If you’re jumping back into the beloved Amazon series, let it be known, that not only is this season funny, but also, has a relevant statement to make. As a battered Midge Maisel rises from the cold to overcome her fear of just about everything.
We’re at the end of the series now, and truly, the end of an era. The first three episodes of ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ gives audiences a glimpse of the success that is to come for Midge’s future. Where the series, originally a tale about a Jewish housewife whose husband cheats on her, causing Midge to embrace a new life and career as a comedian, comes forward not only in terms of Midge’s impending future.
We’re hinted at how things work out regarding Midge’s career. That’s what’s essentially different, is that the series stops being about the pursuit of the hopeful future versus taking a look at what costs come with claiming it. The resulting methods of bridging the gap—sort of make up the final plot of this season’s story. Which are funny, but also, sort of forewarning tales of successes, failures, and misled opportunities. High-brow intelligence and comedic timing be damned—as almost every single character sort of rises and falls to their archetypical expectations.
The first three episodes accomplish something very different. They put Midge on a path to a clear-minded goal: the late-night comedy gig, really an all-eyes opportunity, that every major player undertakes before breaking out. It’s not just the goal of the season, but also, a moment reminiscent of the times in a sentimental mood. A natural place for the series to move forward, not just as an homage to Jewish comedians of the era—with even featured nods to Mel Brooks this season—but also, as a great momentum point in the rise and fall of the best and worst of us… And how quickly that label tends to turn on us.
The cast gives its most stellar performances and a surprising slew of cameos by actors such as Sean Gunn and Hank Azaria. Though I’ll admit that I wanted more of Stephanie Hsu, given the rise in her career after Everything, Everywhere, All at Once fame. That said, I do believe that the final season does a great job of giving us well-rounded characterization arcs with the family, and most especially, Susie. As you’ll immediately learn pretty deeply in these two episodes.
Now, the big change here is how in this season, Midge becomes a writer of sorts. It’s different seeing her comedy career sort of round out in an homage to what’s obviously meant to be—The Tonight Show. Just picture a Johnny Carson type, more-or-less.
As such, more than ever before, New York City becomes as much of a character in the series as we get a lot regarding NBC. In lieu of department store Christmas drama, we get that 30 Rockefeller Center writers’ room and general vibe, in a lovely homage to the NYC comedy writing scene.
The post-drinks at the bar. The writing and pitching of material—a world different than Midge’s successful stand-up, and though a slight pivot from what you’re used to, an absolutely important plot element in generating that moment to come: of finding the right place and the right time. Though as always, having to battle for her place as a woman in a man’s world.
Atop this, there are some brilliantly funny moments as the show feels like it’s gone out of its way to have fun again. Not just from Midge’s journey, but from her parents’ and Joel’s storylines as well. What’s neat about this season isn’t so much the hows as it is the whys—as it seems, everything is coming together to help give Midge her moment.
Whereas previous seasons, it felt slightly strange and almost one-sided regarding Midge almost always taking from everyone, this one ties it back into the character histories—where we sort of see reciprocation, and more than anything else, a desire to help out of care and, well, just belief.
That this person can become something special if they just had the support to try.
Episodes 1 to 3 highlight all of this. Though it comes at some big revelations. Mistakes at work are made, and of course, without spoilers let’s just say: characters get lost. Effectively changing a lot of what it means to have life go our way…
Though I’d recommend watching it to understand more about what I mean.