Transparent: “Musical Finale” (2019)

Following the #MeToo allegations against actor Jeffrey Tambor that led to the cancelation of Amazon’s inaugural comedy-drama about transgender and Jewish identity (among other things), it probably would have been wise to simply end the show and move on. Instead, creator Jill Soloway presents viewers with a 100-minute musical finale that’s filled with terrific musical numbers and strong voices, but never really comes together or make a convincing case for its necessity. Using gimmicks and stand-ins to force unnecessary catharsis, Soloway takes the “tell, don’t show” approach to this finale, filling the narrative with musical segments that, while strong, are mostly just distracting, while the characters seem to be spinning their wheels. In particular, Amy Landecker’s Sarah seems to have morphed into a different person since the last season, and while Landecker is characterically excellent in the role, it just doesn’t quite feel the same. Music has always played an important part in the show so the decision to go the musical route may have seemed organic to the producers for this finale, but it feels inauthentic and parachuted in. It’s not exactly a disaster of a finale, it’s just long-winded and unnecessary.

Rating: ★★ (out of 5)

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