It’s been six years since The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel debuted on Prime. Since then, much about the industry has changed. Praised for its whimsical characters and witty dialogue, the series written by Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino was, for the past half-decade, a flagship title for Amazon Prime Video. This was during an era when Disney+ had yet to release, and TikTok had only just made its US debut before blowing up in 2020.
Yet, the entertainment landscape is different now. Times have changed, and there are various new series of just about everything from every major player being churned out by the week. A deluge of content thanks to streaming and subscription services, entertainment in general from movies, podcasts, TV, and video games has become so richly saturated, that it’s impossible to find a pop cultural winner.
This is very unlike The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s first two seasons. A period when the show unanimously swept both the Emmys and Golden Globes from 2018-2019. Yet, something happens this season that will re-contextualize the audience’s understanding of the series. Whereas much of the story for years has been Midge’s hopeful future of making it out on her own, like a refreshing reset, this season tries something entirely new by bringing things forward in time. Decades, in fact, though only in select moments which we’ll omit in detail.
All in order to have the audience bring it a step to see just how far Midge has grown.
Bringing It Forward
There’s a plot device that’s used to move the story forward in that yes, the series utilizes time jumps. It makes the present then become a look back into the character’s past. All for creative analysis of the decisions that bridges the narrative regarding what can go right versus wrong in the lifetime of not just a standup comedian, but overall, the life of a successful entertainer. All in examination of the growth of the characters beyond the stereotypes and struggles fought for women in the 1960s.
Why this happens is less important than the emotional through line. That Midge is more serious than ever about making her breakout moment of her career happen thanks to a startling reality check from Lenny Bruce in last season’s finale. It pays off in ways that set up Midge’s momentum for this season by having her hit the ground running, taking make-or-break opportunities that only our most recent Midge would have been reluctant to say yes to… as this girl really just wants to headline right here and now.
Like with all life choices, there are some serious close-to-home consequences. With this season really focusing in on life lessons of how failure and success can suddenly feel intertwined in a star on the rise’s fast-paced environment. That sometimes, certainly almost always, our choices big and small become incoherently interconnected. A whimsical storyline that only Sherman-Palladino could deliver in terms of characterization.
“All Dan and I wanted to do was stick the landing for these actors who have given so much of their creative treasure to this show,” said creator Amy Sherman-Palladino in a letter cited in The Hollywood Reporter. “We wanted them to walk away feeling like their journey was worth it and earned. And of course, we want them to miss us terribly and hate every other writer and director they ever work with.”’
Bringing It Back
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s final season is, in many ways, trying its best to capture the best moments of its emotionally charged early seasons. It accomplishes this by utilizing the time skip as it allows the audience to look back at Midge’s funniest, but also, most sentimental, moments happening here and now, all through the lens of the past. Thus, comparing it to where everyone surprisingly lands in the future, seeing just how much has changed regarding the evolution of friends and family.
That’s what the series is. A tale about how people change. Times change. And the ’60s… well, that changed as well.
What’s wonderful is that the show stops looking ahead to the hopeful future, and starts, instead, looking at the make-or-break moments we’d neglected in the past—little storylines of critical junctures along the way. Making the moments we see onscreen matter so much more as something in the present must have gone so right… to have also gone so horrible wrong decades down the line.
Expect a lot of that this season as Midge and Suzie make the career calls of their lifetimes. With the final season doing a great job of saying goodbye to this moment in time. Meeting the right moment where everything changed forever and how the worries about the present become the past.