The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – Season 5 Episode 1 “Go Forward” Recap & Review

Go Forward

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 5 Episode 1 flashes forward to focus on a character usually relegated to the show’s background. Esther Maisel is a PhD student at MIT. But in her therapist’s office, nearly every thought is consumed with the unreasonable demands her mother Midge places on her.

When she pauses to make a major scientific breakthrough mid-session, her therapist recognizes her great achievement. It seems Miriam Maisel wouldn’t react the same way. “Tell that to my mother!” Esther says in exasperation.

Back in 1961 New York, that inattentive mother is bedridden with hypothermia and frostbitten toes. Susie shows up to be there for Midge, curious what could have happened to her since she saw Lenny Bruce at Carnegie Hall.

When Midge finally comes out of her delirium, she’s ready to own up to her mistakes of refusing any opening gigs. Unfortunately, Susie has already given up the Tony Bennett act per her request. Midge isn’t sure she has what it takes to go on, but she apologizes to Susie profusely for not listening to her advice before. “I promise,” she says, “I will never stop trusting the most important person in my life again.”

Susie realizes Midge is at her breaking point. She only has six months, she thinks, to get her a big break before she gives up on her dream–and Mike Carr will be her in. Susie crashes the set of The Gordon Ford Show, which Mike does the booking for. But he refuses to speak with her.

Susie won’t give up easily, though. She tracks down Mike to a Christmas tree lot to make a case for Midge to get on the show. Her plan backfires, however. Disturbed that Susie would follow him and his kids, Mike swears he’s going to make it difficult for Susie and Midge to perform anywhere.

Before Thanksgiving dinner, a delivery of dead flowers confuses Rose, but she waves it off as a mistake. Over dinner, Shirley and Moishe announce they’re getting a divorce. That’s right before Joel announces to everyone that he’s going to marry Mei, who is pregnant with their baby.

But Mei greets him back at his apartment with the news that she’s not having the baby (her tone implies she’s already had an abortion). She’s going to pursue becoming a doctor in Chicago, and she can’t do that if she’s tied to Joel, his kids, and a new baby.

Distraught over his breakup with Mei, Joel gets drunk at his own bar. He’s inappropriate with customers, insults his own band, and even performs a less-than-savory stand-up set (it simply can’t compare to Midge’s drunk stand-up). He then goes downstairs to confront the gambling ring, but ends up getting beaten up.

Susie books Alfie the magician a two-week gig, and Midge offers to take him to the airport. Alfie admits to Midge that another manager is trying to sway him away from Susie. But Midge reassures him that he’ll never find someone who is as persistent at fighting for her clients the way Susie is.

After dropping Alfie off, Midge runs into her parents. They were going to fly out to Palm Beach and had wanted Midge to take the kids to the airport to see them off. Midge refused, so it upsets them that she would come to the airport now for Susie’s sake, but not theirs. Not that it matters anymore. The reservations for their flight were mysteriously lost.

Rose then realizes that something suspicious is going on. It occurs to her that her matchmaking competitor Benedetta is threatening her with the dead flowers and canceled reservation, all for encroaching on the wrong matchmaking territory.

Midge then encounters Lenny Bruce–and he’s actually going somewhere. Lenny, who’s running out of places where he can legally perform, is heading to Los Angeles. Midge holds back tears as they say goodbye, and she promises him she’s not going to blow her shot.

She nearly does blow her next shot, however–a stand-up gig where Gordon Ford himself is in the audience. But Midge turns it back around and even garners Gordon’s attention.

Susie notices and corners Gordon after the show to plead that he give Midge a job. Unfortunately, he’s not looking to put her on the show as a comic. But he will hire her on as the show’s first ever female writer.

Midge doesn’t want to be a writer, but Susie convinces her this could be her big break. Through the writing gig, she can impress Gordon and eventually get to be on his show. Midge remembers the sign she saw during the blizzard, telling her to “Go Forward.”

“I’m in,” she tells Susie. Gordon Ford has a new writer, and she starts on Monday. (Mike isn’t too thrilled.)

The Episode Review

While propelling Midge forward into an exciting new challenge, the premiere of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s final season promises a terrifically funny time.

In a strong opener for the season, Alexandra Socha is incredible as the older version of Esther (I’d certainly watch a spinoff of her time at MIT). It’s nice to see the show finally address directly the lived reality of Midge’s children. It’s a tragic fact that pursuing a career is going to come at the cost of alienating Miriam’s own family.

Except for Susie, whom you could call Midge’s found family. I can’t express how heartwarming it is to see Midge refer to Susie as the most important person in her life. At long last, the manager-client duo are posing a united front. That’s how you get things done!

Previous Season

Next Episode

You can read our full season review for Marvelous Mrs Maisel season 5 here!

  • Episode Rating

Leave a comment