“Transparent” recap (2.10): Grey Green Brown & Copper

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We pick up where we left off from last week—basking in our Idyllwild hangovers—with Maura hitching a ride from Vicki (Anjelica Huston). They’re splitting a motel room for the night, and after a little while, Maura plops down onto the adjoining bed next to Vicki and asks her if the room arrangement is okay. Just a glance at Vikki and we can see she is more than okay with it. She refers to herself as NATO: Not Attached To Outcome. Vicki is mysterious, open and totally into Maura—that much is obvious. She pats the spot on the bed next to her for Maura to get in on some spooning. Maura is experiencing a first, opening herself up to the warm elements of a new person whose tenderness is inviting and real.

The room is silent as Vicki lets down Maura’s hair and we hear a car roll by on the highway, Maura admires her turquoise jewelry, Vicki rests her head on Maura’s shoulder. They lower onto the bed, and Maura squeezes Vicki’s hand in hers against her chest, moving her other hand onto Vicki’s thigh. The ever-considerate Maura wants to make sure this is copacetic. “It’s good!” Vicki’s response is physical; her leg wraps around Maura. Beat by beat, their bodies spoon into each other. In immeasurable ways, Vicki is a match for Maura because she allows the space, the breath, the pause, the comfort, and even the discomfort, to be held with such self-confidence. Vicki is a person who loves herself, she is of higher mind, and she is here, attracted into Maura’s orbit for a reason.

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In the following scene, we see Rose and Yetta on a ship to America. Yetta hands Rose the chocolate brick she hid Gittel’s ring in, and when Rose cracks it open, she sees the keepsake inside. 

Present day, the Pfefferman girls are going for a morning dip in the pool at Josh’s house, formerly known as the Pfefferman family home. Inside, Josh appears to be living post-Raquel: It looks like a NyQuil commercial exploded on his nightstand, and the eggs are so old they’re bleeding. He makes his way outside to find his sisters—who he’s positive are stoned, which they are—and joins them for a swim. It turns into a trip down memory lane, where they recall the summer they stopped swimming in the pool (Sarah got her period) and the pool guy quit (unrelated to Sarah’s period, okay?) and the whole thing filled up with leaves. Insert episode title here.

Sarah says she turned a corner in the woods—maybe she’ll get her goddess on now, she says. Ali doesn’t spill the beans about her and Leslie. They “tea party” under water and then come inside to watch Tree House Masters, get more high, eat Josh’s cereal and cuddle in bed—realizing in this moment that they’re all single. Ali finds the ring on the side of the bed next to Josh’s Badger balm and Listerine. (Guess the trauma of losing Raquel only meant, “move the ring she left on the bed right over to the nightstand” so its always within eyesight.) Anyway, Ali asks if she can have the ring, and Josh is basically like, “Please take that thing.”

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While the kids cuddle in bed, somewhere back on the highway, Maura’s waking up with Vicki and by now, the sexual tension they’ve slept on is primed. We’ve all been there. They immediately kiss, and the kissing turns quickly into something more. Vicki asks Maura if she wants to see her—she’s had a double mastectomy and previously shared her story with Maura. She takes off her shirt, showing herself to Maura. Soon, they’re having sex—it’s Maura’s first time. 

At the diner, Maura tells Vicki about her mom, asking if she’d like to visit her. But Vicki has clear boundaries: No parental visits. Maura respects and admires that. She’s learning a lot from Vicki.

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Sarah pays a visit to Pony (Jiz Lee) for some more slap ass action. The kicker is when the scene changes abruptly from Lee smacking Sarah’s ass to swiping her credit card on her Square. Fantasy to reality—Sarah doesn’t seem to mind the shift. 

Across town Ali is strolling her new graduate campus looking extra purdy. She’s legit strutting through this quad like it’s her bitch, a little smile emerging on her face. Gee, guys. I wonder where she’s going?! Cut to: the hall outside Leslie’s office where we see her finishing up a conversation with Eileen Myles. They see Ali poking around and Leslie calls out, “Hey, Sprout!” Ah, nicknames.

It’s obvious Ali is on a pretty nice high still from Idyllwild, and she really wants to breech the awkward topic with Leslie by not making it uncomfortable. What she doesn’t realize is Leslie’s this wise fucking lady who sees and understands exactly where Ali’s at. Her body language shows she’s self-soothing (rubbing her hands together), and she wants to jump right into conversation about her ideas surrounding family history. 

Leslie has other ideas. “You don’t have to perform for me. Just be yourself,” she says. Ali is completely caught off guard at first, but then she realizes how much she is performing and how much she thought she needed to in order to keep Leslie impressed. Leslie’s already impressed though: She wants Ali to be her TA in the fall. Ali’s psyched for the opportunity, but now that Leslie has Ali’s attention, she wants to be extra clear about what that’ll mean. She brings up their fun times at the festival, which sends Ali’s eyes popping out of her brain—she feigns stun that they’ve brought that up. 

“It’s up,” says Leslie. She really wants to take her time with Ali, but that means making a choice. “Take your pick. Do you want to be my student? Or do you want to be my old lady?” Damn, y’all. The art of this seduction is, without a doubt, Leslie’s curling smile. What will Ali decide? Something tells me that no matter what her decision, this is only the beginning for Sprout and Leslie.

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In another flashback, we reunite with Rose and Yetta, who are now in Los Angeles, having made it to America after their long sea journey. They’ve tracked down Yetta’s husband, Rose’s father—and he’s living some other life with some other family. They burst in and Yetta confronts him, his wife and their crying baby. He begs Rose to stop looking at him “like that.” Rose has stellar resting bitch face. She lays it on thick. Betrayed on every level, the women leave his house in a hurry, spitting on the floor as they shuffle out, arms around each other. 

At present, we see Ali and Maura making a train trek out to, presumably, Rose’s nursing home. After three years, it is finally time for Maura to see her mother. After so many flashbacks to Berlin, Rose, Gittel, and Yetta, the ring, Ali’s visit with Rose when Rose mistook her for “Gershon,” we are reaching a point of rest and conclusion. A finale is reaching its finale.

In Rose’s tiny apartment at her home, you can almost smell her musk as Maura and Ali open the door and come in. She is sitting in a wheelchair. Maura takes her hand and says hello: “They call me Maura now.” It’s hard to see if Rose registers this, but her eyes flicker and she turns to Ali and notices her beloved Gittel’s ring hanging around Ali’s neck. The moment is connected, as she lowers one hand from Maura’s chin to raise her other hand over Ali’s heart—the ring is here, her family is here. 

In a closing scene, as Perfume Genius’ “Learning” plays in the background, Ali, Maura, and Maura’s sister, who apparently was also at the home visiting Rose, take Rose out to the beach. Rose looks at the sunset and we are thrown into a flashback of her giving birth. 

Yetta has remarried, and the Mister, well—we know him because he’s a Pfefferman. He says, “Faye Pfefferman” will be her name; he knows it’s a girl. Yetta thinks that’s bologna. How could he possibly know? We know Faye was never named Faye; she was named Mort.

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Still, can we please pause and hand it to Jill Soloway, Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster who wrote this beautifully constructed scene into one helluva finale?

Some final thoughts on the small pieces: Len is single again, and Sarah seems cozy to that idea. But she better find the gift receipt for that eye palette. Josh and Buzz are nearly bonded in this completely heartbreaking Where the Red Ferns Grow type of way, ever since they saved that duck by Shelly’s favorite pond, and then Josh broke down to Buzz and let out a full belly of grief he hasn’t gotten out for the ENTIRE series. (Fuck yeah, Josh!) 

It might not be the last we’ve seen of Raquel. It definitely won’t be the last we’ve seen of Leslie. If you’re still left hung-up over Syd and Ali’s fallout, it’s way too soon to tell if we’ll ever see anything from Syd’s neck of the woods again. But one thing’s for sure: Transparent has already been renewed for a Season 3. More Pfefferman please! 

Thanks for following along with my recaps all season. You can find me on Twitter at @the_hoff. Give me all your Season 3 predictions, hopes and dreams. ‘Til next time!

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