The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season Premiere Review: The Best Or Nothing At All

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Midge Maisel is back, and she's better than ever.

On The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 4 Episode 1, things are looking pretty dire for Midge, out for revenge after Shy abandoned her on the tarmac. 

Midge is nothing if not tenacious, though, and with Susie at her side, she's ready to change the way people view women in comedy. 

Midge & Susie at the Stage Deli - Tall - The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 4 Episode 1

It's such a pleasure when a high-quality show returns with the panache and pizzazz of its  previous seasons.

The return of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has been highly anticipated (and delayed due to COVID) ever since the gut-punch of Season 3's finale.

The show is already off to a roaring start, giving Midge an epic, expletive-laden set at the Gaslight detailing her thirst for revenge. Midge is at her best when she's in the zone.

Two antisemitic Nazis walk into a bar, and one says to the other, "Who does your taxes?"

Miriam "Midge" Maisel

We didn't get as much of her on stage in these first two episodes as I would have liked, but something tells me there will be more of that in the episodes to come.

Midge is an unstoppable force; she just has a few hoops to jump through before she can get back to her happy place. If that means having a meltdown, stripping off her fabulous outfit, and beating a cab with a large branch, then that's just what she'll do.

Miriam "Midge" Maisel: I could have made Prague people laugh.
Susie: You’ve never been to Prague, what the fuck would you talk about?
Miriam "Midge" Maisel: I’d find something. “Hello, Prague! Remember Jews?”

Revenge - The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 4 Episode 1

The titular "Rumble On The Wonder Wheel" will go down as one of the most iconic scenes of the season, possibly the series.

Midge never does things the easy way -- it seems the perfect place to make a dramatic announcement. Having all these characters together but separate, immobilized as they drifted through the sky, was pure Palladino whimsy.

It still maintained the fast-paced energy of any other ensemble scene, but the setting kept it from turning into a run-of-the-mill kvetching session. 

You think I’d lie to you on my son’s fake birthday?

Miriam "Midge" Maisel

Rachel Brosnahan and Alex Borstein, as Midge and Susie respectively, have a fiery chemistry that has burned throughout three seasons and is still bright and hot.

Coney Island - The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 4 Episode 1

It has to be said that every actor in the show pulls their weight. This has to be one of the most cohesive comedic casts on television. No one steals focus, but everyone gets their moments to shine.

The writing is, as always, top-notch -- it's as witty and clever as anything on television. Jokes whizz by at such a frantic pace that they're easy to miss if you're not paying attention, but it gives the show tremendous rewatch potential.

The direction is tight as ever, with an ebb and flow to the pace that gives us constant laughs and space to pause and reflect as needed. Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino have such a clear focus on the story they want to tell and how they want to tell it.

Donna Zakowska's costumes are as still stunningly gorgeous. Midge Maisel is and always has been a fashion icon -- even her pyjamas are a dream! It's such a vibrant palette of outfits that leaps off the screen (and sometimes out of a moving cab)!

Midge In The Taxi - The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 4 Episode 1

No scene is boring, and no opportunity for comedy is left overlooked.

It doesn't matter who it is or what is going on. An interview about an insurance check is hilarious thanks to the nervous energy of Bornstein's Susie and her sister Tess (play with ditzy finesse by Emily Bergl).

Who knew Joel and Susie could have so much fun together? (Well, they certainly weren't having fun, but it sure was entertaining to watch them bicker).

Joel Maisel: That’s some top-notch managing.
Susie: You are kicking a one-legged dog, man.

Marin Hinkle and Caroline Aaron still perfectly epitomize two very different ends of the spectrum of Jewish mothers. Matilda Szydagis seems to be having the time of her life as the camera-happy Zelda. 

The confrontation - The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 4 Episode 1

Stephanie Hsu as Mei holds her own in Mandarin with not-necessarily-her-parents and the ridiculous situation with Joel's club being too successful. 

I love Joel and Mei together, and I cannot wait for the inevitable introduction of Mei to Moishe and Shirley -- you just know there will be fireworks!

By the end of Episode 1, Midge is determined to be what she wants to be, not anyone else's idea of her.

Miriam "Midge" Maisel: You know what’s great about me?
Susie: Your humility?

She's not just a comedian -- she's revolutionizing comedy. She's unafraid of failure because she's experienced it already and always bounced back. Now that she's crashed from the greatest height, she has nothing to lose. 

