Recap 'Transparent' Season 2 So You Can Keep Up With The Pfeffermans
I have almost no issues with the near-perfect Amazon series Transparent, but if I were to bring up one, it's the fact that it's way too easy to marathon. Each 10-episode season is the television equivalent of a milkshake: it's way too easy to suck it all in at once. Unlike network shows, there's no week-long waiting period between episodes, so unless you're strong enough to pace yourself, dedicated fans can finish Transparent in less than a week's time — which means that the wait to find out what's going on in the ever-complicated lives of the Pfefferman family is so unbearably long. Even fans who consider themselves an honorary member of the Los Angeles family may forget just what happened in Season 2 of Transparent , considering the series began streaming almost a year ago on Amazon on Dec. 11, 2015.
Catching up on Transparent before watching Season 3, doesn't have to mean re-watching last season's 10 episodes (though, by all means, go right on ahead — they're all online). Before you start Season 3, check out this handy catch-up guide for fans who want a quick refresher before the new season, broken down by each of the show's main characters:
She reignites a romance with Shelly, the mother of her children, but eventually breaks things off when she realizes that her life will be stuck in retrograde should she date her former spouse. As Maura looks for autonomy and moves out of Shelly's house, she looks into decisions regarding her future — including whether or not to get gender confirmation surgery. However, when she attends a women-only festival with Ali and Sarah, one that doesn't accept trans women, she realizes that her transition is met with more complications than she ever expected. Fortunately, she does find a place with one woman: Vicki, who becomes Maura's first new romantic partner since she began her transition.
After learning about the existence of his son, Colton, at the end of Season 1, Josh decides to step up as a father and invites Colton to stay with him and Raquel, his soon-to-be wife and mother of his unborn child. However, after Colton's birth parents come to visit, Josh learns that it was Maura and Shelly who arranged the adoption of Colton in the first place, without Josh's knowledge that he was even going to be a father. After Raquel makes it clear that Colton's stay is putting stress on her and her unborn baby, Josh agrees to send Colton back with his adoptive parents. However, Raquel loses the baby, and she and Josh break up. Josh finally has a breakthrough about what's driving his actions when Buzz, Shelly's new boyfriend, asks Josh if he "grieves" for his father. Though Josh admits that it's not exactly PC to do so, he says he does miss the Maura he grew up with.
Ali decides to explore her sexuality in the new season, which she does first by moving into a romantic space with her best friend, Syd. However, it's not long before Ali, in an effort to try "adulting," begins to have feelings for her new feminist women's studies professor, Leslie. Ali and Leslie begin a relationship, which puts Ali at odds with Maura, who, years earlier, stopped Leslie from getting a position at the university where Maura worked due to Leslie's gender. At the end of the season, Leslie gives Ali a choice: Ali can be Leslie's student, or she can be Leslie's partner.
Sarah decides to end things with new wife Tammy at the worst time possible — at their wedding reception. Tammy, devastated, turns to drinking, making Sarah feel guilty about the many ways she's messed up her multiple families. Sarah's downward spiral in Season 2 includes breaking her ex-husband's girlfriend's $400 eyeshadow palette, embarrassing herself at a school auction, and half-heartedly pursuing a relationship with her ex, Len. At the end of the season, Sarah realizes what she might actually want: A more liberating sexual relationship, in the form of BDSM.
The Pfeffermans Of The Past
One of the more fascinating aspects of Season 2 of Transparent is the exploration into the Pfeffermans' history. We learn that Gittl, a great aunt of Maura's, was working with Berlin’s Institute for Sexual Research shortly before World War II. Though it's not explicitly stated in the series, it seems that Gittl is a trans woman, making the parallels to Maura's experience all the more profound. Gittl's mother begs her and her other daughter, Rose, to flee Germany when she realizes that the Nazis are gaining power, but Gittl stays at the Institute. Rose goes to America with her mother, and years later gives birth to Maura. In present day, Maura finally goes to see her now-senile mother and "comes out" as a woman, not realizing that Rose may have been more understanding of Maura's struggle than she could imagine.
With a family going through as much as the Pfefferman clan, it's worth tuning in to see their next moves — for better or worse — now that Season 3 of Transparent is streaming on Amazon.