So, this week kicked off with a reunion and an 8-9 month jump in time. We had children return home, a secret revealed, mother of the year, and a proposal. But let’s get into it, shall we…
Blanca (MJ Rodriguez) is finishing up with a customer in her apartment when Pray Tell (Billy Porter) appears at her door. The two share an embrace and admit that is has been 8-9 months since they’d last seen each other. The time has jumped from August 1990 to May 1991. Blanca and Pray catch each other up on everything that has been going on: Damon (Ryan Jamaal Swain) is still touring Europe, Angel (Indya Moore) and Papi (Angel Bismark Curiel) are like Lucy and Ricky Ricardo and Pray is still with Ricky (Dyllon Burnside), but they are taking things slow. Pray reminds Blanca that she is still welcome to come to the balls even if she doesn’t have any children now and that the purpose of the balls is to remind you that you are not alone. Blanca notes that without her kids sometimes the balls have the opposite effect on her. Noticing Blanca’s heavy cough, Pray asks when the last time was she has seen a doctor.
Blanca wakes up in a hospital bed with an oxygen mask and Pray sitting by her side. She is extremely winded and is convinced that she is dying. She tells Pray to hand her the small book out her bag that has her last will and testament written inside it. Before he can get past the first two lines, Pray switches that book for Blanca’s address book so he can call everyone she knows in it to come and sit with her so she’s not sitting at the hospital alone. Elektra (Dominique Jackson), Lulu (Hailie Sahar), and Angel are in the hospital keeping Blanca company when Angel admits that it has been a couple of months since she has been called by Ms. Ford (Trudie Styler) regarding any new gigs. Pray and Papi return with food and flowers and Pray realizes that he hasn’t seen any of the girls at the balls lately. Elektra says that she doesn’t have time for the boring balls anymore and points out that the balls have been taken over by “the boys” lately. She points out to Pray that The Council of Emcees is all men, all the judges are men, and none of them know what it’s like to be judged every second of their lives like they do. Pray takes the girls’ issues to the council and they agree to dress in full drag in a new category to show their support and solidarity. They admit that it will help them understand fully what the women go through and create empathy amongst the men at the balls.
Angel pops up in Ms. Ford’s office to find out why she hasn’t been called for a gig lately and Ms. Ford tells her that she was waiting to call her when she had something. She tells Angel that she was spotted by someone who knew her from the balls, and he told the creative director of the shoot. The creative director then accused Ms. Ford of false advertising because she asked for a female model. The word about Angel has spread and everyone has canceled their contracts with Angel citing misrepresentation and fraud. Ms. Ford doesn’t believe Angel is a fraud but there is nothing she can do if no one wants to work with her. Papi comes home and Angel tells him the bad news. Papi reassures her that she was destined to be seen by the world and her career isn’t over yet.
Back at the hospital, Blanca is showing signs of progress, her cough is gone, but she still has an infection, so she is looking at at least another week in the hospital. Blanca asks Dr. Judy (Sandra Berhardt) to be honest and tell her how much time she has left. Dr. Judy tells her it’s hard to tell because AIDS is such an unpredictable disease. Blanca asks her if the chemicals she uses in her salon caused her pneumonia and Dr. Judy tells her that it didn’t help and that she really should consider retiring from the salon. Blanca’s low T-cell count make her eligible for disability, but Blanca just sees this as a sign from her body to give up.
Papi comes home and hands Angel his new business cards. He tells her that he is going to become a talent manager for Angel and other girls like her. He tries to recruit other women at the balls and the Piers but no one is willing to take a chance on him. While Pray is sitting with Blanca at the hospital he reads a news story about Frederica (Patti Lupone) being arrested for setting Blanca’s shop on fire. She is now facing five years in prison, but Blanca just sees this news as another reason that her time on Earth is almost over. Pray tells Blanca to come to the Mother’s Day Ball and that he has a surprise for her, but Blanca passes on the invite because her children are all grown and gone. Pray reminds her that once you’re a mother, you are always a mother.
Elektra is teaching the men how to walk in heels for the ball. Pray looks a mess and after a harsh critique from Elektra, Pray storms out. Ricky follows him to see what’s wrong and tells Pray that he is being a hypocrite because he always tells him to be proud of who he is. Pray shares with Ricky that his father used to beat him as a way of preventing him from becoming a “sissy.” Ricky tells him that it’s time to let that go and embrace who he is.
Papi and Angel go to Ms. Ford and beg her to give him an opportunity to work for her managing other trans models. He tells her that people overlook him by himself, but with Ms. Ford’s name backing him they’ll take him seriously. She agrees to give him a cubicle, a phone, and her watchful eye, and if he manages to book a gig within the next two weeks, she will consider a partnership between the two of them.
Blanca is finally getting discharged from the hospital when she is surprised by Damon. Damon admits that he got tested in Paris and received a negative result but the situation with Ricky did cause him to be more careful. He catches Blanca up on everything that has happened to him over the past few months, including him taking the House of Evangelista to Paris and becoming a house dad with children of his own. He encourages Blanca to reopen her house because the “Damons of the world” still need her.
At the ball, Papi tells Angel that he booked her a gig and they’re flying first class to Berlin the next day. The best part about the gig is they know Angel is trans and they still want her. Angel thanks Papi for believing in her even when she stopped believing in herself. Angel gets down on one knee to propose and Papi stops her because he wants to propose to her. On the count of three, they propose to each other. Ricky and Damon bump into each other and the two catch up. Ricky tells Damon that he was really worried about his health and once again apologizes for putting him in that situation. Damon accepts his apology. Blanca surprises everyone for the Candy’s Sweet Refrain category and performs Whitney Houston’s version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and shuts the category down, while Elektra won “Mother of The Year” by a unanimous vote.
Our season ends with Blanca watching her now engaged children walking off into the night when she spots two young kids. She calls them over and asks them their names, and she finds out that Quincy and Chilly are both new to New York after having been kicked out of their homes by their parents. Once she finds out they have been sleeping at the Piers she invites them out to eat with her and Pray and the four of them walk off into the night.
- Pray’s fashions ONCE AGAIN.
- Angel and Papi’s relationship really shined this episode. Every woman needs a Lil Papi in their life.
- “Vogue” was hands down my favorite category of the night.