The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season Finale Review: The Powers That Be

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This review contains spoilers for Episodes 7 & 8.

And that’s a wrap!

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 4 Episode 7 veered into the fantastical, while The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 4 Episode 8 concluded the season with a sober, realistic meditation on relationships between men and women.

It was an uneven conclusion to a generally stellar season, leaving plot threads dangling left and right like pasties.

Sorry, Milo Ventimiglia fans, but his appearance was a hyped-up cameo, at best. His character is credited as “Handsome Man.”

His purpose was to give Midge a good time and make her realize the joy of spontaneity, and give her a good story to tell later — which she did, at the worst possible time.

It seems highly unlikely that a gig for Jackie Kennedy would just fall into Midge’s lap. (Seriously, people think of Lenny as Midge’s fairy godmother, but everything Midge has in Season 4 is thanks to Gloria).

The scene at the Kennedy lunch was almost unendurable. As she kept going with the story about her earlier dalliance with the married man, I had to pause for a moment. It was too much to take. You don’t tell stories about infidelity to Jackie Kennedy — especially from the other woman’s point of view!

Also, what was the point of this scene? It didn’t lead anywhere, and it didn’t fit Midge’s manifesto, either. It wasn’t an opening gig, but she had to censor what she would say, which seems inconsistent with her earlier declaration.

The Jackie Kennedy scene wasn’t the only uncomfortable scene in this episode.

Alfie performed his magic show and hypnotized Rose. This scene pushed the bounds of realism, and your enjoyment of it may vary depending how cynicla you are regarding hypnotism.

The suspension of disbelief here is that the world of Mrs. Maisel is slightly more magical, and that’s fine. It just seemed more or less grounded in reality until the appearance of Alfie. He literally has superpowers.

Alfie is not to everyone’s tastes, but I’m a fan of Gideon Glick’s weird charm and lilted, airy way of speaking.

Marin Hinkle deserves an Emmy for this scene alone. We got to see the rest of Midge’s set from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 4 Episode 5 but done by Rose. Full tilt, Hinkle embodied Brosnahan’s Midge.

It was mesmerizing (pun intended) to watch and funny because the stakes were low. We’ve seen Midge’s schtick embarrassing family members before; this time, it was just by proxy. It was a contrived situation, to be sure, but Hinkle’s performance, coupled with the reactions of Midge, Abe, Noah, and Astrid made it fun.

It was also fun to have Will Brill and Justine Lupe back as Noah and Astrid in their only Season 4 appearance, even if it was just for one scene.

Midge’s talk with Rose after the “set” was wonderful and helped them see eye-to-eye at last. Finally, they saw themselves reflected in each other instead of at odds.

Why should Rose stop doing something she loves? Now, with her daughter and husband supporting her (that stationery set!), Rose can, at last, pursue something meaningful that makes her happy, Matchmaker Mafia be damned!

There’s a line in the Torah — “Fuck with me and you die.”

Gitta

The whole Susie plotline was a nice comedic break from the heavier fare.

What on earth made Susie think she could get along without Dinah? Dinah is the best thing that ever happened to Susie, next to Midge. Getting Maggie on the “second line” was genius!

The whole Susie, Frank, Nicky, Dinah, Maggie, niece, and nephew dynamic was chaotic but fun. Add in Alfie and James, and it felt like a big dysfunctional family.

There was no Sophie Lennon these last two episodes, barely any mention of her, but there was so much going it’s hard to say she was missed.

James is another big question mark. He’s funny, but he’s been added so late in the game and barely got any screen time. He was a good tool to redeem Dinah for Susie and his interplay with Alfie at the top of Episode 8 was entertaining.

James appears to be the setup for a joke that will be told in season 5.

Susie expressed her dissatisfaction with Midge, and it’s been a long time coming. Midge keeps turning down work, like opening for Tony Bennett, even when everyone tells her it’s silly to do so.

Tony Bennett is the big-time, and if Lenny Bruce was initially going to open for him, who’s to say Midge wouldn’t have free reign to be her foul-mouthed, envelope-pushing self?

If she was willing to clean up her act for Jackie Kennedy, why couldn’t she open for Tony Bennett? It’s inconsistent, and it’s easy to see why Susie is frustrated.

I actually think God is more of a brilliant marketing ploy.

