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SPOILER WARNING: This post contains details on Pose the finale of the series.
Emotions continued to heat up for the House of Evangelists in the final chapter of destruction, celebration, and a new generation.
On the heels of Angel and Papi’s wedding Pose resumes with the grim reality of the HIV / AIDS crisis. Be merciful (Billy Porter), whose days are numbered, ends up in the hospital, largely to Blank (Mj rodriguez) surprise and disappointment. As Prey accepts his fate, Blanca learns of a potentially lifesaving medical test for those suffering from the disease. Together with Christopher (Jeremy Pope) and Nurse Judy (Sandra Berhard), Blanca convinces the head of the hospital to add prayer to a case that is largely off-limits to the black and Hispanic communities. Despite her initial hesitation, Blanca also joins the court.
Elton John made a surprise appearance on the FYC Poses panel and announced, “I am Electra.”
A few months later, the friends both have some excitement about the future and reunite to complete a mural for the AIDS memorial blanket. “Living work posture” – the same words that echoed in the show’s opening sequence and opened up the world of ballroom and queer life to viewers – shine against the black fabric.
However, Prey and Blanca are the lucky few. Ricky (Dillon Burnside) shows Pry a growing defeat, and he steals him some of his trial drugs. Evangelicals and Prayer are joining ACT UP to protest drug companies for lack of available drugs. Their resilience and strength lead them to the ballroom, where Pry and Blanca perform one glamorous dramatic lip sync from Diana Ross’ song “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”
One significant number changes into another, as Aretha Franklin’s “I Pray Little” sends “Pray into the Night” to never wake up again. Ricky finds his mentor, friend and former lover dead and calls the hospital. That evening, Blanca gathers the rest of the Evangelista’s family for dinner, where Ricky discovers that Prey has given him all of his vital medicines.
Inspired again by their grief, Blanca and Judy return to ACT UP, preparing to scatter the ashes of loved ones on the lawn in front of the mayor of New York. Before the big event, Blanca gathers those closest to Prey to say his last words. She reads his praises for the power of Lulu (Hayley Sugar), the unwavering love of Angel (India Moore) and Papi (Angel Bismarck Curiel), and the legacy of the ballroom’s “tribal chiefs”. When asked what Prey wrote to her, Blanca replies: “There has never been anything unsaid between us.”
The final moves into 1998, and the circle is closed. Blanca, now a nurse and married to Christopher, explains to the young woman that her HIV status is not a death sentence. As gracious and caring as ever, she invites her patient to a place where she can find community and hope, also known as balls.
Blanca, Angel, Electra (Dominic Jackson) and Lulu meet for a drink, beat too white Sex and the city and reflect on how far they have come individually and as a group. Now serving nurses, models, and business women, Evangelicals have turned their ballroom fantasies into reality.
The final scene of the ball serves as a bittersweet curtain, uniting all the original members of the Evangelical family for one cruel and final kick. Blanca, who has just received the Legendary Mother award, greets her patient and places her in her first category.
“Welcome to the Home of the Evangelists,” says Blanca.
Deadline spoke with Pose co-author and showrunner Stephen Canals, who wrote and directed the final episode. He contemplated orchestrating the “perfect” lip-sync number, finding his own truth through his leading ladies and more. Read the full interview, edited for clarity and length, below.
DEADLINE: The series ended back in March. Now that you’ve had time to sit down with the ending, how do you feel about the final chapter?
STEVEN CHANNELS: The show has always been inspiring and hopeful from the start. What was so important to me about the show, and perhaps the finale in particular, was placing all of our characters in a place where they no longer survive, but now thrive. On my part, this was done on purpose.
I’m tired of seeing black, Latin and Asian characters whose stories are rooted in their trauma, and Pose it was an opportunity to not only rewrite the narrative, but also to rethink it, and to say that we also have a happy life, and we also have joy, and these parts of our experience should also be focused.
DEADLINE: What about that scene where Blanca and the other evangelical ladies ponder how far they’ve come?
CHANNELS: It is important for all of us in the writers’ room to see how our main characters, our heroes, our girls come together to join. This scene is really about sisterhood. This is a reminder of the family. I love this scene. I’m really proud of where the story ended, and especially where we leave all of our characters.
DEADLINE: Please tell us about the sacrifice of the Prayer Tell for Ricky. What these conversations with Billy looked like and how HIV positive status how did you get to the last moments of prayer?
CHANNELS: Great question. I believe that the only person related to the production to whom Billy ever revealed his status was me. We talked to him at the very, very beginning of filming the pilot. This is the only time we’ve talked about it, and we didn’t talk about his status again until the middle of filming the third season – just before we were about to start filming the finale.
