With news of Blanca’s biological mother dying, so comes a quest for reconciliation, even if some make it harder than others.
|Carmen||Flor De Liz Perez|
|Young Blanca||Jayden Marine|
Meet The Wife: Matt, Stan, Patty, Angel
With the student beginning to eclipse the teacher, Matt begins to fight dirty. He has already tried to take Stan’s wife to get back at him, but that’s not an option. What seems to be though is him giving facts to her doubt so that she may leave him. Though it might be a bit more complicated than that. For while Patty does track down Angel and seems ready for a sit-down, it seems she isn’t going to be going hog wild with her husband’s mistress.
A part of me would appreciate the pettiness of Matt if it wasn’t for the fact Elektra and the rest are on this show. So it just makes what he is doing messy and juvenile. However, one thing definitely worth keeping an eye on is Angel and Patty. Mostly because Patty has been a second thought and it seemed that wasn’t going to change until now. Probably in the form of the least developed character, outside maybe Lulu, getting some backstory – like how she met Stan and all that. Which may not sway favor her way but at the very least may make it a tad bit harder to root for Angel’s happiness. Especially since Patty doesn’t seem to be looking for a fight but more so some kind of understanding. Well, unless she flips the script and turns what looks like her trying to understand Stan, maybe even Angel, into leverage.
A Mother Reborn: Elektra, Blanca, Candy, Lulu
It isn’t necessarily clear how many children Elektra may have had over the years, but it does seem in 1982 that Blanca was one of the first. Now, the series takes place around 5 years later and despite Blanca, Candy, Angel, Lulu, and unnamed children having been mentored and giving some inkling of fame, only Blanca showed up to Elektra’s room. That is, her room after her reassignment surgery. Something which isn’t lost on Elektra, especially as Blanca gets her together.
Not in a cruel way mind you. Though those two will always have a certain amount of banter, for it is how Elektra shows love, time and a challenge, the heart of their relationship shines through. That is Blanca being thankful for Elektra taking her in when times were rough and Elektra not only enjoying the competition but also someone who challenges her to be better without necessarily being insulting about it. Blanca knows Elektra enough to critique her without making it seem like a direct attack.
Which perhaps doesn’t just make her one of her first children but her favorite, which she’ll never say. However, her words do lead to her admitting she is a “Hard Bitch” and seemingly she may turn over a new leaf. It is too soon to say and who knows if a loss would end her attempts to change. All that is clear is that Blanca may not live in Elektra’s house but she will always revere her second mother.
Rodriguez had me crying throughout the whole episode. For whether we are talking about her time new on the ball scene or as a mother now, there is a strength, in all forms of the word, to her performance. I’m talking strength in being capable of being vulnerable, strength in standing up for yourself, and also strength in putting yourself out there even when rejection is nearly guaranteed. I mean, take her first ball and getting nearly all 6s, which as we saw with Candy, can lead to massive ridicule. She knew what she would get but asked for her scored anyway. Then, when talked about by the other girls, she stood up for herself.
But, in that we see why Elektra never pushes Blanca too far away. She may challenge her so that she has better reads or quips, but never goes for the low blows. For, in the long run, she knows Blanca is a real one. She cares about her community and has no issue paying homage to the people who made her current life possible. I mean, how else do you explain her being the only one who went to Elektra’s room? I mean, lest we forget, that would mean her asking someone when Elektra got the surgery, when she should be out, where it happened, and then getting flowers. That’s effort. Something not only did Elektra’s children not put into seeing her but no other house or mother did. Really making it clear that, as much as Elektra may want to crush Blanca and Evangelista, it might just be so that she returns home.
The Path To Reconciliation: Blanca, Pray Tell, Carmen, Alma, Manuel
Blanca’s biological mom, whose name I don’t think is said once, was last spoken to in October 1982, the same year Blanca met Elektra. Now, as for the exacts of what ended their relationship? All that is clear is that while Blanca’s mom loved her, she didn’t understand her decisions and didn’t necessarily accept them. However, she never stopped loving her child.
A feeling which is mutual and that is why Blanca struggles with the idea of going to her funeral. Yet, with Pray Tell regret getting closure when his dad died, the same dad who blacked his eyes out and knocked him out, he pushes Blanca to get her closure. Bring her kids too so that one day, maybe they too could get closure.
