“Transparent” recap (2.5): Mee-Maw

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Sarah Pfefferman is having a season—not of loneliness or craziness, but if Season One was summer, we’ve entered Sarah P’s winter. She asks Ali at the day spa if who you think about when you cum has to do with your sexuality. She admits she’s been thinking about Mr. Irons.

The women’s spa is decorated with beautiful, diverse, naked women. Sarah’s facial expression reads that she’s somewhere else, though, like a morgue. She asks Ali about her sex life with Syd. Ali explains she can’t have real, emotional intimacy with someone who hasn’t suffered from the patriarchy now. Sarah is deeply amused by this revelation. To her, this points to all signs that Ali is, in fact, a lesbian. Sarah’s rationale of this conclusion stems back to her own “I don’t give two fucks” feeling about the patriarchy. It presents that tired-out misconception that all lesbians are feminists and all feminists are lesbians. Maybe the word “patriarchy” rubs Sarah in a way this masseuse isn’t, but Ali’s feelings are realized and molding. She’s just now tapped into this part of her that she wasn’t onboard to explore before. Ali is learning.

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Sarah has a first-session with that life coach she reluctantly won at the school auction. Like clockwork, the coach refers to an apparent book she wrote. How marvelous. There’s nothing platonic happening between these two. Sarah admits she used to have the picturesque life, but she breezes right through the tiniest of epiphanies as she speaks about it. She says life now is full of chaos and mess, but that she’s out there—living life in this new, scary way. What it doesn’t mean is that life is somehow wrong now—without the kids, the Los Feliz house, the marriage, and that blind acceptance from her matching peers.

The coach (unprofessionally) points out Sarah’s hostility, and that “people say” she’s controlling. It speaks to the parent culture Sarah’s had to likely put up with at her kids’ school, their definition of what is “normal” or “healthy,” and after that botched wedding to Tammy and the divorce with Len, it’s perfectly understandable that Sarah’s in limbo—and that being in any kind of limbo is exactly where you’re supposed to be in that moment, so chill and give yourself a break. Sarah—go through that damn drive-thru and get a cheeseburger if you want, girl.

In a later scene, she’s buying pot from one of Josh’s friend and he asks if she’s gay, and if that’s why she turned down his proposition for drinks. We see a flash of the word “mommy” on her wooden bead keychain. Sarah’s role has changed. And when dude says, “Give me a call if you ever need any help figuring it out,” he’s simply adding to this outdated notion that someone, a woman, has to declare their sexuality to be recognized—to be “helped.”

Sarah doesn’t have to take that date with the guy who says he thinks about “that puss,” as opposed to that “sweet, sweet D” and that, apparently she has to pick one or the other. As we know, she 100 percent does not. Sarah could call herself an Anti-Social Pansexual Mommy Stoner, and she’d still be Sarah.

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