The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Series Finale Review – Four Minutes (509)

Reviews

Four minutes is all it took for Midge Maisel’s life to change forever—to go from a household name to the world’s biggest star.

I dread series finales… but not because the show is ending. Naturally, I’m sad that this will be the last episode of my favorite series ever—or until they decide to reboot the show years down the line—but I dread them most because series finales are damn near impossible to get right. There’s always something missing; and the could’ve, should’ve, would’ve, I wish they had’s, immediately start settling in the moment the episode concludes. 

And that curse lived on for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 5 series finale, with my biggest gripe being that there was so much left unsaid, unshown, and undone. 

The final season threw a lot at audiences with the various timelines, but there was a lot of promise that we’d get a fully fleshed conclusion to the series. Instead, it was kind of left up to your own interpretation, despite the writers and creators having so much to go off of and bring closure to. 

In general, I’m not a fan of “own interpretation” endings because I feel cheated, but with Maisel, it was especially jarring because I’ve gotten used to following her every move. Audiences have followed Midge’s career trajectory very closely over the years, with the finale even giving us a play-by-play of her big break on The Gordon Ford Show right down to the minute—and through every outfit change—so call me crazy for expecting just a bit more from those final future scenes. Jumping into 2005 for a brief final scene, even if it was poetic to see it end with Midge and Susie just shooting the shit, just didn’t feel like it was enough in the grand scheme of things. 

Did Midge and Joel ever re-marry? There’s a shot of their wedding photo on her desk (their first one), which leads me to believe that he was always her greatest love, but what happened after he got out of jail? Did he ever get out of jail? Did he die in jail? And did they reconnect as lovers or simply remain good friends? I’m also assuming he’s dead simply because Midge is all alone in that big house. Surely, if he was alive, he’d be around, but so much time has passed that it’s also possible that they just live separately. 

It’s also to be believed that both of Midge’s parents—along with Joel’s—died, but there’s no confirmation on the how’s and when’s. Did mama Rose succumb to her illness? Did Abe die of old age? Did he ever see Esther become a prodigy for the family?

And what happened to Lenny Bruce? Are we to believe that he went the path of the real Lenny Bruce and died of an overdose? It seems that his troubled past and addiction finally caught up with him, so I’m glad we didn’t get to see his tragic death, but it would’ve been nice to acknowledge it and to see Midge’s reaction. Though, I am thrilled we got one final look at Lenny Bruce—along with a sentimental and pivotal scene between them right before Midge’s big break—even if it was the demise of his career and painful to watch.

It was even promising that Midge didn’t tie herself down to a sinking ship, clearly acknowledging that you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped, but it pained her to turn her back on someone who did so much for her and her career. Lenny was the one who believed in her, coached her, inspired her, and helped her nurture her craft. He saw her potential, so he never gave up on her, so it was tough to see him give up on himself. 

There were a lot of great loves in Midge Maisel’s life, including three pivotal men who helped shape her larger-than-life career, and they all got their flowers in the finale. 

In addition to Lenny, there was Joel, who was the catalyst for Midge getting up on the Gaslight stage in the first place and unlocking a passion that she never knew she had. He fueled the fire, and championed her in the end, allowing her to roast him on live television. His support and love helped redefine Joel in the eyes of the audience, giving him a redemption arc of sorts. If it wasn’t for his cheating, Midge would’ve never gotten to this point in her life, so she couldn’t hold any resentment. 

The moments between him and Midge when she was gearing up to take The Gordon Ford stage—and then the moment immediately after when she blew him a kiss—were so genuine and proof that he was always the one. Not to mention she left him tickets under “the one that got away.” As I said, there simply needed to be more closure for this relationship. There was so much to wrap up, and most of it was glossed over. 

Another great love that helped Midge Maisel become marvelous? Gordon Ford himself. He played such an immense role this season, and though he wanted to be a love interest for her, he was so much more after essentially giving Midge the spotlight on national television to do her act. We’ve always just referred to her as the marvelous Mrs. Maisel, but we finally got insight into the origin of that name, with Ford being put under her spell on live TV. 

