But Pose ended up being something unlike anything we'd seen before from the creator and that's likely because he stepped aside and let trans talent like Janet Mock guide the narrative. The stories that have resulted are both layered and elemental, intimate and emotionally grand.
The cis, white characters faded into the background. The plot became centered around Blanca and her extended universe, and was defined by its denizens' achievements rather than sorrows. The actors giving the most dynamic performances -- like Billy Porter and Indya Moore-- ended up the focus. Speaking with Screencrush, Mock said, "Everyone’s like, 'It’s such a positive show.' And it’s like, no, it’s a resilient show because it’s about a resilient community that has been here for decades, right? We’ve always been here."
That resilience was on full display in Sunday's episode. It opens with the once high-and-mighty Elektra -- the domineering head of the House of Abundance who treats her children like they're all Cinderella and she's their wicked stepmother -- in a near dire situation. She used all her money -- including funds her children pilfered from a Salvation Army bucket -- for gender reassignment surgery. The procedure should have been a purely affirming moment. Instead faced an entirely new prejudice on the other side of it: She saw her worth devalued by men like her lover (Christopher Meloni), who cuts her off. They are only interested in her for her anatomy, when that is gone she is nothing to them. As the finale begins she's working in a peep show and homeless. The opening montage is devastating as she performs for a series of leering men, until Blanca appears and offers up a bed.
Another series might find Elektra's situation as a comeuppance for her cruelty, but Pose rejects those binaries. Elektra's self-preservation is hard-earned, and her bitchiness is a result of it. To the writers -- and Blanca -- that doesn't mean she should be denied of basic human decency.