Transparent Episode 102 Recap: You Are Looking At A Posturing Goose

The whole family, including the still-bickering Sarah and husband, are showing up for mom time. Sarah starts getting slightly weepy, and her husband says “Really? This is what the forecast calls for today?” Because that is definitely the #1 best reaction if someone is crying: expressing sarcastic exasperation with them. Len should probably be a marriage counselor, he seems really good at this. Probably Sarah is crying because she’s thinking about her shell of a marriage and how the most authentic source of joy in her life is banging her ex in the backseat of the family car, and for a second it seems like she might tell him this, but she cleverly diverts attention away from these issues by outing Maura to Len and letting him assume that that’s the reason she’s feeling emotional. Nice one, Sarah! Good moves all around.


Yeah, it turns out there’s a really good reason you’re only supposed to use butt plugs with at least a two-inch flange! Now we know!

Inside Mom’s house, health problems abound for both Mom and her partner. Mom suggests writing a song called “What Does the Doctor Say?” because she’s getting asked it so often, and then Sarah’s kids sing that song for her and it’s actually adorable. It’s not to the tune of “What Does The Fox Say” which is an obvious oversight but a forgivable one.


Wow Mom you really did learn the whole Single Ladies dance, good on you

Starsweep to Davina’s apartment, where Maura is chatting with her over a glass of wine and giving us some exposition. She describes her kids for Davina while wandering around her place and looking at all of her things. We learn that Ali is crazy booksmart but, as Maura says, “doesn’t seem to be able to land.” Maura explores Davina’s bedroom and sits at her little vanity, looking at herself in the mirror — it seems like she’s trying on the idea of Davina’s life for herself, looking ahead a few years to try to imagine what her home and life might look like when she’s been transitioned for as long as Davina has.


Look at this stuff/isn’t it neat/wouldn’t you think my collection’s complete

Davina is being super maternal, and very gently tells Maura that when she started transitioning, a good friend of hers told her “in five years, you’re going to look up and not one of your family members is still going to be there for you.”

“Was your friend right?” Maura asks.


“That’s so sad.” Maura says it without seeming to think much about it. The scene seems to suggest she thinks of this as a terrible thing that’s happened to Davina, but not something that could ever happen to her. Hopefully that’s true! But then again her kids couldn’t even pay attention to her for five minutes when they thought she had potentially terminal cancer, so as an audience we don’t have a reason to put a lot of faith in them as a support system. Maybe we’re wrong?


I wear my suuuuunglasses at night

These thoughts are interrupted by sirens approaching the condo complex that Davina lives in. Whatever could it be? I really wish we spent more time in this scene and got to see Maura and Davina have a more complex conversation — even when we’re following Maura alone, most of the information we’re getting is still about her kids, not about her as a separate individual.

Back at Mom’s, Ali toys with a pearl ring and asks her mom if the family story about it formerly belonging to a great-aunt who was killed in the Holocaust is true. Mom doesn’t really answer that question but does reveal that Maura proposed to her with that ring, but she rebuffed it and wanted a real diamond. Ali puts the ring away again, but Josh is EYEING IT. What are you thinking, Josh. What’s going on in that tiny little head of yours besides ideas for launching an Urban Outfitters for pets called Furban Outfitters.


My nail beds suck

Sarah and Len are still processing her feelings about Maura’s transition, and Len’s input is “Well, your dad’s always been creepy,” because Len is:


At least Sarah pushes back on that, even if she doesn’t articulate very well why that’s a fucked up thing to say and is still using “he” pronouns for Maura — she’s trying to repeat what Maura told her about having dressed up as a man her whole life, but isn’t doing a great job with it. Into this scene of domestic bliss enters Ali, delivering them bagels.


Just a girl, standing in front of you with two bagels, asking you to love her

Suddenly a dude in a uniform appears to warn Ali about the geese in the area. Don’t you have shots to give out, Officer O’Neill?


I just wanted to catch the one goose that was smarter than all the other geese and eat it to absorb its powers



Sarah takes a bite of bagel and is horrified by the tofu schmear, which is totally fair because tofu cream cheese is a cruel joke (except for the one at Bagel Rising in Allston, which is amazing, if you’re in Boston you should close your laptop right now and go get a bagel there). Ali has to retrace her steps through the geese’s territory in order to relieve Sarah of her bagel, and the geese are NOT INTO IT. The geese start rushing her, Sarah and Len are yelling at her to drop the bagel and run, and O’Neill runs towards her with a long net shouting “Ma’am, what you’re looking at is a posturing goose! It will rip your arm off or worse!” Everyone inside has run to their windows to watch this. This is amazing; it’s probably my favorite thing that’s happened in this whole episode. Less whiny man-feelings, more angry goose hijinks, please.


