Amazon and “Transparent” series creator Jill Soloway have finally confirmed what most have suspected about the show’s musical series finale: Jeffrey Tambor’s character, Maura, will be killed off.
The episode will begin with the passing of Maura and will follow the Pfefferman family — Shelly (Judith Light), Sarah (Amy Landecker), Josh (Jay Duplass), and Ali (Gaby Hoffmann) — as they all grapple with her death.
“Transparent” is the latest series in the #MeToo era to contend with how to move forward without a star after an accusation of inappropriate behavior. Tambor, who played the lead in the series about a late-in-life transgender parent, was fired from the show last year after an allegation of sexual misconduct surfaced. (Tambor has denied the allegations.)
“We were all in mourning in many ways, and we all had to process together,” Soloway, who uses the gender-neutral pronoun “they,” told The Times about the decision to kill off the character. “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.”
They added: “People say when they’re making musicals that there are moments when the characters have to sing because they can’t put something into words. I think it’s the same thing with what our show went through, we felt like we needed a different way of looking at the family. And we did it through song.”
The streaming service and Soloway revealed the character’s fate, as well as some new details and first look photos, from the closing episode — titled “The Transparent Musicale Finale” (yes, musicale — rhyming with finale) — on Thursday ahead of Soloway’s appearance at the annual Women in the World summit in New York.
The series finale will feature some familiar faces: Kathryn Hahn as Rabbi Raquel; Cherry Jones as love-interest-in-limbo to Ali (Hoffman); Melora Hardin as Tammy, the old college girlfriend-turned-rekindled-flame-turned-ex of Sarah (Landecker); Tig Notaro as Tammy’s ex-wife, Barb; Rob Huebel as Sarah’s ex-husband, Len; and Trace Lysette as yoga instructor Shea with ties to Maura and Josh. (Lysette was among the women who accused Tambor of sexual harassment.)
Soloway describes the musical send-off as a tribute to all musicals — referring to it as a “Jewish Christ Superstar or anxious ‘Godspell’ or ‘Ordinary People’ on ice” before finally declaring it a “genderqueer Jewish fantasia.” Among the slated musical numbers is a song titled, “Your Boundary Is My Trigger,” which Soloway calls a mother-daughter aria between Sarah and Shelley about the powerful nature of maternal love.
“It’s extreme,” Soloway says of the Judith Light-fronted number. “It hits the most extreme high notes. I feel like 67-year-old Jewish moms are going to be seen in a new way.”
The dramedy, an exploration of gender identity, premiered in 2014 and is based on Soloway’s own experience with a parent coming out as trans.
A premiere date for the series finale has not yet been announced, but it is expected to drop this fall on Amazon Prime Video.
Here’s a look at the series finale: