TRANSPARENT recap: “Bulnerable”

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More than most, this episode proved that this was a show about the entire Pfefferman family and not just about Maura’s transition.  The self-centered nature of all of the family continued to be exposed.  Mother Shelly was the most self-centered and manipulative of the group.  Josh seemed unable to live in his present in his relationship with Rabbi Rachel because of thinking about his past with Rita.  Sarah having disconnected herself from both Len and Tammy seemed to be a free floater confronted by unending horniness.  Ali, who recently had formed a seemingly full fledged relationship with Syd was distracted by her own interest in getting into Leslie’s graduate program at UCLA and further developing that relationship.

 

I was all alone    

The episode opened at Sarah’s house, which is really the kid’s house because Sarah and Len take turns living with the kids in their house. Shelly was on the back porch with the kids, as Josh entered the house.  As they joined Shelly and the kids, Shelly rambled on about herself and running for president of the condo association.  This lead to Josh trying to get her attention, “mom, mom…Hey!”  His anger boiled over as he said, “I need to speak to you.  Not in front of children.”

The adults all moved to the living room.  Joining the conversation midstream,

Shelly was saying, “I forgot, I forgot.” 

An incredulous Sarah followed with “you forgot for 17 years.”

Josh spoke, “you forgot that I had a kid.  You forgot Colton.”

“…..there were things going on.  Your father was doing God knows what at that cross dresser camp.  I was all alone,” said Shelly as she made it all about her.

Josh complained, “I can’t get those years back.  You don’t understand that.”

“I put Colton out of my mind,” said Shelly, which was followed by, “I put him out of our world.  To protect you, Josh.  You have no idea how hard it is to be a parent.  Am I right Sarah?  You think I was terrible.  I didn’t beat you (in a somewhat mocking voice)…….You had a credit card.  Some people throw babies in dumpsters.  They raise kids in closets.  You guys had it pretty good.”  That was how a truly narcissistic, manipulative mom operated.  By using those examples of what she could have done made one wonder if she had considered them. 

Sarah summed it all up, “I’m sorry.  I have to take a shower.”

 

Looking for a fucking human being

Josh had returned home and was folding laundry with Rachel and discussed

what Shelly had said.  

“She just did not admit shit.  You are looking for a parent and they are just not,” Rachel stated flatly.

“I’m not even looking for a parent.  I’m looking for a fucking human being.  How would it be if they actually told the truth?  What would it be like if they hadn’t fucked with my life,” Josh said as he was oblivious to how that must sound to Rachel.

“I guess we could argue that if they hadn’t lied to you.  You would not be in this room trying to fold t-shirts,” came Rachel’s coy reply.

Josh responded, “from the most amazing human being that I ever met…. Who is inspiring a huge boner in me right now.”  They both began to laugh, as Josh asked “permission for said boner to approach the bench.”

They embraced as Rachel turned her back toward Josh and bent over, which exposed her back.  It was then that Josh noticed spots on her back.  A quick inspection lead to the discovery of measles looking spots in lots of places.

 

I don't hear

Now they were at the doctors as a nurse was examining the pregnant Rachel.  It was probably just a food allergy, but she was going to draw blood and do an ultrasound of the baby while Rachel was there.  There was dead silence.  There was no whooshing sound of a baby’s heart beating.  Josh and Rachel suddenly realized this, as the nurse quietly and calmly said that she was going to get the doctor.

 

I want a baby

The next time Josh and Rachel appeared they were lying on their bed at home talking about their future.  Josh regretted that she had to go through loosing the baby, but Rachel was eager to try again.  She was getting older and supposedly the easiest time to get pregnant was within six months after you had been pregnant.  Josh was hesitant, “we could just take a moment to like breath…with all the shit going on.”  Of course, the shit being referred to was his moaning about having lost his life with Rita and Colton; if he had just married Rita at 16 and how perfect that life would have been.  Josh just wanted to “make a plan.  We have a chance to do it right.  You know what I mean?”  Rachel could only say, “I want a baby.”  But, Josh insisted they needed to wait and got a very depressed looking Rachel to agree.

