Transparent 105 Recap: The Summer Girl Drinks A Bloody Mary

Over at Judith Light’s house, the rabbi (played by Kathryn Hahn) has stopped by to check in on her two old and infirm congregants, and does not yet realize that Ed is on the lam. She is unmarried, which immediately raises my hopes sky-high that she is gay. I knew a lot of lesbian rabbinical students in college and I feel like this could be a really good direction for the show to take. Never a bad time for a lesbian rabbi. Judith Light disagrees with me, and wants to set up the rabbi with Josh. Man that would be a hilarious date. I am not Jewish and do not feel entirely qualified to declare whether the mom’s character is sort of a cartoonish caricature of an aging Jewish mom, but I think it’s worth considering. All Raquel Fein the possibly-gay rabbi wants to do is read to Ed. Poor lady; she is about to have a super weird afternoon.

Let's see how many kegels I can do during this conversation

Let’s see how many kegels I can do during this conversation

Sarah and Josh sit down and order bloody marys. Ali paces the restaurant, which is one of those seaside places that is made entirely out of really heavy wood and is extremely dark inside even though it’s on a bright and sunny seashore. I never liked those places; Massachusetts has a lot of them and they never really have vegetarian options. Ali is feeling sad and anxious, and going to a dark empty bar in the middle of the day is not a good way to make yourself feel less sad or anxious. Sarah and Josh exhort her to sit down and are exasperated that she’s not having the same fun day out on the town that they are, because they are monsters. Ali is on a downward emotional spiral and it’s all about to go off the rails. She mentions Josh’s “dead baby” in her detailed enumeration of everything in the world that is sad, which means Josh has to explain it to Sarah.

I don't know how else to explain to you that you don't need a dildo to have lesbian sex. I drew a diagram and everything.

I don’t know how else to explain to you that you don’t need a dildo to have lesbian sex. I drew a diagram and everything.

Talking about babies and having them makes Ali think about their own parents and feeling like their dad wasn’t there for their mom and of course now Ali wants to tell Josh about Maura because none of these children have any kind of goddamn filter between their impulses and their decisions! It’s a good thing they don’t have superpowers or this would be like Firestarter or something.

Literally everyone hates you. Even us, your siblings. No one wanted to tell you but I felt it was important to be honest.

Literally everyone hates you. Even us, your siblings. No one wanted to tell you but I felt it was important to be honest.

As is, it’s already pretty bad, because Ali outs Maura and Sarah tries to damage control kind of but there isn’t that much that can be done. Josh thinks they’re joking and then he doesn’t and then everyone orders more drinks. What could go wrong after adding more alcohol to this situation?

Speaking of drinking, Maura is out drinking martinis with Davina and the yoga instructor, whom I believe is named Shea, and it looks very chic and fun. They’re discussing Shea’s gender confirmation surgery and hormones and how Davina has to ‘wrangle’ a bunch of ‘needy queers’ to put on musical productions. Maura wants to know if she’s a ‘needy queer’ and the verdict is yes, she is, but the vibe seems to be that it’s fine. Needy queers of the world: don’t worry about it, it’s fine, musicals and all.

Are you serious? I always thought you were Samantha and I was Charlotte.

Are you serious? I always thought you were Samantha and I was Charlotte.

There’s a graying dude at the bar who’s eyeing the yoga instructor, and Davina seems like she’s into the idea of a love connection there. Shea doesn’t seem into it, and is a little uncomfortable that Davina keeps pushing it. She is soon joined by Maura, who turns to look at the guy in question and realizes that she knows him from previously in her life, when she was still presenting as a dude. There isn’t much time to worry about it though, because he is walking over!

It's me, the patriarchy. Did you miss me

It’s me, the patriarchy. Did you miss me

He opens with “bonjour, mademoiselles,” because he wants a quick way to signal that his idea of what is charming and attractive to women has not evolved since he was twelve and watching Pepe LePew cartoons. Despite Shea’s VERY CLEAR lack of interest, he plows on, and we just sort of die slowly in our seats until he inevitably notices Maura.

No one here is interested in your thoughts or feelings

No one here is interested in your thoughts or feelings

What? How??

What? How??

Once they’ve gotten the awkward pleasantries out of the way, this dude’s approach to addressing Maura’s obvious change in presentation is to ask “What’s all this?” and gesture at her body. WHAT’S ALL THIS. This is a cool and normal thing to ask if:

  1. You are a goofy but lovable British detective investigating a wacky mystery and have found a clue: “Cheerio, what’s all this, then?”
  2. You are an educational instructor and a student has written something illegible in an assignment: “What is all of this, Todd?”
  3. You have just discovered a series of ancient tunnels and caves covered with mysterious symbols and icons underlying your sleepy residential town: “What is all this?”
  4. You wake up hungover to discover that you did some really inventive blacked-out knitting the night before and there’s a complex intarsia design that you don’t remember making: “What’s all of this? How did it get here?”
  5. You have gone on a roadtrip across the border to Canada with a friend, and discover during a border check that they packed a variety of illegal drugs and weapons in your trunk: “Uh, Kim? What’s all this?”

