Welcome back to Transparent, the show where you get to feel every emotion on the emotion chart ranging from “confusion, sadness at Josh’s shirt collars” to “full on panic attack.”
The emotion we start out with is “sex.” Josh picks up a pretty real estate agent at a bar, and they go home to have teevee sex in which she keeps her necklace and fancy bra on. Josh also manages to maneuver this situation into a conversation about how much he can get for the family home, because of course he does.
Over inside that very same family home, Tammy and Sarah are also engaging in the physical act of love. During this act, they discuss how there will be “no more secrets” and Sarah offers some constructive criticism that maybe Tammy shouldn’t mention her wife while they have sex, which is fair. Their combo fucking/processing session is interrupted when the phone rings and Tammy gets up to answer it, because she is a monster.
JK this is pretty fair because she has kids, if I had kids I would be rendered totally incapable of even going through underground tunnels or watching movies in theaters because what if something happened to them, I’m still really traumatized by the time in high school my brother almost cut his finger off in wood shop and I had to find out from a kid in school I didn’t even know because my mom didn’t call me from the ER.
Anyhow the call IS about one of her kids, but their fingers are all fine. It’s about Bianca, who Sarah seems to not know about. New rule: if you’re going to upend your whole life for somebody, probably you should know about all of their children. Just seems like a good indicator.
Over at Judith Light’s house, Ali’s new haircut looks great and she’s just found out that her mom’s husband Ed, who has aphasia and I think maybe also dementia, is missing. Her mom seems really unconcerned about this, and can’t help look because she has a doctor’s appointment. This has all the makings of a quest/hijinks episode. BRING ON THE HIJINKS.
At Davina’s apartment, Maura is watching her take her HRT, and Davina asks her to help her administer the shot. She lets Maura have her Premarin tablets because she doesn’t take them anymore, and Maura is so nervous/excited/nervous. She takes one and is clearly hoping on some level for a sort of instantaneous Magical Girl transformation sequence, but of course that isn’t how it works, unfortunately.
Back at the den of iniquity that is the family home, Bianca has arrived! Bianca is the daughter of Tammy’s first wife, Quinn, and isn’t technically “Tammy’s” because Quinn was already pregnant with Bianca when she and Tammy got together, and also none of that even explains why Barb was the one on the phone talking to Tammy about Bianca, not Quinn. It is revealed that Tammy essentially has a vast and far-reaching gay familial network loosely connected by the women her magic dildo has touched. It’s very beautiful. Sarah asks “So when we break up, Bianca’s gonna start calling me?” Tammy tells her “We are never ever gonna break up!” Yes, this seems true.
Who’s at the door? It’s Bianca! Bianca is Kiersey Clemons, who also “recently wrapped production on the buzzed about, independent feature, DOPE, where she stars as “Diggy,” a tough lesbian high schooler with a colorful imagination who gets caught up in a plan to unload a big stash of drugs.” Just thought you would want to know that. Anyhow back within this extremely gay fictional universe, Bianca notes that Sarah is pretty and asks where the pool is. She’s gonna be so excited when she finds out about Dinah.
Ali is still looking for Ed, and she finds a comrade in arms: Officer O’Neill, veteran of the Geese Incident.
Officer: Hey, you’re the one who got the geese all aroused.
Ali: Yeah. Not on purpose, but yes.
Officer O’Neill knows all the places that Ed usually goes to hang out when he disappears. He volunteers to drive Ali around in the security guard golf cart to help look for him, and while obviously the situation isn’t ideal and would be very stressful, I’ve always wanted to ride in one of those carts ugh I’m so jealous. Officer O’Neill becomes concerned because Ed isn’t in any of the places he usually goes, not even the ducks; the mystery is deepening. They meet another comrade, an adorable butch person in yet another golf cart (played by ALI LIEBEGOTT!).
Tiffany: I got your APB. The individual in question was last spotted at the 7-11 down the street, hanging around the soda machines making what the kids call a suicide.
Ali: A suicide?
Tiffany: Oh yeah. It’s just a drink with like, a bunch of flavors in it. You got Coke, Sprite, Orange, Diet, Vanilla. Mr. Pibb if you’re lucky.
