The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Review: Revenge Served Room Temperature

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Warning: contains spoilers for episodes 5 and 6 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

It all comes down to tenacity. Who wants it more?

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 4 Episode 5 saw many conflicts and betrayals arise, some with solutions and some continually annoying.

Many characters got pushed out of their comfort zones in these two episodes. How they reacted and responded dictated their success.

Midge’s loyalty to Shy was tested when she received a wedding invitation. Despite her need for revenge, it hit her during the fancy wedding reception that she had done Shy wrong.

It was satisfying to see Midge take ownership of what she did to Shy and how it hurt him. She recognized her shortcomings in that she deeply hurt someone she cared about just to get some laughs — and she told him so. Shy finally seemed to accept her apology, even hoping to be friends again.

Midge wouldn’t have it, though. It was big of Shy to offer that, but maybe Jack Ballard is just that awful. It also spoke to Midge’s character (which was honestly a bit surprising) that she didn’t take the hush money, even though she had every intention of staying hushed.

The fact that the whole PR team was set on keeping Shy’s identity under wraps was upsetting but not surprising. Maybe Midge realized the scope of it all, in that what she said at the Apollo gave them an opening to oust Reggie and revamp Shy’s image with a sham marriage.

(Side note: how AMAZING was the man who played Harry Belafonte? Looks, mannerisms — uncanny!)

Episode 5 teased Mei meeting the Maisels, but it didn’t pan out. Either Mei genuinely got sick or got cold feet. Given what was revealed in the subsequent episode, it was likely both.

I may be late to the party on this one, but if Joel and Mei got married, she would be Mei Maisel. Cute!

Moishe’s visit to the club was sweet, reassuring Joel that he was fine as long as his son was happy. But with his mom, Joel only bought himself a little bit of time, and it’s worth considering his father’s quality of life in this instance, too.

When she gets excited about something and that something disappoints her our house gets very small and very loud.

Moishe Maisel

The Rose/Midge confrontation was intense — mother and daughter head to head!

Would you go to a dentist whose office was in a whorehouse?

Rose Weissman

Both are pursuing careers with passion, but it seems they cannot co-exist. Rose could have had the upper hand, but she lost it by snooping around in Midge’s private things.

It was a terribly invasive thing to do, especially given that Midge had welcomed her parents to live in her home. Rose even dared to try and twist that around as well!

She could have made a case for how much money she would be bringing in, but the tables will have turned by the end of the next episode.

Here, it was a tricky standoff. Both women want the same thing — successful, fulfilling careers — and because those careers are incompatible, someone will be left broken-hearted.

So, we have more Sophie Lennon. Fine. Her interview with Gordon Ford (Reid Scott, who’s in everything these days) was well-done — funny and tasteful, not two words we often associate with Sophie Lennon.

She is gonna open up her walk-in closet of skeletons and introduce them all to the world in living color.

Susie Myerson

This was the best version of Sophie we’ve seen (or are liable to see) — vulnerable, collected, pleasant, and sharp-witted. It wasn’t just a victory for Sophie — it was a victory for Susie.

Lenny Bruce returned again in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 4 Episode 6, just long enough to remind us how he’s a terrible influence in Midge’s life.

Seriously, she peels him off the pavement, and all he can say is never do that again? Absurd. Anyone who knows comedy history knows Lenny Bruce was having a pretty hard time of it by this point in his life, and it never really improved.

Of course, I’m acting like a child. I’m a comedian.

Lenny Bruce

If Midge wants to help him, it makes sense that he pushes her away.

Alfie Fuller as Dinah is an excellent addition to the show!

She’s got the perfect amount of energy and attitude, allowing her to slot right into the cast like she was always there. Susie needs someone competent on her side, and Dinah’s presence will ensure the work gets done so Susie can focus on the job.

Though we didn’t get much of them in either episode, the Imogene/Abe transcription scene was terrific fun. More of them together, please!

I was transcribing Finnegan’s Wake. It feels like you’re writing gibberish but apparently, he’s a genius.

Imogene

Zelda (Matilda Sydagis) continues to be hilarious in all she does. Was she always this funny, or did the Palladinos suddenly realize what a treasure they were underusing and decide to give her more one-liners to knock out of the park?

