Transparent 105 Recap: The Summer Girl Drinks A Bloody Mary

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.”


Every one of these corresponds to a Taylor Swift song; you have five minutes. READY GO

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.


Olivia Benson says that you still have to respect me no matter what I’m wearing. Also what I’m wearing is La Perla, so keep that in mind.

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.


Just remembered she forgot to move her car to the other side of the street and it’s street cleaning day

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.


I put it where? Are you serious? You’re sure that’s where it goes?

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.


Jamie Lee Curtis is so charming in those commercials but the truth is that yogurt just doesn’t taste good

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.


I dunno, I feel like there are a lot of unanswered questions about where human moral ideology fits into a model of objective determinism

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.


No that’s not okay because my Mellie costume isn’t going to work without a Fitz, it will just look like I’m a sad drunk and it won’t even be a costume.

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.


Oh this is all damaged. Yup it’s all gonna have to go.

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.


But I asked specifically to be taken off electrician work detail. Luschek is just so gross.

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!).


Hi, maybe you’ve seen me tour with Sister Spit?

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!


So you’re saying you think Hanna has been A the whole time?

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.


I can’t believe I have to explain this to you. You haven’t even been following the Autostraddle recaps, have you.

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.

And here's where we're going to put the bronze statue of Bukowski tenderly kissing Jack Kerouac while caressing a bottle of Old Crow

And here’s where we’re going to put the bronze statue of Bukowski tenderly kissing Jack Kerouac while caressing a bottle of Old Crow

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.

Really? This guy?

Really? This guy?

I'm going to dump him right after Halloween, I just need a Dark Angel to my Drusilla

I’m going to dump him right after Halloween, I just need a Dark Angel to my Drusilla

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.


Oh God sat on a tack get the Neosporin

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.

You told me that all these mats were sanitized between classes. This is going to be one scathing Yelp review

You told me that all these mats were sanitized between classes. This is going to be one scathing Yelp review

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.


I will crush your puny male hand

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.


No it’s CRUCIAL that your toner is alcohol-free, Jesus Christ you’re going to look like Keith Richard by the time you’re 40

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.

I just feel like my selfie poses are getting stale, you know? Like it's always smiling-in-front-seat-of-car, photobooth-vamp, phone-in-mirror. What do you think of this one, I trained the parakeet to hover over me with the phone while I did a backbend

I just feel like my selfie poses are getting stale, you know? Like it’s always smiling-in-front-seat-of-car, photobooth-vamp, phone-in-mirror. What do you think of this one, I trained the parakeet to hover over me with the phone while I did a backbend

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.


**Bad Boys II theme**

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.”


Starting to worry that no one is going to notice us lounging by these boats and offer us an American Apparel photoshoot

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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