Ugh why can’t Sarah get her shit together and just date Ali Liebegott? Why can’t we all date Ali Liebegott? Ali/Gaby Hoffman leaves Ali Liebegott/Tiffany and she and Officer O’Neill head down to the marina, where they hope to find Ed.
Back at the house of sand and fog, Bianca is explaining that she left Quinn’s house because, I think, of Scientology? Tammy says “I know you want to blame Scientology, but you know it’s always been Quinn’s way or the highway” and I dunno, Tammy, Scientology is pretty awful? I feel pretty comfortable blaming Scientology. Also where’s Bianca’s spinoff? She’s a teen WOC with a queer single mom who has to leave her house because her mother is brainwashed by Scientology? Me you and everyone we know would watch that!
Somehow Sarah seems unfazed by this totally heartwrenching and fascinating situation, and her immediate response is to suggest that Bianca become the “summer girl,” and to do so by talking about Bianca in the third person as if she is not in the room. It seems like “summer girl” is actually just a nanny, and also that it used to be Rita’s title. This is also the first time in two episodes that Sarah’s children have been mentioned, and it’s only to suggest that maybe the teen daughter of her girlfriend’s ex, whom she appears to have just found out about today, should watch them all summer. The good ideas are just piling up. I would really love to see the scene where Sarah explains this to her kids and also to Len.
Into this scene of domestic bliss with Tammy, Sarah and Bianca enters Josh along with Kristin, the real estate agent from earlier. The first thing they see is the pool full of kids (so Sarah does have visitation at the family home? How is that working? As a Child of Divorce I have a lot of logistical questions) and Bianca. She introduces herself as “the summer girl,” which has got to be pushing some Rita buttons for Josh, but for the most part he just seems concerned with trying to make a million dollars off his family home and continue boning the real estate agent. We should all try to practice having as much unearned confidence as Josh does when he says “I’m JOSH, this is my HOUSE?” Like he’s very offended that you didn’t immediately recognize him as the sausage king of Chicago.
Bianca explains to Josh that he could be her uncle soon, which makes me think about a) I can’t remember whether Josh knows about Tammy and Sarah, although I guess it can’t be hard to figure out at this point and b) Bianca seems so used to this cycle of Tammy getting together with someone new and marrying them that she just assumes it as a matter of course, so that’s neat.
At the LGBT center, Maura is doing LGBT yoga, which is different from regular yoga because you don’t respond to the instructor’s “namaste” with another “namaste,” you respond “Hey girl hey.” That isn’t a joke, that’s actually what happens in this scene. There are a bunch of people of color in this yoga class, like virtually everyone except Maura, and I really wish we got to see them do more than sit on a yoga mat. Maura says she feels lightheaded from “some medication” she took earlier today and so she just wants to be in child’s pose for a while, much like Riese often has to be when she watches Glee.
Davina appears and reminds Maura that she took ONE PREMARIN and there is no way she is feeling actual physical side effects from it, she is just experiencing some placebo effect feelings. Davina is very wise. She talks to the yoga instructor about Trans Got Talent, a fundraising talent show, and Maura thinks it is possible that she might have talent, or at least she should leave the door open to that possibility. As a big fan of the A-Camp talent show I am very excited for this; based on my experience this means that Maura will either get to do a choreographed dance to a Beyoncé song or do a skit making fun of her counselors or both, it sounds like it’s gonna be really great.
Back at the house of the rising sun, Tammy and Josh are bickering. Tammy is dropping in my estimation and Josh is slowly rising a few notches now that he’s not creepily trying to pressure his girlfriend into derailing her entire life to produce a live fetus for him, so I am pleased to watch these two duke it out.
Ostensibly the root of their disagreement is that Tammy, the interior “designer,” thinks the house needs to be updated; Josh and the real estate agent that he met literally what, 24 hours ago, think it is perfect the way it is when it comes to “value.” I think what’s actually going on here is some of this:
Man, Jessie J, remember these days? I shed a tear.
In the Tammy vs. Josh deathmatch Sarah does have one good point, which is that it kind of sucks to try to sell the place while Sarah is living there and has nowhere else to go? Josh’s reasoning is that he was, uh, swept up in his “relationship” with the real estate agent and her boobs? They’re real. Her boobs are real. Josh wants to make sure everyone knows this. Ok, buddy. Got it. Wrote it down. Put a sticky note on my mirror about it. Let’s move on.
