Review by Tatiana Miranda
In 2017, writer-producer duo and couple Daniel Palladino and Amy Sherman-Palladino released the first season of the Prime Video original series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Over the following five years, Mrs. Maisel went on to win 20 Emmys, including the first win from a streaming series for best comedy. Centered around a 1950s housewife who decides to become a stand-up comic after divorcing her husband, Mrs. Maisel is full of Sherman-Palladino’s signature quick dialogue and thought-out set design and costuming that is accurate to the time period.
The series quickly found its fanbase in both fans of period dramas and those familiar with the Palladinos’ previous comedy series, Gilmore Girls. Starring real-life historical figures, such as the infamous comic Lenny Bruce, and original characters full of personality and humor, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a show that only improves season after season, reaching its climax in the fifth and final season.
From the Gaslight Cafe in Greenwich Village to a resort in Miami, the titular Midge Maisel has traveled far and wide in search of her “big break” as a stand-up comic. After her husband, Joel, leaves her in season 1, she begins her new life as a comic with the help of her friend and manager, Susie Myerson. In the final season, Midge is more determined than ever to make it big as she reflects on a confrontation with her romantic interest and mentor, Lenny Bruce, that occurred at the end of season 4. While still continuing her gig as an emcee at a strip club from the previous season, Midge embarks on a new journey that might finally give her the extra push she’s been needing.
Like Mrs. Maisel’s previous seasons, season 5 has no shortage of hilarious exchanges of dialogue and stand-up routines. Many beloved characters also return in the final season and even more are introduced. Recurring characters from season 4 make more major appearances this season, including the television show host, Gordon Ford, and the show’s booker, Mike Carr.
Unlike its previous seasons, though, there is a sense of finality that goes beyond just the series nearing its end. As is revealed in the first episode of the new season, Midge has reached a mindset of “now or nothing.” Meaning that Susie must work harder than ever to get Midge’s big break before their time runs out.
Season 5 also takes a unique and new direction in terms of storytelling. Whether it be to fit in Midge’s entire story within the confines of the nine-episode season or to quell any fears about her future, this season of Mrs. Maisel regularly has opening scenes and, in one case, an entire episode that flashes forward in time. Although it’s disorienting at first to see these characters in a new time period, the change makes sense structurally and allows the audience to feel content as the series concludes.
Like Midge herself, season 5 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is visually stunning and full of laughs. This season takes its chances, and they pay off, making it probably the most conclusive and heartfelt final season of a show to come out in recent years.
The first three episodes of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 5 begin streaming on Amazon Prime Video on April 14. All nine episodes reviewed.