 

Tante gitte's ring

Soon, Josh would leave for a business party.  He checked on Rachel and brought her snacks.  He claimed that he did not have to go, but Rachel relented and said she would fine.  Josh attended the party and did the meeting and greeting with industry people pitched staring his own label with Fussy Pus and became drunk.  When he arrived home, he stumbled down the hall and got to the dimly lit bedroom.  Here he found a perfectly made bed, with no Rachel anywhere to be found.  But, in the middle of the bed was Tante Gitte’s ring.  It was over and she had left.

 

You are horny

Sarah stood at the door to the marijuana octor’s home.  “Well, well, look what the cat drug in” was his greeting.  He was just getting ready to take a shower, but if she wanted him dirty that was ok.  After the shower they were all kissy, huggy and he described Sarah as “sexually amazing.”  She then began to spin her sexual fantasy of Mr. Iron, the disciplinarian.  The doctor insisted, “just tell me what to do," and he proceeded to sound like Julia Child sort-of and it was awful.  It was ok though because Sarah’s cell began to vibrate and buzz.  She answered and it was Shelly, who had consented to baby sit.  “Mom, what’s up…..are you crying?”  Sarah had to go and parent her parent.

 

My night is completely ruined

Sarah arrived home to find out what was wrong with Shelly.

“Why am I here?” asked Sarah.

“Your daughter made me cry,” answered grandmother Shelly.

Sarah responded in disbelief, “mom, you are the adult.”

“I don’t need another person in my life making me feel like a complete failure,” whined Shelly.

An exasperated Sarah spoke, “my night is completely ruined.”

Not to be outdone, Shelly added, “your night, what about my night?”

“Why do you even offer to baby-sit when you hate it so much?” responded Sarah.

Then came the truth, “because all of my friends do it for their kids.”  The point being that it was because Shelly was worried about what others would think of her, if she did not.  As usual, it was all about her.

They sat down on the sofa and Shelly began to lean her head on to Sarah’s shoulder and confess, “I didn’t tell you, but your father left me.  I’m alone again.”  Shelly’s head sank into Sarah’s lap to be touched and comforted.  A somewhat bored Sarah looked straight ahead and took another sip of wine.

 

Jew shoes

Ali was very agitated about her graduate admissions essay to get into Leslie’s program.  She was seeking Syd’s advice as they read one of the prompts, “How your work relates to society in a historical context?”  Syd snidely suggested that Ali substitute the word cunt for work.  Ali was undecided: should she ask Leslie for help or should she be independent and just do it herself.  Which would please Leslie and which would make her angry?   Syd asked to be told about the essay that Ali was thinking about writing.  Ali began there was this thing called “Jew Shoes” that women had to wear in the past.  “One was black and one red and they both had bells on them so that you could hear them coming.”  Syd smirked and replied with a flat “no,” and then added, “you should be embarrassed.”  This led to Ali spreading her legs and stroking her groin and wondering if that embarrassed Syd.

 

Never want to see another pussy

Ali arrived at Leslie’s house and entered.  She began to quietly go up the stairs where Leslie had her study.  Leslie was absorbed in watching lesbian porn.  Ali apologized for interrupting her.  Leslie explained that she was just “trying to come up with quips” for the impending local Womyn’s  Music Festival.  She then told Ali to go downstairs and get a glass of wine, which Ali did.  Once she had the wine she began to explore the conglomeration of feminist artifacts that decorated the room.

            Leslie entered the room explaining, “Never want to see another pussy as long as I live.  Well, maybe a week.”  Ali replied that she did not think she could wait that long (hint, hint?).  Leslie then asked if Ali wanted “to get in my barrel.”  She then explained it was a hot tub and her back was killing her.

