A rare cliffhanger ending offers an exciting change, as co-writer and director Steven Canals delivers two of the great fantasy pampering montages of all time.
- 👠 Curiel seldom gets a real acting challenge but he brings real confusion and heartbreak to the discovery of a son he never knew he had.
- 👠 Even if it's pure escapism, the show's indulgence of Elektra's success, shared with her daughters and her community, is incredibly fun to watch.
- 👠 While Elektra's takedown of a bigoted bridal shop owner is enjoyable, her unbridled success — and the ease with which she accumulated it — almost becomes cartoonish by the end of the episode.
This post contains spoilers for Pose "Something Borrowed, Something Blue"
Check out our last review here.
Pose’s wish-fulfillment goes into overdrive in "Something Borrowed, Something Blue" as Elektra (Dominique Jackson) reveals how she partnered with the Mafia to expand her phone-sex business in exchange for helping them launder drug money. Not only is she outfitted with a palatial loft and a wardrobe to die for, but she provides some cash to help Blanca (MJ Rodriguez) upgrade her pennysaver décor, complete with dinner delivered from the 21 Club. But when time comes to dispense gifts to the rest of her children, Lulu (Hailie Sahar) is none too grateful for a free trip to rehab, especially after she announces she’s getting her life together, and even has a new man. Elektra sin’t convinced, but Blanca raises a toast on behalf of all for of them for seeing past their limitations and pursuing their dreams. And when Angel (Indya Moore) reveals that she and Papi (Angel Bismark Curiel) have set a New Year’s Eve date for their wedding, Elektra volunteers to pay for her dream wedding.
Angel is thrilled, not the least of which because she never dared to dream of the storybook wedding Elektra is offering. But Papi rejects the idea, worrying that it will make him look bad, and set a worse precedent at the very beginning of their marriage. With Blanca moderating, however, he and Elektra come to terms, as he recognizes that the day is theirs, but it’s also one that is needed for their community, to give others hope to experience their own wedding days that aren’t a performance on the ballroom floor. And so, the "Something Borrowed, Something Blue" leans hard into being a celebration of this unique opportunity: to the pulsing disco of Deee-Lite’s “Groove Is In The Heart,” Angel tries on a series of dresses, leading her, Blanca, Elektra and Lulu to all don gowns. It’s the kind of montage that virtually every great ‘80s movie used to have, but it comes to a surprising halt when the store owner (Eddie Korbich) refuses to sell Elektra Angel’s favorite, castigating them for turning marriage vows into “a freak show.”
That of course doesn’t sound like a fantasy, but Elektra dresses him down mercilessly, and leaves promising that he hasn’t seen the last of her. That Dominique, the young man helping them, quits in protest, offers a satisfying cherry on top of the moment. But writers Brad Falchuk and Steven Canals slowly begin to pile on complications for what initially seemed like a blissful union: a woman from Papi’s past shows up to tell him that an ex-girlfriend died, and left behind something of his — a son, now turning five. Papi’s introduction to his son is tender and very moving, and again, encouraging, because he immediately accepts the boy even as he wrestles with this tremendous new responsibility, and change, in his life.
Elektra enlists her mob partners to exact revenge on the owner of the bridal shop, suggesting they steal all of his dresses and sell them off to the daughters of their colleagues. “Elektra, are you sure you aren’t Italian?” Mario Ciccone (not related to Madonna, Elektra reassures us) asks. “You would make one hell of a boss.” “You’ll get no argument from me, darling,” she responds. Not content with one fantasy montage, Elektra leads Angel, Blanca and Lulu into their second with a spa day featuring massages, mud baths, and all of the pampering that the four women can stand. Afterward, they meet up for an elaborate dinner with the rest of the women in their community, where Elektra gives all of them their own wedding dresses — courtesy her Italian benefactors — before taking Angel for a night of lap dances at a strip club.
Papi is waiting up for Angel when she arrives home, and he tells her about Beto. He wants to raise the boy and make up for lost time, but Angel, unready for the responsibilities of parenthood, runs out. It’s honestly the first real cliffhanger in a long time for the show, and there’s something really exciting about that choice; given the trajectory of the season, it’s safe to assume that everything will end happily, but having to wait — even a week — to see the resolution creates a different type of anticipation than what audiences usually expect. After the previous episode’s weighty storytelling, not to mention Billy Porter’s personal disclosures about his own life and their relationship to the events on screen, "Something Borrowed, Something Blue" offered a welcome bit of brightness and escape. But with two episodes left, it’s good to see the show zeroing in on its characters and seeking a sense of catharsis, leavened with a healthy dollop of escapism.
Todd Gilchrist is a Los Angeles-based film critic and entertainment journalist with more than 20 years’ experience for dozens of print and online outlets, including Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Weekly and Fangoria. An obsessive soundtrack collector, sneaker aficionado and member of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Todd currently lives in Silverlake, California with his amazing wife Julie, two cats Beatrix and Biscuit, and several thousand books, vinyl records and Blu-rays.
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