If I was merely excited that Pose is getting a second season before, after seeing Sunday’s finale, I’m positively ecstatic.
Everything about FX’s ball scene drama clicked into place during the first season’s final episode. The ball scenes were more gag-worthy than ever. (That house battle!) The characters came into their own truths, from Pray Tell fully accepting his HIV-positive status to Patty firmly ending things with her cheating husband, Stan. Most crucially, the show finally figured out what to do with Elektra Abundance: make her fun.
Elektra, as played by the towering beauty Dominique Jackson, has been a major source of frustration during the first season. She gave it to us every ball, delivering every inch of imperious glory while wearing the shit out of incredible ’80s fashions. But her stories outside of the ball scene, while unique (primarily her gender-confirmation surgery), have been mostly predictable, and Jackson was clearly getting some confusing direction. The intensity she was bringing to ball scenes didn’t work in quieter plots, and it was making her look like an overly broad performer.
To my surprise and delight, finale director Gwyneth Horder-Payton (who also directed the series’ fourth episode) clearly worked with Jackson to adjust her performance, and it worked like a charm. Elektra is the focus of the finale, doing everything from quietly meditating on her homelessness, to finding space in the House of Evangelista, to, most perfectly, losing her shit over Al B. Sure! That particular scene is such a wonder because it gives Jackson the chance to show something we’ve never seen from her: genuine joy. Watching her scurry to get her Al B. Sure! tape is going directly into my GIFs folder.
Pose figuring out Elektra, and redistributing the houses so that Evangelista is positively stacked with talent, puts the show in a really fascinating place going into season two. Evangelista is no longer an underdog — they’re where the now-defunct House of Abundance was at the start of the season. Blanca is rightfully, perfectly named Mother of the Year. She’s a living legend now. But perfection is boring. Season Two will ultimately pose (heh) a new challenge for the House, either in the form of dissension in the ranks or a new challenger rising up.
Whatever this new challenge is, it means Season Two of Pose will structurally look different than Season One — and that’s a good thing. Much as I enjoyed the first season, there were key tweaks begging to be made. The biggest is that Stan and Patty, the white, suburban couple, just don’t work in the show. I liked Evan Peters and Kate Mara’s performances well enough, but Pose is best when it’s deep in the ball scene, and they’re a distraction. Luckily, this finale seems to have sent them off, and I’d be surprised if they return for Season Two.
Pose is ending on the best note possible. The finale was a triumph. Had it been the series finale, it would have been a bittersweet-but-perfect ending. Luckily, we get at least one more full season, if not more, with these characters. And I, for one, can’t wait to see what’s ahead for the House of Evangelista.