(This post contains spoilers about the Season 2 finale of Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” You have been warned.)
Midge has a real shot at stardom.
Midge, a.k.a. Mrs. Maisel, is fed up with show business: Disappointing gigs on the road, sexist club owners, manager Harry Drake’s scorched-earth ban that bars her from half the clubs in town. Plus, her nemesis Sophie Lennon bumps her to the last slot at the arthritis telethon.
However, Sophie’s revenge turns into a gift: Because Midge goes last, superstar singer Shy Baldwin happens to catch her set (after they have a nice chat in the bathroom). Shy is impressed and wonders why she isn’t yet a star. So he invites her to be the opening act on his upcoming world tour — three months in the United States, followed by three months in Europe. Plus, an all-expenses wardrobe upgrade.
Midge reacts the way anyone would: She shouts “YES!” immediately, then hangs up the phone and starts screaming. However, this means that. . .
Midge and Benjamin have some tough times ahead.
What will become of Benjamin, the lovely, socially awkward doctor who is madly in love with Midge? Benjamin spends the episode groveling in front of Abe, Midge’s father, as he tries to get permission to ask for her hand in marriage. Although her mother, Rose, is thrilled with the match, Abe is far more suspicious.
“After the Joel fiasco, I am taking this decision very, very seriously,” Abe says, as he asks for bank records, 25 character references, religious affiliation, favorite authors, political leanings, favorite radio shows, favorite baseball teams, etc.
Finally, just after Midge has accepted Shy Baldwin’s offer, Abe comes to her with good news: He is giving Benjamin permission. But the look on Midge’s face tells him everything he needs to know. Abe utters a word that we can’t reprint here, except there’s only person who is going to be more upset, because. . .
Rose’s life is about to get some major upheaval.
After Rose’s temporary move to Paris, she’s back and happy at home. All she wants is for Midge to get remarried, preferably to a rich doctor, and resume her life as a stay-at-home wife and mother. Is that too much to ask?
Of course! Midge has no interest in Jell-O molds or having “three under 30,” as she puts it. While Rose will be devastated to hear about Midge’s impending breakup, that’s nothing, compared with Abe’s news. Suddenly changing your life apparently runs in the family: Abe, a tenured Columbia University professor who has a cushy side hustle at Bell Labs, wants to run away from it all. He’s forced into a sabbatical at Columbia, and decides he wants to leave altogether. When Bell Labs takes away his project after Midge jokes about his job during a set, Abe decides to leave that, too.
During his big “I’m leaving!” speech, Abe mentions that he used to be an activist who fought against companies like Bell Labs — a few scenes later, he decides to consult with a lawyer. So that can’t be good. But speaking of people who originally thought they would need legal help. . .
Susie gets an unexpected offer from Sophie Lennon.
Susie reluctantly goes to Sophie’s comically extravagant home, probably expecting a lawsuit or to be carted off to her death, given that manager Harry Drake sent two hit men to kill her after Midge’s brutal takedown of Sophie. And in the previous episode, Susie threatened Sophie (in colorful language) to stop her relentless efforts to end Midge’s career.
In a shocking twist, Sophie wasn’t angry about Susie’s threats — she was envious that Susie would go so far to protect her client. Turns out, Sophie is tired of her “people" telling her that she has to play the fat-suited “Sophie from Queens” character for the rest of her life. She wants to be a serious actress, and she needs someone who will stand up for her. So she asks Susie to be her manager.
Susie’s reaction involves another word we can’t repeat here. She never gets to tell Midge the big news, as they get distracted by the Shy Baldwin tour, and Midge is also a bit preoccupied with the fact that. . .
Joel will never go away.
In an effort to get Joel out of the family business and to follow his own dreams, his father handed him a $60,000 check in the penultimate episode — that’s about $500,000 today, so most people would take the money and run. Not Joel. He’s far too in love with Midge to go anywhere, even though, let’s remember, he blew up their marriage last season by having an affair.
While some viewers may have thought that Midge was over her ex . . . not so much. Watching Lenny Bruce sing about loneliness on Steve Allen’s show, it dawns on Midge that by saying yes to Shy Baldwin’s tour, she’s also sacrificing her personal life.
So in a vulnerable moment, in the last scene of the finale, Midge finds Joel in his office. She tells him that she accepted an offer to go on tour. “I am gonna be all alone for the rest of my life," she tells him. “That’s what I just decided in a five-minute phone call.”
“You don’t know that," Joel says.
“I’m going to leave really soon, barely enough time to get packed, especially the way I travel,” Midge says. "And I don’t want to be alone. Not tonight. Tonight, just for tonight, I really need to be with someone who loves me.”
Then Joel dramatically pulls her toward him — and just as they’re about to kiss, end scene. And end of season.
(Disclosure: Amazon.com CEO Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
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