It’s a Man, Man, Man, Man World
Typos and Torsos
The Pirate Queen
A House Full of Extremely Lame Horses
The Princess and the Plea
The last we saw of Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) she was trudging through snow–hopefully letting some harsh words of wisdom from Lenny Bruce (Luke Kirby) sink into her–until she came across a billboard for The Gordon Ford Show telling her “Go Forward.” The moment offered a sliver of hope to soothe viewers’ discontent with Miriam’s recent poor decisions. And they can rest assured that in season 5 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Midge is back–and she’s more marvelous than ever.
“Go Forward.” It’s that punchy phrase that inspires a go-get-em mentality in Midge and allows her manager Susie Myerson (Alex Borstein) to finally land her consistent gigs. Midge must prove herself by doing the grunt work she repeatedly refused to do in season 4, all with the aim of making her way out of obscurity and into the spotlight–hopefully, by performing on The Gordon Ford Show, hosted by none other than Gordon Ford (Reid Scott).
Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and co-showrunner Daniel Palladino expound on previous themes of misogyny in the show, particularly honing in on sexism in the workplace. It’s a man’s world, especially in show business, and Midge certainly knows it. But the housewife-turned-comedienne has some experience dealing with difficult men, and she’s not going to let any of them stand in her way.
Of course, she still has her responsibilities as a mother and daughter to attend to, as well as a partnership with her devoted manager that gets her into nearly as many scrapes as it does jobs. Still, every time the tides change, Midge and Susie are there to face new obstacles together. Season 5 considers, however, the possibility of a challenge too insurmountable even for their friendship to overcome.
But then, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has always been about change–whether that be embracing it or exploring the hurt that happens when we fail to adapt to it. The final season of the comedy drama fixates especially on change, with tightly drawn scenes to propel its characters always forward. More than any other season, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s final chapter shows how its characters react to and reckon with sexism and their ever-changing world. There are more moving moments of earned character development than ever before.
That’s not to say that everything’s resolved perfectly. Season 5 is readier than ever to tackle themes I thought it would ignore, like parenthood and generational trauma. Looking to both present and future, the show finally gives Esther and Ethan a voice, but it ultimately doesn’t care about their personhood as much as it does Midge’s. I can forgive this, though. Midge never claimed to be a good mother, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel never claimed to be a show about motherhood.
And still, nuance is taken to highlight Midge’s flaws as a mother without punishing her for trying to be a successful woman in comedy. However much I wanted the show to wrestle further with her conflicting responsibilities as a working parent, I think what Sherman-Palladino is trying to show us is how success is always forged through sacrifice; we simply tend to judge women’s sacrifices (especially in the family realm) more harshly. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is able–not to forgive, exactly–but to let live.
In the end it’s not the kids nor even Midge’s parents (played by the wonderful Marin Hinkle and Tony Shalhoub), her ex-husband Joel (Michael Zegen), or Lenny Bruce that take center stage in Midge’s life. It’s her relationship with Susie, and rightly so. Brosnahan and Borstein continue to be show-stealers as a comedic duo, even amidst such a topnotch cast overall. The route their friendship takes is a rollercoaster ride, but results in a deeply funny, emotionally fulfilling arc.
I can say the same for most of the season. It’s a showstopper, with the same snappy and smart dialogue, the transformative production and costume design, and the complexly lovable characters that made many fall in love with the show in the first place. Culminating in a finale that will send an emotional punch to your gut even as it will make you laugh your heart out, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 5 takes a final tear-jerking bow.
With the success of Gilmore Girls and now The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel behind her, Sherman-Palladino can’t be denied as a woman who, like Miriam Maisel herself, is making a marvelous mark in show business–and while being damn funny to boot.
The first three episodes of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 5 will be released April 14 on Prime Video. Episodes will then be released weekly thereafter
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Verdict - 8.5/10
1 thought on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 5 Review – Midge says “Thank you and good night””
I almost suffer apoplexy trying to keep up with the energy exuding from these seemingly black beauty infused cast members! Just an incredible group of writers, performers, and costumers. I feel I was born a decade or two too late.
Gonna miss you all, but cherish the laughter and tears!