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Pose - Love is the Message - Review

We could talk about Patty and Angel's meeting in this week's episode of Pose. We could talk about how Darius hit on Blanca and gave her a ray of hope for love until she found out he was just a player going from girl to girl. We could talk about how Matt and Stan fought and how Patty confronted Stan about him cheating on her. We could also talk about Stan's identity crisis and the fact that he cannot explain to his wife why he is attracted to a transsexual. We could talk about a lot of things when it comes to "Love is the Message." But everyone was secondary this time, and who we really need to focus on is Pray Tell.

The Gods of Television have graced us with the performance of Billy Porter as Pray Tell since episode one of Pose, but this week he really outdid himself. In this episode, Pray truly struggles with the condition of his boyfriend Costas (played by a very touching Johnny Sibilly), who is dying of AIDS. Once again, Pray is forced to face the death of a loved one victim of the virus, but this time he has to watch him die while seeing his own future playing out in front of his eyes. Since Pray tested positive for the virus, he's had an even harder time dealing with the sickness. Watching Costas' condition deteriorate not only breaks his heart but also warns him of what is waiting for him. He finds refuge in alcohol and a song, "Love is the Message," which reminds him of better and simpler times, when all he had to worry about was being in love and free to live a lighter life. It provides him with an escape from the dark loop he is stuck in, one where he keeps burying friend after friend.

To try to shine some light in this somber tunnel, Pray decides to organize a Drag Cabaret Night for the AIDS patients at the hospital. In a beautiful sequence, Pray sings like an angel to his boyfriend in an attempt to bring him and the other patients a little bit of comfort. After the cabaret night, Costas tells Pray that he wants him to promise to have a good cry once he dies and then move on with his life. Pray promises, and soon after Costas passes. Back at the ball, Pray steps out of the loop he was stuck in and decides to stop playing "Love is the Message," complying with the promise he made and moving on with his life.

Billy Porter's performance in this episode is full of grace and sensibility. His character shows great growth and continues to prove that Pose's greatest strength is in the quality of its characters. Now Pray will be focusing on living his life at its fullest, keeping the virus at bay for as long as we can.

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