Strike Up The Band – | Review Score – 4/5
It’s the Sixties, Man! – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Panty Pose – | Review Score – 4/5
Hands! – | Review Score – 3.5/5
It’s Comedy or Cabbage – | Review Score – 4/5
Kind Of Bleu – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Marvelous Radio – | Review Score – 3.5/5
A Jewish Girl Walks Into the Apollo – | Review Score – 4/5
The Marvelous Mrs Maisel is an incredibly successful and stylish show. It’s one that I’ve been in love with since it first aired back in 2017 and the one that I look forward to most of all on the TV calendar every year. After two solid seasons of well-worked plot lines and slick cinematography, Amazon Prime’s flagship show returns for a third swing at the prize, this time coming across as a well-worked machine, one that’s just starting to see the early signs of rust forming on its mechanics. In a way, this third season feels like a perfectly rehearsed comedian coming to the end of their shining heyday, one that knows exactly when to pull the punchlines and when to add some flair and set-up, but also in desperate need of mixing things up to remain exciting and relevant.
This third season feels a little self-aware of this too and as such plays off as much more episodic this time around. With Midge accepted onto Shy Baldwin’s tour as a warm-up act, the majority of this third season revolves around this grueling schedule, as Midge is forced to juggle familial drama with life on the road. It’s one that sees her and Susie forced to step it up to the big-time too, as they head out and deal with everything life throws at them. While they do, Abe and Rose reach a financial tipping point back home while Joel finds love in an unlikely place as he decides to open a new club in Chinatown.
All of these stories, alongside several other inconsequential subplots, build up to a 75 minute finale where most of these plot threads are left dangling and unresolved for the inevitable fourth season, especially the main plot line which delivers a massive body blow at the end; a proverbial shock to the system.
From Lenny re-entering and immediately striking up sexual chemistry with her to Joel and Midge’s marriage woes, there’s a lot of meat to this story that’s certainly given the room to breathe. Unfortunately this also overshadows a lot of the supporting players who feel a little isolated without Midge around to add some pizzazz to proceedings. Moishe and Shirley in particular feel forced into the story thanks to a series of unfortunate events early on, while newcomer Mei has a distinct lack of chemistry with Joel during their time together. That’s to say nothing of Sophie Lennon who feels one dimensional and wasted for a lot of this season.
Stylistically though, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel is just as impressive as it has been in the previous couple of seasons. There are some beautiful one-shot takes here, including an impressive 5 minute segment in the opening episode. On top of that the show does a stunning job with its scene composition, effortlessly portraying some very smart edits and beautiful choreography throughout the season. While there are a tad too many Shy Baldwin musical numbers in every episode, they’re well-shot nonetheless and work well to alleviate some of the tension or humour that hangs over Midge’s different sets.
As the credits rolled on the final episode, I was left a little conflicted. On the one hand, there’s some great material here with the main plot line and the darker tone works perfectly to counteract some of the more dreamy and euphoric segments we’ve seen before in this show. Unfortunately, some of this season does feel like filler and the unresolved character arcs at the end may disappoint those expecting some resolution, especially given the extended run-time clinging to the finale.
Still, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel is clearly gearing up for several more seasons of entertainment and it’ll be interesting to see if this one takes the same approach many other big shows have taken in their peak, dragging their later seasons out unnecessarily. There’s always a bit of a danger in doing this of course, and the worst thing that could happen here is Marvelous Mrs Maisel feeling stale and overlong. For now though, the third season bows out its 8 episodes with enough positives to make for an enjoyable slab of drama but unlike the previous seasons, also showing off a few cracks in the foundations of this once-flawless set.