Culture / Media

Transparent Recap Episode 10: Why Cover Mirrors

The last episode of the season opens with dead Ed. Last we knew, the family was plotting his demise. Ed made a run for it and because we saw him heading towards the pond, we assume that he ended up swimming with the fishes. Poor Ed.

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The scene is cool if you’re not weirded out by death. We see the chevra kaddisha (holy society that cares for the dead) taking great care to perform all the Jewish rituals that honor the body. Ed is covered everywhere by white linen – even his head. I can’t sleep with anything covering my nose, and the thought of being buried with a sheet over my head makes me instantly anxious. I know I’ll be too dead to care, but I can’t help that it makes me short of breath just thinking about it.

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All the Pfeffermans prepare their bodies for the funeral, too. Davina applies perfume under Maura’s chin and inside her wrists – on her pulse points. Ali ties her tie under her gray suit. Sarah dresses the children. The three girls are wearing matching outfits. Josh buttons the cuff of his gray shirt.

Getting ready for shiva

Then we see that while Josh is buttoning up, he’s listening to Bianca and that other blond from the first group singing a cover of Dreamboat Annie by Heart. Raquel is by his side watching them with the same pride and satisfaction. He announces that he thinks they have a hit on their hands. Great hit, great girl…could Josh’s life finally be as buttoned up as his cuff?

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Josh and Raquel head for the door, but before they leave, Josh grabs her and gives her a big, open mouthed funerals-are-so-hot kiss, and I worry that she’s going to show up with a scratched up, red face from beard friction. We lesbians think about things like rug burn. Occupational hazard.

Raquel assures him that they’ll keep their relationship quiet today, but Josh says he wants to tell everybody. She is pleased.

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Shelly is carrying an industrial sized jar of mustard out to the car. Sarah tells her that she doesn’t have to bring it because they have all that they need at the house. Shelly insists she bring the mustard just in case. You can never have enough food (or condiments) at a Jewish function. Even devastated mourners need to eat. We are a feed-your-emotions kind of people.

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Rabbi is saying some prayers to herself while the mourners arrive. Len is there. And Rita is there, too with some teenage boy. Ali comments that some things never change.

Pallbearers are called to the casket to carry it to the gravesite. It is at that point Tammy and Len fight for a casket handle.

Len: That’s ok, Tammy. I got it.

Tammy: That’s ok.

Len: I got it.

Tammy: It’s ok.

Len: You want it?

Tammy: You know what, take it!

Tammy relinquishes her handle to Len only to bump another woman off the casket. “That’s looks a little heavy for you. I’ll take it.”

This is clearly the next big hit in the Transparent: The Musical after “He’s Fucking the Rabbi” is the haunting and soulful duet, “I got it. You take it.” It’s so moving, you might not be able to handle it. See what I did there?

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Rabbi Raquel launches into her sermon about Ed, and while she’s talking about how much he loved his family, Shelly leans over to Sarah and asks her if she ordered the cole slaw. Sarah confirms with “Uch, yeah Mom.” “Both kinds?” she asks. Sarah tells her not to worry about it, but Shelly can’t help herself. She’s got a shiva to throw, and that requires planning. Planning is a great way of taking a person’s mind off grief, but we wonder if Shelly is more relieved than grief-stricken.

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The cantor sings while Josh gawks at Raquel, and a white stretch limo pulls up behind the ceremony. Davina helps hoist Maura from the back. “Is that Mort?!?” Judy asks Shelly. “You weren’t kidding.” “No, I wasn’t,” answers Shelly, and the cantor sings on.

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Another fun ritual at a Jewish funeral is to have each family member shovel dirt into the grave to actively participate in the burial – to escort them to the next world with dignity.

Josh accompanies Shelly to the grave. “Is everyone staring at Dad right now?” he asks. “Does it matter?” she asks back. “See ya, Ed!” she calls out.

Len and Sarah get their shovels. Len asks Sarah if he can be buried next to her and Tammy if they end up together. Sarah says, “Sure,” and we understand that marriage alone does not make a family.

Maura and Ali shovel. Ali comments on Maura’s sparkly star of David and asks when she became interested in Judaism. “Oh, for a while now,” she says. “Oh,” says Ali. “Who knew?” and she spears her shovel in the pile of dirt with extreme hostility.

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Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 10.50.27 PMAli is now kneeling on the ground on her own and takes out a shiny pair of scissors. Syd approaches, and Ali explains that it’s a tradition to cut your tie at a funeral, but she’s clearly having difficulty with it. Syd offers to help. Ali asks if Josh ever told her that he loved her. Syd says, “You know how a serial killer wants to see in your eyes? You know you’re gonna die? Josh wants to see in your eyes that you love him. You never met anyone like HIM before. What’s crazy is he told me about that but then it was still happening. I was still a person looking at him. It was a total mind fuck.”

Ali still can’t get over the fact that Syd and Josh lied to her. Syd asks if she should come to the shiva, and Ali gives her a pass, which is more like a punishment than a pass.

