TV-series review: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – season 3 (Amazon Prime, 2019)
After her stand-out stand-up performance at the end of a telethon, Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) is feeling fantastic. Superstar singer Shy Baldwin (Leroy McClain) has offered her to be the opening act on his upcoming tour, and things couldn’t possibly be better!
Her manager, Susie Myerson (Alex Borstein), is less thrilled about going on an airplane for the first time in her life, but needs must. Her plan on adding “and Associates” after her name is certainly progressing, what with Midge going all over the place recording radio ads, and stage primadonna Sophie Lennon (Jane Lynch) now wanting to be represented by her as well.
The comedic actor wants to become a Serious Actor, and she has always wanted to star in August Strindberg’s Miss Julie (!). Her previous manager didn’t think this was a good idea, but her new one, who is still trying to figure out how to be a manager, is more easily swayed … Pair Sophie Lennon with esteemed Broadway actor Gavin Hawk (Cary Elwes) and sparks are sure to fly.
Joel (Michael Zegen) is still doing Joel things, I guess, but he’s now decided he wants to open his own club, and finds one in Chinatown. On the plus side, this introduces Mei (Stephanie Hsu), who represents the building’s owners, and perhaps shows Joel that Midge isn’t the only person in the world one might consider having a romantic relationship with.
Rose (Marin Hinkle) and Abe (Tony Shalhoub) have their own problems. Abe decides to quit being a university lecturer, and because their apartment actually belonged to the university, they’re forced to move … in with Shirley (Caroline Aaron) and Moishe (Kevin Pollak) Maisel, who have moved to a big house in the suburbs. Naturally, they drive each other up the wall.
Meanwhile on tour things are going fairly well for “Mrs Maisel”. There are some complications along the way. Shy Baldwin’s manager and childhood friend Reggie (Sterling K Brown) is keen for upcoming manager Susie to know her place, and for Midge not to mess up, as she’s of course in a way representing Shy Baldwin on the tour. And that … goes as expected, in an extremely cringeworthy performance on Shy’s home turf. Seriously, it’s why Swedes decided the world needed the word “skämskudde” (embarrassment pillow), because you really want to hide behind one for that. Those were the early 1960s, and … it was a different time back then.
Rose gets the idea that she’s a marvellous matchmaker, and she’s not entirely wrong, but showing up at the hospital – paging Dr Ettenberg! – is perhaps not the best of ideas. Although, in fairness, it brings us to the confrontation between Benjamin (Zachary Levi) and Midge that we’ve longed all season for, and HOLY MOLY it’s spectacular! And it proves to everyone on #TeamBenjamin that he really was (is? Hope springs eternal!) the perfect match for Midge, and she blew him off without even giving him a chance. I’m incensed on his behalf!
But nooo, instead Midge goes back to the old will-they-won’t-they carousel with Joel and it’s so frustrating. They weren’t very good together, but apparently they beg to differ, even though they’ve both found people who are way more on their respective wavelengths. And because of that, I didn’t enjoy season three quite as much as the previous one. But there you go. At least Susie is still being Susie, and I’m looking forward to seeing how she’ll get Midge out of the latest mess she’s got herself into. Whether or not we’ll ever see Benjamin again remains to be seen, but I guess we shouldn’t get our hopes up. At this point I’d rather she’d end up with Lenny Bruce (Luke Kirby) than Joel, to be perfectly honest.
4.5 out of 5 acts of sabotaging ones own career.