Transparent Season 1 Episode 6 Review: The Wilderness

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All of the Pferffman children now know about their father's secret, and in Transparent Season 1 Episode 6 they are all having unique experiences as this revelation reverberates in their lives. 

Before diving straight into the episode review, I wanted to share some background information that is part of what, I think, makes Transparent so good. This story is, in part, based on the experiences of its creator, Jill Soloway, whose father came out as trans. 

However, Soloway didn't stop at drawing on her own experience when making this show. Soloway actively hired trans people as part of the cast and crew and hired two full-time transgender consultants.

The show clearly benefited from hearing the stories and taking insight from people within the community that it is focusing on.

Now, on to the actual review for this episode. The first thing we see in this episode is Josh really seeing Maura for the first time in the entire series. It is safe to say that he is confused by what is going on. 

I think dad is losing his mind. I mean I went online and looked up the symptoms. The first sign of dementia is a changing personality. Like he has to be the center of attention.


I thought Ali's response captured exactly what all of the Pferffman children are thinking right now. They may already be doing this or they may be afraid of doing this, but in some ways I think they are all starting over. Not to sure what Ali is starting over from, so maybe just a mental reset for her. 

It just means we all have to start over.


Ali is seeking answers by reaching out and enrolling in a women and gender studies program. Although she seemed to hate the lecture, it appears she may learn something from her trans TA. 

Her siblings reaction to this was hilarious and gave us more reason to believe that Ali doesn't seem to know where she wants to go in life. She also still doesn't know if she eats dairy or not. 

As paraphrased from the episode, Ali has a new interest and dad will have to buy her some school shoes for it, but at least it isn't like the time dad bought her a loom. 

Overall, this was a big episode for Ali, as after this conversation she went to ask Maura for the money to enroll in the program. During which, two very interesting things were said.  

First, Maura told Ali how he had always seen a lot of himself in her. 

Maura:I saw so much of myself in you when you were just young and growing up. and experimenting in your gender confusion
Ali:What do you mean my gender confusion?
Maura:Oh you know you were such a tomboy, initiative her initiative there, neither here nor their. Some people say it runs in the blood.

Maura's transformation has sparked something in Ali (maybe a mix of confusion and curiosity) and I hope we get to see a lot more of where this is going. 

Second, was that Maura told Ali not to tell Sarah and Josh where the money to enroll was coming from. This is actually the second time in the episode that he has insisted one of his children keep something money related a secret.

In the beginning of the episode, when Josh was trying to remain cool and face Maura for the first time, he told Josh that he might be able to help him with starting his own label by selling the Palisades house. 

The third time comes at the end of the episode when Maura tells Sarah he wants her to live in the Palisades house with Tammy, but to not tell Josh and Ali. 

I just think its good to note that there have been so many secrets like this in the show. It adds another layer to the complicated family dynamic.

We also get to see how Maura's existence is impacting Sarah, when she has to explain to her young children how this is possible. This conversation was adorable and I can only imagine it going exactly like this, with the end result being to just call it magic. 

When Len walked in on the dinner and quickly evaluated who the guests were I knew there was going to be a confrontation. Rather than being mad at Len for holding the knife up, I saw it as a loss of control, I could tell that this was very difficult for him too and what Maura said was really able to have an impact on him.

I did feel that Sarah sprung the whole thing on him, and that she maybe did not want him to see who was there. She seemed confused when he showed up early and  Maura also seemed confused when she walked in the house and children were there. 

I am sorry about the Mort and Maura and the he and the she. I am just a person and you are just a person and here we are. And baby you need to get in this whirlpool or you need to get out of it.


Now, coming to the flashbacks in this episode.  

As I mentioned in the Transparent Season 1 Episode 3 Review, I think Maura loved Shelley, but it is hard to completely love someone when you can't share such a huge secret with them. Through a flashback, we saw Mort try to share with Shelley that he is really Maura. He did it in a way that came off as a joke, but I think it was really him testing the waters to see what her reaction would be. 

One of the funniest scenes of the episode was when Maura and Marcy are walking through the hotel hallway, in their best dresses, and ask a shirtless man where the ice machine is. Like high school girls, who have just had their first vodka shot ever, they ran down the hallway nervously laughing and giggling. 

I think the sweetness of this moment came across on screen and it was endearing to see not just how long Maura's journey has been going on, but also that there were happy moments to come along with the life of secrecy.

What do you think of everything that happened in this episode? Will Josh be able to accept Maura? What did you think of the dinner party scene? Should Sarah have told the kids without Len knowing? 

If you missed this episode remember you can watch Transparent online via TV Fanatic! 

The Wilderness Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.7 / 5.0 (3 Votes)
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Transparent Season 1 Episode 6 Quotes

And happy sexy Sunday to you and one single malt coming right up.


It just means we all have to start over.