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Transparent – And I Know That He Loved His Family.

Posted on the 01 April 2015 by Cathy Leaves @cathyleaves
Transparent: 1x10 Why Do We Cover the Mirrors.
Transparent – And I know that he loved his family.
Ali: So why do we cover the mirrors? What does the bible or the Torah say about that?
Raquel: It’s not in the bible, it’s a tradition. It’s about being free of vanity, it’s about being free of that extra level of being seen, just letting us be. 
It’s Ed’s burial, but the funeral itself and the shiva afterwards are, of course, not about Ed at all, nor about the effect that he had on his loved ones, or his life. The most moving speech comes from the female security officer of the retirement home he lived in the last few years of his live. She recites a poem and seems more affected by his passing than any of the assembled mourners, some of who, when asked about a favorite memory, either “pass” or tell stories about themselves with no connection to Ed. This is, naturally, what the Pfefferman’s are about: with all of their drama, there is barely ever place for anybody else, and they don’t make the effort of including anyone – until the final moment of the episode, which feels like family, finally, everybody including Josh’s biological son, so ill-at-ease with his politeness and manners, connected at the dinner table. But Raquel’s explanation of the tradition works in many ways. For one, the whole season has been about Maura’s need to be seen by others the way that she sees herself, to be able to strip the costume that she has been forced to wear her whole life, to become herself in the eyes of her loved ones and then the whole world. Sometimes being seen is necessary to be, and not being seen – because she is forced to hide for her own safety or to keep up a façade – is profoundly hurtful. On the other hand, the shiva is meant for Ed, meant to have him remembered, so perhaps Raquel is asking everybody to forego the constant process of self-revelation and self-involvement for the evening, for the sake of the man who only wanted to bring cheer to the lives of those he loved. It fails, of course, inevitably. 
Ali: Did Josh ever tell you that he loved you?
Syd: You know how a serial killer wants to see in your eyes, you know you’re gonna die. Well, 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 that person looking at him, it was just a total mindfuck.
Ali: I don’t even really care about that. I mean. It’s really just the fact that you lied to me, that you both lied to me together.
Syd: So… shall I go to the shiva?
Ali: You don’t have to come to that.
This works with the mirrors too. Josh reaffirms his importance and his existence by seeing that others love him, but he never reflects on how he feels about the women in his life. When he comes to the realization that he loves Raquel (and he has professed his love several times before, to Rita and others), he assumes that it will change everything, that the mere words change reality, while from Raquel’s perspective, she is only just realizing what it means to be in love with a person like Josh (Ali tells her that Josh is addicted to being loved, and when Josh realizes that someone has been talking to Raquel, he lists those who could possibly be responsible, who are qualified to make that statement about him – and it’s a long list, one that doesn’t even include Ali). And then there is Colton, desperate in a very naïve way to discover where he is from – the very place that we have just discovered in detail – and so earnest in his wish to find a connection to his biological father. 
Josh: It’s just terrible timing cause I’m really fucked up now. I’m fucked up all the time. And I’m not sure you’re gonna like me.
Colton: No matter what happens I’m always gonna like you.
It’s the promise that Josh desperately needs, someone who likes him unconditionally, someone who is already saying that he will forgive even though he has only just met him. 
Ali: Because that’s our family religion, right, secrecy.
Transparent – And I know that he loved his family.
Ali has been trying to figure herself out this whole time, and she has failed utterly, mostly falling back on imitation, trying on different suits to see if they fit. Raquel’s words resonate with her, and she imagines what her life would have been like with more guidance, if she hadn’t been left to her own devices – if she hadn’t been allowed to call off her bat mitzvah (she was adamant that she wanted it called off, but also finds it impossible to forgive that Maura went along with it because she wanted to go to the camp). It’s the kind of fight that has been building up for years: Ali, completely financially dependent on Maura, is denied the right to call her out on her mistakes because of her dependence. Maura, still frustrated and angry over her children’s lack of support, asks: “I have a question for you, now that you’re not on the payroll anymore. Do you like me? If I didn’t give you any money, would you even talk to me?” Mutually unforgivable things are being said. They are all around the dinner table in the end, but also all still broken, Josh without Raquel but with a son who sees something in him that he can’t see in himself, Sarah about to get married to Tammy, an idea that can only end in disaster, Ali back at the table but reluctant to join the circle, and Shelley and Maura, still so oddly close in their mutual dysfunctionality and shared history, feasting on the remains of the wake in the home that has housed all their secrets. 
Random notes: 
Tammy uses the shiva as an opportunity to point out what she’s done to Maura’s house. And laughs in Sarah’s face when she asks her to marry her (we don’t see how this is resolved but Sarah tells Maura later they will get married, if this is based on something that happens later or Sarah’s wishful thinking is a question for next season).
As genuine as Raquel and Josh feel in their joy and attraction in the beginning of the ep, somehow you just want her to run run run away from this family to protect her sanity. 
“Just because you are from this family doesn’t mean you have to be like this family” says Len. 

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