You know what I love about The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel? That it's real without being too real. That it's peppered with conflict and agony just in the right amount. Created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, the genius behind Gilmore Girls, the show has far more adult content than Gilmore Girls but it has the same feel-good, have-I-walked-into-a-pastry-shop vibe. People are kind and things somehow work out for the best for our protagonists – but there is also anger and frustration and mistakes and a lot of the f-words.
Season 1 and Season 2 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel met with a lot of critical acclaim and praise. Spoiler alert, season 3 is also just as good. Rachel Brosnahan returns with the same infectious energy as Mrs. Midge Maisel, a housewife-turned-comedian who took to standup comedy because her husband, Joel (Michael Zegen) had cheated on her with his secretary. Tony Shalhoub as Abe Weissman, obsessive mathematician, has a new goal in life (bringing revolutions, no biggie) and Marin Hinkle as Rose Weissman, a standard Upper West Side society lady, is struggling to find her new role in the world as she realizes she’s capable of independent thought. Joel has helped his father’s business stabilize after he left his marriage and now is ready to take off as the owner of a new club. Midge’s manager, Alex Borstein as Susie Myerson has her own set of demons as a near-broke. So same old same old but there’s also something new and something blue.
At the end of season 2, Joel and Midge had spent the night together and Midge was off to be on the road with Shy Baldwin. She had dumped Dr. Benjamin Ettenberg (Zachary Levi) and Susie was also offered to be a manager by Sophie Lennox (Jane Lynch).
Also making an appearance in Season 3 are Sterling K Brown as Reggie, Shy Baldwin’s manager, Cary Elwes as Gavin Hawk a theater actor, Jason Alexander as an out-of-work, Pulitzer prize winning journalist/playwright, Wanda Sykes as Moms Mabley, a standup comic, Liza Weil as a crew member of Shy’s group. This also marks as one of the last appearances of Brian Tarantina in the show. He died in November in New York and played the MC at the Gaslight, Midge’s pet club and a roommate to Susie in Season 3.
In the first episode of Season 3, Midge is now at a show where she’s performing for the servicemen in US Army. She’s opening for Shy Baldwin (Leroy McClain) a popular singer who’s quite the rage. Midge and Joel have a bit of a tiff over the phone and the relationship is clearly strained.
Now that Abe is done with Columbia and Bell Labs (two very prestigious jobs that he lost in the last season), the Weissmans find out that most of their lifestyle is courtesy Rose’s trust fund.
There are a lot of existential woes in this episode that Abe grapples with and the question of ‘how did I become this man’ is both heart-rending and relatable to old fogeys such as myself. What I had wished for, perhaps, was a little bit more about Abe’s descent into the Upper West Side life (maybe flashbacks? I don’t know) so that his shock at looking at his own life made more sense to me as a viewer rather than as an audience member who just knows what that feels like.
Oh and Midge’s dresses? Gorgeous as always. How does she run in those heels? At that speed? We’ll be wondering all that in days to come.
The Sophie Lennox factor is what screws up much of the balance between Susie Myerson and Midge Maisel in Episode 02. Susie has taken on this job where she’s fielding for Sophie Lennox to land a play.
Abe’s apartment is swarming with champagne socialists whose motto in life is ‘It’s the Sixties, Man!’. Abe is romanticized with the idea of young men and women parroting philosophies and the only thing that would have made this entire sequence perfect was either Rose or Midge telling the hippies off.
But that didn’t happen.
Midge and Joel’s divorce is finally settled and you can see that Midge has been grappling with it. One of the episode’s top moments is the judge flabbergasted at why the couple wants to divorce when they ‘get along’ so well. They were different times, truly.
Susie's dilemmas continue with Sophie Lennox and trying to shuttle between Midge and Sophie. Midge and Sophie are now at Las Vegas where Midge bombs but eventually gets back up on her feet when she realizes she’s not in New York anymore. A beautiful ending of the episode occurs with Midge and Shy’s group in the kitchen which is very idyllic. In a near-perfect world, this could happen.
There’s still no real conversation about why Midge's parents don't have money.
Joel and Midge get married in Vegas. There’s a lot of tension between the two of them and it’s good to see Joel finally living his life separately as well. But something about their relationship keeps bringing them back together in the same loop. Joel even has a connection with a woman named Mei Lin who is a super impressive and super mysterious character who is introduced earlier in the season. Joel is currently trying to open a club in what was a Chinese club once (there’s a Chinese gambling parlor running under the club still) and Mei Lin is there to ‘help’ him.
Midge and Susie are in Florida and Zelda, the Weissman’s age-old helper, is no longer a maid. There is a lot of light thrown on the idea of champagne socialists and Abe finally loses some bit of composure at the entitled young lot he’s been gallivanting with (I sound like Moishe right now, don’t I?). Sophie Lennox wants Susie to travel to New York to hold her hand and Midge and Lenny Bruce have a moment. I don’t feel a lot of chemistry between them at the moment but there might be a chance of Midge stops having feelings for Joel.
Sophie's out of a theatre for her show. As it turns out, Sophie is actually good in theatre and Susie is really gunning for her now. Midge is now friends with Shy. She finds out a ‘secret’ about him. Jason Alexander as Asher, a has been Pulitzer prize winning journalist who was outed as a communist, makes an appearance. Him and Abe have a conversation about how young people are just … well, stupid.
Midge is on the radio as Shy is on a break. There’s a great conversation about using your voice for the good and that’s a lesson Abe imparts to Midge. What makes Abe’s lesson more impactful is that he has, indeed, given up a lot to stay true to his voice. Midge refuses to be a part of a right-wing politician’s campaign thereof.
Sophie’s play is a bust and Susie finally parts ways with her. A powerful monologue ensues which tells you the key difference between Sophie and Midge, a la Susie.
Dr. Benjamin makes a return as Rose goes to see him as she feels bad about him and Midge not ending up together.
Midge plays at the Apollo and is very nervous. Susie has lost all the money that Midge had kept for her to save. Susie manages to make that money by setting her own house on fire now that Susie’s mom is dead. Abe and Rose’s living situation is better now that they’re not living with Moishe and Shirley Maisel. Abe has found purpose as being the theatre critic though Rose is still out of an inheritance. Midge’s Apollo act goes great but she messes up in a way that no one can see – except Shy Baldwin. And he refuses to allow her to go on tour with her. Reggie breaks the news to her and Susie right when they’re about to board the plane and that’s where season 3 ends.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 4
The past three seasons of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel have been quite a binge-worthy watch and Amazon has not announced the return of the series for a season 4 yet but given the popularity, it just might. The season ended with quite a bit of a cliffhanger and we won’t be surprised if Amazon makes the announcement soon. We definitely need to see Midge making it despite all the hurdles and the pains that come in her way.