Filming this season was very emotional for Billy because I think he relived the trauma in some way. He is an HIV positive, gay, black male posing as an HIV positive black gay. I think there was some concern about what Billy thought Billy might be his reality. Now he needed to act and express it through the Pray Tell character.
There was always a lot of checking with Billy just to make sure he was okay emotionally, that he felt focused and that he felt supported.
I think we were really trying to make the actors know that we are not taking parts of their real stories, but simply using them to inform what was on the page. Billy is a strength, an incredible performer, and also a true protector. I think that throughout the entire process, throughout the entire journey, if he ever was something uncomfortable, I know for sure that he would stand up for himself and say this.
DEADLINE: Did the show always end with the sacrifice of Pray Tell?
CHANNELS: Yes. I think it amazed everyone at different points. I believe for Ryan MurphyIt was during the first season that he felt that Prayer Tell was probably not going to come out. Conversations around one of our characters, or our characters dying due to their HIV / AIDS diagnosis, did indeed begin in the second season. The reason we even started a conversation was to justify the show with truth and reality.
Covid-19 definitely influenced how we felt, saying that this is a really important story to tell, not only because of the parallels being drawn, but also as a reminder to our audience that we have always been ourselves. heroes.
We queers and transgender people, black and brown, have always had to show ourselves to each other, and this is ultimately the sacrifice that Pray Tell made for Ricky. It’s not just about HIV / AIDS and how HIV has impacted and gutted the community, but how we, as queer people of color and transgender people, must constantly show ourselves to each other. This sacrifice was to show our deep connections to each other.
DEADLINE: Pray and Blanca tore apart the runway for the last time before Pray died. What was the process for creating the final sweet refrain of Candy’s Sweet Refrain?
CHANNELS: Nothing really can beat Billy and MJ singing “Home” to each other that first season. There was a sentence in the room: “What if they lip sync?” Because we have this category. Ryan said, “Well, if it is lip syncing, it should be a great duet.” So immediately, Janet Mock Said, “Oh my god, the mountains won’t be enough.” Ryan said, “I love this.”
And then my wheels began to turn. I thought, what if this is the version of Diana Ross that Ryan loved. We liked this as the ending of the book, as Pray Tell and Blanca sang a Diana Ross song in the first season.
I gasped out loud because by then I knew I was directing the episode and I thought, “Oh my God, can we do this as a tribute to her iconic performance in Central Park, where there was literally a downpour and she’s still there? singing? Ryan just started clucking, he just started laughing out loud and said, ‘This is great, let’s do it.’
DEADLINE: You intended to end the episode with a story about HIV / AIDS, but what other topics would you like to explore?
CHANNELS: I think that everything I really wanted to explore, I did. I suppose there are things we could explore much more, like gentrification. But in general, I think all the specific checklists of things I want to make sure Pose addresses, we did it, whether it was in advance and directly in person, or discreetly. So I really like the story we told.
TERM: How do you think your time in this episode will affect the job you seek or commit to moving forward?
CHANNELSA: Right now, I’m in a place where I just want to be really conscious about the next project. I don’t want to label myself and be a storyteller telling only “important” stories, because that was definitely not the intention. Pose…
I’m right now where I’m taking a step back, making another assessment of the television landscape, and very deliberately asking myself, “Where are the gaps?” Who are we still missing? Who is still not taking a seat? Whose story is there yet to be told?
DEADLINE: Looking back at the time you worked on Pose, what truth did you come with and when was that moment of realization?
CHANNELS: I don’t think I’ve ever been asked about that. Wow. I suppose, to be honest, I don’t think the truth that struck me fully landed until the very end when we were filming our ending. I think the truth is this: I, as these characters, should never be afraid to stand firm in my truth and speak it out loud. I draw so much strength from their strength, and they inspire me so deeply, because they are all such defenders not only of each other, but also of themselves.
No matter what you think of them in terms of their relationship and how they navigate the world, the truth is that I think everyone wants to be as dedicated as Blanca. I think we all want to be as fantastically grounded as Electra – “grounded” may sound like a strange word to her, but that’s what I think of her. Or be as bold as Candy. All of these characters are so focused and they know so clearly who they are.
I think the point for me is to spend as much time with these characters as I have, I can be like that too. As long as I always stand firm in my truth, and I am ready to speak it, and I am not ready to compromise, this is all possible. I think this is such an incredible, such a great life lesson that they can learn.
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