Dropping this day on Amazon Prime, Friday, are Season 4, episodes 5 and 6 of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Each of these is a huge improvement on episodes 3 & 4 which addressed a death and then introduced the burlesque club.
This new pair of chapters are each a bit of genius, although the second one is loaded with surprises. All I can tell you is my feeling that the Palladino’s have decided Joel and Midge will not be reuniting. I can’t tell you why. You’ll figure that out for yourselves.
Episode 5 — “How to Chew Quietly and Influence People” picks up with Midge wearing a sling, which is never explained. But we saw the odd way she fell of the stage at the end of number 4. Unless Rachel Brosnahan herself needed a sling, and thus this story, I still don’t get it. But the main story is Midge and Susie are invited to Shy Baldwin’s wedding in the Plaza Hotel ballroom. So we get to see Leroy McClain again, and he sings (thanks to Darius de Haas) and we get to see what may have been the last TV performance by the late, great Ned Eisenberg, who passed away this week in real life. He will be sorely missed.
The end of episode 5 is as odd as its predecessor. Midge spies someone out a cab window and runs after them. When the next episode begins, we learn that she has scraped Lenny Bruce (the great Luke Kirby) off the street and brought him back to the Upper West Side. Lenny Bruce in the Weissman home is jarring — to us, and certainly to him because Abe and Rose are really busy doing “You Can’t Take it With You” for breakfast. Kirby visits Midge’s world like some kind of apparition. Is he real? Or are all just imagining it?
There’s a big surprise in episode 6 plot-wise. Again, it’s a spoiler. The other big surprise is that the Palladino’s have fully brought back Jane Lynch’s Sophie Lennon because…because she’s too great to abandon. But Susie doesn’t want to work for her and Midge hates her, so you know this will end in tears.
It’s really not fair that there are only 8 episodes of this season, only two remain, and then one more season. With number 6 — called “Maisel vs. Lennon: The Cut Contest” — the real spirit of the series comes alive in so many ways. Rose goes to Brighton Beach, summoned by a crew of rival matchmakers who are like the leaders of the five families (look for guest stars Kelly Bishop and Jackie Hoffman) in hats and gloves. The scene is of the most glorious in the “Maisel” pantheon.
Shout outs to Tony Shalhoub, Marin Hinkle, to Santino Fontana, to Kevin Pollak and Caroline Aaron, to the adorable Stephanie Hsu, and Michael Zegen. But the show belongs to Midge and Susie, to Rachel Brosnahan and Alex Borstein, who could just keep going and remain watchable forever. I hope Season 5 has more than 8 episodes, that’s for sure.
PS Reid Scott finally does show up, as a talk show host, and it’s great to see him. Find an indie movie he made a few years ago called “Sister.” Wonderful. He’s more than just “Veep.”
Grade? Do I give grades? Grade: A.
PS The burlesque shows are outstanding. Better than anything I ever saw at “The Box.”