The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is back for its third season and dare I say, it’s my favorite season yet. When we last saw Midge Maisel, she was getting ready to embark on a journey with fictional singer Shy Baldwin. As we have seen before, comedy has given Midge a lot, but has taken a lot away. Benjamin (played by Zachary Levi) and Midge almost married in season two, but the prospect of going on tour ended their engagement. That, and a frustrating season two finale that had Midge seemingly getting back with her ex-husband Joel.
I am happy that that reunion between Joel and Midge is short-lived. In fact, Joel ends up with a new girlfriend in season three, who I actually quite like. Joel needs a woman who can call him out on his shit and that is exactly what Mei (played by Stephanie Hsu) does. While season three, of course; explores the fact that Joel and Midge are probably always going to have feelings for each other, season three doesn’t introduce a new romance character for Midge and honestly, good. We’ll get into Midge and Lenny Bruce later.
The majority of season three takes place on tour with Shy Baldwin. Season three starts out strong and keeps an energetic pace throughout the season. Rachel Brosnahan is simply electric as Midge and the comedy sets are some of the best of the series. Being on tour with Shy has been both a fantastic experience and a grating one. Not only must Midge and Susie must get used to life in one hotel after another, but Midge must deal with the fallout that her career path has had on her family. Abe and Rose are still not supportive and now they are dealing with Abe having been fired from his job.
Who Else Shined
While Brosnahan excels as Midge, I really enjoyed Alex Borstein as Susie Myerson. Susie is still the foul-mouthed firecracker we love, but now she’s in full manager-mode. Not only is she seeing Midge to the top, but she’s now managing Jane Lynch Sophie Lennon. Lynch is sensational and this new partnership looks to drive a wedge between Midge and Susie, though it is thankfully squashed very quickly. The show is at its best when Susie and Midge are on the same wave-length.
The show is called The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, but the series has so many other characters that you’re really invested in. Abe (Tony Shalhoub) and Rose (Marin Kinkle) are dealing with their own new normal; both are rediscovering their old selves before their marriage, as well as trying to figure out where they fit in the world. Abe was great, trying to reclaim his former Marxism practices, but Rose made some great steps in character development this season. Like Midge in season one, she is no longer the wallflower housewife who lets everyone else make her decisions for her. She’s becoming independent and seeing that there is a price to that newfound freedom.
Characters We Should Have Seen More Of
Leroy McClain was wonderful as Shy Baldwin and Sterling K. Brown played Shy’s manager Reggie. One of my favorite characters in the season, I wish there were more scenes with Reggie. While he was present in the first couple of episodes, he then only appears towards the end of the show. It would have been nice to spend more time with Reggie and see more character development than what we were given.
Brian Tarantina played Jackie, who we only saw a few times previously, but who had more screen time in season three. Tarantina, unfortunately, passed away at the age of 60 this past November, which made his great scenes in season three bittersweet.
I was not expecting Zachary Levi to return as Benjamin, as I thought that it would be one of those things where he was talked about, but that Levi would may be too busy to come back. But, Levi does return towards the end so that we, as the audience; can get finally get answers and closure. While the couple I’m about to talk about in the next section are my OTP of the show, I liked Benjamin. I felt he was tossed away too quickly for the purpose of potentially getting Midge and Joel back together. Benjamin was good to Midge and we even see that he would have been okay with her on tour, but she never bothered asking.
Lenny and Midge
Oh, Lenny and Midge. I have been wanting Luke Kirby’s adaptation of real-life comedian Lenny Bruce to be with Midge since season one. If you thought the two had chemistry before, it’s nothing compared to what we see in season three. I don’t think I have ever felt more palpable chemistry between two characters on screen since Jon Bernthal and Deborah Ann Woll in Daredevil/The Punisher. Seriously, can the writers just stop teasing us already? It’s bad enough that the show keeps flirting with the idea of Lenny’s death (who died in 1966 of a drug overdose), but how could they not get these two together? Kirby was sensational as Lenny, as he always is. Not only can he deliver the comedic lines perfectly, but he naturally eases into the character. We even get a moment where Lenny and Abe meet! I can only hope there is a season four and the writers finally get these two together.
What I Liked
If I haven’t made it clear, I loved season three. I loved each actor’s portrayal of their character and as much as I still don’t like Joel, Michael Zegen does a good job in even making his scenes interesting. The pace of season three is electric, but takes the time to breathe when it needs to. Each actor deserves recognition for this season, which can act, at times; as a social commentary of the era. Season three makes it very clear, we’re not in the 50s anymore. “It’s the 60s” is a mantra spoken many times throughout season and the time for women to sit in their dresses at home, waiting for a man; is over. Seeing Abe returning to his old self, before he fell into the stereotypical 1950s; was really great.
What I Didn’t Like
It still bothers me that Midge’s parents are so unsupportive of her career choice. Ultimately, everything stems from Joel leaving Midge in season one. Something that Midge, though not as outwardly as previous seasons; still gets blamed for. The fact that Rose and Abe have still not acknowledged that their daughter was cheated on and abandoned by her husband drives me crazy. Then, the utter lack of interest in her career bothers me. The problems the parents had were always there, all Midge’s divorce did was draw the curtains away from the hole the parents had hidden in. Also, the ending felt rushed. There’s an incident that happened that clearly will change Midge’s course in season four, but it felt thrown in. Like an excuse to have Midge not tour with Shy anymore. Midge loved Shy and it seemed like Shy cared for Midge, so for Shy to drop her so quickly over something you discover later in the show, just felt out of place. Though, with the time; I suppose the series was trying for a realistic view of what people went through in less openminded times.
Long story short, I loved this season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. I believe that season three is probably one of the stronger seasons out of the series. Each episode made me grin from ear to ear and cry when the moment was appropriate. As always, Brosnahan and Borstein are standouts in this season. Brown was a great new addition. For the love of God, writers, get Lenny and Midge together!
A girl with too many fandoms to count.