Sarah and Josh have both been ignoring texts from Ali all day, which stresses me out enormously because again, Wood Shop Incident of 2005, see above. She tells them that Ed is missing, and Sarah rounds up Josh and makes him go with her to help Ali. I guess Kristin the real estate agent is just gonna hang out at the house for the rest of the day? Maybe she and Tammy can make tuna melts or something and watch CSI.
Down at the marina, Sarah and Josh “help” Ali look for Ed by reminiscing about their childhood cat while wearing what I now notice are truly remarkable sartorial arrangements. I really honestly thought Sarah’s outfit was a housedress before she left the house in it, and Josh is wearing a short-sleeved Hawaiian-esque shirt with the collar buttoned all the way up. I don’t ever leave my house and do laundry like every three weeks, so I’m not saying I dress better than this, but I am saying I felt confused.
It quickly becomes apparent that these two are TOTALLY useless, and seem confused about why Ali is even upset or worried? They’re just wandering around touching boats. They’re boat-touchers. Just sort of lolling about touching the boats. After they have been exhausted by several grueling minutes of looking at boats and not assisting in any way with finding the infirm elderly man they are supposed to consider family, Sarah and Josh suggest leaving to go drink bloody marys. I am truly horrified. My notes from this scene read “sarah and josh what is WRONG WITH YOU god if i had a dollar for every time i thought that.”
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Once again, you managed to capture all my feels. I love you, Maura, but your kids are THE WORST
I feel exactly the same way. I really like watching Maura’s story, but damn, those kids are so messed up. Especially Ali.
There is too much feeling to comment on properly. Great recap. I think that chart is the perfect thing to describe my reactions to the show. I love how one minute a character can be so wonderful, then the next they are being giant arseholes – either by action or omission.
Also glad I wasn’t the only one hoping for lesbian rabbi. There’s just something so wonderful about Kathryn Hahn.
First and foremost, these recaps are the best.
So the kids’ tendency to like, super casually reference the whole Rita thing with one another continues to confuse me. Shouldn’t they at least be as creeped out as I am?
And I am ALL about day drinking but when there is a lovely older gentleman in need of assistance, maybe put down the alcohol? Also I hope they stop being walking bad decision factories (mostly lookin’ at you, Sarah and Josh), and begin trying to be one hundred percent more supportive of Maura. Because she is doing the time.of.her.life.
Fun fact: that real estate lady (Deborah Craig) was in Unicorn Plan-It.
What trans woman takes Premarin anymore? Nobody I heard of was prescribing it even 14 years ago when I started HRT; the do-it-yourselfers weren’t taking it either. Apart from the ethical implications, it’s more expensive, and not supposed to be as effective as what people usually take.
That said, I distinctly remember the day I first started HRT. Not that I actually expected an immediate effect, but the realization that I had finally taken a tangible step along a path I had wanted to take and thought about taking for so many years — decades — was quite intense.
Ok something’s been bothering me. You know how Tammy’s weird about touching boobs? It’s making me feel like I’m weird about touching boobs. HOW DO YOU TOUCH THE BOOBS?- without evoking weird clown-nose references from Rachel? (Someone should write a post on this)
So, Tammy’s daughter-in-law, a WOC, shows up, and Sarah offers her the chance to be the summer help? That’s…..that’s….yeah wow. It seems Sarah has had the best reaction to Maura coming out, but that Alli is otherwise the least selfish except for the racial fetishizing of her trainer and his friend, and that…you know what, I think Maura should take Tammy’s kids, And trade Tammy hers. Because Tammy probably “deserves” that family anyway, and Tammy’s kids seem cool enough for Maura. Yeah, that’s how things should work out.
All of the children (Tammy’s, Sarah’s and Len’s etc) should be taken by Maura and Davina to be raised at the Shangri-La, where rules about loud music will be more strictly enforced.
I really can’t tell which of the children is the most terrible by the end of the season. Josh seems to be the grossest but his molestation at least explains how he came to be so gross to women as an adult. Ali and Sarah’s self-absorption is more of a mystery.
As terrible and self-absorbed as all the kids are… you kinda start to see, coming in future episodes, why that is. I’m trying not to spoil things.