Spoilers upon spoilers ahead. You’ve been warned.
It’s been a long, strange trip for Transparent, Jill Soloway’s Amazon Prime dramedy about a Jewish family in LA after one of the parents comes out as trans. Maura, or “Moppa” as her three grown children soon start to call her, was decidedly the star of at least the first season of the show, when we see her come out to her kids and ex-wife and start to fully live life as a woman. Played by Jeffrey Tambor, a cis man, there’s always been some controversy over the show’s casting of Maura (which Soloway has since regretted, telling Alma last year, “It didn’t really occur to me to cast a trans woman, like I think my politics at that point were so dumb that it didn’t even occur to me”).
But things got a lot more messy when Tambor was accused of sexual harassment, first by his former assistant, Van Barnes, a transgender actress, and then by Trace Lysette, the transgender actress who plays the recurring role of Shea in the show. After the second allegation, Tambor announced he would be leaving the show, stating, “I’ve already made clear my deep regret if any action of mine was ever misinterpreted by anyone as being aggressive, but the idea that I would deliberately harass anyone is simply and utterly untrue. Given the politicized atmosphere that seems to have afflicted our set, I don’t see how I can return to ‘Transparent.’” (Which is not an apology, FYI.) Tambor was officially fired from the show in February 2018 following an investigation of the allegations.
But, how does a show move on without its central character?
Last May, we learned that the upcoming fifth season would be the last for Transparent. Then in October, Soloway revelaed that the season would take on the form of a musical, written with their sister, Faith. Still, viewers were left wondering how’d they deal with that whole Maura situation — though to be honest, the subsequent seasons of the show delved so deep into the lives of Maura’s three kids and ex-wife (played by the inimitable Judith Light) that it seemed not having Maura around wasn’t maybe such a big deal after all.
Well, all that speculation has come to an end today, as Jill Soloway has confirmed what many of us suspected all along (seriously, don’t keep reading if you don’t want to be spoiled, but it’s going to be everywhere anyway so it probably won’t matter): In the musical series finale, Maura will be killed off.
“We were all in mourning in many ways, and we all had to process together,” Soloway told the Los Angeles Times about the decision. “It was important [for the show] to go through all those stages. The show has always been a reflection of who we were and we were mourning our own narrative.”
Soloway also revealed that the death will happen in the beginning of the episode, after which we’ll follow the characters as they grieve the loss. They went on to describe the musical as “Jewish Christ Superstar or anxious ‘Godspell’ or ‘Ordinary People’ on ice” before landing on “genderqueer Jewish fantasia.” Which, yes. They also promised a show-stopping number from Judith Light called “Your Boundary is My Trigger,” after which they claim “67-year-old Jewish moms are going to be seen in a new way.” Finally!!
There’s no set release date yet, though the Times reports the finale will drop sometime this fall. You can whet your appetite with some choice screencaps from the musical here. In the meantime, get excited for what will probably be an incredibly memorable (and musical) shiva scene.
Header image via Amazon stuidos