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

Image of Indya Moore in FX's Pose

Indya Moore stars in Pose
Picture: Eric Liebowitz/Forex

“Something Borrowed, A thing Blue,” options not a person but a few lavish, cinematic montages. First, there is the bouncy, heist film-like sequence that opens the episode, showcasing Elektra detailing to her dwelling how she has instantly grow to be incredibly rich by linking up with the mafia to franchise her cellular phone sex company and assist them launder drug money. Then, there is a rom-com-all set montage of Angel hoping on wedding day attire. But that’s not all! Pose keeps the over-the-top rated fantasy likely with one more montage of Elektra, Lulu, Blanca, and Angel all staying pampered extravagantly on Elektra’s dime, total with 90s-design and style scene transitions. Wedding ceremony dresses, spa days, champagne toasts, purchasing 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 spots these trans girls of coloration in contexts that usually exclude or devalue them.

It all feels like a luxe fantasy, and it’s a thrill to look at these figures thrive. When it comes to Elektra’s unexpected success with the mafia, I felt myself waiting for the other shoe to drop, which speaks to the designs of queer and trans illustration on television. It is so uncommon to see queer and trans folks of colour on tv indulge, flourish, and be delighted.

Fantasy and wish are powers in and of by themselves. Papi gets to be upset when he learns Elektra wishes to foot the monthly bill for Angel’s dream wedding ceremony, but Elektra and Blanca make clear to him there’s a considerably even larger photo listed here. For these characters, ballroom has extensive served as a place for reimagining, claiming electrical power, and local community-constructing. In the ballroom, they’ve developed a new place of their own wherever queer and trans persons of coloration get to established the rules, be themselves, and obtain fantasy in a way the exterior entire world attempts to stymy or even punishes them for. A lavish marriage ceremony for Angel and Papi is a possibility for other trans women of all ages to see them selves as brides further than the ballroom. And in truth, it will become a genuine neighborhood practical experience. Elektra pulls off a magnificent plan that allows all of the attendees at Angel’s bachelorette supper/celebration to don marriage dresses of their possess. Below, Pose performs all over with custom, considerably like the ballroom does. Angel gets to have what seems like a common desire wedding ceremony on the area but also reimagines the dream wedding by turning it into a communal encounter that celebrates all females.

At the similar time as it indulges in powerful fantasy, Pose retains fact near to the surface area. It is perpetually very clear during the episode that the entire reason Angel is capable to get this dream wedding will come down to cash. Elektra’s limitless credit score card is what gives all of these characters access to the lifestyles of rom-com montages. The wedding ceremony costume montage is lengthy and excellent, and it also reworks the classic marriage ceremony montage by growing the focus over and above the bride. It is exciting to look at Blanca, Lulu, and Elektra give the thumbs up or thumbs down to Angel’s selections, but it is even a lot more entertaining to watch them get to check out on dresses, also. This gets their shared practical experience, their shared pleasure, and their shared fantasy. All of a sudden, Pose’s wedding ceremony costume montage is its own completely. The episode reproduces rom-com conventions but also expands them to not merely include trans girls of colour but actively give them the reins.

But it’s also, of class, only attainable because of Elektra’s deep pockets. And Pose also acknowledges below that transphobia and racism even now win out above money from time to time. Immediately after that gleeful montage, the operator of the costume keep arrives out and refuses to offer to them. The sudden puncture of the fantasy is a blow. But it doesn’t in the long run just take agency absent from these figures or experience like a low cost get at conflict. Elektra downs her champagne before reading this transphobic worm of a guy. She will get the very last term in—and then some. Elektra faucets her new mafia buddies for a tiny assistance. She doesn’t want them to beat this person up she desires them to rob him. It’s a delectable variety of revenge, for the reason that the specific issue this person refused—for these attire to be worn by trans women—is the exact point she makes certain happens.

The rom-com effervescence of the episode is tempered with some drama, and unfortunately not all of it is powerful. Some of the compact subplots function, like Lulu’s requires to be handled with kindness and enjoy. Elektra is nevertheless using the hard appreciate course with Lulu, but which is not usually the very best way to confront someone’s dependancy, and Lulu speaks up for herself, pointing out to the some others that they never truly inquire her how she feels about the decline of Candy. Though it was a loss for everybody, Sweet was Lulu’s finest pal and confidante, and she is familiar with she has been self-medicating for her grief and is seeking to modify.

In the course of the episode, the ongoing and intersecting themes of family members, obligation, memory, and care are totally felt. Elektra treats her spouse and children to the best foods and luxuries, due to the fact she believes they have earned it. She’s having her possess personal fun with her new daily life, but she also does not wait to do points for her household. Blanca offers a lovely toast at the opulent supper celebration that grounds this full extravaganza in household, in her like for Papi and Angel and the way their enjoy touches other folks.

But then there is the Papi subplot. While Angel is dwelling out her fantasies, Papi receives some lifestyle-altering information from his previous. Jimena, the sister of his ex Marisol, drops into his lifetime to announce that Marisol died for good reasons connected to her drug dependancy and that she has remaining behind a child—Papi’s son. 5-yr-outdated Berto lives with Jimena, and Papi will get to fulfill him in a tearjerker scene. It all happens very promptly, to say the the very least. And I get it—this is a tv drama. So there desires to be, properly, drama. A very last-moment wrench thrown into a aspiration wedding ceremony is a beautifully expected narrative system.

But the shock son is this sort of an overused soapy trope, and the way it’s wedged in here forces makes the conflict sense mechanical and hollow. It is an effortless technique to conflict, and it’s tonally disconnected from the rest of the episode. Pose usually succeeds at threading alongside one another various tones and scopes, but this particular subplot undercuts the playfulness of the relaxation of the episode instead than deepening or conversing with it. It is distinct from the distinction concerning that wedding ceremony dress montage and the extraordinary scene with the store proprietor that follows it, for the reason that in that occasion, the dissonance does far more than just introduce conflict for conflict’s sake. It’s meant to clearly show the societal constraints foisted upon trans fantasy. And nonetheless, in that occasion, the obstacle also doesn’t entirely rob the figures of their pleasure and dreams. Papi’s storyline, meanwhile, could as perfectly be a literal wrench thrown in our faces. And it destinations a new burden on Angel to conform to anything she does not want. Angel’s initial response is to feel that Jimena could be lying. Why now, she wonders. The timing, she thinks, looks practical given that Angel has funds. And even while that does not appear at all to be what Jimena’s just after, it is hard not to inquire the identical query as Angel from the viewer’s situation. Why now? Very well, mainly because it’s naturally narratively hassle-free to occur now. What’s a Television wedding without having some final-minute drama to complicate the wander down the aisle?

“Something Borrowed, A thing Blue” is in fact at its most alive through its most playful moments, which just take common photographs and products and kaleidoscope them into communal experiences that reimagine family members and success. Conflict is vital for narrative pressure and stakes, but Papi’s prolonged dropped youngster is a clumsy misfire that doesn’t have as considerably emotional weight as some of the scaled-down, quieter character moments uncovered among those people lush rom-com pictures, sequences, and transitions.


Stray observations

  • The powerful condominium envy I professional throughout the opening scene of this episode…whew!
  • I really like all the 1994 pop lifestyle times we have been receiving this time. We get a Electric power Rangers clip in this just one.
  • Specified that there are only two (2!) episodes remaining of the series, I have a feeling the Papi stuff is heading to be fixed quite quickly/simply just like it was released rapidly. We’ll see!
  • Caviar each and every day? When Elektra does a thing, she does it all the way.

Amelia J. Bell

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