Why the Series Finale of Pose Had Us Heartbroken and Hopeful, All at the Same Time
After three seasons, the ballroom has officially closed for the Emmy-nominated Pose. The final season of FX's drama was both uplifting and absolutely gut-wrenching as fans said farewell to the House of Evangelista. In true Ryan Murphy form, not everyone has a happy ending in the finale, but isn't that how life works? The seventh and final episode of season three sees the Evangelistas dealing with a health crisis, a few new beginnings, a cheeky Sex and the City reference, and what it means to truly leave a legacy.
For those watching in real time, the two-hour series finale was an emotional roller coaster we weren't quite ready to get off of, as it meant the end of the road for characters we had come to consider our chosen family. And yes, that roller-coaster ride included plenty of tears. "It was a layered experience that took a long time to shoot," Sandra Bernhard said of the finale to POPSUGAR. "We covered so many earth-shattering moments — losing good friends, being triumphant, watching the end of an era, hesitantly welcoming another — all this with the reality that we would never be together in this setting again. The work, the friendships, the evolution takes time to process. That's what good art creates."
If you missed out on the finale — and can't wait until 2022, when season three will likely drop on Netflix — ahead, you can find out just what happens during the aptly titled "Series Finale."
Does Pray Tell Die on the Pose Series Finale?
At the beginning of the episode, it seems pretty clear where Pray Tell's story is heading. Given a death sentence by the doctor, due to a weakened immune system and a case of pneumonia, Pray essentially gives up. "I want everybody to know I died happy. Satisfied. But I do have one thing I need to finish: my panel for the AIDS quilt," he says to Blanca. After one of Blanca's white AIDS patients makes a miraculous recovery, she fights to get Pray included in the clinical drug trial that made him better. Blanca, Christopher, and Nurse Judy make the argument that the trial is unreliable due to its lack of patients of color, and both Pray and Blanca are accepted as patients.
Pray soon recovers and reconnects with Ricky. The two bond while spending time with the Gay Men's Chorus, and things begin to look up for the hopeful Pray. Eventually, Ricky shows Pray a lesion on his chest and that he's worried he could be dying. Pray reassures him he'll take care of him, and it isn't until later it's discovered what this means. While talking with Blanca shortly before one of their final balls, Pray reveals he's done pretty much everything on his bucket list and that he feels like "I've left a lasting mark, and I understand that now." It's truly Pray's moment in the lip-sync category of "Candy's Sweet Refrain," where he and Blanca fully embody Diana Ross's famous rainy Central Park performance.
We all should've known Pray wasn't long for this world when his moment came halfway through the finale. After leaving the ball, he heads home alone to take off his makeup. Ricky arrives in the morning to find that Pray died in the night. It's later revealed he had stopped taking his trial medicine in order to give it to Ricky and that inflammation of the heart led to his death. There's nothing we wanted more than for Pray to get the happy ending he deserved, but he went out on his own terms and was able to give someone he loved a new lease on life. Did the "switcheroo" absolutely wreck us? Yes, and some of us are still tearing up as this is being written.
What Happens to Blanca on the Pose Series Finale?
Throughout the finale, and really the entire series, Blanca is a shining star. Even when things seem bleak, she's always there to find the bright side. Blanca is by Pray's side every step of the way, even when it means she has to take part in a clinical drug trial for a drug that's side effects are still unknown. She promises to help him finish his quilt square when it seems like he isn't going to make it, and she's there performing by his side when he looks healthier than ever. After his death, she also bonds with Pray's mother over the things that made Pray . . . well, Pray.
In the flash-forward to 1998, Blanca finally accomplishes her dreams of becoming a registered nurse. Still with Christopher, and the grandmother of the House of Evangelista, she is bestowed legendary status by the ballroom community. "Ballroom is home. Ballroom is family. Ballroom is love," Elektra shares as she hands her "daughter" the award. In a full-circle moment, Blanca shares wisdom with an up-and-coming house that Pray once shared with her.
What Happens to Ricky on the Pose Series Finale?
Despite reaching their breaking point, and taking a break, the couple find their way back to one another. Seeing Ricky and Pray together, but now knowing they won't actually get to BE together, breaks our hearts. Just when Ricky wants to throw in the towel and accept that life could be over due to AIDS, Pray doesn't let him. Instead, Pray allows Ricky to believe he's found a way to get him an extra dosage of pills. During Pray's remembrance dinner, Ricky realizes Pray essentially sacrificed himself so Ricky could become healthy once more.
By 1998, Ricky is the new father of the House of Evangelista, although he's still under the watchful eye of Blanca. Oh, and he's a choreographer for Destiny's Child.
What Happens to the House of Evangelista on the Pose Series Finale?
Although still a big part of Blanca, Pray Tell, and Ricky's stories, the rest of the original House of Evangelista take a back seat for the finale. They pop up every now and again for pivotal moments including the protest at the FDA, the spreading of Pray's ashes as part of ACT UP's demonstration, and Pray's remembrance dinner. It isn't until the flash-forward that we get to see what became of them all. Elektra is living her best life, wealthier than you can probably imagine. To keep others from realizing she may actually have a heart, Elektra's also become an anonymous benefactor to hospitals and those seeking hormone therapy. Lulu is not only an accountant, but she recently got a promotion to tax accountant. Damon is still in Chicago, teaching dance and embracing his new relationship. As for Angel, Papi is looking to get her back into the modeling game, but she's been very happy with her life as a stay-at-home mother to Benito, who is now starting the third grade.
While we're happy the OG House of Evangelista has a future full of hope, we're still going to miss them. It seems we're not the only ones, as even Angel Bismark Curiel (aka Papi) wasn't ready to say goodbye. "I'm heartbroken seeing these characters for the last time. Saying goodbye to them was a parting I am still processing," he told POPSUGAR. "It'll probably take a couple years to really know the extent of this farewell. But I'm at peace because they — Blanca, Angel, Elektra, Lulu, Candy, Papi, Damon, Ricky, and Pray Tell — will live on forever." As for what he would've changed with Pose, he said that's easy. "I wouldn't have waxed my eyebrows all of season one," he said with a laugh. "Nah, but for real: I wouldn't change a single thing. I, for one, live for the lessons, the takeaways, in everything I do."