Pose episode 6 review: Love is the message and we are listening
The sixth episode titled 'Love Is The Message' sums the entire struggle of transsexual people with AIDS makes for some emotional viewing.
Episode 6 of Ryan Murphy's 'Pose' begins where episode 5 ends- the gasp-worthy moment of Patty going up to Angel and introducing herself. The tension is elevated in the opening scene, which takes place in a diner, but there's no fights or verbal altercation as you'd expect. Patty commands supremacy but it is Angel, who rages elegantly and shines through the situation. Patty asks Angel answers. Did she have sex with Stan? Yes, she did. Did she use protection? Yes, she did. Angel is upfront and candid about her relationship with Patty's husband, even saying that he's confessed his love for her. But when Patty looks down on Angel as a sex worker, a transsexual Angel gives her a piece of her mind and Patty leaves. Here's how it went down.
“I don’t know what to say,” says Angel. She emotionally connects with Patty and says that all she ever wanted was to be a kept woman but when she became one, she hated it. She felt like a doll who was only of value when Stan wanted to play with her. Patty reciprocates and says that she needs to keep lying to herself to pretend like all she ever wanted to be was a wife and a mother. Despite Patty seeing Angel in the drag ballroom, Patty is still unaware that she is a transexual. When Angel talks about her community, Patty asks Angel to prove to her that she is biologically a man. The response is where Angel triumphs; she denies showing her penis to Patty because that is one thing she is "insecure" about. Patty walks off, but we can see that the conversation, though not a rapid one as you'd expect, hits high on an emotional level, connecting these two women as dwellers of a man-world.
The outcome of this meeting is the fallout of Patty's and Stan's relationship as they head to counseling where Stan hears about Patty's meeting with Angel and decides to split, which isn't surprising to the viewers at this point. This prompts for an uglier scene where Stan gets into a physical fight with his boss, Matt, the villain so far, who pretty much gets the better of Stan and leaves him bloody and embarrassed. Continuing this storyline, Stan runs back to Angel, who has again signed up for a peep and strip show.
Besides this plot, another powerful story and perhaps a more dominant one is that of Pray Tell, whose boyfriend Costas is dying of AIDS in the hospital. Pray Tell's emotions of anger, bitterness and love are award-worthy (saying it again), because everything is layered with fear. Costas, in an emotional moment, points out that Pray doesn't just face losing the love of his life but sees him ending up like Costas. In the previous episode, Pray Tell is diagnosed with the disease.
Prior to Costas passing away, Pray organizes a small programme in the AIDS ward and Blanca joins him to render an intimate duet. The title of the episode 'Love Is the Message' is reminded time and again throughout an hour-long episode, with Pray playing the same song in the drag walk category over and over again. Only because the song means so much to him and his memories with Costas.
I cried during every damn take of Pray Tell and Blanca singing together. The moment when she shudders (seeing her possible future in the frail body of a trans woman at the Cabaret) and Pray stands up beside her and pushes her through...that's our show. That's FAMILY! #poseFX— Janet Mock (@janetmock) July 9, 2018
After Costas' passing away, Pray does what Costas promised him to do. To drown in sorrow for a day and find love again. So he gathers himself and invites everyone to a party to celebrate the community's fight to live. This powerful scene tackles the AIDS crisis and prolifically builds Pray's seasonal development.
This is also the episode where major characters take a backseat. You hardly see Elektra's sassiness, but Blanca has a rather off-story plot. As the title hints to "love," there's a man who comes in Blanca's life, who is full of pick up lines. However, he manages to impress Blanca and she agrees to go on a date with him.
But when she tells her friends about this new man, including few of Abundance children, she figures that he has taken home, several women. This makes Blanca skip the date and instead support Pray with his programme at the hospital. When later, Blanca is confronted by the suitor, she dismisses him saying that she is not interested in whatever he's looking for. Her girl squad, meaning all the girls he has slept with come forward and snap him away. While this plot seemed rather unnecessary, it was nice to see the arch-enemy houses unite against the backdrop of emotional drama.
With six episodes in, 'Pose' has established itself as a powerful drama. So much has been told, and so much is left to be told. And, we are listening, like never before.