In Season 1, Transparent became a groundbreaking show in Television for delving into the world of transgender people. Maura Pfefferman (Jeffrey Tambor) formerly Mort Pferfferman finally decided to break out of the shell that was suffocating and holding back who was really inside because of how she thought her family would’ve reacted. Season one did a tremendous job showcasing the real difficulty of what it means to be trans in the modern world despite the progress we have made in terms of LGBT representation and acceptance. Season 1 was very much about Maura and her journey about how she had struggled identifying as a man early on in her life, as well as dealing with the repercussions of her coming out to her family and how it has taken a toll on them.
In season 2, Jill Solloway turned the show into a real ensemble dramedy and excelled. While we still get moments of Maura and her continuous journey of finding her true self and purpose, we’re treated to the take a detailed look on the lives of her children and ex-wife. Sarah (Amy Landecker) is deciding if whether or not she made the right choice in leaving her husband and children for Tammy (Melora Hardin) and it comes to a head on the day of their wedding. Ali (Gaby Hoffman) is still trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life as she is still studying to get her undergraduate degree, as well as her personal life and what she wants in a relationship. And Josh (Jay Duplass) is having difficulty trying to start his own family with his long lost son Colton (who was the product of Josh and his childhood caretaker, though Josh always lets it known to his family that it was consensual) and his fiancé Raquel (Kathryn Hahn) who is expecting.
Turning the show into an ensemble dramedy works wonders because season 1 already did a great job setting up Maura and her journey to becoming a woman. Season 2 is about everyone dealing with their own troubles, and the moments where we get all of them in the same room is full of emotion and great chemistry between all of the actors. Jeffrey Tambor gave a tour-de-force performance in season 1, and while he is still amazing, the real star of this season was Amy Landecker. Landecker brought her A-game this season by giving us a deeply complex character that has trouble committing to relationships and dealing with the fallout of her wedding or “not-wedding” with Tammy.
What’s also interesting about Transparent is the fact that everyone in the Pfefferman family aren’t good people, including Maura at times. Yet we still manage to care about their lives without really thinking about the crappy way they treat other people because their characters are extremely fascinating and complex. Season 2 managed to bring all the characters’ stories into the fold and give them all a chance to shine, while still staying on track with the main story, which is Maura’s journey. But getting more time with the other characters made this season better than an already great first season. Oh and the flashbacks to Berlin in 1933 were also brilliant and was one of the most interesting parts of this season, hopefully we get more of that even though the way the flashback ended in the season finale made it seem like it was the end of it. What’s next for the Pfefferman family is a mystery, but one that will keep me wanting more until next year.
Season 2 Rating: 9.2/10
*One more thing to add, we were treated to some truly great guest spots this season from Cherry Jones, Anjelica Huston, Michaela Watkins, and Richard Masur in addition to returning guest spots from Carrie Brownstein, Bradley Whitford, and Alexandra Billings.