LATEST PAPER
68° Good Evening
68° Good Evening
Entertainment

'Pose': Ranking the cast of the NYC '80s ball series

The category is … evolution.

“Pose,” the breakout FX series by Ryan Murphy, wrapped up an electric season of house drama on Sunday.

Murphy and the cast have stood firm since the series’ debut that “Pose” isn’t about a struggle for self-acceptance. Still, each member of the series’ core crew underwent significant evolutions influenced over the course of the eight-episode season.

We ranked the cast below, based on the following ball criteria: Who underwent the biggest transformation this season?

Pray Tell

Honor your mother, children, but never forget your
Photo Credit: JoJo Whilden/FX

Honor your mother, children, but never forget your grandfather. Pray Tell (Billy Porter) tops our list of characters who underwent the biggest transformation in season one for his heartbreaking journey to acceptance. No, we're not talking about self-acceptance; Pray Tell walks into the scene covered in enough glitter to show up any ball competitor. Instead, Tell's challenges come by way of a medical diagnosis. The MC, known as the "grandfather" of the ball children, took us along as he was diagnosed with HIV and let us sit in the hospital room as his HIV-positive boyfriend took his final breaths. After spending an entire season unable to share his diagnosis with those closest to him, he ended with a newfound love for the life he still has left to live.

Blanca

Give it up for
Photo Credit: JoJo Whilden/FX

Give it up for "Pose's" first Mother of the Year. Blanca, played by MJ Rodriguez, broke out from the confines of the House of Abundance early on in the season to inspire children of her own. The community backlash that followed hardly caused Blanca to falter. She entered the scene in the premiere episode as a wandering underdog and wrapped up the season as an idolized queen. Her own journey aside, Blanca played a key role in putting her adopted children on a straight path. Her perseverance (standing her ground when being physically removed from a gay bar) and compassion (looking past Elektra's wrongdoings) show she's worthy of her honorable ballroom title.

Elektra

Elektra's (Dominique Jackson) arc included changes both physical
Photo Credit: JoJo Whilden/FX

Elektra's (Dominique Jackson) arc included changes both physical and emotional. Between undergoing her long-awaited gender reassignment surgery and falling from her elite position in the ballroom scene to ending up sleeping on the city's park benches, the series' antagonist loses a bit of her edge come the finale. She rises from the ashes of her crumbling House of Abundance to put aside her pride and give us a glimmer of hope for a softer side. Of course, that's not to say we're expecting an easygoing mother in season two. In the words of Elektra: "It takes work, drive and sacrifice to be a woman."

Ricky

If you were paying close attention, you'd notice
Photo Credit: JoJo Whilden/FX

If you were paying close attention, you'd notice a significant evolution in Ricky (Dyllon Burnside). The character's introduction as a hard-to-tie-down "player" doubled as a cover for his insecurity. Living on the streets, Ricky was adopted into the ball lifestyle early on in the season but struggled to find the will within himself to dream of something more.

Damon

The naive dancer (Ryan Jamaal Swain) whose story
Photo Credit: JoJo Whilden/FX

The naive dancer (Ryan Jamaal Swain) whose story started it all, Damon's evolution begins at full speed. Leaving behind the comfort of his home, sleeping on park benches and exposing himself to the ball scene wasn't enough for the teen. He finds love in Ricky, chooses to pursue a career at The New School For Dance and becomes a pretty solid duckwalker.

Angel

Confidence can't buy Angel happiness. A favorite in
Photo Credit: JoJo Whilden/FX

Confidence can't buy Angel happiness. A favorite in the ball scene, Angel, played by Indya Moore, longs for tradition. She falls for a Trump Tower businessman (Stan) and experiments with life outside of her comfort zone only to be rejected by society in a heartbreaking ending to her season. We get a glimmer of a future where Angel may stop searching for closure, but it's unclear where her story will go.

Stan

Stan and Angel's love story gave us a
Photo Credit: JoJo Whilden/FX

Stan and Angel's love story gave us a look at a relationship unlike any other: A cisgender man falls for a trans woman, and struggles to put reasoning behind his emotions. Stan, played by Evan Peters, is desperate to find happiness with his lover, but can't give up his picture-perfect New Jersey family. Stan fails to understand his journey come the finale, but we wouldn't expect him to.

Patty

Being an '80s New Jersey housewife was never
Photo Credit: JoJo Whilden/FX

Being an '80s New Jersey housewife was never Patty's (Kate Mara) dream. But it wasn't until she discovered her husband splurged on a luxury apartment for his mistress (Angel) that she decides to break the gender barriers and pursue a career of her own.

Lil Papi

While much of House of Evangelista thrives under
Photo Credit: JoJo Whilden/FX

While much of House of Evangelista thrives under the guidance of mother Blanca, Lil Papi (Angel Bismark Curiel) chooses to break the house rules as a drug dealer. He hardly evolves over the course of the season, and contributes little to the house with the exception of a finale blowout that nearly breaks the family apart. His lacking arc leaves room for a significant growth in season-two Papi.

Matt

Matt (James Van Der Beek) may have fooled
Photo Credit: JoJo Whilden/FX

Matt (James Van Der Beek) may have fooled Stan into thinking he'd made a friend in the Trump Tower office, but his true motives were easy for fans to spot from day one. Donald Trump's "right-hand man" stays as manipulative, jealous and ignorant in the finale as we did when we first met him. Between making a move on Stan's wife to physically assaulting him and breaking up his marriage, Matt is left with few redeeming qualities come the end of season one.

Entertainment photos & videos