Pose‘s second season finale starts with a time skip. It’s been eight and a half months since the last episode — May 1991 to be exact — and we get a quick rundown of where everyone is; Papi and Angel are cohabitating happily, Damon is still touring and teaching in Europe and Blanca now operates her nail salon from her apartment. Pray Tell comes to visit and we learn that the two of them need to catch up. They haven’t kept in contact since Damon’s graduation. There’s no trace of friction between them and Blanca even manages to get Pray to open up about his relationship with Ricky. Pray feels like he offers Ricky wisdom, while Ricky keeps him young. Pray checks in on Blanca and asks why she’s been staying away from the balls. Blanca’s feeling disconnected from the community since her kids are all grown up and moved out. Pray also notices her pale complexion and consistent coughing — she’s been coughing this entire scene — so he asks Blanca about her last doctor’s appointment.
By the next scene, Blanca’s been admitted into the hospital and she’s not optimistic. She has Pray go through her will — her cookbook goes to Damon; her jewelry and clothing go to Angel; her tape collection, books and boom box go to Pray Tell; her Salon supplies go to Lulu; and hilariously, she leaves Elektra with the wig she was wearing the night they met. She originally leaves Papi with Tippy, the dog she planned on adopting, but she edits the will to leave him her life journals with instructions to him to tell her story and make sure she isn’t forgotten. Blanca is ready to make her peace but Pray tells her that he’ll keep fighting for her this time. He goes through her address book and rallies people because he wants to make sure someone’s at Blanca’s bedside at all times.
First up by her side are Lulu, Elektra and Angel. Elektra pitches to change the light bulb to something “that will cast an amber glow.” While Elektra busies herself with that, Blanca checks in on Angel’s career; the job offers from Mrs. Ford have dried up and Angel isn’t sure why. She says she’s still okay because Papi convinced her to open up a savings account. The rest of the women assure her that she’ll get something soon but Angel doesn’t look like she believes it.
Papi and Pray walk in with some flowers much to Elektra’s displeasure. Elektra says that the cheap flowers will bring insects and diseased careers are the last thing Blanca needs by her bedside. Pray tells her to “calm [her] bougie ass down.” Then he addresses the room and we learn that Blanca’s absence from the Ball hasn’t been isolated. The others — save Pray Tell — haven’t been showing up either. Elektra tells him that she’s tired of being judged at the balls and she’s been feeling disenchanted by the lack of women in judges’ seats. While the scene was built by trans women it’s become “a boys club now.” Even the popularization of “Vogue” primarily benefited cis gay men. The rest of the women agree with Elektra and Pray says he’ll bring it up at the next emcee meeting. He does exactly that and the other emcees suggest that the council should walk in drag as an attempt to “create empathy” and “help men realize the pressures [they] put on women.” Pray is worried about trivializing the struggles of trans women but the rest of the council is in favor so the motion is passed.
The next scene switches to Angel who’s decided to go to Mrs. Ford’s office to get answers for herself. It’s not good news. Someone from the scene recognized her at a shoot and decided to run his mouth. Mrs. Ford shares that despite her attempts to curb the rumors “word has spread.” Angel’s contracts have been pulled. Angel breaks down and asks Mrs. Ford if she thinks she’s a fake. Mrs. Ford immediately says “no” and tells Angel that “the world isn’t ready yet” then she holds Angel as she cries in her lap. I’m hurting for Angel but I’m really glad Mrs. Ford wasn’t a soulless tool to Angel. That night, Angel shares the bad news to Papi and lets him know that she’s losing hope. Angel thinks she’s gotten as far as she can but Papi tells her that she’s a star, and “it’s not over.” Angel cries again and Papi holds her.
Back at the hospital, Blanca’s cough is gone but she still has pneumonia. She can’t leave the hospital quite yet. Blanca asks nurse Judy if the chemicals from her salon adversely affected her health and Judy suggests that she gives up the salon all together. Because of her low T cell count, she qualifies for disability but Blanca’s hesitant. She’s having a crisis of faith; she thought that “if [she] fought hard and stayed positive and did right by people [she] would be the one whose life was spared” but the reminder that it’s out of her control has her thinking that maybe she should stop.
At Angel and Papi’s place, Papi updates Angel on his latest career move. He’s formed a talent representation agency specifically to work with “girls from the scene” who he describes as the “neglected but beautiful members of society.” Angel calls him “too sweet for this world” but she’s still not hopeful. We get a montage of Papi trying to pitch his agency to different women — including Elektra — but they all turn him down.
