“Pose” Episode 306 Recap: I Swear

Yo! I’m so excited to recap what is easily, my favourite episode of Pose so far.

In the first scene of the episode, Pray Tell is in the hospital with nurse Jackie, and his less-than-ideal physician. He’s losing his eyesight, and according to the doctor, “this marks the beginning of the end.” From Pray’s response, we find out that it’s been a few months since the last episode. He lets the doctor know that he’s not taking his prognosis as irrefutable. Pray sees the hospital team out of his room, saying he needs the space to change out of his hospital gown. He shuts the door behind them and, For All We Know, a song by Billy Porter and Our Lady J, starts playing.

The song carries into the next scene; A different day, a different Pray — now wearing glasses, and in his apartment — shows Blanca the dress he’s made her for Angel and Papis wedding. The wedding is still on apparently. While Blanca tries on the gorgeous dress, Pray talks about his dreams before coming to New York. He wanted to start his own fashion house, Pray Couture. He still does. Blanca tells him that his designs already have the kind of impact associated with a global scale, but Pray is thinking about legacy, and what people leave behind. He tells Blanca that one of Costas’s last wishes, before he died, was to complete a panel for the AIDS Memorial Quilt. At the time, he hadn’t understood it, but he does now. Pray wants to leave something of him behind, and he wants Blanca’s help finishing. Blanca agrees, but she reminds him that his legacy is Ballroom, and he will be remembered.

MJ Rodriguez and Billy Porter talk on the couch

At Papi’s house, he and junior have settled into a familiar rhythm. The scene begins in the middle of them making pancakes, which is super cure, but Papi seems a little short with junior. Beto makes simple, kid, mistakes; not measuring exactly, and cracking the egg into the bowl, and Papi is more frustrated than usual, but he apologizes, and parenting is hard. Eventually, he sends Beto off to color until Ricky comes over to babysit. Ricky shares that he’s staying with Blanca again until he goes back on tour working for The Janet Jackson! Papi congratulates him, and wastes no time asking about Angel. She’s struggling, and still saying the wedding is off, but no one is taking her completely seriously, not even herself. Ricky’s verdict is that she’ll probably come around, with a good measure of casual misogyny thrown in. Women are crazy after all. When Papi leaves, Ricky wastes no time breaking his, “no TV while it’s light out” rule with Beto, and honestly, that’s what uncles are for.

We head back to Blanca’s, and she and Angel have a talk about Angel’s dad. Angel has been helping him financially since he kicked her out, but he hasn’t changed his views. Angel says he’s family, so she stays by him. In the next scene, she goes to visit her dad’s bodega, and, after cutting off some dude that was hitting on Angel, they go to eat. He wastes no time launching into some transphobic bullshit, where he’s somehow having a hard time, and Angel makes to leave him some money and get, but he stops her to ask if she had anything else to say. Angel tells him about her wedding and asks him to walk her down the aisle. Unfortunately, he’s too stuck in his transphobia to realize the honour he’s being given, and he declines. I’m only sad because it hurt Angel, but it also realigned her priorities. I’ve never had this moment; sitting across from someone who has felt so big, only to see how small they are, but I imagine it feels something like exhaling. Angel kisses her dad goodbye, and thanks him, “for helping [her] realize [her] fuckup.”

Angel and Papi back together

Angel wastes no time going back to Papi. She walks in while he and Beto are eating breakfast. Papi goes from giving advice about Baseball, to masculinity. Beto’s missing his mother, but he didn’t want to tell Papi, because talking about her makes him feel like he’s going to cry. Papi reassures him that men cry, that men are tough because you have to be strong enough to love. He also talks about missing Angel, and forgiveness. The woman in question takes a lull in the conversation to join in and introduce herself as Beto’s “fathers’ friend.” She adds that sometimes, you love people that are afraid, and she apologizes to Papi. He’s tearing up before she apologizes and his response, “I am sprung on you”, has me grinning wider than I have this entire season. Angel and Papi feel like themselves again. Janet Mock is freaking brilliant. The scene ends with a familiar (for Pose) table shot. It’s a different table, in a different house but the love is the same.

The happy scene transitions quickly to a nightmare. In Blanca’s apartment, Angel narrates her dream of being turned away at the courthouse to Elektra, Lulu and Blanca. Lulu argues that she doesn’t even need the papers, and Elektra offers to have the mob doctor her papers before Blanca puts an end to it. She tells Angel that she doesn’t want to begin her marriage with a lie that could jeopardize everything they’ll build. Instead, she argues that Angel should just go to the courthouse and take a chance. Elektra and Lulu agree. With an “alright, fuck it”, Angel does too. We’re back at Angel and Papi’s home. They’re playing with Beto when Papi leaves unexpectedly, leaving Angel to watch junior.

Honestly, I think he could have told her first, a little prep never hurt. The next scene is Beto throwing toy pieces at Angel, who has to call in Blanca to help. Blanca shows up with a power ranger outfit for Zack, and support for Angel. In no time, she has Zack settled. Angel calls it voodoo, Blanca calls it parenting. Lulu’s home is the next transition. More specifically, Lulu’s new home. Elektra paid for her — and Jerome — to move into a new place, with a new start. Lulu has been clean for a month, but Jerome’s not following suit. They argue, and she kicks him out.

Then we’re back to Angel and Papi, and they’re at the courthouse. They aren’t alone either. They join other couples and get in line to submit their paperwork. When it’s their turn, they hand in their already filled paperwork, while distracting the notary with stories of their love, and their kid. They even pull out a picture of Beto! It works and the woman approves their marriage with a smile. Angel and Papi are now Mr. and Mrs. Martinez. In the last scene before the wedding, Blanca shows Pray her completed design for his quilt panel, and they hug. Pray Tell’s death is intense, I feel like I can’t even hold it yet, and neither can the story, I think. It still feels unreal, even as the events preceding it are being acted out.

Indya Moore, Dominique Jackson, and MJ Rodriguez in wedding day outfits

On the day of the wedding, the guests start to file in; Beautiful wedding dresses and elegant suits included. Papi takes a moment with Pray, Ricky and Lemar. He thanks them for being his brothers and for being good men. When they toast, Cubby’s ghost joins them, in true Pose fashion. They also find out about Pray losing his eyesight, but he tells them to focus on the wedding instead. Meanwhile, on Angel’s side of things, she’s getting ready with Lulu, Blanca and Elektra. They pause her process to present her with the traditional, “something borrowed, something blue, something old, and something new.”

From Blanca, she gets something old; her mother’s cookbook. Elektra gives something new; a white fur coat, just like the first one she saved to buy for herself. Lulu gives her something borrowed; her one month sobriety token, and for something blue, they give her Candy’s hammer, wrapped in blue ribbon. Angel steps away from the others and towards a piano, played by Candy’s ghost. The two of them have a conversation about Angels survivors’ guilt, about love, about the strength to protect the ones they love, then Candy leaves. Angel returns to the fold and they join hands to say a prayer. Blanca blesses their union,and when she’s done, they all laugh and start jumping up and down, shouting, “you’re getting married.” This episode gave me so many good, squishy, feelings.

It’s finally the big moment, and the guests are seated, the wedding hall is beautiful, and the last few people file in. Blanca walks Papi down the aisle. Lulu struts like nobody’s business. Elektra looks regal. Beto is cute as a button. Finally, Angel arrives, and…wow. Her dress looks divine. She’s completely ethereal, and Papi starts tearing up, because he’s a living person. Pray starts the ceremony by reminding the community of their role in witnessing, to remind Angel and Papi of their commitment. The crowd answers yes, and he asks Angel and Papi for their vows. Angel goes first. She talks about being the best version of herself for them, and protecting Papi with everything she has. She talks about her dad not being there, but places emphasis on who is. Their family.

