It’s now Christmas time for the Pose gang. Blanca, who was freed from prison in the last episode, is now on a mission to give her children a holiday filled with love and pensive presents. In addition to the poignant gifts, the episode deviates into other sub-narratives of the show that perhaps give us more leeway as to what lies ahead - both scandalous and filled with highly thought-provoking remnants of the past.
Here are four pivotal turning points that took place in Sunday night's (June 17) "Giving And Receiving" episode.
Elektra Abundance's Decision To Complete Her Physical Transition: Sporting a brown ensemble, the always fashionable Elektra pays a visit to a doctor where the two discuss a gender reassignment surgery. As the scene unfolds, Elektra flips through a medical pamphlet, which explains with images how the castration process happens when physically transitioning from female to male. One thing that was eye-opening is how much progress the transgender community has made in regards to medical coverage, and the terminology used to describe or accurately label transgender people.
In the 80s, gender re-assignment surgery was called “Transsexual Surgery.” Hospitals, like the one Elektra visited, were apparently treating transgender people in the dark because it was taboo. Now, Medicare covers re-assignment surgery and hormonal therapy. In locations like New York, there are present-day LGBT health clinics that have divisions that specialize in medical and psychological transgender care like Callen Lorde Community Center and The Center. The dichotomy between the two time periods is nothing short of startling, but seeing the progress is fascinating.
Stan’s Love Affair With Angel Escalates: The first two episodes of Pose present a relationship between a middle class married white man (Stan) and a poor transgender woman (Angel). As promised in the second episode, Stan gifted Angel a fully furnished apartment. The two get caught in a passionate kiss, and he promises that he will stop by for at least some eggnog on Christmas Day. He didn’t but instead walks in on his boss at Trump Towers (Matt Bromley played by James Van Der Beek) with his wife Patty (Kate Mara) and kids at their home in New Jersey. Matt was there to drop off holiday gifts for the family but Stan doesn't buy it.
Before Stan gets there, Matt and Patty share a kiss on the couch. She’s suspecting Stan is cheating, and she’s right. The morning after, Stan reassures her that he’s always been faithful and gifts her with expensive jewelry. Angel is, of course, left heart-broken because he never showed up. As this storyline unfolds, it'll be very interesting to see what happens next.
The HIV/AIDS Crisis Heightens: Damon’s dance teacher Helena (Charlayne Woodard) pays a visit to one of her students that is dying of AIDS. The heartbreaking scene depicts a nearly lifeless being. In the 80s, that scene was a common reality; people were dropping like flies and the programs available to help those in need were scarce at the time.
“Nearly 200 people die of AIDS every month in New York and thousands more are dying. Yet, fewer than 100 spaces exist in programs offering the combination of succor and science needed to ease life's end when it cannot be prolonged," Jane Gross wrote for The New York Times in 1987. "Local health planners agree that a lack of hospices and other terminal-care institutions is one of the most urgent problems of the AIDS epidemic."
This episode makes the viewer wonder what will Blanca, a fierce and loving matriarch's future be considering she is HIV-positive.
Christmas Gifts: At the tail end of the episode, Blanca and her gang of kids (including a heartbroken Angel) all go to a Chinese restaurant for Christmas dinner. There, she commemorates the heartwarming reunion with presents. The kids all save to give Blanca something as well. The teary-eyed moment proves that one’s chosen family can be more important than your biological pedigree. It's safe to say Blanca’s family is going strong.