 

I have a couple of questinos

Leslie and Ali were nude in the barrel smoking a bong, as steam rose into the air.  Leslie was saying, “what really annoys me is when men want to acknowledge women’s superiority.  It’s like fuck you buddy.  You are still trying to own the conversation.”  Ali was totally into it.  Suddenly a woman’s voice was heard asking who was in the hot tub, to which Leslie instructed, “just go to bed.”  This lead to a bemused Ali, who seemed to be expecting some action, to ask “I have a couple of questions.”  Leslie then asked what Ali was going to write her essay about.  Ali immediately wandered off into feminist theory and talked about a topic that dealt with women and Jew shoes and “how vagina is to crucifix as holocaust.”  Leslie cut her off and suggested writing about something personal was always better than doing “boring theory.”  Ali then mused about her family and keeping secrets and maybe something about that.  The subject of when Ali came out came up and she replied she was 33 when she did.  This led a quizzical Leslie to want to know how old she was now.  Ali sheepishly admitted “33.”  This drew a retort from Leslie of “you come out late in your family.”

 

Just grab a book

Ali and Leslie were now back in the house in robes and Ali was lying on the sofa looking maybe somewhat expectant.  Leslie walked in with two mugs and announced she was going to bed.  Ali answered, “oh, really?”  “Just grab a book and have a nice read,” said Leslie as she left the room.  Ali’s growing hope of an intimate encounter with the famous feminist lesbian poet was quashed.

 

I'd rather be horny and hairy

So, now that we know mom and the kids were bumbling in relationships and thus “Bulnerable,” let’s have a go at Maura in this episode.

Maura, Davina and Shea were all in Davina and Sal’s kitchen making lasagna because Sal was about to get out of prison and that was his favorite.  Soon Davina would go to pick him up.  Maura told them about her visit to the doctor and getting the prescription for Lupron.  She then added that the doctor had said that she “might have less of a sex drive” and “less hair.”  Whether you take a drug that blocks the absorption of testosterone or one that blocks the production of T, the result was to begin the transition from male to female secondary sex characteristics to match your gender identity.  The addition of estrogen accelerates the process, but Maura had not begun estrogen.  There was a brief consideration “that things might not work as well as they have.”  The conversation concluded as Davina said, “I‘d rather be horny and hairy.”  Shea volunteered that that was just because Sal was getting out.  Before Davina left to pick-up Sal, Maura wanted reassurance that it was ok for her to stay in the turret?

 

A bevy of broads in my house

Davina and Sal returned and Sal carried a bucket of Dinah’s chicken under one arm.  Shea had been living there and now he met Maura.  She offered that they had made lasagna, but that was brushed aside as Sal craved chicken.  He and Davina took a bottle of wine and went upstairs, which left Shea to observe, “that was abrupt.”

 

Did you always date transwomen?

Later that evening Maura was watching TV with a snuggling Sal and Davina.  Maura spoke, “can I ask you a question?”  Sal agreed.  “Did you always date transwomen.”?  Sal explained that he did and that when he was younger he picked them up in Santa Monica.  Then he came to realize that he “did not have to separate love and sex.”  Maura pushed further, “has Davina met your family?”  Sal replied “oh, no” (as in not going to happen) and then offered that his family was back east was the reason.  He then asked Maura if she liked women.  Maura answered, “I’ve always loved women.  From head to vagina.  I love vaginas.”  Sal quipped, “there’s no shame in that.”  “No,” agreed Maura. 

After then had all gone to bed, Maura was in her turret hearing the intimate activity of Davina and Sal.  So, what might the future hold for Maura in terms of a relationship?

 

 

See also:

TRANSPARENT recap: "Mee-Maw" (season 2 episode 5)

TRANSPARENT recap: "Bulnerable" (season 2 episode 6)

TRANSPARENT recap: "The Book of Life" (season 2 episode 7)