MJ Rodriguez and Indya Moore in white wedding day outfits

It’s sweet as hell, and I want nothing but good things for Angel, forever. Papi goes next, and like Christopher, I start to wonder, “is this brother reciting the lyrics to, I Swear”, the classic hit by All-4-One? Why, yes. Yes he is. In fact, Papi does more than recite. After pausing — and almost stopping my heart — he starts to sing. I don’t think I’ve wanted something so badly, and hadn’t known it before. Papi, in this moment, is everything I ever want to be, but also Papi and Angel, in this moment, is just, perfect TV. Yet, somehow, it gets better. Ricky joins in, the string quartet starts to play along, the audience starts snapping, and I’m having the best moment of my entire year. Angel is laughing and in love, and I love them together. Heck even Elektra is taken in by the sheer, wholesome, corniness. By the end, the whole freaking audience is singing, and I’m definitely included in that. After that amazing performance, Papi puts a ring on Angel’s finger, Pray marries them and they kiss.

There’s only a few short scenes after that. Outside the church, Beto cheerfully announces that they’re going to Disneyland, and Elektra gives Papi his wedding gift, a brand new car. Dang. The new couple speeds off, and it almost ends too soon. I say almost, because Janet Mock read my mind and we get a final, sorta-prologue. The Martinez’s are on the beach, still on vacation; Angel and Beto build sandcastles and Papi looks on lovingly. There’s another guy there with his family that enters into a brief conversation with Papi, but honestly, it reminded me way too much of Us and the dude looked creepy as heck, so I’d rather just focus on the important bits. Angel, Beto, and Papi — and they’re happy.


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Chinelo is a Nigerian-American Texan and soon-to-be Long Beach resident and English Graduate Student. They’re super interested in stories and narrative and they hope to write a queer, afrofuturist fantasy epic that’s years in the making.

Chinelo has written 1 article for us.

7 Comments

  1. Sigh. I hate being the turd in the (wedding reception) punchbowl here…but I can’t help thinking that this episode was almost hitting us over the head w/ the idea that because this ONE Transwoman gets to enjoy 1994 heterosexual privilege (don’t look too closely there, sister-Dominican registrar!) Everything is OK.

    Elektra’s “pathetic little commitment ceremonies” felt like a slap in the face to me, to the gay men, to Nurse Judy (who is, I assume, lesbian: a stand-in for all the lesbian caregivers to MLM-with-AIDS) . . . and finally, “you’re the first one of us to marry”: is heterosexuality compulsory for all the ballroom Transwomen? That the dream of them ALL is to find a cishet guy and “settle down”? To a life of child-rearing (Beto is adorable, no question there) and conspicuous consumption? (the other theme of this episode—and I still fear for Elektra in this regard. With only the series finale left, though, are Mafia-Ever-Afters just supposed to be taken as a thing?)

    I’m happy for Angel and Papi (though I’m really sorry Angel’s bio papi didn’t come around—I was hoping he’d show right until Angel made it down the aisle w/o him). But this episode just seemed…too UNREAL to me. [I never watched (crazy MAGAt comedienne w/ an eponymous show, on which Nurse Judy’s Sandra Bernhart got to kiss girls), but I heard that, in its final (first run) season, they won the lottery, and that took a lot of viewers out of the thing which made THAT show funnily real in the first place.] Also glad that Candy and Cubby got to show up from beyond the grave—while that may also be unreal, my cosmology accepts it more than Mafia-Ever-After. ;-X

    Onto the series finale, and let’s get Pray a motherfooking “AIDS (managing) cocktail” already!

  2. The wedding scene was way too long! I love Pose but I definitely looked at the time when Papi started singing. I get they were representing something a lot of trans people dream of but damn!I’m sad to see this show go. I wonder if it will really end with the death of Pray Tell.

  3. “I love Pose”, everything about the shows, people, content, etc.
    POSE, opened an area, culture, lives of trans, gays, LGBT’S, if I missed any SORRY!! But, I never knew or was aware of “Ballroom”, “Houses” the structure of LOVE & FAMILY established to shelter and create a “safe haven”, a wisdom, knowledge sharing, home for run aways, abandoned, kicked out, kids, amazing!!! They are a community, LOVING, nurturing community!!❤
    Praying, POSE, shed a bright light on the much needed, health, medical, shelter, needs for youths, and young adults!!
    Opened my eyes & heart!!
    You will be missed, thank you, for sharing your “TRUTHS”!!
    Praying, each of you continued success in your future endeavors!!!
    THANK YOU, ALL!!! LOVE EACH OF YOU……CONTUNUED SUCCESS!!!!! ❤😊👍🏾👍🏾

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