Zelda: I need your pants.
Lenny Bruce: I need them more.
Zelda: They’re wrinkled. They are bad pants.
Lenny Bruce: You just have to get to know them better.

Alfie the magician gives off serious beatnik vibes (and with the specifics of his birth noted, he would have been born in 1930, just at the beginning of the Beat Generation).

He’s an odd duck, but Susie is right — he’s good what he does. Despite her gruff demeanor, Susie is great at showing you how good you are and being your biggest cheerleader.

Hopefully, Alfie gets the chance to show off these skills — maybe even on national TV. That is if he doesn’t lose his nerve.

Is this a pep talk? It’s using the word ‘fail’ a lot.

Alfie

In a shocking twist, L. Roy Dunham is actually a woman, played by Hari Nef!

This was truly unexpected, but it makes some a vital point. In this era (let’s face it, in every era), some women will do whatever it takes to get ahead. Most of them do this show — Midge, Rose, Susie, Dinah, Sophie, and now, L. Roy Dunham.

Midge’s most significant shock was that a fellow woman would do something to her — funny since she absolutely hates Sophie Lennon and would verbally eviscerate her given the chance (which she gets later in the episode).

Maybe Midge is jealous of Dunham’s success in a mail-dominated industry, something Midge hasn’t quite achieved yet?

This rivalry’s not over n the least, mark my words.

So now Mei’s pregnant. Her scene with Joel in Episode 6 was poignant and played with such urgency by Stephanie Hsu.

Joel has come a long way. I suspect that she will get an abortion while she is away. He will end up disappointed that they didn’t talk about it more, but she will have assumed that he was on board given this conversation.

She doesn’t believe she can be a mother while becoming a doctor. It was great to see Joel’s compassion here, his understanding, and his acceptance of his part in it.

I don’t foresee this being an easy road ahead for them, and maybe something he can’t forgive. It would be outstanding if this show could portray a man understanding his girlfriend’s need to get an abortion and leave his ego out of it. Joel has already grown so much as a character.

The whole “matchmaker mafia” was a fantastic scene.

It looks like Rose’s business is, unfortunately, unsustainable. She does have a point, though — it seems like they are very few matchmakers for the entirety of Manhattan. Manhattan was so densely populated, even then.

The whole concept of these tough little older women as legitimate businesswomen making threats like the mafia over matchmaking businesses is a solid one.

It’s disappointing for Rose to go out this way. Perhaps she will continue but be sneakier about it, not realizing that they actually mean business and might threaten her and her family with more than just public shame.

The burlesque numbers were inspired and creative — the bubble bath and the window washer were so much fun!

The dancers themselves are a wonderful addition, especially the sassy Bunny (Allison Guinn).

Women are more generous and giving. That’s a fact of the species. We give life to fuckin’ babies.

Bunny

It’s terrific how the club has been attracting more clientele, and even better, the female staff and dancers feel confident enough to speak up and say how happy they are with how things are going.

Boise wants to keep it a gentlemen’s club, but all Terrence cares about is the money, and it’s increasing, so Boise’s just going to have to live with it. Hopefully, Boise doesn’t feel like he has to sabotage Midge in some way to get back the club he wants.

But he should recognize when one of them succeeds, they all win. Everyone stands to make more money how things are going, all thanks to Midge. When she leaves (when, not if), hopefully, she will have left enough of her mark on the Wolford that they can continue in a slightly more progressive fashion than before.

You knew it was coming. It’s in the title — Maisel vs. Lennon.

Nothing good could come of Sophie’s offer. Yes, there was enough money to solve all her problems, and Midge did, to her credit, try, but Sophie broke the promise of saying they’d never have to interact.

They are bitter rivals and will always have to one-up each other to prove who is funnier, the superior comic. It was hilarious and uncomfortable to watch, knowing Midge let her ego get in the way of solving her financial crises.

It’s not as if it hasn’t happened before.

Overall, it was another solid two episodes of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The ensemble got more room to play, but there was still a bit too much Sophie Lennon for my liking.

It’s hard to believe there will only be two more episodes to the season! How do you think it will all play out?

Will Lenny return? Will Midge finally make it big on network TV, proving to everyone that’s she’s a legitimate comic? What’s in store for Mei and Joel?

Share your thoughts in the comments!

Mary Littlejohn is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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