Between its first and second season, FX's Pose didn't reinvent itself as much as it honed its vision. It did away with the plotlines that existed outside the ball community, leaving the cis, white, suburban drama involving Evan Peters and Kate Mara for another, more boring show. Season 2 jumped ahead to 1990 when Madonna's "Vogue" was climbing the charts and AIDS was still ravaging queer communities, and subsequently became a more joyous, more heartbreaking, and altogether stronger show.
Though not without its missteps, the eight episodes married irrefutable, often tragic truths with high fantasy in a manner that was utterly thrilling to watch. Just when you thought you might not stop heaving from sobs, Pose offered up a Solid Gold dance sequence, a beach trip, or Patti LuPone singing Sondheim. But, perhaps more than any show on TV right now, Pose is also acutely aware of the passage of time, which is why the finale seems to have reset itself once again.
The last episode of the season jumps ahead to 1991. The House of Evangelista has dispersed. Angel (Indya Moore) and Lil Papi (Angel Bismark Curiel) are living in the Village. Her modeling career, on the upswing in the previous installments, is sputtering after members of the fashion industry learn she is trans. Still, she and Papi are happy together, their relationship strong enough to weather this challenge and more. Damon (Ryan Jamaal Swain) is in Europe, dancing and choreographing for Malcolm McLaren, another pop artist that brought voguing in the mainstream. The only person still left in the Bronx apartment that has served as Evangelista's home base is the strict, kind-hearted house mother, Blanca, and she is suffering. AIDS has left her susceptible to pneumonia and the fumes wafting in her home from her nail business aren't helpful. The initial minutes of the episode are worrisome, with Billy Porter's Pray Tell, ill earlier in the season, watching over her as she discusses her will, detailing how her possessions will be spread amongst her children and chosen family.