TV Reviews

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel 2×08 – ‘Someday…’ – TV Review

When it comes down to it, “Someday…” will probably be remembered, or referred to, as the ‘road trip’ episode from the second season of Amazon’s hit comedy-drama series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

The first script of the series by Kate Fodor – and the first script of this season not to be written by either of the Palladinos – makes for interesting viewing. One cannot help but feel that the episode’s view of both Susie and Midge and their differences could only have come from a writer who hasn’t actually been involved in creating or crafting the series from the ground up.

Just to clarify: that’s not a bad thing at all. In fact, it’s that differing view and interpretation and portrayal of the two lead characters at the heart of the series that’ll probably end up making it one of the best and most insightful episodes of the entire run of the series.  What starts off looking as if it’s going to be “the road trip episode” turns into something a lot more complex and interesting.

It also takes a theme that has been running throughout the season, possibly the series as a whole, and lays it bare open and completely in a way the series has yet to do so fully, as is the case here; the character and social differences between Susie and Midge.

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It goes without saying that as lovable and brilliant as Midge is, helped a lot by the writing and Brosnahan’s award-winning performance, the character is one that has been born into a wealth of privilege (what with her upper-middle-class surroundings and family) and a life that has been catered for very well, which is a direct contrast to Susie.

Throughout the run of the series, we’ve seen Susie live in a small apartment, forced to sleep in her own place of work when there’s a threat to her life and only last episode we were given our first look at her family when she, and the show, finally paid them a visit. While the verbal dynamics were very similar to what we see at the Weissman house, or even with the Maisel’s when the series visits Joel and his own parents (whose storyline is probably the least compulsive this season despite Michael Zegen’s best efforts), the social dynamics were clearly different. In some respects this could be seen as a subtle set up for what Fodor’s teleplay was going to explore here.

The differences between the two lead characters of the series have always been bubbling away on the surface, but they rise even higher than that during the course of “Someday…” which lays bare those differences in the most brilliant way.

In the most stand-up heavy episode of the season, Fodor’s teleplay sees Susie and Midge hit the road and several venues. It’s when staying at some not very upmarket motels that the episode brilliantly explores not only how different Susie and Midge are when it comes to how they view such establishments, but also how they expect to be treated.

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Midge waiting for her bags to be taken to her room, or reacting negatively to the decor surrounding her does paint the character in an unsympathetic light in a way that the series has admittedly danced with on the periphery but never fully committed to.

The joy of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is always how it managed to paint both a fantasy and a realistic portrayal of life in the late 50s turning into the early 60s. While the series has never been as thematically heavy in the manner of something like Mad Men, similar themes to the famed AMC series are always just there bubbling away; gender inequality and racism were major problems facing many at the time and while those themes are here, there has always been a feeling that Midge has always managed to get her way or gain success because she is at the end of the day an upper-middle-class white woman.

Yes, gender inequality is something she faces quite a lot of, and the series has thrown the middle finger to the patriarchy brilliantly and allowed our titular heroine to score one over the boys in a satisfying way, but amazingly and daringly Fodor isn’t afraid to explore the problematic aspects that Midge herself represents.

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Her disdain for Susie’s choices of motels and her reactions to when things go wrong say a lot about Midge herself that maybe Amy and Daniel may never dare to. Admittedly privilege and entitlement are things they’ve explored before in Gilmore Girls, especially in the character of Rory (Alexis Bledel) who settles into a life of privilege very easily as that series went through its eight season cycle and whose decisions, particularly in the revival series A Year in the Life, came in for the most criticism.

It’s that similar level of exploration here and the episode’s daring choice to paint Midge at times in an unsympathetic light that makes “Someday…” such a great episode. The final scene, when she returns to her parents’ house where she had missed her friends Imogene’s baby shower, a baby shower that Midge herself set up, and is left to clean up the mess that was left there feels like a lovely slice of karmic justice for the character.

For someone who is portrayed as being incredibly talented and pretty, it’s a lovely touch for an entire episode to show her in a much more complex light. You won’t come away hating Midge, once again this isn’t Mad Men and Midge isn’t on a Don Draper-level of anti-heroic or anything, but it’s a gentle reminder that even the best of us can rely on entitlement and privilege at our most selfish times.

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