Warning: This contains spoilers for the final episodes of The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel. Not caught up? See our spoiler-free review of the opening episodes here.
Having already established – in four episodes, no less – an incredible world of complicated family banter, and a subtly written female struggle in the well-honoured world of 1950s stand-up, Mrs Maisel uses the final four episodes of its first season to target hearts as much as funny bones.
Rachel Brosnahan’s persistent, ever-smirking heroine and Alex Borstein’s sarcastic, ever-smoking companion, continue on their quest to bring Miriam’s unapologetic humour to stardom. Episodes 5 and 6 show Miriam’s draw to making people laugh after a public setback with some new material, exploring her professional relationship with Susie. Episode 7 follows this with a fabulous cameo by Jane Lynch as a local comedic hero with whom Mrs Maisel cannot quite see eye-to-eye, and the whole run concludes with a heartbreaking finale, in which Mr Maisel (a perfectly imperfect Michael Zegen) is confronted with his wife’s well-crafted honesty.
Amy Sherman-Palladino’s razor-witted show manages to laugh through the pain at every turn, creating a real idol in its ever-optimistic titular star, and ensuring that everyone she interacts with on her unusual journey is inexorably adored. Palladino’s talent for three-dimensional characters and situations not only makes the now-romanticised world of 1950s New York realistic, but ensures that every character demands an emotional investment from us and rewards us with more than comic relief.
Delving into the world of public entertainment, the show pulls no punches in displaying the struggles that performers must endure – especially women. It matches this with the labour that 1950s housewives undergo simply to begin their day, and paints a humble ode to feminine work-ethic. Palladino’s creation is decidedly unashamed and unapologetic about the facts, exactly as Maisel is anytime a microphone is in her hand. The marvelousness of Mrs. Maisel is that every battle fought in the show (whether it be an on-stage disaster, an uninspiring business meeting, a rebellious daughter, or plain bad luck) is dealt with subtly and with empathy. The show never seeks to capitalise on the ups and downs of these characters by using these moments as focal points, but merely tells their stories in the most human way it can.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel takes Palladino’s famed repertoire of rapid, oft-flippant dialogue and colourful-yet-organic family drama and blends it with a tapestry of chaotic, cursing, flawed characters to whom you cannot help but be drawn to and elated by – it’s utterly magnetic.
The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel is available exclusively on Amazon Prime Video as part of a £5.99 monthly subscription.