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'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Season 4 Review: A comforting, fun, and curious kick-off

It's like coming home...to your Upper West Side townhouse.
By Proma Khosla  on 
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A woman in the 1960s speaking into a microphone on stage; actor Rachel Brosnahan in "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel."
She's back at it. Credit: Amazon

There’s nothing like the comfort of home.

In The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 4, Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) has borrowed money from her father-in-law to buy back the apartment that she shared with her husband Joel (Michael Zegen). This is a terrible financial decision and no favor to her already strained relationship with the Maisels, but Midge needs comfort while the rest of her life feels out of control.

“I was happy in that apartment,” she tells her family when they find out. It's arguably a step backward, but also her anchor to the kind of fulfillment she hopes for in the future.

That’s Season 4 of Amy Sherman-Palladino’s sharp, frothy comedy in a microcosm, or at least the start of it. Maisel feels caught in a time loop, treading water while it waits to start its next phase in earnest. The two episodes now streaming tease meager hints of narrative direction, but they take their sweet time getting there.

Two women sit across from each other at a 1950s diner; Rachel Brosnahan and Alex Borstein in "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel."
Banter! Costumes! Comedy! Credit: Amazon

We last saw Midge booted from her national tour with Shy Baldwin (LeRoy McClain) after telling jokes about his sexuality on stage at the Apollo — but that’s not how she sees it. Season 4 opens with Midge performing back in New York City, where she growls the word “Revenge” to her audience. She feels wronged, and she’s not subtle about it. “Once again, a man has stepped in and fucked up my life,” she tells the crowd. The fact that she outed a queer Black man in front of his hometown crowd is entirely lost on her — at least for now.

So yes, Midge continues to be an entitled ingenue, even more so as she decides after the Baldwin debacle that she only wants to headline, not to open or share the stage with others. That's one possible conflict hinted at in the premiere episodes, as well as Suzie’s (Alex Borstein) ongoing financial troubles, the still-muddy dynamic between Midge and Joel, and a reporter — casually mentioned but not yet shown — who seems to have it out for Mrs. Maisel.

Instead of releasing all eps at once like the previous seasons' premieres, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 4 will debut new episodes weekly. So, critics were only sent two for review. Although not much happens in these, chances are that you don’t watch Maisel for its dense plot. You watch for the rhythm of Sherman-Palladino’s writing, for Brosnahan and Borstein’s rapport, for Midge’s dazzling outfits, and her mic-stand takedowns of anyone who steps in her way. On that front, Season 4 delivers all, the equivalent of a homemade brisket drawn out into weekly bites.

The pacing could also tie into Amazon's decision to renew the series for a fifth and final season. Sherman-Palladino says she's already planned out the basic beats, so Season 4 will more than likely build momentum toward a satisfying back-end in its month-long releases. Like Midge, we don't know what the future holds, but we're reorienting ourselves before we move forward.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 4 is now streaming on Prime Video, with two new episodes weekly.


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