If you are not in one of those situations but are instead interacting with an acquaintance and they have a different presentation than you remember, a better option would maybe to just shut the fuck up and deal with it. An appropriate comment might be something like “You look nice!” or “I saw on Facebook that you started a new job; congrats!” and then move along.

This dude does not do those things.

Oh my fucking god

Oh my fucking god

“Well, some people would call this a necklace, and this” — she tugs at the shawl around her shoulders — “I guess is a wrap, and a ring.” 50 points to Gryffindor for Maura! “How’s Helen?”

God this dude just KEEPS GETTING WORSE. He laughs and says “You gotta help me out here,” even though that’s exactly what Maura was doing by trying to make small talk and ask about his wife! He keeps giggling in a sort of jovial way, like he thinks this is a funny bind that the whole group has gotten themselves into, a zany adventure that they are sharing. No, dude! You are the only reason this is awkward! Because you crossed the room to hit on a stranger who was just trying to have a nice time with her friends, and now you are short-circuiting about someone’s outfit! You are the reason this is uncomfortable! Only you can prevent forest fires and transmisogyny!

Anyhow, he’s struck by lightning and disappears in a puff of smoke. Just kidding, unfortunately, instead he sort of stands there sighing and eventually sort of guffaws and says “no hard feelings!” Ok, dude. Sure. Maura sits in silence and we all light a candle and hope that this dude’s wife leaves him for her acupuncturist or something.

Back at the children’s table, we find out that Josh has had A LOT OF BLOODY MARYS. Excellent news, top-notch. The Scooby Gang is figuring out that Maura is a woman that still dates other women, and so is queer. All of the children troop back to their mom’s house, where Ed is still not back and still only Ali is worried. Ali is also the only one who asks how her mother’s doctor’s appointment went. I relate strongly to Ali in many ways, both as The Child Who Is A Total Bummer and regularly ruins family gatherings by being a deb, and the Anxious One who does not understand why everyone else is not also as worried about everything in the world as they are. It’s a tough road, Ali.

So which of us is the John Lennon here? Is it me

So if we’re in an Abbey Road remake which of us is the John Lennon here? Is it me

Ali’s mom doesn’t even answer her question about the doctor’s appointment because she wants to introduce Rabbi Raquel to Day Drunk Josh. She’s also doing the thing where the affect in her voice is so! energetic! that she’s essentially singing! every! sentence! My mom does this sometimes; I always thought it was because my mom works with small children and so singing-as-communication becomes a habit, but maybe it’s just a Mom Thing. Please weigh in. The point is that this whole scene feels very manic and intense and it’s about to get way more so, so hold onto your hat.


What’s this in here? Oh, all of my family’s deep-seated issues

This scene is, I think, very good acting and TV, but very hard to watch! Rabbi Raquel and Josh are talking about what a great catch Josh is, day drunk in his short sleeved Hawaiian shirt, when Day Drunk Josh asks “wait, does Mom know about Dad?” Sarah tries to release the rabbi from what is turning into a virtual hostage situation, but Josh won’t let her. Ali is trying to redirect the conversation to the fact that an elderly person who is unable to communicate with others and possibly unable to find his way home is missing, but no one is listening. Rabbi Raquel is helpfully suggesting that someone call the police and Josh is calling Maura a transvestite and Mom is saying “It’s his thing! It’s his little private kink. Everyone has one.” Rabbi Raquel is stuttering that she guesses it’s sort of true that everyone has a kink, Ali is on the phone with the cops, Josh is saying “no, he’s doing it all the time! He’s doing it in public!” Sarah is sort of trying to stop this, maybe, but isn’t trying that hard and also she’s kinda day drunk, too.


Oh wow we’re a trainwreck huh?

[grimace emoji]

“Does Ed have any distinguishing marks, Mom?” Ali is asking. But Josh is talking over her: “Oh my God, it’s so obvious now why Dad wasn’t around; it’s because he was playing Little Bo Peep. But what about you, Mom, what’s your excuse? You got a little secret that you were doing while you were paying Rita to distract me with her tits?” Now Mom is sad, and Sarah is hugging her, and Josh is telling Rabbi Raquel “Please help us” like he’s trapped in a well, and I’m gonna drink an entire box of wine. “I’ll try,” says Rabbi Raquel, and then who should walk in the door but Ed! He has a cotton candy and a caricature of himself and is a lot happier than anyone else.


Join us next time for more Transparent, where Maura and Grace the Biter join the circus and learn to saw men in half. I hope.

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


    • I feel exactly the same way. I really like watching Maura’s story, but damn, those kids are so messed up. Especially Ali.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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)

  5. 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.

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