Transparent Season 1 Episode 4 Review: Moppa

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On Transparent Season 1 Episode 4 we saw all of the character's stories move forward.

As usual, they were all beautifully integrated in a way that makes this show amazing. I love the format, but it also makes it difficult to write about this show episode by episode. 

My favorite thing about this installment was that it felt like it was totally being pushed forward by breaking down the boundaries that have been holding in some of the biggest character secrets. 

There were a lot of secrets carrying the story forward here, so consider the below list a reminder for not just you, but also for me, to help me write this review.

  • There were Josh's secrets about Rita.
  • Maura revealing her secret to Ali. Sarah revealing her relationship with Tammy to Ali.
  • Tammy keeping her relationship with Sarah from Barb.
  • Syd and Josh sleeping together.
  • Secrets on secrets. 

Despite all of the stories advancing, I think we were able to learn the most about what was going on in Josh's head. In one of the first scenes of the episode it is revealed that Josh and Syd, Ali's best friend, have been sleeping together. 

And this is just one of the Pferffman family secrets that Syd is privy to, the most revealing for the audience being the relationship that Josh had/has with his babysitter, Rita. It had been referred to in earlier episodes, but Syd gave her full unhindered opinion. 

She described it as lecherous and gross and, frankly I agree with her. She even walked out on Josh after being disgusted by how pathetic she found his inability to be alone. 

Of all the times that this relationship was referred to in the show, none of the comments carried the weight, insight or brutal honesty that Syd's comments displayed. She spoke from a perspective that is unique; she has been close to the Pferffman's and she has also been intimate with Josh. 

Since Transparent Season 1 Episode 1 we have known that Josh and Rita still had an ongoing relationship. Apparently, everyone knew what was going on between Josh and Rita the whole time she was his babysitter. 

As Rita said, the Pferffmans were strange people and did not have a problem with it. Also according to Rita, her and Josh were in love, making his coming over with sudden and hard-to-hear questions offensive. 

Did my parents know that we were, what we were doing? They didn't fire you? So they were cool with what we were doing? They never tried to stop it? Did they discuss it with you? I have a right to know the answers to these questions.


What we saw was Josh starting to question what he previously thought was every teenage boy's fantasy. Was this relationship inappropriate? Will he now see it as a wound rather than a triumph? 

After all of the scenes with Josh in this episode, I was left seriously wondering why Josh has maintained his relationship with Rita for so long. What has this meant for the rest of his relationships to have this one constant in your life? A constant person that you were in love with, but also seemingly not in love with?

Although this review focuses on Josh a lot, I think the most beautiful scene in the episode was when Sarah made one of the most honest and believable admissions of love. My engrossment with this scene turned to amazement when I thought about how this is still television. 

I love you. And I am feeling so ready and open and honest right now. But I am afraid that I am making this shit up in my head and that you are not coming with me and that you are just gonna delay delay and delay.


When she expressed the fear that she was making this all up in her head I completely understood her. She was at the precipice of waiting to find out if the intense feelings that she felt for Tammy were shared or not. I think this was the most anxious scene of the series so far. 

Sarah: Do you love me?
Tammy: Yes
Sarah: Then tell her about me.

While all of this is going on with the Pferffman children, Maura is moving along her journey of learning how to be a woman and, as Davina put it, putting away that male privilege and embracing femininity. 

Outside of just learning how to essentially talk, walk and live in femininity, Maura also had to deal with what the outside world immediately sees as deviant, and as femininity trying to inhabit a male body. 

Everything that went on in this episode -- complete with a fantastic ending with Ali and Josh -- was amazing, and made it my absolute favorite so far. Ali and Josh are adorable as siblings and also have a much better relationship with music than my beat-deaf self.

This review was the hardest one for me to write so far as there is so much that I want to say about this episode, but I feel I can't do the phenomenal intimacy between the storylines justice. I inevitably have to separate by scenes and this show isn't meant for that. 

I hope the readers have been enjoying these reviews so far. Please discuss below if you have a comment or disagree with me!

If you want to check out Transparent -- which you should -- remember that you can watch Transparent online via TVFanatic! 

Moppa Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.5 / 5.0 (4 Votes)
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Transparent Season 1 Episode 4 Quotes

I love you. And I am feeling so ready and open and honest right now. But I am afraid that I am making this shit up in my head and that you are not coming with me and that you are just gonna delay delay and delay.


I started calling her Moppa. Like momma and poppa.