to Elektra about a potential sex change surgery, something she's wanted for a while but was unable to access. As it turns out she was on the top of the preference list by the doctors and Elektra is as eager to undergo the surgery, but funding has been a challenge because it won't be cheap.
She considers asking the man who helps support her and her house, but instead, she chooses to manipulate her two children or rather, minions. Elektra hatches a plan to rob a donation bucket from the Salvation Army and she does, properly executing in the heaviest of furs and highest of heels. Mark the contrast of Blanca's disappointment when Ricky won the drag trophy wearing a stolen fur. Blanca prohibits stealing and for Elektra, that is just one way to get what they, or more accurately, she wants.
Counting the stolen money, the minions are eager about what they can do with it. Elektra, in one look, knows what she can do with it. She slyly tells her two House members that they will get what they want and walks off with her typical gait. Then off she heads to the hospital, handing the money to the accountant, paying for her reassignment surgery.
While on the other hand, after Blanca burns the dinner, the entire House of Evangelista, heads for a Chinese dinner and exchange of gifts take place. The meaningful ones, besides for Angel, is that to Pray Tell. A color camera since Pray Tell has made Blanca's life a colorful one. The tear-jerking moment melts even the sternest of hearts. Blanca receives a Christmas gift too as Daon hands a box containing a heart-shaped bracelet.
There's something bitter-sweet about this happy moment because somewhere along the show we are reminded that Blanca will die sooner or later and the very fact that her children don't know because she's afraid they might not take her as seriously, turns this episode into an even more heart-wrenching one.