Music has always been an intrinsic part of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, with a perfectly curated soundtrack for both its in-era songs its often anachronistic end credits music.
However, on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 5 Episode 4, we get the closest we've ever gotten to a musical episode, even if all the numbers are diegetic.
"Take It Away!" is the perfect title for the opening number of a trash-related musical.
Composers Thomas Mizer and Curtis Moore have truly outdone themselves with the many songs for this show-within-a show as well as the opening number" Everything Goes" and the "Dream Kitchen," which feels both whimsical and authentic to the period.
Emily Bergl's Tessie shows up here and gets to sing, which we learned recently is a thing she likes to do. It may be on a big pile of trash, but at least she's center stage, much to Susie's surprise.
Every performer in the Private Demolition and Waste Disposal musical deserves a round of applause, especially those garbagemen dancing with the lids on their feet! They were sensational. Midge, usually the consummate performer, was the one who cramped their style.
Midge needs to grow up.
She was both immature and shortsighted here. The situation was less than ideal, certainly, but she had multiple reasons that necessitated sucking up her feelings (which were valid, given the disappointment, which we'll get to in a minute).
But it showed how selfish she was that she couldn't even do a half-decent performance (at least to the level she had for the first performance) for her kids, who were seeing her onstage for the first time.
Maybe I could have Joel bring the kids down to see it. It’s gonna be years before I’ll let them watch my real show -- longer if they’re screwed up, and I need them for material.Miriam "Midge" Maisel
We know she's not great with scripts, but she could have at least looked like she was trying, not to mention the fact that this huge cast had put so much work into giving it their all.
No one loves corporate gigs like this, but it's a paycheck, and she was ruining it for everyone, including the audience. I lost some respect for Midge here.
Not to mention that she knew it was a favor for Frank and Nicky, who she knows are mobsters, and both her and Susie's lives -- and her family's -- could be on the line if she fluffs this up.
Yes, it's on Susie for getting involved with the mob in the first place, but at the time, she was destitute and forced into a corner.
Fuck you! You’re not cute just ’cause you’re four feet tall, and you’re dressed like a Katzenjammer kid.Joel Maisel
Joel is right to be scared. He's had run-ins of his own, but he has connections that could potentially be utilized. Ultimately, he cares about the mother of his children and always will, and he knows when she's in a bad place.
Susie Myerson: Fuck!
Miriam "Midge" Maisel: Good "fuck" or a bad "fuck?"
Susie Myerson: It was a flat-out bad "fuck!"
Miriam "Midge" Maisel: I second that "fuck," and I’ll raise you two "shits" and a "cocksucker."
That being said, the disappointment felt by Midge didn't feel in proportion to her reaction. She's been with The Gordon Ford Show for a few months, tops. Not knowing his "rule" before getting hired as a writer is a shame, but she's been through worse.
It's no fun starting from scratch, but it feels like the solution is to quit and then try to get him to hire her as a performer.
I’m not pretending to give a shit about three animals. I don’t give a shit about two animals. One animal can go fuck itself.Gordon Ford
One thing we can be certain of is that Midge will be livid when she finds out Sophie Lennon took "her" spot on The Gordon Ford Show.
We need to talk about Susan.
I don’t know what grown women talk like. I deal with comics.Susie Myerson
The question is, will Susie reconnect with Hedy, and if so, what will that mean for Gordon and Midge?
Gordon and Hedy have an open marriage, so surely he wouldn't fault her for extra-marital dalliances.
But Susie seems like she was really hurt by Hedy's rejection all those years ago. Maybe that's why she keeps her private life so secret for so long.
How would it affect Midge's position with Gordon if Susie got with Hedy? Would Midge consider blackmailing Gordon to get on his show by using the information that Hedy is bisexual as a sword of Damocles over him?
Having an open marriage is one thing, but this is still the early 1960s. Something within this could be either Gordon's downfall or the thing that leads to Midge and Susie falling out.
It could also go the other way, and perhaps Hedy does Susie a solid and puts in a good word for Midge with Gordon.
This is a plotline rife with potential and possibilities.
It's thrilling that Zelda has found love, but I'm getting slightly suspicious of Janusz. He seems nice, but that rum babka was very suspect. The fact that Rose, Abe, Midge, Ethan, and Esther all passed out is slightly unsettling.
Something's up here. Midge and Rose were looking at heirloom jewelry over dinner. Zelda got a beautiful ring later that night. In the middle, almost everyone was unconscious. It doesn't look great for Janusz. Is Zelda in on it? Has this all been a very long con? We'll have to wait and see.
So, the infallible Abe Weissman got caught out and was completely, undeniably, spectacularly WRONG. Not only was he wrong about Carl's play, but Rose was right.
This was oddly satisfying. Abe's prostration to Rose, which was about as far as he could go in terms of an apology, shows that he understands that how he treated her was unacceptable.
What was beautiful, too, was what this whole sequence says about art and entertainment criticism. Often, we, as critics, see meaning where there is none. We like to mine what we watch and come up with our own interpretation -- we may be spot on, way off the mark, or somewhere in the middle.
Abe was humbled, but only because he failed to realize that art is subjective. His interpretation was valid, even though it wasn't the correct one because that is how he received the play he watched.
Art affects everyone differently because we all come at it from our own lived experience, which might be in sharp contrast to the creator's. How we interpret art can even be affected by our mood when we see it.
The artist's intention will always be where art begins, but then once it belongs to the world, we are free to make of it what we will.
Of course, that's just my interpretation of what the writers were going for here. Yours may be different. Maybe it was just a pompous man finally realizing that he was not cleverer than his wife.
Esther Maisel: Ah, too much talking!
Miriam "Midge" Maisel: Boy, are you in the wrong family, kid.
We didn't get a flash go-forward in this episode, but it wasn't particularly missed. We had enough to keep us entertained. This was a fantastic hour across the board, with plenty of vibrant musical numbers, interpersonal dynamics, and fleshing-out side characters with complicated twists.
It's hard to know for sure how this will all end, how the plots will find their conclusions, and how the characters will get their resolutions.
Five episodes remain, and we're poised to enjoy them all at this rate, even if we occasionally cringe or roll our eyes at this woman at the center of it all, who often seems unable to see past her own nose.
What did you think of this trash-filled musical episode? How do you interpret Abe's interpretation of Carl's play?
Share your opinions in the comments. All are valid because art is subjective!
Mary Littlejohn Mary Littlejohn is a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She loves television, cinema, and theatre (especially musicals!), particularly when it champions inclusivity, diversity, and social justice. Follow her on Twitter.