“Transparent” recap (1.3): Rollin

Things have been moving fast for the Pfeffermans. Maura is moving out of the big midcentury modern house in the hills to shack up at the hip Shangri-La. With any hope, she’ll get the guts to come out to Josh and then Ali. Sarah is busying herself by helping Maura pack up—it’s the least she can do since being home would mean commiserating about Tammy around Len. Up to something, as usual, Ali is planning a sexy drug-fueled threesome with her personal trainer boy toy and his roommate, so she meets up with her bud Syd (Carrie Brownstein) to get the drugs for her “sex thing” and explain what “spit roasting” is. Josh can’t get a hold of Kaya—maybe it had something to do with the Holocaust ring. I’d say this episode is off to a smashing start. Must be the mercury retrograde stirring things up.


I hope Syd still makes it out to Joshua Tree. She deserves it.


Transparent presses a big restart in this episode button. I like that. The first two episodes paid their respects for what’s become so habitual and current in the Pfefferman’s lives. In the eye of this beautiful storm there is Maura, transitioning into the real her self, finally—and there’s her kids, too—transforming into something else, or maybe just the real them as well. As Maura packs up the few belongings she can’t part ways with and leaves the rest behind, Sarah’s anxiousness to seal the deal with Tammy is reaching new highs. Message after message, she’s grasping at straws to get Tammy to show signs that she’s going to tell Barb about their secret romance, a romance. But the more I digest this episode, the more I question Tammy’s real feelings. Still, I feel for Sarah and I get all this boiling passion pouring out of her. She tells Maura about how in love she is—how she and Tammy text each other mundane things that make it all so exciting.


Sarah: Now we’re just connecting every second. I cannot stop texting her. It’s like, “What are you doing?” “Eating a sandwich?” “How is it?” “It’s amazing.” You know, the thing that you do when you’re falling in love.
Maura: No, not really.

Josh shows up at the house expecting to find his dad there, but it’s clear that Maura has chickened out on coming out to Josh by retreating to the bedroom to change back into Mort clothes. Josh is mostly there because Sarah opened up a can of worms, rather, a box of cereal. It seems Josh has a stash of old letters and photos left over from the inappropriate relationship he had with his babysitter Rita.


Josh is all distracted because of the Kaya thing so he doesn’t think twice when he smells perfume on his dad, mistaking it for a possible lady friend’s. Josh decides to drop in on Kaya’s friend’s band practice to find out why he’s being ignored. (I’m having a minor freak-out moment because Kaya’s blonde friend is the lead singer in Cherry Glazerr, a band my girlfriend recently got me into.) She calls Josh a sad, old fellow for thinking he can just marry Kaya like some patriarchal go-to because he got her pregnant. Things just go south from there, because when Josh shows up at work, he’s told he’s off the Glitterish account at the hands of Kaya, who says she feels unsafe with him. Josh throws a tantrum and ends up throwing a conference room chair at the window. He’s then fired, “Bro.” And upon meeting up with Kaya, to discuss why she’s written him off like this, she tells him he’s basically a weirdo and treated her badly, citing this is only the second time he’s shown up at her house.