FX’s ballroom culture period drama “Pose” is signing off with its third and final season this spring — a season they pushed through the COVID-19 pandemic to finish, but truly has been many years in the making.
Although the final season will be short — only seven episodes — it tells stories that co-creators Steven Canals and Ryan Murphy discussed when they first began talking about the series five years ago.
“If you watch this season, and more specifically the finale, that was what it was always intended to be,” Canals said during a virtual discussion for the show on Monday. “If you go back to the first season, everything was a set up for this final chapter. Stories have a beginning, middle and an end, and this final season was the end of this three-arc narrative that we’ve been telling. … It’s us finally allowing our characters to explore what it means to have all of the things that they very clearly stated in the first season that they wanted.”
For characters such as Blanca (Mj Rodriguez), that means getting a new job and fighting for HIV and AIDS patients’ rights, in addition to exploring new and expanded relationships, while Angel (Indya Moore) and Papi (Angel Bismark Curiel) take further steps in their own relationship, for example.
“Trans people are who they say they are, so what we’re fighting for is a world where trans people are accepted and seen,” said writer, director and co-executive producer Janet Mock.
The final season will focus on many colors of that, including “how so many women before us — before legislation … were outsiders and renegades and trailblazers. ‘Pose’ was always a celebration of the ways in which our people make do with nothing,” she continued.
“I have been dealing with a lot of PTSD during this COVID time. It’s very reminiscent of what it was like then,” series star Billy Porter said, reflecting on the HIV/AIDS crisis of decades prior that “Pose” depicts. “The best news about that is that I survived, we got through it and there is another side to it — we can get to the other side. And I feel like that’s what ‘Pose’ really accomplishes this season: reminding the public that it’s when we come together and when we lead with love [that] we get to the other side.”
Between the complicated personal and professional lives of the characters this season, and the fact that the episodes were filmed on location in New York City amid the pandemic, the time spent in the ballroom is limited, Mock admitted.
Still, they were “an absolute joy,” said cast member Dyllón Burnside. “The balls always pushed me to the edge … and really challenged me about what it was that I was capable of doing.”
And one extra special ball moment in Season, cast member Indya Moore previewed, is the “throwback” one to their house’s first ball together.
Although Canals noted they “certainly could have continued to create narrative around these characters and this world, and we talked about [that] in the writers’ room,” ultimately the reason Season 3 is the last is because, “for me as a true lover of television, one of the things that has always frustrated me is when I am tuning into a season of television and I can tell this season just feels like filler. “The last thing I wanted to do to our audience was create narrative simply to create narrative, and with no real intention. I could see the ending … and it made sense to land the plane comfortably, if you will.”
“Pose” will premiere its third and final season with two back-to-back episodes May 2 on FX.