I’m just a person, and you’re just a person, and here we are
Maura is such a great character for many reasons but in particular for her patience. She’s lived her whole life hiding and compromising to the point where she almost could have given up. So she waited and waited and knew someday she’ll be free from the restraints upon her. But along the way she learned how to be resilient. And that’s what we see in episode 6. Maura has so many opportunities to lash out, be angry, be sad, but she takes it with inner strength and tries to find peace for everyone.
Wedge (episode 5) marked a change for each family member now that everyone knows about Maura’s real self, and The Wilderness follows that up nicely. Josh is still confused and frustrated about the revelation and wants to believe it’s just a sort of phase (or a trick). He is not completely comfortable with the situation but he is actively trying to understand. That’s one of the Pfeffermans redeeming qualities, they can be narcissistic but they are willing to try for each other.
A great moment comes in this episode’s flashback where we see Marcy and Maura testing out their true personas in public. It’s almost childlike in the way they go about it: the playful interactions, their excitement, and how at ease they seem to feel by being themselves. The joy they get when the waitress calls them “ladies” is encouraging.
While we only get snippets of this relationship with Marcy, there’s still a sense of impending doom. Something big is going to happen with them and it’s a little frightening because there is a strong possibilty things will be dire. Afterall, Transparent is about reflecting reality as best as it can and reality isn’t always fair.
Speaking of reflections of reality, without trying to offend anyone, the show seems to be good at showing the heterosexual response versus the Queer* response. Josh’s need to understand and struggle to accept is one of the milder responses. It is Len’s reaction (Sarah’s ex-husband played by Rob Huebel) that exemplifies a more common bigotted response. In an early episode we saw a possibility Len would be supportive, and perhaps he may just be hurting from having Sarah leave him for another woman, but his anger is all too clear now. Not wanting his children to have to deal with non-heterosexual sexuality may be a knee-jerk reaction. In any case, Maura handles him perfectly when she apologises for not involving him in her coming out process but telling him “Baby, you need to get in this whirlpool or you need to get out of it”. With a strong, confident and patient statement, Maura is able to find peace for her family. For now anyway.
(*for brevity, queer is used to mean non-heterosexual sexualities)