However, the task isn’t easy for her older siblings, Carmen, and especially Manuel are a piece of work. Manuel particularly because he treats Blanca as if her name is Mateo and has no issues trying to rough her up. Carmen on the other hand, while she may not get it, death usually leads people to checking themselves a bit. So, with aunt Alma seemingly being willing to accept Blanca, after Pray Tell got one of Blanca’s other aunts together, Carmen seems to turn over a new leaf as well. Not to the point of breaking bread or introducing her daughter, but there is progress.
I’m the type who usually side eyes people, and holds back the need to type when they claim their favorite show needs to be nominated for prestigious awards. Particularly ones which aren’t focused on that person’s community but are seen as the big ones since they are either international or have been around for more than 65+ years. In the case of MJ Rodriguez, she is more than deserving of a nomination and not the kind which seems to be for the sake of a token or to look good, but seen as an actual competitor. For reasons I won’t rehash, they are above, but because Blanca’s journey is not just a rare story to hear on cable, in full, but lacks and has what a lot of LGBT production put out.
Is there a sense of rejection? Yes, and it is paired with some kind of feel-good ending possibilities. Yet, there is also this sense of realness. Blanca isn’t this girl from a middle-class home, isn’t white, and isn’t necessarily an Elektra or Angel. However, she pushes the belief and desire that it doesn’t matter and that it makes her no less deserving of the same opportunities those ladies have, or those someone like Patty could get. She works hard, doesn’t she? Is Blanca not loving? Does she not give back to her community?
I mean, as much as this is an ensemble, in many ways, and Rodriguez shares adoration with Jackson, Porter, and Moore, Rodriguez had the sort of moment which makes you hope this show isn’t her glass ceiling. And with that said, I hope we see Carmen and the rest again. For while it is definitely a feel-good thing, the idea they can go from pretending Blanca is dead to calling her by her name and showing kindness, what’s wrong with that really? Yes, some of it, like Damon getting into that dance programming, was worth a side-eye that could make your eyes spin, but why not have some sort of fantasy. One outside the balls but a fantasy which could be a reality. Maybe not one some may accept or understand but this show isn’t just about being seen or heard, it is also about believing.
That is, believing that some things did get better and didn’t stay the same. Whether it is taking note of producer, writer, and director Janet Mock getting to tell her and other trans women’s stories; a showing that the community, as much as there can be infighting, can still be loving; and ultimately, this idea that even with what many may think are strikes against you, there is still the possibility of rising to the top. It may take more perseverance than you thought you could muster, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You just got to make sure you don’t walk backwards or else the light may seem to fade or the tunnel longer than you thought.
Question(s) Left Unanswered
- How does a ball pick an Emcee and what was Pray Tell doing in 1982? Also, how did Blanca go from new girl to Pray Tell’s best, if not only friend? Emcees seem vicious and considering Blanca was a child of a legendary mother, how she get beyond ball banter and got invited into Pray Tell’s home? Get dressed by him and learn of his troubles? Hell, have him be the replacement to both her siblings as Elektra replaced her birth mother?
- Does each episode represent a month passing? Episode 8, the last one, is about “Mother of the Year” and Pray Tell says that is three months away. So just wondering…
Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs
You know, that’s the burden of having a parent. They haven’t a clue what they’re doing and every mistake they make chips away at us. As we get older, we got to glue the pieces back together and we can blame them, but here’s the thing: They’re human. They make mistakes. – Pray Tell
I am not trapped in this life, I choose it. – Patty
- Blanca getting closure with her mom, reconciling with her sister, loving Elektra despite how petty and hard she can be to love, and taken from them how not to act with her adopted children.
- Patty walking up to Angel, no fighting or nothing like that, just wanting to speak woman to woman.
- Pray Tell being Blanca’s rock and just upping your standards and expectations for friendship.
- Elektra and Blanca’s relationship from when they first met to seeing her be the first, and only, to visit her after her surgery. Much less it being clear, through Blanca remembering her birth mother, that people may not love you as they desire, but they do show it in their own way. Something I think Blanca recognizes with Elektra and hence why she can’t stay away.
- The fact we aren’t getting an ideal look at the LGBT community as if they don’t have their own issues. While not the big focus, whether it is tearing each other down, internal segregation, and more, it is noted each community got its own issues that need to be worked out
On The Fence
- Matt is really just an eye-roll-inducing On any other show his pettiness would be interesting but in the grand scheme of things, he is like the one white guy in a mostly Black or Latinx movie. He seems there just so certain demographics don’t feel left out.
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