The Pfefferman family is back and more dysfunctional than ever in Season 2 of Transparent, which will be released on Amazon Prime on Friday.
"They're all so afraid of feelings," series creator Jill Soloway tells TVGuide.com about the fictional family. "They really are just totally ill-equipped to put words to feelings. They have no words for love or loss. And so they sort of stand there mute, trying to figure out what to do, or abandon people."
Following the example Maura (Jeffrey Tambor) set in Season 1 by coming out as transgender, each of her children — Ali (Gaby Hoffmann), Josh (Jay Duplass) and Sarah (Amy Landecker) — are on their own messy journeys of self-discovery in Season 2, grappling with questions about religion, parenthood and sexual identity.
Here's a refresher of where we left off with the each of the Pfeffermans, and find out what's ahead for them in Season 2:
Where we left off: Maura chastises all of her children for abandoning her at important moments during her transition, while taking her for granted during their own times of need. Eventually, they all reconcile.
What's coming up: In some ways, though she may not realize it, the hardest part of Maura's transition is still ahead of her. "Now she has to just live every day," Soloway says. "The excuses that she's had about why her life didn't work, those are gone. Now she just has to make real relationships and try to be a good person." Adds Tambor: "The coming out and the waking up, as it were, is a big load off, and I don't think she knows what's in store for her in terms of how to live this. Forget the makeup. Forget the attire. Forget all that. How do you live your life? Who are your friends? Who's trusted? ... I think she is just blithely unaware of what's in store for her. I don't think she knows how to make her bed."
As Maura forms deeper bonds with her trans friends, including Davina (Alexandra Billings), the decision to live with her ex-wife Shelly (Judith Light), somewhat predictably, goes south in a hurry. "In some ways, it was the easiest choice for Maura," Soloway says. "It's just like, 'Alright, look, Shelly loves me and she wants me to live there. And I can just kind of go back in time and go back and re-experience the past, but as myself.' I think Maura comes to the realization that she has to go forward, and going back isn't working."
Where we left off: Ali rejects Syd's (Carrie Brownstein) advances and has a blowout fight with Maura over the fact that she never had a bat mitzvah.
What's coming up: Ali embarks on an "identity audit," as Hoffmann puts it, in Season 2. "[Ali] is on this journey of self-discovery, but it's very far-reaching," Hoffmann says. "It's intellectual, it's sexual, it's emotional, it's [psychological]. It's really interesting. She's come out of a place last season where she was sort of depressed and shut down for many years, and sort of kicked herself out of that. And then Maura comes out and that's even more instigation. Now I feel like she's sort of awake."
Along the way, she decides to try out a romantic relationship with Syd, and also becomes enthralled with a lesbian intellectual named Leslie (Cherry Jones), a radical feminist who butted heads with Maura when she was still going by Mort. "She's looking around thinking, who am I?" Hoffmann explains. "Who am I in the context of this family? Who is this family in the context of the history of the larger family? And what about the context of our religion? ... Who am I in terms of my sexuality? How do I want to look? How do I want to express that? Everything's on the table. And it's messy at times, but it's also very thoughtful and focused. She's on her way to figuring her sh-- out."
What's coming up: Sarah has a poorly timed panic attack during her wedding to Tammy and subsequently goes on what some might call a sexual walkabout that leads her straight into the world of BDSM. "She thinks she's stuck, and that's what's freaking her out," Landecker tells TVGuide.com. "Sarah wants to give up — her whole story line this year is to be submissive, to want someone else to make the decisions." But she also realizes, for the first time, about some of her hidden (and more boundary-pushing) desires. "What I learned talking to people in that [BDSM] community is that you're actually safer than you've ever been because you, as the submissive, set the rules. You set the limits," Landecker says. "You are not in any danger, so your fantasy and your imagination is at play. ... It's not about, you tell me what to do. It's about me being able to say, 'This is what I want. This is what makes me feel good.'" (Adds Hardin: "My guess is it's gonna be way hotter than 50 Shades of Grey.")
Where we left off: Josh tells Rabbi Raquel (Kathryn Hahn) that he's all in and wants to have babies with her. He also finds out that he's the father of Rita's teenage son, Colton (Alex MacNicoll).
What's coming up: Despite being mired in a state of arrested development, Josh finds himself hit with a double dose of fatherhood, between learning of Colton's existence and finding out that Raquel is pregnant. But is he ready to be a dad (x2)? "No," Hahn says flatly. "Josh is trying to navigate folding her into his family. ... Raquel's just trying to be clean, and this family is just like this black mold that's taking over. She's trying. But I do think that there is something about the Pfeffermans that she loves. She can't quit 'em, because you know why? Nobody bolts. They stick together, and there is something really beautiful about that. Nobody bolted with Maura. Nobody bolts with anything. That's a beautiful thing. I think Raquel finds that really admirable."
Raquel, however, is also not too pleased with the prospect of being unwittingly thrust into the role of stepmother, especially after seeing Josh's reaction to Sarah's panic attack at her wedding. "That was the awakening to, for [Raquel], like, what have I gotten myself into with this family? They don't take anything as sacred here. I am so f---ed," Hahn explains. "I have so much to answer to — to God, to my congregation, to myself. I don't even have my apartment anymore. I have no place to pray. And I am pissed."
Where we left off: Shelly is widowed after her husband Ed dies, but has forged a friendship with Maura.
What's coming up: Shelly discovers that it's difficult to be roommates with your former spouse, and also sees her parenting style called into question by her kids, particularly Josh and Sarah. Despite losing two husbands, Shelly hasn't given up on finding love — and, despite their ups and downs, will always hold a special place in her heart for Maura. "They love each other and they always will love each other," Soloway says. "It's sad, because I think Shelly gets sacrificed in that little journey. I think a lot of people get sacrificed in the Pfefferman journeys."
All 10 episodes of Transparent Season 2 will be available Friday on Amazon Prime. Will you watch?