“Transparent” recap (1.8): Best New Girl

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Back at the unsupervised Pfefferman house, 14-year-old Josh (Dalton Rich) is picked up by much older baysitter/lover Rita (Annabel Marshall-Roth). Ali tells him they’re gross for what they’re doing but he doesn’t care and takes off. In Rita’s car, Josh can’t help but stare at her with a goofy grin across his face, and they begin to hold hands. I wonder where they’re going! Rita puts me on edge and I can’t explain why—maybe because Syd (Carrie Brownstein) had a major point when she said it was weird and how if the roles were reversed, well, that would be a whole other ballgame and people would see it as rape. Still, I want to believe they’re off to a mall for some mall concert because it’s the ‘90s and mall concerts were a thing. Instead, I’m sure they’re about to go sex it up somewhere secretive instead.

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A bartender named Jules (Mel Shimkovitz) shows up then at the house, assuming the Bat Mitzvah is still a go. Ali has to explain that it was cancelled, and Jules assumes it’s because Ali didn’t have her lines from the Torah memorized—but that’s just it, Ali could have gone through with her Bat Mitzvah blindfolded. She’s a brilliant kid. And though she’s one of three siblings, and the youngest, she evokes a lot of independence and doesn’t show her entire deck. She’s a mystery, that girl. After thrilling Jules with a theatrical rendition of a portion of her Torah reading, Jules gives her a ride to the beach.

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As Maura and Marcy prepare to leave their whirlwind weekend at cross-dressing camp, Maura is met with hostility with she sees Marcy has changed out of her women’s clothing and back into Mark clothing. He’s pissed that Maura has the audacity to remain as is for their drive home because he says it’s “not safe.” While I’m sure on some level there is truth to feeding fear, especially, even in 1994—there’s also a shit ton of disappointment I feel for this friendship that so obviously does not serve Maura’s best interest. She is a woman, she knows it in her heart and she can’t understand why more people can’t be accepting and open like Connie. To Maura, that’s what camp was supposed to be about, that kind of sisterhood that brings you together for the purpose of feeding your soul, inspiring each other, and nurturing the type of growth that brings about great art, beautiful energy, sacred bonding, loving support—not jealousy, competition, classism, judgment.

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At the beach, Ali meets a guy with ginger chops and overalls who is playing with a remote control airplane. Ali has no qualms about chatting up this new stranger, and the look in her eye shows how willing to risk her safety she really is—this guy could be trouble for all she knows, but she doesn’t seem to give that a second’s thought.

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They chase each other in a cave on the beach where Ali lay on top of him, holding him down, and later, he lightly kicking sand on her and speeding down Pacific Coast Highway with a screaming Ali stretched out in the bed of his truck, insisting he go faster, faster. Oh, Ali. I’m learning so much about you. When she wakes up, the guy, whose name is Patrick (James Frecheville) asks her how old she really is—she can’t be 17-years-old. She finally admits she’s 13, and her mouth widens as the episode goes black. I don’t even want to know.

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