From giant condoms to cocaine to Angel (Indya Moore) and Papi (Angel Curiel) to someone testing positive, this week had a lot going on. Let’s get into it, shall we…

The show opens with the community experiencing a low because the Madonna “Vogue” phase has ended which means that Damon’s (Ryan Jamaal Swain) classes at the local YMCA are being canceled because his classes went from being overcrowded to having just 3 students, and the balls are less crowded because the “looky-loos” have decided to move on. Pray Tell (Billy Porter) gives them a pep talk and tells the crowd that this has happened before and it will happen again, but their community will continue to thrive, so he encourages them not to get down in the dumps about it. 

Later, when Blanca (Mj Rodriguez) and Pray are discussing Lulu (Hailie Sahar), Blanca tells him that after hearing that Lulu was in bad shape due to Candy’s passing, she went to see for herself. Blanca popped up on Lulu at her job at the strip club and could tell that Lulu was losing weight and that her eyes looked really glossy. The two then note that Damon and Ricky (Dyllon Burnside) have also been down in the dumps lately and Blanca says that all they do is lay around watching tv and drinking wine coolers. Pray cites that when they were coming up as young people in their community, they had the elders to show them the way. When Blanca asks where the elders are, Pray helps her realize that they are now the elders and it is up to them to help Damon, Ricky, and Lulu find their way. They then gather Damon, Ricky, and Lulu together, tell them that their stories need to be about resilience, not just failure, and task them with finding a condom big enough to cover Fredrica’s (Patti Lupone) entire house in a week’s time for the next Act Out protest. Blanca also informs them that by using Fredrica’s house they will be killing two birds with one stone since Frederica tried to smear Blanca and the other protestors names to the news by implying that they left hypodermic needles and condoms all on the ground after the protest. 

Once Damon, Ricky, and Lulu begin brainstorming where to find a giant condom Lulu starts crying because she realizes that she’s a “dumb stripper” and says that she never realized how much Candy (Angelica Ross) did for her. Damon and Ricky lift her spirits by telling her that most people wouldn’t be able to survive a day in her shoes. Lulu comes up with the idea to pay a company that makes bounce houses to make them a giant condom. Next, they need to measure Fredrica’s house and figure out how to pay for it. After sneaking and measuring Fredrica’s house in the middle of the night, Lulu seeks the help of Electra (Dominique Jackson) to get money for the condom. Initially, Electra turns Lulu down, until Lulu strokes Electra’s ego by telling her that her Marie Antoinette look was overlooked at the ball a few weeks ago when Pray read her for filth. She convinces Electra that helping them would give her the chance to take a stand for their community and to prove Pray and the council wrong. The selling point was that it would also give Electra a leg up in the “Mother of The Year” category. Lulu tells Electra that she needs $2500, Electra gives her $1000 and gives her a chance to earn the rest of her charity by letting her entertain a client with her at the dominatrix club.

Papi and Angel are still flirting with each other when Angel brings Papi breakfast after a long shift at work the night before. They talk about her blossoming modeling career and Angel worries that people don’t really see her and that they will find out her secret. Papi assures her that she deserves all the good that is coming her way and that she deserves to be seen by the world. The phone rings and its Ms. Ford (Trudie Styler) telling her that she is the new face of Bebe. Papi tells her that he is going out to the club with her to celebrate and Angel agrees, but only if he goes as her boyfriend and the two of them share a kiss. They get to the club and enjoy Angel’s modeling perks until they are invited to VIP and see people doing lines of cocaine. Papi pulls Angel to the side after Angel’s friend offers them a line and tries to convince her not to do it citing Blanca’s “no drugs” rule. She convinces him that it’s safe and that it’s like medication that is prescribed by a doctor so it can’t be anything that causes them harm. The two do a line and the night comes alive. They end the night by having sex and finally confessing their love for each other. 

The night before the big condom protest, Blanca, Pray, Electra, Lulu, Damon, Ricky, Dr. Judy (Sandra Bernhard), and Dr. Judy’s partner arrive at a motel where the Act Out group has provided two rooms–one for the guys and one for the girls. Inside the guys’ room, when Damon steps out to go get a cot for Ricky to sleep on because he refuses to share a bed with him, Pray and Ricky have a short heart to heart. Ricky tells Pray that his former fling, Chris, the back-up dancer from the Al B. Sure tour, called him crying because he tested positive for HIV. Pray asks him if he had unprotected sex with Chris and Ricky admits that Chris did give him oral sex. Pray lets Ricky know that he needs to get tested and to be honest with Damon.

The day of the caper, the group arrives at Fredrica’s house and already have news crews on stand-by. They have about 15 minutes to get the house covered and have the condom blown up before someone notices them, so they get right to work. When a neighbor walking her dog happens upon them, Electra happily agrees to be a distraction. She tells the neighbor that they are “tenting” Fredrica’s house and she is aware of it. The neighbor doesn’t believe that Frederica would know someone like Electra and even though she can’t stand Frederica, she still heads home to call the cops. As the condom on Fredrica’s house fills up with air in the background, Pray and Blanca tell the newscaster that condoms are the most effective way to prevent HIV/AIDS.

When the protest group comes home to celebrate their success over a family dinner, Damon walks in on Angel and Papi with a vial of cocaine while on his way to get Blanca’s cookbook out of the bedroom. Papi tells him that they were just celebrating Angel’s good news and their admission of love for one another and begs Damon to keep it between them. Angel throws the vial out the fire escape and promises to never do it again. During the family dinner prepared by Damon, Ricky, and Lulu, the three of them thank Pray and Blanca for seeing them struggling and giving them an opportunity to uplift themselves. The three of them realize that their community is waiting for them to make their marks and even though they aren’t sure what the future holds or if they’ll even be around to see it, they are now ready for it.

Later, Blanca is back in her shop after Frederica tried to rush the court proceedings and lost. Frederica does a pop-up visit in Blanca’s shop and tells her that Blanca’s prank humiliated her and ruined her reputation as a woman in real estate. She threatens Blanca on her way out telling her that she should be careful about leaving the shop because the neighborhood hasn’t changed as fast as she predicted it would. 

Blanca and Lulu meet up for dinner and Lulu thanks Blanca for being there for her. She admits that she was lost before Candy’s death and her death only magnified it. She lets Blanca know that she has enrolled in school and is going to get her accounting degree. Pray and Ricky are at the clinic waiting on the results of Ricky’s test when Ricky tries flirting with Pray. Ricky finally gets called in the Dr.’s office and the Dr. informs him that his test came back positive for HIV. Ricky freaks out and tries to make sense of his results. He leaves the Dr.’s office, tells Pray his results, says he’s going to die and starts weeping in Pray’s arms.

Angel arrives two hours late to her photoshoot escorted by Papi and it’s clear that she had another night sponsored by cocaine. Ms. Ford tells her that she is better than that and that she is so close to getting everything she told her she wanted and asks her if she wants to burn out too. She tells her to pull herself together and calls the photographer over and we see that it’s the photographer who tried to blackmail Angel a few episodes ago.

Ballroom Highlights

  • Pray’s closet strikes again! That purple ensemble he wore to the motel, A. MUST.HAVE.
  • Electra during the caper was pure comedy…where did she get that glass of lemonade???
  • I know the writers are giving us a closer look into the lives of the characters this season, but I really hope we get a couple more balls next episode.



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Photo: FX