I’m Selina, Awards Circuit’s queer Girl Friday for everything LGBTQIA+ on TV! July 4th may be just around the corner, but in the fabulous New York City of FX’s “Pose,” Christmastime is here. Houses Abundance and Evangelista decked the halls (and a Salvation Army Santa Claus) while Stan juggled holiday plans in the show’s third episode, “Giving and Receiving.” Here’s a recap of the episode, just in case you missed it.
Mother Blanca has her hands full with the wayward children of House Evangelista. Her mission this holiday season is a full Christmas dinner and presents under the tree for every member of her house, to the delight of some (Damon and Papi) and indifference of others (Angel). Damon has good memories of the holiday, while Papi is just excited about getting stuff; Angel, however, has a painful history with the holiday, revealing she loved a beautiful red shoe when she was six that her parents took away from her. Her story is a reminder of the world’s intolerance of the queer community, emphasized by a sobering hospital sequence as Pray Tell and Damon’s dance teacher visit friends suffering from AIDS. For some, Christmas just isn’t a joyful time.
House Evangelista then gains another child when Ricky struts at the weekly ball, snagging a first runner-up trophy and impressing the crowd. Blanca is less amused, angered by Ricky’s choice of wardrobe (a beautiful, stolen fur coat), but begrudgingly lets Ricky into House Evangelista if he promises not to distract Damon from his studies.
The rule does little good for Damon, who arrives late to class after spending too much time choreographing House Evangelista’s Snow Ball presentation. His teacher, reeling from news of her student’s death, scolds him for wasting his life and kicks him out of class, then calls Blanca over for a parent-teacher conference. Blanca, furious over Damon’s slip-up, forbids him from walking at the Snow Ball, prompting a tantrum from Damon. The two make up eventually, but House Evangelista only wins a first runner-up trophy at the ball. But in Blanca’s heart of gold, the loss doesn’t matter.
Not everyone is so generous about the holidays. Elektra, the matriarch of House Abundance, is focused on one thing only: herself. Elektra is finally at the top of the list for sex reassignment surgery, but doesn’t have the money to pay for the procedure. Mother Abundance, who’s both heartless and resourceful, robs a Salvation Army donation bucket while her children knock out the stand’s Santa Claus. As her children excitedly plan a special Christmas Day with the money, Elektra quietly takes the cash for herself and set a date for surgery. Elektra is so “Pose’s” Scrooge, if Scrooge never met those three creepy ghosts.
Despite Angel’s history with Christmas, things seem to be going well with her and Stan (emphasis on “seem”). Stan gives Angel her own bit of heaven with a new, tricked out apartment, to Angel’s absolute delight. After she finagles the promise of a Christmas rendezvous, the pair cut the ust and make love for the first time. The afterglow makes Stan a little cocky, leading to him pissing off his Trumpian boss at work and buying expensive jewelry for his wife and girlfriend during his daughter’s holiday shopping trip. His boss (the textbook example of sexual harassment) drops by his house and comes on to Stan’s wife Patty in retaliation, hinting at Stan’s infidelity and kissing her.
Patty rebuffs Matt (go Patty) but thinks over what Matt said, culminating in a Christmas morning fight. Patty reveals that their daughter told her about the “extra” present he bought, rightly guessing the second present is for his mistress. Stan throws her off the scent by giving her two presents instead of one, revealing a second I Feel Guilty For Cheating On You present he’d bought and successfully hoodwinking her. I was surprised Stan didn’t accidentally give her Angel’s present, but maybe all this sneaking around has made him smarter? Or he gave her both presents by accident? In any case, Stan somehow avoids a divorce and stands up Angel, who hurls the homemade cookies she’d made for him into the kitchen sink. Ouch.
Christmas is a happier affair in the Evangelista household, especially for lovebirds Damon and Ricky. The young dancer brings breakfast in bed for his boyfriend, then reveals he’s ready for the next step in their relationship. The pair make love while breakfast gets cold (sex then breakfast y’all, not the other way around). Food really takes a hit later that night, when Blanca tries to make Christmas dinner and cheer up a devastated Angel at the same time. The Christmas turkey, forgotten in the oven, turns into an actual fireball that Blanca has to hurl out the kitchen window.
House Evangelista plus Pray Tell (invited to supper when Blanca heard he had no holiday plans) troop to the local Chinese restaurant, where the group exchange gifts over orange chicken and mu shu pork. Angel is presented with a shiny pair of red pumps, while Blanca receives a necklace to match her heart of gold. I’m not crying, there’s just some tinsel in my eye.