We know that this season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has captivated us, but has it you? We’re breaking down the good, bad, and ugly of episodes seven and eight.
“Look, She Made a Hat”
Benjamin and Midge, A Ship in the Night
Their scenes in this episode are the few we get of them in a fully established, comfortable relationship, and I absolutely adore them. They are complete equals, mutually accepting, appreciating, and participating in each other’s passions. It’s refreshing to see Midge romantically spend time with a man that’s actually worth said time. Bonus points for female sexual empowerment and positivity with no repercussions-a rare treat from the Palladinos.
Sisters Before Misters
Giving Benjamin and Midge competition for best pairing of the episode is Susie and her sister Tessie. We stan women supporting women, whether that means one sister giving the other their abusive mother’s car keys, or one sister contributing to the list of ways to kill the other’s abusive husband. BOTH. ARE. VALID.
Picture this. In a few years, once their mother has passed, Tessie finally follows through in killing her husband. She flees to Connecticut, where she remakes herself fit to enter the polite society she always yearned to partake in, but never could in connection to her family. Soon, she learns that she’s pregnant. Fast forward forty years later, and her granddaughter does not know about the humble beginnings she came from, at least on one side of her family. Her granddaughter, who’s her spitting image. That granddaughter’s name? Francie Jarvis.
The Mysterious Painting
There comes a point in every writer’s work that separates the good from the great: they have the confidence to know when to tell, rather than show. There was no single painting that Amy Sherman-Palladino could have shown that would live up to the surrounding, exalting dialogue for every viewer. By practicing restraint, Palladino preserves the integrity of the scene, and leaves the viewer pondering what the great, life-ruining beauty that canvas apparently possesses would look like to their own eye.
Or perhaps you’re more on the side of my father’s way of thinking while he was watching this scene, who stated simply, “I respect that, but also I hate it.”
Family Gone Amiss
In my review for episode five, I discussed how satisfied I was by Abe’s discovery of Midge’s secret. I wrote that I had been worried about how they were going to handle that first realization, as it had been built up to over the past season and a half, but how that worry had proven unnecessary. The scene of the whole family finding out two episodes later, however, ended up warranting that concern. It was ultimately underwhelming, underlining the juvenilely comedic interruptions to the big reveal when it should have been played straight.
An episode where I’m indifferent to nothing, even if there’s one glaring bad, is better than an episode with no bad but multiple indifferences.
The first rule of Fandom Club is: If the audience is to connect with a character, that character needs to show vulnerability. Up to this point, Imogene’s character has largely been interchangeable with a chatterbox, but I enjoy her in this episode because we get to see her be genuinely disappointed, while also forgiving and understanding of her friend. It’s a range of humanizing emotions previously unforeseen for her, and I hope it’s just the beginning of the Palladinos using Bailey de Young for the best of her abilities.
Joel as Team Cheerbeater
Joel’s gonna give me whiplash with how fast I fluctuate between cheering him on and wanting to toss him in the garbage. Watching him stand up for Midge and Susie against a misogynistic asshole? Definitely evokes the former.
I know it’s 1959 in the series, but can someone please take Susie to therapy? She seems to imply that her cousin would have raped her when she was a kid if she hadn’t jammed her finger into his eye. In response to which Midge, wide-eyed, suggests watching TV. Clearly she’s not equipped to handle the darker shades of Susie’s past and she’s the closest relationship Susie has.
It’s a pretty nothing episode, as in nothing that makes me feel like it will have lasting consequences. It’s a little more memorable and enjoyable than episode three, but that’s not saying much.
I’m confident that the next-last!-two episodes of the season will make up for it.
“I walked in that sad little room in the back–the one nobody seemed to care about–and everywhere I looked, there was color and life. Something the front room was a little short of. And then suddenly she [the painting Midge bought] caught me eye. I thought, ‘I know her. She has a secret. She knows a joke that I don’t.’ I thought, ‘Maybe if I take her home, she’ll tell me the joke.’ And that made me smile.” – Midge explaining to Declan Howell why she bought her painting (“Look, She Made a Hat!”)
“This was gonna hang in my home. When I had a home. And a family, when I had that life. This was…this was gonna go there. But that was then. And this is now. I will never have that life…I’m not trying to spin a melodrama. I’m being very realistic. The chance for that life is gone…It’ll never happen because…everything I have, I put into that. Nothing left…If you…If you want to do something great…You want to take something as far as it’ll go…You can’t have everything. You lose…family. Sense of home. But then…look at what exists.”-Declan Howell about his painting (“Look, She Made a Hat!”)
“Why is your manager a plumber? I don’t see how those two skill sets interact.” – Rose being confused (“Look, She Made a Hat”)
“It’s how I live my life–just sort of half-assed and completely random.”-Jackie (“Someday…”)
“Now, listen, and you listen good. I swear to motherfucking God, if anything happens to Midge on this trip, I’m gonna fucking kill you. I don’t care that you’re a girl, or short, I will rip your head off and use it to play catch with my kid. She’s the mother of my children. If you fuck this up, I want you to think of the worst possible thing that could ever happen to you, and I want you to triple it and add a hobbling. You got it? Now… apply the wheel wedges, remove the hubcaps, loosen the lug nuts, jack up the car, and change the fucking tire. Or call a goddamn cab. Put Midge back on the phone.”-Joel being sweet? I guess? (“Someday…”)
Ladies and gentlemen, fellow assholes, you’ve been awfully nice to review for as always. I’m The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel reviewer. Thank you and good night!