Elektra becomes the mother and person we expected to see, after the time jump, as she takes her daughters out to recover from a harsh summer.
|Writer(s)||Janet Mock, Our Lady J|
|Introduced This Episode|
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My Name Is Blanca, And This Is My Rock Bottom: Frederica, Blanca
Imagine: it’s early in the morning and you’re a trans woman getting called after the crackheads have found somewhere to sleep. Naturally, you imagine the worst has happened since one of your sisters were killed, so many of your friends and associates are dying from AIDS, and none of your children no longer live with you. Luckily, for Blanca, it is just that her shop burned down.
Well, luckily in the sense no one was physically hurt or killed, but there is the problem of only Frederica having any insurance so she is the only one who will recoup any loses. Meanwhile, Blanca’s dreams are up and smoke and her source of income as well.
When You’re Good To Momma, Momma’s Good To You: Elektra, Blanca, Lulu, Angel
As you can imagine, Blanca isn’t in the highest of spirits. Her kids moved out, she and Pray Tell got beef, who knows when was the last time she was touched – intimately – and now she is on the path to being broke. This doesn’t make her fun to be around and while Elektra, Lulu, and Angel try to cheer her up, it’s a struggle. One which isn’t helped by Elektra complaining about the heat, since Blanca only has fans and no air conditioner.
But, being that Elektra has taken her role as mother more seriously lately, and has seen it as more than just a title to show she is a veteran at balls, she decides to have a girls trip. One strictly with Blanca, Lulu, and Angel, not the rest of her new children – who we strangely don’t see at all. Not even the mini-Elektra.
Which may lead to the question of where could they go? The answer? Somewhere on Long Island. You see, Elektra has a rich client with a big house that he bought but never really uses. Elektra, with her gift, convinces him to be in his bondage situation in the basement as she and her girls use the house as a home base as they wine, dine, and head to the beach.
Unfortunately, there is some struggle in this. Some of it is small, like Blanca not having the right clothes, Angel not knowing how to swim, and Elektra’s client having no booze. However, there are also bigger issues which include both the fear of being clocked (Called out for being Trans) and a woman actually doing so.
Don’t fear though, for “Life’s A Beach” is a feel-good episode and Elektra is in top form. She is both that hot mess that makes you roll your eyes and also that fierce lioness who is the only one allowed to come for her children. Anyone else? She’ll bite your head off and feed your carcass to her kids.
So This Is Love?: Adrian, Blanca, Angel, Elektra, Lulu, Candy
Though, perhaps the big thing which comes from this trip is Blanca meets a man. His name is Adrian, he is going to be a doctor, goes to Fordham, and when Blanca nearly drowns, he saves her. Also, they have a romantic walk on the beach, make out, and when Blanca gives his number, he calls, leaves a voice mail, and when she calls him back? OH! He picks up and we see Blanca like the teenaged girl she didn’t have the opportunity to be.
Thus giving us an episode all about love. Not just romantic love, but the love of family. Having that normalcy many, or some, trans women don’t have. Be it feeling comfortable enough to be in a bikini at the beach, a nice restaurant, spending a lovely evening with a man, or have someone defend them publicly and not just stroke their ego privately.
Also, Candy makes a brief appearance, as the ladies are singing along to a song, and maybe, just maybe, Candy’s death weighing on Elektra, not seeing her in that casket, is why she did all this. Perhaps Elektra finally realized she needs to become a person, never mind the elder or mother title, who doesn’t wait to be pressured to do something, or guilted. She needs to be proactive and use the privileges she has to not just be an inspiration, but expose her children to what they are capable of having.
We Got The Elektra We Should Have Had When The Season Began
I think many of us can agree that the Elektra which opened this season regressed from the one we thought we knew from the season 1 finale, right? So it makes her coming into that role of a mother, friend, sister to a point, since they seem so interchangeable, like we’re finally where Elektra should be.
Adrian x Blanca
While it isn’t like most of the women on this show have men flocking to them left and right, Blanca has been ruthlessly beaten down since the beginning. She has been noted as being brick (not passing) and everyone’s words have beat Blanca’s confidence to dust. Hence why she is so invested in her children since her relationships with those kids are the closest thing to intimacy she has.
However, Janet Mock has blessed us with a preview of the romance movies she will likely bring to Netflix, as part of her deal. We’ll get to see girls like Blanca, firm in who they are, but maybe not the most comfortable, living the dream. Having a man, like Adrian or Papi, not whoever Evans Peters played in season 1, approach them, romance them, accept them, and love them.
We’ll have it all. That anxiety about waiting for the phone to ring, or receiving a text, the giggles, banter, and maybe the struggles of being trans will be addressed, maybe not? What’ll matter is that butterfly feeling you get vicariously. One that, considering the show is about to hit another time jump, I hope those butterflies become a ring and we can see Blanca end up married. But, if I’m being realistic, that might be too much to ask/ hope for.
The Ladies Being Comfortable In Their Own Skin, Either With Time Or Because Elektra Pushes Them To
Generally speaking, this season has kept the audience from learning of different terms and ways trans people can, and might, tear each other down for not looking fish (Passing for the gender they see themselves as). However, it hasn’t taken away the fear of being clocked and how that affects the way the cast moves throughout the world.
With Angel, that is a constant fear as she moves about in the modeling world and despite how femme she is, and Lulu, both show that even with the privilege they have, they share that same vulnerability. Which, again, makes Elektra stepping up and being louder than the voices in their heads so important. Because, essentially, she has to deconstruct years of damage from the outside world and while, yeah, she has come for Blanca and the rest, there is a difference in your mom toughening you up for the world and the world ostracizing and degrading you.
Can This Be The End Of Frederica?
Don’t get me wrong, Patti LuPone was fun, but hasn’t really done much or given much to the show. So it would be nice if, with the shop burnt down, there is no retaliation but just Blanca moving on. Essentially using what happened as a learning experience and that’s it.
We Couldn’t Have Gotten More Scenes In The Nail Salon Before The Fire?
Considering Blanca’s grand plans of hiring trans people and things like that, and that dream now up in smoke, it makes me wish we got more time in the nail salon. For while it isn’t lost on me Blanca used up her savings, this was her dream, and a big middle finger to the world, not to forget big for the community, since we don’t see many or any own anything, I feel like the shop was mostly talked about. We saw only, what, one or two customers since she started? Also, was she able to afford employees? Where were they?
And that’s the issue here. The Frederica drama overshadowed the actual accomplishment and ultimately undercut the loss of the shop.
On The Fence
I Need Candy & Elektra To Have A One On One
It’s always very awkward when shows recognize missed opportunities they can make up for. In this episode, it was noting Elektra didn’t go to Candy’s casket and, unlike the others, she didn’t have that goodbye conversation. One which would have had Candy tell Elektra about herself and have things air out. Not to forget, it would also help us understand how Elektra came into Candy’s life, if not reintroduce that story. Never mind possibly speak on colorism within not just the Black community, but how that may play a role in the trans community. Especially since beauty and passing is such a big deal. Making it likely anything which could be seen as an obstacle towards not just realness but being desirability is an issue.
So imagine hearing the conversations about being dark-skinned Black women and Elektra talking about how she dealt with it. Maybe even expressing regret in not uplifting Candy so maybe she didn’t have the same hang-up? I’d even add, since one of Elektra’s children are a dark skin beauty, her showing, like Pray Tell, how much of a wake-up call Candy’s death was for them.