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The mourners make their way to the house to pay a shiva call and ritually wash their hands before entering the house. The entire episode is a fantastic primer for Jewish funerals-if anyone is in need of some tutelage or Jewtelage.

Maura is at the door greeting people, which actually is not so typical. Usually guests let themselves in so as not to expect anyone to take care of them. Shelly is buzzing around asking where the mustard is. She is not happy with the amount of mustard on the table, so Sarah hands her the enormous jar of mustard, which seems to appease Shelly.

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I’m going to put the whole container out there!

Len asks Sarah is she’s ok and then asks her if she’s seen any mustard. Ha, ha, Len. She play slaps him. Twice. Aren’t they cute? Hmmmm.

Tammy wants everyone’s attention and yells, “Clap once if you can hear me everybody! Ok, if anyone can hear me clap twice!” And when no one pays any attention to her, she whistles, and I cringe because there is no clapping or whistling at shivas.

“Come on around everyone and sit down,” she instructs the guests. “Let’s get this little show on the road here. I just wanted to welcome everyone to Ed’s memorial slash wake also known as a shiva.” Oy vey. Josh has arm around Shelly who looks mortified as is appropriate.

“And also to thank all of you who have come. Just for commenting on what we’ve done to the house.” No, Tammy! “I don’t want to take up too much time so I’m going to give the floor over here to this person on my right. And your name is…” Tammy wants everyone to participate in this memory circle by sharing a memory about Ed, which is definitely not the usual thing. People show up to bring food and eat food. There’s no public sharing at shivas.

Ruth is put on the spot. “Ed made Shelly happy. I’ll say that. I didn’t know him very well. We haven’t seen each other much, I’m sorry Shelly.” Shelly yells from across the circle, “That’s fine!” and the next woman simply says, “Pass.” Sarah and Len start laughing and leave the circle.

Len joins Sarah in laundry room busting out laughing. “Pass,” Sarah says imitating the guest. “Do not piss off Esther. She will fuck up your memorial service,” Len says.

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Ali hands Raquel a pile of sheets and asks why Jews cover mirrors. Raquel explains that it’s not in the bible, but it’s a tradition that frees us from vanity. Ali admits that she knows very little about Judaism and when Raquel asks if she had a horrible Bat Mitzvah, Ali tells her that her parents let her cancel it. Ali thinks that’s pretty bad parenting, but Raquel says, “People make mistakes and then grow. From an outsider perspective, I think your family is incredible and your brother is amazing. I could not be happier. I know that’s a lot. I hope that’s ok.”

Just before Ali bursts her bubble.

Just before Ali bursts her bubble.

Ali’s got a weird face on like, “You must be looking at our family through these here sheets, cause we are completely fucked up, Lady.” Raquel asks her to tell her what’s going on. Ali tells Raquel that Josh has a fucked up relationship with women and that maybe he’s s love addict. Her words clearly sting. Ali realizes that she may have said too much, but the damage is done, and Raquel walks off leaving Ali to the rest of the sheets. Ali knows that if she’s looking to Josh for a normal relationship, she’s sheet out of luck. See what I did there?

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Len and Sarah are still hiding in the laundry room. Sarah makes small talk about Len’s tie, but it’s clearly an excuse to fondle his accessories. Sarah thanks him for coming. Len says that it feels weird being replaced. Poor Len. I really like him. After the freak out at Shabbat, he calmed down and has been a real mensch – and would never have orchestrated a memory circle at a shiva. Just saying.

He asks Sarah if she misses anything, and they’re close-talking while she fiddles with the button on his jacket and answers yes. Then they get a bit naughty. Len asks if she misses his cock, and she admits that sometimes she misses his cock and Len repeats that sometimes she misses his cock and then I ponder the etymology of the word cock and do some searching only to discover that south of the Mason Dixon line, the word cock refers to vagina! Even more mind blowing is that in the border state of Missouri, both meanings are used. Now I know why Missouri is the “Show Me State.” Showing prevents unintentional misunderstandings and cock ups. Back to our story.

Cock, cock, and more cock.

Cock, cock, and more cock.

So, yes, sometimes Sarah misses his cock, and Len guesses that it’s because toys are just plastic. Sarah tells him that they’re not so bad. “Oh, they’ve made significant advancements in the field of dildo-ology?” They talk about Len’s hot, throbbing cock and how Sarah is so good at sucking his fucking cock that eventually, he has no choice but to push her down to face his hot, throbbing cock. She does not protest as that is where she has been HEADed this whole scene.

But then Len pulls her up to tell her that he loves her. She says nothing. “I don’t want to be your fucking secret,” he says. “Just because you’re from this family doesn’t mean you have to be like this family.” He walks out with his hot, throbbing cock and his dignity. You go, Grrrl.

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Back at the memory circle, Josh asks Shelly if she’s seen Raquel and then spots her heading out the door. He runs after her asking where she’s going and she says she has to be at another funeral. When he finally gets her to stop running away from him, he confesses his love and his desire to have babies with her. He says he’s never loved anybody before, and she says, “Fuck you.”

