[SPOILERS ABOUND] The Pose family lost an important member on last night’s episode, the incomparable Candy Ferocity played by Angelica Ross. Her death is shaking fans to their cores, but no one is more hurt than Ross herself. “It’s one of those things that I feel like as soon as I heard the information and was devastated and wanted to first ask, ‘Why? Why me? Why Candy?’” Ross said to Entertainment Weekly. “It was just such an echo of the same sentiment to any black trans woman that’s been passing week after week. Why them?”
The writers laid the groundwork for Candy’s death starting in episode three, by introducing Peppermint’s character, Euphoria, and showing the violence she faced. “We get to show all the things that we don’t necessarily want to show to our beloved Candy because people care too much,” Murphy explains their approach to Candy’s death. “But people can now imagine, right? They can imagine the brutality that her body faced. They can imagine violence in that hotel room, they can imagine the idea of a John just throwing her and discarding her body into a closet.”
Candy’s death is not in vain. Showrunner Ryan Murphy and writer Janet Mock told Deadline they wanted to “really concentrate on the epidemic of violence that trans women are facing, not just back then but today.” In 2019 alone 11 trans women of color have been murdered across the country: Dana Martin, Jazzaline Ware, Ashanti Carmon, Claire Legato, Muhlaysia Booker, Michelle “Tamika” Washington, Paris Cameron, Chynal Lindsey, Chanel Scurlock, Zoe Spears, and Brooklyn Lindsey. Johana “Joa” Medina Leon died from severe health complications that went untreated while in ICE’s custody. Layleen Polanco Xtravaganza (a member of the ballroom scene’s iconic House of Xtravaganza, alongside Pose’s Indya Moore) died in solitary confinement at Rikers. “We wanted to illustrate what loss looks like for this community in a very deep and impactful and grounded way,” Mock explains.
Pose spent much of its first season dealing with the AIDS epidemic and how it affects characters like Billy Porter’s Pray Tell. “We’re not the only one with hardships,” Porter told Vulture. “Do you choose to wallow, and give in, and give up? Or do you choose life? That’s what this show is about — watching a group of people choosing life. Hopefully, that will be inspiring to somebody.”