Abe Weissman

The scene with Abe and Shirley did seem to run on a bit too long, but it set the tone for Episode 8 as Moishe’s life hung in the balance. Even as her husband was possibly dying, Shirley still offered to care for Abe if Rose went first because that’s what women do.

This manifested in Midge’s set at the Wolford (which we’ll get to), but it also gave us an unexpectedly tender interaction between too often abrasive characters, Abe and Shirley.

It was profoundly moving when Abe read the obituary he wrote for Moishe. Too often, we don’t think to tell people what they mean to us until it’s too late.

Does it mean Moishe and Abe won’t ever squabble or annoy each other again? Almost certainly not, but it was a beautiful expression of platonic love between two older men that could have easily been played solely for laughs.

Even though there were some funny parts in there, it was easily one of the most heartfelt scenes of the season.

I had nothing to do with this, so I’ll just be the person who pats people’s arms.

Imogene Cleary

Mei and Joel didn’t get much of a resolution, nor did we find out what Mei plans to do about the baby or if she intends to marry Joel or not. The idea of Midge, Ethan, and Esther being part of her life seems unsettling to her.

Joel Maisel: Would it kill you to be happy for me?
Miriam “Midge” Maisel: You need to be happy first.

Though it’s clear she deeply loves Joel and has made an effort with Moishe and Shirley, her path forward is still unclear.

Moishe’s talk with Joel at the end of Episode 8 was lovely — but how in the name of Abraham and Ruth is Joel going to get Mei to convert to Judaism?

Also, how shady is Mei’s family that Frank and Nicky don’t even want them to know they were looking into them? That certainly doesn’t bode well, especially given how cagey Mei has been about the people who may or may not be her parents.

Midge’s final set at the Wolford was introspective and philosophical, touching on themes building throughout the entire series.

What if we discover one day that we were always the ones in charge? Just… no one told us.

Miriam “Midge” Maisel

Women are constantly relegated to supporting roles, but when the men falter, who rises up to take on the emotional labor? It’s the women. The ode to nurses, the caregivers, struck a deep chord. There’s no way men could “run the world” without the support of women.

The women in the audience felt acknowledged, and the men even empathized (as was clear by Lenny’s friend later at the Carnegie Hall afterparty).

How poetic that Midge could present these thoughts in a strip club, of all places, that grew from a place of degradation and misogyny to a haven for female empowerment.

God, honey, you are so sweet and innocent. Like an elf riding a bunny rabbit.

Mitzi

Midge can’t go back, so she has to move forward. She made progress, planted seeds, and hopefully, they will sprout elsewhere, despite the apparent dissolution of the Wolford.

The evolution of Boise was a delight — thank you, Santino Fontana, for bringing to life what could have been a forgettable character.

The humanization of the burlesque dancers made for some hilarious moments — like the trio of them delivering jokes poorly, and Gloria being intelligent and well-versed in the electoral system thanks to her father being a senator.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Midge and Lenny finally succumbed to their off-the-charts chemistry and had sex in Lenny’s fancy blue hotel room.

Believe me, honey, if there’s a hell, I’m the headliner.

Lenny Bruce

During the scene leading up to it, you could cut the sexual tension with a knife! It’s been a long time coming.

I love how Midge remained practical as the inevitable presented itself and made it clear that he must never forget that she is funny.

This can’t — nay, won’t — end well. After all, he is an addict on a self-destructive path. After their intense final scene at Carnegie Hall, she will have to make some hard choices about her life and where she wants to be.

Let’s hope they always remain friends, maybe sometimes on-again, off-again lovers, but it can’t be anything more than that. I’m glad they got it out of their system, though. It was good for me, was it good for you?

(Whether it was oversight or dramatic license, it’s worth mentioning that Lenny Bruce famously played Carnegie Hall on February 4, 1961, but Kennedy won the Presidency in November 1960).

Overall, this was a bittersweet finale to a great, if uneventful, season. 

Unfortunately, it felt too open-ended to be satisfying. One or two episodes more might have given these characters a bit more breathing room and development. It feels like COVID is to blame here, but Season 3 also only had eight episodes.

Though it may be a wait for Season 5 (the final season!), it will undoubtedly be worth it. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, even when it’s imperfect, is still one of the best shows on television.

How did you feel about the finale, Fanatics? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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

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