*Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for Season 3 of Pose.*
And the category is… live… work... POSE!
After the Season 2 finale of Pose aired in August 2019, fans have been waiting with bated breath for Season 3 to hit the small screen. Aside from the innovative and entertaining drag ball culture, Pose has given viewers an inside look into the lives of those within the LGBTQIA+ community, how they are tackling the AIDS crisis, and their activism efforts.
Damon has been a lead character whose story has been well received by fans. After being kicked out by his parents for being gay and a dancer, he went to New York in hopes of becoming a world-renowned performer. While his journey was a rough one, he made his dreams a reality and found a real family in the process. However, fans noticed that he was barely featured in the Season 3 premiere and are now worried about Damon’s future on the show.
So, what exactly happened to Damon on Pose? Read on for answers.
Damon was only present in the two-part premiere for a family dinner and a watch party.
There’s no argument that Damon (Ryan Jamaal Swain) is a fan favorite. The true epitome of a caterpillar that has morphed into a butterfly, Damon transitioned from a naive and insecure boy to a talented and passionate man.
The end of Season 2 brought Damon back to New York City after he found out about Blanca’s (MJ Rodriguez) complications due to AIDS, and fans were hopeful that they would see more of him in Season 3. But it looks like producers will not make that a reality.
In the Season 3 premiere, viewers noticed that Damon was barely featured. He made an appearance for the infamous House of Evangelista family dinner and for the O.J. Simpson trial watch party.
During the party, both Damon and Pray Tell (Billy Porter) shared a vulnerable moment as they discussed alcohol addiction. While it’s no secret that Pray Tell has been struggling with substance abuse for years — which was highlighted when he first lost his longtime lover Costas in Season 1 — Damon revealed that he too was suffering from addiction. He showed Pray Tell a book from Alcoholics Anonymous in hopes of giving him some advice.
Later in the second episode, Damon was completely MIA. Blanca revealed that Damon had left New York City and returned to South Carolina after a relapse. While it’s standard for some characters to leave and return, that’s more than likely not the case for Damon.
Damon left 'Pose' due to a family tragedy in the actor's family.
Damon is a lead character in Pose, so his absence from the second episode is very telling of something going on behind the scenes.
And it’s all because of something tragic that transpired in actor Ryan’s personal life. According to Advance Local, Ryan lost his sister, Raven Lynette Swain, in July 2020 after she was murdered in their hometown of Birmingham, Ala.
In light of the news, the actor posted a series of childhood photos of him and Raven together on Instagram. Ryan also made it a point to share that he will always keep Raven’s memory alive.
“Know that your big brother and family will always honor you," he wrote. “We will honor you by how we love. We will honor you by how we live. We will honor you with justice. We will forever say your name, Raven Lynette Swain.”
In a press conference prior to the Season 3 premiere, writer, producer, and creator Steven Canals gave fans a clue that the death of Ryan’s sister had played a part in Damon's character getting less screentime.
“As one of our family members, we wanted to honor that and give him the space that he needed," Steven said in a press conference via Out.
"I think in the spirit of honoring that, I'd prefer not to share where we would have taken things with the character because I think the way that we mapped out the remainder is A) I'm really proud of it and B) I think that our actors that are here today really rose to the occasion, and so I think all of those themes are still embedded throughout the narrative of the encore of Season 3," Steven said when asked about what Damon's storyline would have been this season.
So, it’s safe to say that Damon will not grace our screens for the remainder of the final season. But fans can count on the rest of the cast to deliver entertaining storylines.
With that in mind, we'd like to share our deepest condolences with Ryan and the Swain family.
Pose airs Sundays at 8 p.m. EST on FX.