[For Transparent “Grey Green Brown & Copper” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]
Grey Green Brown & Copper Maura has a love connection and reconciles her past; Ali discusses her future with Leslie, Josh seeks a father’s love in Buzz; Sarah ties up loose ends.
The season two finale episode of Transparent brings us to the other side of the Pfefferman life transitions with each the characters looking at life in a new way now. Josh deals with his buried feelings and finally finds a comfortable place to fall apart and get the empathy he needs. Ali brings together the past and present Pfeffermans and gets ready to move forward with a greater understanding of both. Sarah finds solace in a new weekly practice and begins to make peace with her past. Maura, meanwhile, finally visits her mother and introduces her true self only to find she’s accepted and had nothing to fear.
“Grey Green Brown & Copper” draws its title from a phase of the Pfefferman pool back when the three siblings were kids and going through that transitional period of tweens and adolescence on their way adulthood. Their family’s changes back parallel it’s current transition. What we mainly learn in season two is that it’s one thing to become an adult and quite another to actually grow up. For the Pfeffermans, as for most people, the latter transition serves as more challenging but at least the trio of siblings had each other. We especially feel their bond as they play tea party underwater in the pool. Water also reconciles the bond between Maura and her mother when in the last scene they watch the ocean tide together.
The episode opens on Vicki in a hotel room with Maura. She’s discussing her breast cancer and double mastectomy but her secure attitude reveals she’s over it at this point. Maura then asks if she’s comfortable sharing a room and Vicki says yes and that she’s NATO, not attached to outcome. Then they spoon on one of the double beds and fall asleep cuddling. When they awaken in the morning they smooch tenderly and then Vicki straddles Maura. The two have mind-blowing sex before Vicki collapses into Maura’s arms and they’re happy together. The couple then go to breakfast at a diner and Maura talks about visiting her mother. She feels terrible that it’s been three years since seeing her and decides it’s time to visit Rose.
In the next scene we see a flashback to melancholy Rose and her mother traveling by ship to America. Her mother hands her a large block of chocolate which Rose breaks open to find the pearl ring Gittel gave her inside. We know from the events of season two that this ring will always represent Gittel to Rose and is thus much more meaningful than just a pretty Pfefferman family heirloom.
Next we see Sarah and Ali swimming in the pool at Maura’s house, where Josh still lives, though alone now that Raquel moved out. It’s early morning and he wakes up, makes breakfast and, when he hears them splashing, joins his sisters. They swim and talk about how everything changed for their family one particular summer when they were kids and they suddenly stopped swimming in the pool. Apparently the pool guy quit that summer and then the pool filled with leaves for two years because nobody would scoop it. The bottom got all “Grey, Green, Brown and Copper” so much so that they could have gone sliding across it like a backyard slip n’ slide. But instead they avoided the pool and stopped hanging out together in the way they are right now. Then Sarah says she’s thinking about exploring her spiritual mojo but Josh tells her she can’t go to Raquel for that. After their swim and showering the three of them snuggle up next to each other in Josh’s bed to watch dumb TV. They talk about how it’s the first time in adulthood they’re all single at the same time. It brings them together in a way they haven’t been since the onset of Transparent. There’s real love in that bed. Then Ali sees the pearl ring on Josh’s nightstand and asks if she can have it. He’s happy to give it to her and she immediately puts it on a necklace around her neck. After this deep triad sibling connection scene the three Pfefferman kids each make a symbolic visit to someone significant in their personal story.
Ali goes to UCLA looking hot in a polka dot halter dress, the pearl ring around her neck, and glowing with newfound confidence. She visits Leslie who offers her a choice. Ali can either spend the next year as her student and teaching assistant or she can be her girlfriend but can’t be both. It’s up to her. Next we see Ali on a train with Maura apologizing for what happened at Idylwild. Then she says she’s thinking about studying with Leslie in the Fall and so we see where her choice regarding Leslie seems to be leaning. They go together to visit Rose and Maura’s nervous that her mother will be seeing her as a woman for the first time. When they finally get to Rose, Maura holds her hand and says, “It’s Morty but they call me Maura now,” and (just Maura’s luck) right then her sister Bri enters the room. But she doesn’t say anything and a silent moment passes between all of them as Rose notices the pearl ring hanging from Ali’s neck and takes it into her hand. She clearly recognizes it, a big deal because she’s had dementia for a long while. This brings them together in unified love for Rose because all are so happy just to see her experience a real connected moment with them.
Sarah visits Pony, whom she met at Idylwild and gets a paddle spanking that makes her smile and wriggle with delight. Then she pays using a credit card Pony swipes on her iPhone and they agree to meet again next week. Afterward Sarah visits Len, her ex husband and tries to make amends by giving him a brand new $485 eyeshadow palette just like the one she ruined and lifted from his girlfriend, Melanie. But Len asks if she’s got a gift receipt because Melanie left him. Sarah comforts Len and tells him she’s sorry and that Melanie’s wrong about Len “being boring”. It’s clear Sarah really means it. But then Sarah goes against Josh’s wishes and visits Raquel to ask if she has a minute to talk.
Speaking of Josh, he visits Buzz and they have a long talk over beers. Then Josh hears a sick duck and goes to it’s side. Buzz shows Josh how to help the duck by wrapping it in Josh’s jacket. and having Josh carry it on his shoulder like a baby into the condo where they fill a bathtub so it can swim and heal. They looking at the duck together and Josh confides that nothing’s adding up in his life. Buzz says he’s grieving the loss of his father. “Josh, your father died,” he explains and that it’s time mourn the loss. Buzz offers his shoulder for Josh and he weeps. It helps him. Josh has finally found his soft place to fall and maybe even a father figure to boot.
Then we revisit Rose and her mother in Los Angeles 1934. They track down the father who abandoned them in Berlin and their worst fears are realized. He’s remarried and has a new child. It’s evident that he had no intention of sending for them. In fact, he nastily accuses Rose’s mother, his “real” wife of being a failure because she couldn’t get Gershon to come with them. Then he tries to bribe Rose with offers of a book from a nearby shop, “You like to read, don’t you?”. The whole debacle sickens the two of them, along with us. They spit in his doorway on the way out. It might seem petty if he didn’t deserve worse.
In the last scene Maura, Ali, and Bri take Rose to the beach to look at the ocean and we see a flashback of when Maura was born. Rose’s mother worries in the waiting room and Rose’s husband keeps telling her to stop fretting. He’s got it all figured out. She says Rose didn’t even pick a name yet and he says that’s no problem because he already picked a name, Faye Pfefferman. Sounds like a movie star. She says what if it’s not a girl? And he says he knows it is because a father knows these things. Then Maura gets born and the doctor holds her up and says, “Congratulations, it’s a boy”. The last shot is of Maura’s happy face as she stands beside her mother and looks out at the ocean expanse before them. Her future is as limitless as the beautiful blue sea. We’re all pulling for you, Maura, and hoping you always feel beautiful while less and less blue.