September 17, 2021

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Year 3, Episode 5, “Something Borrowed, Some thing Blue”

Image of Indya Moore in FX's Pose

Indya Moore stars in Pose
Photo: Eric Liebowitz/Fx

“Something Borrowed, Something Blue,” features not one particular but 3 lavish, cinematic montages. To start with, there is the bouncy, heist motion picture-like sequence that opens the episode, that includes Elektra detailing to her house how she has abruptly grow to be particularly rich by linking up with the mafia to franchise her cell phone sex business and aid them launder drug income. Then, there’s a rom-com-all set montage of Angel trying on marriage ceremony attire. But that’s not all! Pose retains the more than-the-leading fantasy likely with a further montage of Elektra, Lulu, Blanca, and Angel all becoming pampered extravagantly on Elektra’s dime, finish with 90s-design scene transitions. Wedding day dresses, spa times, champagne toasts, buying sprees, editorial fashion looks—this episode of Pose is a layer cake of indulgence. It will make Angel the rom-com heroine of her goals, and it sites these trans females of shade in contexts that typically exclude or devalue them.

It all feels like a luxe fantasy, and it is a thrill to check out these people prosper. When it comes to Elektra’s unexpected good results with the mafia, I felt myself waiting for the other shoe to fall, which speaks to the styles of queer and trans representation on television. It’s so scarce to see queer and trans people today of colour on tv indulge, prosper, and be delighted.

Fantasy and desire are powers in and of them selves. Papi becomes upset when he learns Elektra would like to foot the monthly bill for Angel’s aspiration marriage, but Elektra and Blanca describe to him there’s a considerably even bigger image in this article. For these characters, ballroom has very long served as a position for reimagining, declaring electrical power, and neighborhood-developing. In the ballroom, they’ve produced a new area of their have exactly where queer and trans people today of shade get to set the regulations, be on their own, and obtain fantasy in a way the exterior earth attempts to stymy or even punishes them for. A lavish marriage ceremony for Angel and Papi is a likelihood for other trans gals to see by themselves as brides beyond the ballroom. And in fact, it becomes a genuine group experience. Elektra pulls off a magnificent plan that makes it possible for all of the attendees at Angel’s bachelorette meal/party to don marriage dresses of their possess. Listed here, Pose plays close to with tradition, considerably like the ballroom does. Angel receives to have what looks like a standard desire marriage on the surface but also reimagines the dream wedding day by turning it into a communal working experience that celebrates all women of all ages.

At the exact same time as it indulges in strong fantasy, Pose retains fact near to the area. It is perpetually clear throughout the episode that the full explanation Angel is in a position to get this aspiration wedding day arrives down to money. Elektra’s limitless credit history card is what provides all of these figures obtain to the life of rom-com montages. The marriage costume montage is prolonged and excellent, and it also reworks the regular marriage ceremony montage by expanding the aim outside of the bride. It’s entertaining to watch Blanca, Lulu, and Elektra give the thumbs up or thumbs down to Angel’s possibilities, but it’s even additional enjoyable to watch them get to consider on dresses, too. This results in being their shared expertise, their shared pleasure, and their shared fantasy. Instantly, Pose’s marriage ceremony gown montage is its own entirely. The episode reproduces rom-com conventions but also expands them to not merely include trans ladies of coloration but actively give them the reins.

But it is also, of system, only feasible for the reason that of Elektra’s deep pockets. And Pose also acknowledges in this article that transphobia and racism still win out over revenue often. Following that gleeful montage, the owner of the costume keep will come out and refuses to promote to them. The sudden puncture of the fantasy is a blow. But it does not in the long run take agency absent from these characters or feel like a low cost get at conflict. Elektra downs her champagne just before studying this transphobic worm of a gentleman. She gets the last word in—and then some. Elektra faucets her new mafia friends for a very little help. She does not want them to beat this dude up she desires them to rob him. It is a delectable form of revenge, because the specific factor this male refused—for these dresses to be worn by trans women—is the correct detail she assures comes about.

