This week’s episode had a lot going on! Pray Tell (Billy Porter) was visited by three ghost’s ala “The Christmas Carol,” Candy (Angelica Ross) is back (sort of), so many great performances at the AIDS Cabaret and Blanca (Mj Rodriguez) got double-crossed. But let’s get into it shall we…
This week opens with Pray hosting another ball when he passes out and is rushed to the hospital. We immediately find out that Pray is having a negative reaction to the AZT meds which is causing a low platelet count and internal bleeding. Dr. Judy (Sandra Bernhard) assures him that he will be OK, but that he will have to let the AZT leave his system. Overwhelmed with emotions, Pray asks Dr. Judy and Blanca to not talk to him like he is a child and to leave the room so he can have his tantrum in peace.
Back at Blanca’s shop, Frederica (Patti Lupone) comes to visit and tells her that she is going to lose even more business if she keeps hanging posters advertising the AIDS Cabaret outside of her shop. Frederica tells Blanca that she “loves the gays,” but AIDS she can’t stand. When Blanca brings up the stereotypical gays that Frederica has in her life like her hairdresser, Frederica lets Blanca know she has also "lost people to the AIDS disease." To prove to Blanca that she is a good person, she offers her $20 as a donation to the AIDS Cabaret. She quickly takes it back though because she decides to not only attend the cabaret to give her donation personally, but to also be a performer.
At the hospital, Pray returns to his room from a walk to discover he has a roommate, Lewis, who is there due to pneumonia. After Pray calls him a “queen” while trying to figure out where he knows him from, Lewis kindly lets him know that he is a college-educated man and not from his community. Pray falls asleep but is startled awake in the middle of the night by Lewis struggling to breathe. He pulls back the curtain to find Lewis in distress, so he calls the nurses for help. Pray freaks out thinking that the drugs the nurses are giving Lewis are hurting him but before they can hear him out, one of the nurses injects Pray with a sedative and lays him in his bed where, unable to speak, he watches Lewis die. The next time Pray wakes up, he is surrounded by white flowers. He reads a card attached to a bouquet and sees that it's from Candy! He pulls back the curtain to look at the bed next to him only to find Candy sitting there smoking a cigarette.
Candy then pops a valium and begins telling Pray what her days in heaven are like when Pray realizes that all the people she mentions have died from AIDS. She tells him that heaven is what you make it and that she just feels more comfortable with people that understand her. Pray realizes what she said and asks her if she had AIDS, which leads Candy to admit that she did, but she never told anyone because she didn’t want people to treat her any differently. She tries to persuade Pray to take some pills to sleep eternally but he refuses. Next, Pray is visited by his stepfather and it is revealed that Pray is a survivor of sexual molestation by him as a child and Pray is still struggling with how to forgive him. Finally, Pray is visited by a bright light and Costas (Johnny Sibilly). Costas tells him to get dressed and that he’s got a lot to live for so he’s not dying tonight. He tells Pray that he has an audience waiting on his performance down the hall. Before he leaves the room, Pray asks Costas if he will be with him, to which Costas replied “always.” Pray treats his adoring fans to an amazing rendition of “The Man That Got Away” before the sunlight hits him and Dr. Judy is standing before him letting him know that it is morning.
Blanca has taken over planning the Cabaret while Pray is in the hospital but she is struggling to focus because her kids are too loud in their room. In an act of exasperation, she bursts in and yells at them about the noise and the cleanliness of the room until Angel (Indya Moore) interrupts her with a hug and tells the guys to leave the room for a minute. Blanca admits to Angel that she blames herself for Pray getting sick because she encouraged him to take the AZT. Angel reminds her that AZT is the only drug out to fight the disease and Pray doesn’t do anything he doesn’t want to do.
The day of the cabaret finally arrives and Dr. Judy lets Blanca know that even though Pray is doing much better, he’s not coming to the cabaret. Blanca storms into Pray’s room, and the two argue about Pray being upset with Blanca because she encouraged him to take the meds and Blanca tells him that she did what she did because she cares for him. She also reminds him that she too, is living every day with the disease just like he is. Just like two best friends, she tells him to get his act together and get dressed, and he does. During the cabaret, we discover that Frederica’s plan was to come to the cabaret in order to distract Blanca while she had her son board up Blanca’s shop and change the locks. At the end of the cabaret, Blanca not only announces that they have raised over $4k in donations but she also opens up to the crowd and reveals to them that she too is a person living with AIDS hoping to encourage the other patients.
After finding out the next day that Frederica had set her up, Blanca has dinner with her family and announces to them that not only has she filed a lawsuit against Frederica, but she also plans to picket the store the next day. Pray is glad to be home and Blanca has him on a butter diet to flush the AZT out of his system. At the strike, Pray surprises Blanca with at least 50 members of their community in order to draw news attention. The episode ends with Pray being at home preparing for bed when he is once again visited by Candy. She tells him that she will be haunting him from here on out, tempting him with death. Pray declares to her that he has plenty of fight left in him and it’s not his time.
- Dr. Judy’s cabaret performance of “Sometimes It Snows In April” almost brought me to tears (R.I.P. Prince).
- I knew when I read that Patti LuPone was joining Pose this season that we were going to get a show stopping performance at some point, and she didn’t disappoint.
- Blanca and Pray’s performance of “Love’s In Need of Love Today” …ya’ll better harmonize!