The scene moves to the hospital again and Pray and Blanca learn that Frederica Norman’s been arrested for arson. The news speculates that she burned the building down for the insurance money. We get a brief scene with Frederica where she tells her lawyer that she’s being targeted for being a woman. She calls out the sexism of the time while conveniently ignoring her active participation in gentrification and the million other horrible things I’m sure she’s done. She says she only feels regret for ending Blanca’s dreams. I love a good female villain as much as anyone else but Frederica is no Poison Ivy. She’s hypocritical and her entire speech is peak white feminism. Frederica faces up to five years in jail which, to Blanca, “seems like a lifetime away.”
Pray tries to get Blanca to commit to coming to the years “Mother’s Day” ball, but he isn’t able to get a definite answer. He and the rest of the emcee’s — plus the men of Wintour — take classes walking in heels from Elektra. The men of Wintour do well, but the emcee’s struggle and Pray doesn’t even try. Elektra reminds him that this was his idea butPray gets frustrated and walks out. Ricky follows him and the two of them have a conversation about the shame they feel about expressing femininity. Ricky says that dancing “Vogue Femme” was scary for him but it helped him understand that he “could be butch and femme at the same time.” Pray shares how his perceived softness was hated by his father and Ricky comforts him.
Meanwhile, Angel and Papi set up a meeting with Mrs. Ford. Papi manages to convince her to give him a shot at working with her agency and Mrs. Ford agrees — so long as he signs a client within two weeks. It’s more good news after that; Blanca’s being discharged and her constant stream of visitors inspired other patients at the word. As she’s getting ready to leave, Damon shows up. He came as soon as he could but Paris is kind of far. They catch up and he lets her know that he tested negative. He also tells her that he’s started a branch of Evangelista abroad and he’s a father now. Then he takes this opportunity to remind Blanca that while he and his siblings have grown, her work isn’t done. There’s more children that need her. Damon’s all grown up.
It’s finally the night of the ball. Wintour wins the first two categories — “Runway” and “Realness” — but Ferocity snags the win for the “Vogue” category.
After that, it’s the main event: crowning “Mother of the Year.” The nominees are: Kiki Pendavis, Lulu Ferocity, and Elektra Wintour. Elektra wins unanimously and it’s well deserved. Her house is incredibly talented. Elektra’s joy at winning was the best thing I saw all day and when I feel down, I’ll just go back to this scene and watch her happiness.
In the upper floors of the ballroom, Papi brings Angel roses and lets her know that he’s booked her a gig with a German company and they fly out the next day. First class. His plan was ingenious; he pitched the smaller time gigs that Mrs. Ford’s office didn’t want to work with. Even better, Angel doesn’t have to hide who she is because the agency already knows she’s trans. Papi can’t name his agency “Fidelity” for Bank Copyright reasons, but he’s applying the principle to all parts of his business. I’m just glad Angel doesn’t have to fear having the rug ripped out from under her again. Papi tells Angel that she’s “floating up, high above” and when he’s with her he gets “to be up there for a little while.” Angel tells Papi that he taught her safety and showed her “how to feel love” then she proposes to him! At this point, I’m already crying so hard I can’t see my screen but then Papi gets down on his knees too and they propose to each other on three. I’m so freaking happy for them, I’m beside myself. The people around them catch on to what’s going on and everyone bursts into cheers.
Ricky and Damon get a chance to talk. Damon lets Ricky know that he’s negative and Ricky apologizes to him. They talk some more and Damon teases him about his relationship with Pray but it’s all good spirited. They might be able to save their friendship, or at least be pleasant acquaintances.
The next category of the night is “Candy’s Sweet Refrain” and Blanca shows up as a surprise performer. Pray moves her to the front of the line and she performs Whitney Houston’s “Star Spangled Banner.” It’s a hell of an act. Damon and Papi kneel in front of her holding giant Pride and Evangelista flags big enough to cover Blanca, while Angel wheels her in. At the height of the song Blanca gets up and performs the smoothest outfit change. Her performance is so good, Pray calls the performance in her favor without seeing anyone else’s act.
To close off the night, Elektra takes the emcee stand — something I didn’t know I needed but I’m so, so grateful for. She calls Lulu, Angel, Sinia, Kiki, and Blanca — who she describes as her heroine and heart — to the judge’s table, and then the performance starts.
Wintour brings it and the council struggles a little but it’s obvious they’ve tried because they’re noticeably better than they were at the practice session. Pray performs last and while he’s nervous at first — Elektra calls him “Timid Tell” — he loosens up enough to have some fun. Pray gets almost all 10’s and loses out to Lemar Wintour by one point. The night closes out to the entire ballroom dancing to Whitney Houston’s “I’m Every Woman.”
Later, Blanca says goodbye to Angel and Papi then she notices two children — Quincy and Chilly — outside the ball. They’re both 14 and living on the piers. Blanca invites them to come with her and Pray and the season ends with a shot of them walking off together.
It was my pleasure to watch this season with you all.