Oh wow so that’s why you can’t use silicone lube with silicone toys

Josh is putting Sarah and Len’s kid to bed, and turns on her light-up toy while tenderly stroking her forehead. Sure hope he isn’t developing ambivalent feelings about the idea of having kids! That would be a wacky wrench in his girlfriend’s plans to terminate her pregnancy!

Back at Davina’s apartment, the denizens of the complex watch a body bag be carried down the stairs; Davina says it contains Maury, who was a “sweet old queen.” I think another Jim Croce song is playing. Maura and Davina go inside Maury’s apartment, which Davina assures us is a totally normal and not weird thing to do. She also helpfully mentions the pricing range of the apartment, and Maura says she thinks it’s affordable. It seems like maybe she’s thinking of moving in!


Which one of us killed Jenny? You’ll never know

We’re doing another montage set to Jim Croce music: Sarah and Len get seated at a restaurant for what’s presumably date night; Ali takes a giant bong rip and goes to sit between Derek and his roommate on the couch. Elsewhere, Josh is helpfully throwing out there that hey, have you thought about what would happen if you didn’t get an abortion? (Yes, Josh, she has. That’s why you get abortions, is because you’re extremely aware of what would happen if you didn’t.) Every time I see Josh’s face on screen I imagine him saying “Hi, I’m an insufferable fucknut here to make your life worse” in a Troy McClure voice. Girlfriend has many excellent reasons for why going ahead with this termination is the right choice, and Josh keeps responding with “Okay, that’s true, but also, what if we didn’t?” Then he drags her onto the couch to do a really shitty job proposing with the same ring from the failed proposal of his divorced parents and that may or may not have belonged to a Holocaust victim. He tries to put the ring on her finger and she sort of jerks it away. Yes, very good, you definitely have this human relationship thing figured all the way out, Josh, nice work.


Seriously if you touch me it will be the last thing you ever do I’m not kidding you unbearable manchild

Back in 1989, Maura comes home from her office hours and dumps the secret outfit she had picked out into the trash. Back in 2014, Maura pulls into the driveway of the house, and thinks about her 1989 self and what it was like when her family was all living under this roof together. It’s nostalgic, but maybe not all that sad.


Join us next time for more feelings but probably fewer geese!

Pages: 1 2See entire article on one page

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


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.


  1. This may be a silly thing to comment on, because this is an awesome recap and there are many actual issues of importance to discuss, but *sobs* Bagel Rising in Allston just recently closed. It’s now a trendy coffee shop? So I guess there just is no more good tofu cream cheese anywhere. Sigh.

    • WAIT really????

      this is actually devastating to me, I used to live a block from Bagel Rising and it fueled my life.

      RIP, best bagels in the GBA

    • this will END ME. god this is the worst news since I wasn’t able to make it back to Diesel the last time I was in town. Is the Dosa Factory in Central Square still there at least?

      • It is! thankfully! Re: Bagel Rising, it’s the same owners but they completely changed and destroyed the menu. Tragically. I haven’t had the heart to go there since. At least Kupel’s is safe.

  2. This recap is great, you are great, and I am really fond of how “I would donate to a kickstarter for that” has become the default way of indicating we like an idea for basically anyone aged 15-35.

  3. Broadly speaking, the concept of this show feels kinda similar to six feet under. The fairly self-absorbed adult children and the parent who wants intimacy/a better relationship with said children and struggles with loneliness. And all the characters are generally flawed and not always likable, therefore more like real people, which I enjoy. Also they both feature a privileged white family…

  4. When Maura declared that “$2,000” a month rent was “cheap” I was like HA!

    I just finished watching the entire first season last night. Anyone else get really sad and want to cry at the intro music?

    “I really wish we spent more time in this scene and got to see Maura and Davina have a more complex conversation — even when we’re following Maura alone, most of the information we’re getting is still about her kids, not about her as a separate individual.” – This. They could have done this if they just cut out all of the Josh scenes.

  5. I know Mari and I talked about this in our article about Transparent, but jeez, that line “No, honey. All my life, all my life I’ve been dressing up like a man. This is me.” is seriously so, so, so good. I’ve cried every time I’ve seen it, every time in the previews, and again when I watched it.