Some might not realize why convincing Gordon to give her a shot was such a big deal, but back then, there was no social media, meaning you couldn’t just show off your talent on TikTok to get noticed. The only way was to get through to the masses via the program that everyone tuned into every single night. There was so much focus on this because it was her one and only shot. 

Gordon never wanted to put Midge on the air—and there’s a lot to that because he didn’t want someone to outshine him—but he was also even more peeved Midge and Susie went around him and enlisted his wife Hedy to get it done. He tried to block Midge at every single turn, but there was no denying the immense talent sitting on that stool. And eventually, Midge took it into her own hands, essentially giving herself the big break. 

There wasn’t much to lose at this point. She didn’t care for the job as a writer, so she just went all in, hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. Next to hopping on the Gaslight stage, it was the best decision she’s ever made. In mere moments, she had everyone in tears of laughter, Gordon included. Everyone she loved was there, sitting in that room, supporting her unconditionally, for what may have been the first time ever. 

It was her moment, the moment she’s been preparing for her entire life, and she owned it. All of Susie’s sacrifices were worth it and finally paid off, including asking Hedy for a favor. It’s unclear if Hedy and Susie ever crossed paths again, but at least she was no longer a sour memory for her but a life-changing one. As Midge’s career propelled to new heights, so did Susie’s. Hopefully, Hedy is now a distant but fond-ish memory in the grand scheme of her life. 

Comedy has always been Midge’s greatest love, but her greatest relationship was the one built with Susie! They were—and continue to be—the dynamic duo. There is no Midge without Susie and vice-versa… they were always the love story.

In the flash-forward scene in 2005, it’s evident that they aren’t just business partners, they are lifelong friends. I’m genuinely happy that they found their way back to each other after their big fight (another scene I wish we would’ve gotten to see), and from the looks of it, all they now have is each other and a lifetime of memories and adventures to look back on.

Admittedly, Midge’s 2005 look was quite jolting, but Susie rocking those long gray locks and a boho outfit in her tropical oasis was a complete vibe. It just made sense. 

Seeing the two of them just watching Jeopardy! together and laughing up a storm into old age—despite being millions of miles apart—was poetic in a sense. When the lights go down and the crowds disappear, it really only matters who you have around you. Midge had a lot of people that cared for her in life, but she cultivated a unique relationship with Susie, one of the only people who ever really knew the real her, including the person she was before became famous. 

But despite all of the success, there was also something so lonely about this scene. They did it—there was so much to be proud of in terms of reflecting on how far they’ve come, how much they achieved, and how many obstacles they jumped over to get there—but it somehow felt empty; as if all of the good parts were over and coming to an end. It was symbolic of the end of the episode. 

Midge had big dreams for her life—dreams she achieved and then some—but this very scene of her walking around her ginormous house all by herself was a reminder to enjoy the journey rather than the destination… and that’s essentially what we all did while watching this story pan out for five seasons.

And while they were so focused on those goals, the best days were pre-fame when she and Susie were hustling and grinding together. 

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel series finale may have been disappointing in some ways as it wasn’t the cliché happy ending I hoped for, nor did it give us all the closure we were looking for, but in other ways—particularly in the scenes leading up to Midge’s big break—it was absolutely perfect and marvelous and exactly the show we fell in love with; from Midge’s monologue to her leaps of faith and everything in between. So, while I craved more and wasn’t a fan of the unknowns fluttering around, there was also a beauty to the simplicity, and I can appreciate it for what it was—incredible storytelling that brought us this visually compelling, hilarious, witty, and inspiring series in the first place. 

It’s sad to see it all come to an end, but the least we can do is make Midge and Susie proud by going through our lives with the “tits up” attitude, enjoying the journey just as much as the destination. 

Thank you (writers, creators, and everyone working in front of the cameras and behind the scenes) and goodnight. 

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