The rom-com effervescence of the episode is tempered with some drama, and sad to say not all of it is productive. Some of the smaller subplots work, like Lulu’s needs to be handled with kindness and enjoy. Elektra is nonetheless using the tough like training course with Lulu, but that’s not normally the ideal way to confront someone’s habit, and Lulu speaks up for herself, pointing out to the many others that they hardly ever genuinely ask her how she feels about the decline of Sweet. When it was a loss for all people, Candy was Lulu’s best buddy and confidante, and she is aware she has been self-medicating for her grief and is trying to change.

During the episode, the ongoing and intersecting themes of loved ones, obligation, memory, and treatment are absolutely felt. Elektra treats her spouse and children to the greatest foodstuff and luxuries, since she thinks they deserve it. She’s having her personal particular fun with her new life, but she also does not be reluctant to do matters for her family members. Blanca offers a attractive toast at the opulent meal celebration that grounds this entire extravaganza in household, in her love for Papi and Angel and the way their adore touches other people.

But then there is the Papi subplot. Although Angel is living out her fantasies, Papi gets some existence-altering information from his previous. Jimena, the sister of his ex Marisol, drops into his lifestyle to announce that Marisol died for good reasons connected to her drug dependancy and that she has remaining powering a child—Papi’s son. 5-calendar year-outdated Berto lives with Jimena, and Papi gets to satisfy him in a tearjerker scene. It all occurs very speedily, to say the least. And I get it—this is a television drama. So there requires to be, effectively, drama. A very last-minute wrench thrown into a desire wedding day is a completely expected narrative unit.

But the surprise son is these kinds of an overused soapy trope, and the way it is wedged in here forces makes the conflict sense mechanical and hollow. It’s an uncomplicated technique to conflict, and it is tonally disconnected from the relaxation of the episode. Pose usually succeeds at threading jointly varying tones and scopes, but this specific subplot undercuts the playfulness of the relaxation of the episode alternatively than deepening or conversing with it. It is various from the contrast involving that marriage costume montage and the dramatic scene with the store proprietor that follows it, for the reason that in that instance, the dissonance does much more than just introduce conflict for conflict’s sake. It’s intended to exhibit the societal constraints foisted on trans fantasy. And yet, in that occasion, the obstacle also does not wholly rob the characters of their joy and dreams. Papi’s storyline, in the meantime, could as well be a literal wrench thrown in our faces. And it locations a new stress on Angel to conform to one thing she does not want. Angel’s original response is to imagine that Jimena could be lying. Why now, she miracles. The timing, she thinks, looks hassle-free considering the fact that Angel has dollars. And even however that doesn’t feel at all to be what Jimena’s right after, it is tricky not to talk to the same question as Angel from the viewer’s position. Why now? Effectively, due to the fact it is definitely narratively effortless to materialize now. What is a Tv set wedding ceremony with out some very last-moment drama to complicate the walk down the aisle?

“Something Borrowed, A little something Blue” is in truth at its most alive during its most playful moments, which just take conventional photographs and units and kaleidoscope them into communal ordeals that reimagine family and achievements. Conflict is important for narrative stress and stakes, but Papi’s very long lost little one is a clumsy misfire that does not carry as a great deal psychological body weight as some of the smaller sized, quieter character moments identified among those lush rom-com photographs, sequences, and transitions.


Stray observations

  • The rigorous apartment envy I experienced during the opening scene of this episode…whew!
  • I appreciate all the 1994 pop society times we have been acquiring this season. We get a Ability Rangers clip in this 1.
  • Offered that there are only two (2!) episodes still left of the series, I have a experience the Papi things is likely to be fixed extremely promptly/conveniently just like it was launched unexpectedly. We’ll see!
  • Caviar each and every day? When Elektra does something, she does it all the way.