    Also, I related so much to buying women’s clothes and then throwing them out. I did that so many times before I was finally able to come out.

    And I totally agree about this show being too focused on the other characters and also one more story about a rich, white trans woman.

    Basically, I like this recap.

    • Thank you Mey! I agree re: that line, I think that Maura’s scenes are really good, her lines are often great and Tambor is obvs a talented actor. I wish she had more screen time!

  6. Can we talk about how Barb is played by the amazing Tig Notaro, and had exactly zero dialogue the entire season long, on top of having to bro it up with the insufferable Len in her only screen time.

    • YES. I think we hear Barb talking to Len a bit but we never even see Barb close enough to identify her as Tig which sucks because to me, that’s never giving the audience a chance to identify Barb as this human person with feelings and a life who is being fucked over by this whole thing. Like it feels manipulative to never allow the audience the chance to even SEE Barb and be like “oh, there’s the person that is being destroyed by all this” basically to make sure we can still sort of like Sarah and Tammy together but maybe that’s just me.

    • That is BONKERS seriously. What a waste of someone super talented. I mean a mannequin could have essentially played Barb in this scene.

    • I LOVE TIG and had no idea she was in this episode until the end credits ran and I saw her name, and had to go back to figure out who she was in the episode #MORETIG4ev

  7. Great recap, Rachel. I also have no clue why Girlfriend is with Josh. I sort of like Girlfriend and don’t get why she would bother/glad she has decided to stop bothering.

    I have never been fond of Ken Marino so I’m secretly hurt that you confuse him with Rob Huebel. I’m not even a huge Rob Huebel fan but I think he’s really good in this role and brings something to it that allows me to still like Len even though he is the worst which is something I can’t say for certain other characters of the sort (ex: Larry).

    • ugh I’m sorry it’s such a stupid problem to have, but i am seriously incapable of telling white men in comedy apart. I also think every white man in comedy looks like Bob Odenkirk. It’s honestly amazing I didn’t think Rob Huebel was Bob Odenkirk, actually. I can sort of recognize Scott Aukerman but I usually need context to get it right.

      • I confuse so many white male comedians! Like, when SNL added all those white guys last year, the only one I could recognize was Kyle Mooney! And then with White Male Daily Show correspondents I’m even worse.

      • I can’t tell any of the white bearded men apart in game of thrones…. Which is to say EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER? Basically I don’t know what the hell is going on in that show, ever.

        • word. that took me forever to figure out and every now and then I’m still like WAIT which guy is that??

  8. this recap was sooooooo funny ilu rachel you are so good at captions.

    josh is the worst and i never could figure out how to tell those two girls apart.

    this recap reminded me of a time before i’d seen all the episodes and still liked tammy. no but really i felt like she was a good person to be there when maura came out, i wouldn’t have wanted len to be present for that particular scene.

  9. I’m so glad you are doing these recaps! So much teevee is so much better through the Autostraddle lens. Thank you! You are so so funny! The captions are priceless!

  10. Not enough Maura, too much Josh for sure. I haven’t watched the whole season but I am kind of afraid that they are going to imply that the children’s horrible behaviour can all be traced back to Maura’s flawed parenting.

    I can see how people would draw a parallel between Transparent and Girls due to the white Jewish upper class narcissist protagonists and the presence of Gaby Hoffman, but Girls can’t touch the quality of writing and acting in Transparent, or Six Feet Under for that matter. I also think the producers of Transparent will be a lot more thoughtful about criticism than the white ladies behind Girls who tweet about how sad it is that Precious didn’t represent them.

  11. I haven’t watched this yet (nor any of the other shows I’ve been wanting to watch. Gone are my summer days of OITNB marathons – now I’m lucky if I have less than a page of stuff DVR’d) but I’m really enjoying these recaps!
    Maybe I’m being judgemental because I haven’t in fact watched the show, but Josh seems like kind of The Worst of this show. Like Larry, but more douche-y. Am I wrong?

  12. Why oh why oh why is Autostraddle giving this show any attention. It’s so horribly offensive.

  13. I’ve watched two episodes of Transparent, and so far I’ve cried during both of them.
    The first time was when Maura is trying to talk to her kids about herself, and suddenly she covers her face with her hands. That gave me such a sense of helplessness.

    And the second one was because of that phrase: “All my life, all my life I’ve been dressing up like a man. This is me.”. So many feelings.

    I’m liking this show very much.

Comments are closed.