Friday, November 18, 2016

What I’m Watching: Transparent

Transparent: Season 3, Episode 8 “If I Were a Bell” (B-)

There are times when I’m watching shows and I feel that nothing would be more effective than a flashback to fill in some information we don’t know. This show has done this repeatedly and several times taken up the entire episode with it, and I don’t find it to be nearly as useful or warranted as it should be. The one thing that was productive about this episode is that it linked the 1930s Germany scenes that we’ve seen of the trans community there directly with Mort and his progression towards becoming Maura. Starting out with Mort meeting Shelly at the diner was a strange way to introduce things since last week’s episode was much more about Maura’s relationship with Bryna than with Shelly. Focusing on her too was obviously interesting, and we learned some devastating and important things about her childhood and what influenced her to become the person that she became. I do have to give credit to whoever cast Molly Bernard as Shelly since she was such a perfect younger version of Judith Light. I was surprised to see a young Mort so fully engaged in wearing dresses and other expressions of femininity, and the general lack of condemnation of that behavior by the female influences in his life was sharply contrasted by his grandfather’s wrath and his invocation of those who were killed in Germany for the same type of behavior. This is educational stuff, to be sure, but let’s get back to the drama of the present with just two episodes left this season.

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