In the early 90s, a pseudo-mummified corpse was mysteriously found in the closet of famous drag queen, Dorian Corey. It’s a bizarre and very real story, and it’s still unknown what exactly happened to the dead man. Fortunately, it was also the basis for one storyline in this episode of Pose, and it addresses some of the very real potential explanations behind the grim tale. Speaking of which, we don’t get much about Pray Tell, Blanca, or Damon this episode. Instead, it’s all about Elektra and Angel (okay, and maybe a little bit about Papi, too).
Last episode, we found out that Elektra had found a new place in which to put her talents to good use: the Hellfire Club (which, by the way, is based on the very real BDSM Hellfire Club of the 80s). Elektra as a dominatrix is a wonderful new plot twist, but unfortunately we’re not sure how much longer it will last. Early in the episode, we see one of her regulars, Paul, come back for more abuse. The trouble is (as we saw last time), Paul’s got a bit of a drug habit. He brings a gas mask to his session and asks Elektra to put it on him in order to release the drugs into his system at a slower, steady pace. She agrees (for an additional fee), leaves, and returns to find he’s choked to death on his own vomit.
Not surprisingly, Elektra runs to the first person she can think of who would actually have her back: Blanca. Being who she is, Blanca tells Elektra to call the police to explain the situation (we love you Blanca, but no). Elektra then runs to Candy, who sets her straight: she will do time if she calls the cops. She’s a poor, black, trans woman in NYC in the 90s who had a rich white man strapped in a sex club, after all. Candy takes Elektra to see a friend who also had served time in Riker’s after she defended herself against a John (despite the fact that he attacked her and left her beaten). The woman tells Elektra she won’t last at Riker’s, and that’s enough to convince her that they need another solution.
Candy ends up calling an old acquaintance: the woman who did her butt implants. At first, she’s reluctant to help—but of course, money talks. After Elektra flashes a stack of hundreds, she leaves to pick up supplies (a pleather sheet, some bottles of lye, etc.) and us viewers have a feeling we know where this is going. The girls end up returning to the Hellfire, sticking Paul into a suitcase to smuggle him out, and taking him to Elektra’s. Here, they proceed to sew him up into a cocoon in which he’ll decompose thanks to the lye, and he’s to remain in Elektra’s closet as he rots indefinitely.
Could it be that Dorian Corey also found herself with a dead body, and knew she’d surely be arrested and incarcerated (and likely worse) should she turn to police? Pose asks the viewers to think a bit more deeply about the injustices that marginalized people face, especially in the face of extreme circumstances. Would any of them be treated the way Paul would have, had he accidentally been witness to Elektra’s death? Hell no. Besides, we later find out that Paul used to beat on women at the strip club, so odds are he wasn’t exactly a stand-up chap anyway.
Angel the Butterfly
Angel’s been waiting to hear about the Fresh Faces Modeling Contest, but find herself disappointed at the start of the episode when she finds out she didn’t make the final cut. In what was perhaps a moment of weakness, she ends up kissing Papi, who happily returns her affection. It’s a sweet moment, but we can already tell this isn’t going to end well.
Angel tells Papi she’s scared to mess things up with him since he’s “family” and all, but eventually agrees to go on a date with him. As luck would have it though, she gets a call from the modeling agency to come in for a potential gig…on the same night as her date. She’s sent to do a photo shoot for wet n wild cosmetics, and Angel finally gets her big break. At one point, she realizes she needs to leave for her date, but the photographer stops her because she’s been “booked till 9.” Being that this was the 90s, there was no way to message Papi so he wouldn’t stand around waiting.
Eventually, Papi comes home to find Angel recounting the magic she experienced that evening, making her dreams come true. Gracious as hell, Papi congratulates her on her big shot. He tells her to keep chasing after her dream, while also admitting that she happens to be his dream. It’s bittersweet, but you gotta hand it to Papi for staying classy throughout. And in the final scene, he even goes to support her (along with Damon and Blanca) to find Angel’s face all over the cosmetics section of Duane Reade. We’ll have to wait till the next episode to see if Angel keeps spreading her wings, and whether Papi’s able to handle living with her in the process.