*spoilers for the first two episodes of season 3*
Theme: A Scene to Remember
I never needed reminding, but one scene in the second episode of Transparent’s third season managed to highlight my love of TV and reimburse my belief in this wonderful medium’s emotionally resonant storytelling abilities. It may sound lofty and overblown to credit one simple scene with such power and influence but it is nonetheless an honest account of my reaction to watching it.
Abby and Josh, the two younger siblings, who from the very first episode of Transparent are shown to share a special bond, sit next to each other at a piano singing a made-up love song recovered from childhood memories. They are the babies in the family, the best friends, the ultimate representatives of unconditional love. Despite whatever confusion and mess may infiltrate their personal lives, they will always find shelter in each other’s undemanding company. In this moment, this beautifully choreographed scene, they find each other in a shared memory, are transported back to what they remember as a simpler time, in a pure and incredibly sweet profession of sibling love.
This is simple storytelling at its very best. This moment is what makes Transparent so moving and delightful despite being overrun by selfish characters and their increasingly erratic behaviours. This show delves more deeply, than any other show, into the family unit as a blessing and a burden. As the root of many concerns but also, always, the source of salvation and peace.
Josh and Abby share a connection that cannot be replicated. In this moment they travel through time. As an audience we become privy to how they see each other. Not as adults, not as children, not as professions. Not in the lights of life’s successes and failures, but as the person they have always known, always shared time with, and always shared the music with. They are siblings, they love each other, but more importantly they know each other, without pretence, without stature, just as is. Simply beautiful.