Now, he wants to know who said what to make her go running and asks about Syd and then about Rita and Raquel wants to know how many there are and whether Josh promises babies to all of them. She runs off.

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Josh walks back into the house and sees Rita. He accuses her of saying something to Raquel. She asks if Raquel is his latest conquest, and he says, “She’s not a conquest. Ok? She’s an incredible person. She’s like the best person I’ve ever met,” which is aimed at Rita. She laughs and then introduces him to her teenage guest, Colton. Colton, in turn, introduces himself as the biological son of Rita and Josh.

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Awesome.

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Tammy finds Sarah coming out of the laundry room. Sarah makes excuses about spilling wine on her dress. Tammy asks Sarah if she thinks people like the house, and I want to throw a sheet over her head and lock her in the laundry room while I escort everyone away from the memory circle and over to the food and mustard.

Tammy notices that Sarah has a strange look on her face and Sarah redirects with, “I think we should get married.” Tammy laughs and Sarah looks like she can’t believe what she just said.

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Maura is thanking guests for attending and starts to tell a story about when she first knew she was a girl at which point Shelly gives Judy a look and then tells Judy she’s got to pish. That’s Yiddish for pee, and it’s what my family said when the dogs had to go out.

Can you believe this shit?

Can you believe this shit?

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Colton and Josh are getting to know each other. Colton lives in Kansas and is the only one he knows who likes sushi. He wonders if he got his taste for raw fish from Josh. Josh admits that he likes sushi and also admits that he’s a fucked up, unlikeable person, but Colton says, “No matter what happens, I’m always gonna like you. you know?”

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Ali decides to confront Shelly about why she didn’t have a Bat Mitzvah because no one lets a 13-year-old make that decision. Shelly tells her that her dad wanted to go to dress up camp that weekend – Camp Woman Wonka. Good one, Shelly. “Some camp in Hotz-n-plotz in the woods where men dress up like ladies. Also, you were a spoiled brat.” Shelly clearly does not take any responsibility for the canceled Bat Mitzvah.

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Ali marches over to the sharing circle and plops herself down next to Judy. She asks Maura to ‘splain herself Lucy, but not in those words. Maura tells her that they let her cancel it and not to be so self-centered. And that sets Ali off. She resents that secrecy was the only religion in the Pfefferman household and uses the money for college as an example because Maura told her not to tell Josh and Sarah that she was getting money. “Why ARE you always pushing money?” she yells. And then Maura fights back. “Because my beautiful girl, you can not do …anything. You know, you have so much more to say now than when I was writing your checks. Giving you loans, which by the way aren’t actually loans because you don’t pay back dick, do you understand? Not one cent. I’m paying for your life.”

Ali takes out cash from an envelope and it starts raining bills all over Maura. “I don’t need or want or give a shit about your money,” she says. “You can’t fucking scream at me anymore because I’m an adult. Ok? So there we go. It’s settled. Done.” But it’s not done. Maura has a question for her now that she’s not on the payroll. “Do you like me? If I didn’t give you any money, would you even talk to me?” Ali storms out followed by her siblings. I honestly can’t decide who is more self-centered.

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Later that night, Sarah, Maura, and Shelly are picking through the food trying to determine if anything has gone off. Sarah is proud of herself for remembering the cole slaw, but Shelly tells her that she didn’t remember both kinds. Berating the people you love is also a Jewish tradition – and not just at funerals.

Sarah mentions that she and Tammy are going to get married, and they discuss whether or not Tammy will take the Pfefferman name. Josh walks into the kitchen, Colton following him. Colton introduces himself, because Josh was pretty much raised by wolves. Josh offers Colton some food, but Colton says he doesn’t eat organ meat. They convince him to give it a try.

It's not organ meat. It's chopped liver. Put some mustard on it. You'll like it.

It’s not organ meat. It’s chopped liver. Put some mustard on it. You’ll like it.

Shelly wants to know who Colton is, and Josh asks if he can eat first. Colton says that he usually says a prayer before every meal. They all agree to a prayer given that he is the guest. Colton gets them to all hold hands. Ali walks in the kitchen as Colton starts the prayer.

They all call for Ali to come in and join them. Maura gives her the nod indicating all is forgiven, and she stands behind Sarah. Colton says the prayer is more powerful if they’re all connected, so Ali takes hold of a strand of Sarah’s hair while everyone else holds hands.

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Colton: I thank you Heavenly Father for this food, this great day, these lovely people, in Jesus’s name we pray.

Maura: Oy g’valt!

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And that’s the season, kids! Now we have to wait for months before we find out how these Pfeffemans evolve…and don’t evolve. I’m willing to bet that it’s worth the wait if only to find out if Shelly and Maura get back together as lesbian lovers. They make a sweet couple. Which storyline intrigues you most? What do you hope to see next season?

 

 

 

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