“Transparent” recap (1.4): Moppa


I’ve been hearing stirrings from friends, who are now as hooked on Transparent as I am, that they’ve binge-watched the entire first season. I can’t stress enough how much will power it has taken me to not do that for the integrity of my recaps. I don’t want to get too far ahead and then be like, “You heard Sarah, Tammy made her female ejaculate and she compared it to the water (brackish yet clear) from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride!”

But I digress. I totally watched this episode after the third one, because how could I not? I had to know what would happen when Maura showed up at Ali’s apartment to come out to her, as she’s tripping balls. And it was maybe my favorite Maura coming-out moment so far on the show. Whether Maura is aware of Ali’s high state of mind or not, Ali is beyond enamored by his Maura—she sees her completely now, including her tiny polished nails which bleed out onto her toe skin because she doesn’t have much to work with. Ali later tells Sarah that she nicknamed him Moppa—the sweetest nickname, ever.


Meanwhile, Josh and Syd (Carrie Brownstein) are—wait, hooking up? Make it stop, make it stop, make it stop! It ends, and Syd promises not tell Ali.


“I’m just gonna store it away in my cabinet of Pfefferman family secrets.”

Uh huh. Josh knows all about boxes of secrets. Syd confronts Josh about the inappropriate babysitter relationship he had with Rita—we learn he was only 15, 10 years younger than Rita at the time. Josh doesn’t seem to think it’s weird at all—but his expression changes when Syd poses the question of role reversal, had Rita been the 15-year-old, and he the older man. With that, Syd snags his “Dreamboat Annie” Heart vinyl and she’s out. I like where her head’s at.

Over at the enchanting Shangri-La, Maura is getting hair extensions and trans woman guidance from Davina (Alexandra Billings)—who says Maura needs a little work on her walk. “Find your center,” Davina instructs.


In a flashback thereafter, we see Maura checking into a hotel in 1994. She and the trans woman she met a few years earlier in the X-rated book section are showing each other themselves for the first time—“No one’s ever seen me,” they both say to each other. Marcy (Bradley Whitford) extends her hand to Maura, but Maura introduces herself as Daphne Sparkles. Marcy stops their bejeweled, shoulder-padded excitement and tells her that sounds so—strippery! After a few moments, Marcy says the name needs to be elegant, and there it is: Maura. The two reintroduce themselves, this time, Maura using her new name. Consider me a pool of tears. This scene is everything—it’s the day Maura was born.


Sarah finally gets Tammy to show up/return her calls/give her some answers. It seems Tammy was going to tell Barb about Sarah in therapy, but Barb’s sister’s lupus is affecting Barb, and Tammy really wants to wait until Barb is in a more together place. Blah, blah, blah. Sarah isn’t having it. At all. But then Tammy does that thing—that whispery save-face thing, “Come here-come here-come here,” she says extending her hand. And Sarah is like putty to her every move. They end up getting busy and putting off the impending issue once more. Yo, Tammy, tell Barb!


Let’s talk about the trip Josh takes to Rita’s place. He confronts her at first, demanding she explain what kind of relationship they had, if his parents knew, if they cared, if they fired her. Next thing you know, he’s apologizing at the reminder that they were once in love, and they end up having afternoon sex to forget the whole thing. Rita’s like, “You always make it harder than it needs to be.” I wonder if she was using the same line back when he was fifteen. As he’s leaving, Rita asks him to see about that guy who was supposed to come by to fix the air conditioning. They’ve been doing this thing for a while—it’s Josh’s dirty little secret, even as he was throwing fits over Glitterish, Kaya and screwing his sister’s best friend Syd. Oh, Josh. Your shit is chaotic.

Sarah meets up with Ali who tells her about the events of last night and her moment with Moppa. Low and behold, Moppa is downstairs ready for brunch! My stomach goes into a nervous spell because of the look on Ali’s face coupled with the fact that they’re all about to go to the mall together. They end up getting suckered into a makeover at a cosmetics counter. I feel like we’re all waiting for something to just go wrong—for someone to make a remark at Maura, or for the girls to clam up and feel embarrassed. But none of that happens and they just help themselves to a shit ton of cucumber water. Sarah is sending selfies of her new hot look to Tammy and Ali is only requesting layers of creamy foundation to cover her face.

Sarah: Tammy’s coming over tonight and I just want her to see how hot I look.

Ali: You lesbians are weird.


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