Midge at the Gaslight - The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

On The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 4 Episode 2, Midge has to buckle down and use her charm to forge ahead if she wants to maintain the lifestyle to which she's become accustomed.

Midge has a plan, but it's tenuous, and the balance is delicate.

After a spat with the unyielding milkman, Midge catches news of Shy's engagement on screen. This is not just a reminder of what she has lost but of her part in it.

Midge had a friendship with one of the most famous men in the world, and she blew it because, in the moment, all that mattered to her were the laughs.

Negotiation - The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 4 Episode 2

My mother is turning my kitchen upside down and my father is in the bathroom topless using my lipstick!

Miriam "Midge" Maisel

It's not surprising that she breaks down here, and realizes she needs to get a handle on things (and rearranging her bedroom back to the way it should be) if she hopes to stay on track.

Living with her parents (and Zelda) gives the show plenty of fodder for more humorous banter between Midge and her parents. They love each other, and though they harp on her, the love underneath supports them through the hard times. 

Abe Weissman: What man is going to want a woman who owns her own apartment?
Rose Weissman: He does have a point there. It does make you less feminine.

The final scene of Episode 2 is beautiful. The bond between Abe and Midge, the respect for each other they have achieved, is touching. Tony Shalhoub and Rachel Brosnahan navigate this relationship perfectly. 

With his new job, Abe now understands that even though art may not always offer material success, it is good for the soul, and it’s important to do what lights you up.

To Art - The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 4 Episode 2

Susie had a few great scenes in this episode as well. The scene at the luxury asylum was bizarre, but it gave us a glimpse of a more subdued Sophie Lennon, who may or may not have had a nervous breakdown. 

Susie's conversation with Harry Drake gave her the oomph she needed to kick back into gear. Harry has never been nice at the best of times, but he was uncharacteristically kind to Susie here.

I can see two of the three penthouses I lost to wives from here.

Harry Drake

Life has never been easy for Susie, and she's still at a low point, unsure of her next move -- it was a relief to see one of her peers offer her genuine support, advice, and encouragement. 

Susie may very well take Harry's suggestion and bring on some new clients -- maybe that strange, oddly powerful magician (Gideon Glick) from the bar in Episode 1?

Magic - The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 4 Episode 1

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is about breaking free of society's expectations and using your voice to point out the injustices in the world.

The scene at the comedy club where Midge heckled Birnbaum and mocked Billy Jones was hilarious and telling.

Midge didn't waste any time, getting up and doing Billy's act verbatim, and getting booed in the process. The laughter from the lone woman in the balcony was all of us at home. She got it -- and that's who Midge was doing it for. 

Midge has always had to work twice at hard and be better than any of them, and she still doesn't get a shot. 

Bobby: Get up and do your act, Billy.
Billy Jones: She just did it.
Miriam "Midge" Maisel: But better -- and in heels!

Heckling - The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Of course, Midge doesn't want to leave her prison cell -- she has a captive audience, made up of women, who understand where she's coming from and what she's trying to say.

The gleam in Midge's eyes as she watched the MC at the strip club could not be denied. This is a place where vulgarity is applauded, even celebrated.

It may not be luxurious like the clubs of Europe, but it would be a chance to say what she wants to say with no punishment.

A strip club is an unlikely locale that she might never have ventured into had it not been for happenstance. In terms of the lack of censorship, it has so much potential for comedy. It's honestly a perfect path for this show to take Midge and Susie down.

Abe Weissman: How was your night?
Miriam "Midge" Maisel: Fine. I got arrested for prostitution.

It seems inevitable that her family will find out, which will undoubtedly lead to hilarious and intense confrontations.

Solicitation - The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 4 Episode 2

The stage is set for another (unfortunately shorter) season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. After Season 4, Season 5 will be the last.

If this sensational season premiere is any indication, we should savor everything Maisel that comes our way.

What did you think of the first two episodes? Did it satisy your comedy craving?

Share your thoughts in the comments!

Rumble On The Wonder Wheel Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (7 Votes)

Mary Littlejohn Mary Littlejohn was a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic.

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The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 4 Episode 1 Quotes

Susie: Tess, I have seen you let your tit fall out of your shirt for a free beer.
Tess: Imported beer.

That’s life. Shit happens. You should be a bigger man and just let it go. Well, I’m a woman so, fuck that.

Miriam "Midge" Maisel