On Tuesday, season two of FX’s Pose came to an end, and out of all the characters, Ricky has definitely had one of the best character arcs.
When Ricky (played by Dyllón Burnside) first appeared in season one, he was a suave dancer who Blanca, a House Mother, took in from the streets to join her House of Evangelista. From his first flirty interaction with Damon (also an Evangelista member), I viewed him as just another smooth talker who would surely break Damon’s heart.
To be honest, I thought he wouldn’t make it to episode three.
However, Ricky and Damon went on to have a committed relationship that unfortunately ended when Damon accused Ricky of cheating on him in season two. Ricky left the house of Evangelista and joined Elektra’s House of Wintour.
What makes Ricky’s character so interesting is that he constantly went against expectation that society, and I myself, put on Black men. In his debut scene, I assumed he was just another masculine heartbreaker who was only there for eye candy and a steamy sex scene.
However, throughout season one, he proved he had the discipline to not only walk in a House, but to also maintain a relationship with Damon. Despite their eventual breakup, it was refreshing to watch two Black gay men be in a committed relationship, which unfortunately is a rarity on T.V.
In season two, Ricky also explored all the different sides of himself, flipping any limiting expectations about masculinity. He sashayed and twirled for the gawds in a “Butch Queen Vogue Femme” category. Then, in the last episode of season two, he got all dolled up and pretty for the “Butch Queen First Time In Drag” category. His wig was secured, his heels were in place and his makeup was set.
If you didn’t think Ricky’s life was full enough, the guy did all this while coping with news that he had HIV. He also began a serious relationship with a much older HIV positive man (Billy Porter‘s character Pray Tell), further reflecting his potential to love and stay committed.
Clearly, this is not the same smooth talker we were first introduced to in season one.
Pose continually shows the vastness of queer and trans people. It’s especially comforting to witness a Black man who not only explores his romantic relationships with other Black men, but he also explores himself and how his gender flows between femininity and masculinity.
Hopefully, in season three, we’ll continue to follow Ricky’s journey and how his sexuality, identity and relationships pan out when HIV is still stigmatized and Black boys are still perceived with rigid expectations.