Thursday, December 6, 2018

REVIEW: 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' - Midge's Outspokenness Causes Drama for Her Friends in 'The Punishment Room'

Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel - Episode 2.03 "The Punishment Room"

Midge puts her impeccable planning to the test as she helps Mary with her special day. Joel attempts to keep finances steady at Maisel & Roth and ends up on a treasure hunt. Midge's act flourishes, but Susie's finances take a hit. Back at Columbia, Rose finds herself out of her comfort zone when auditing classes.

In 2018, it makes no sense to provide full-length reviews of each individual episode for shows released all at once on the streaming services. Sure, there are some shows out there that value the power of the episode. They do make a point in differentiating each episode to ensure it's not just one big slog to the finish. However, the ability to watch the entire season at one's own viewing pace has largely changed the way we consume and discuss these shows. So, some brief summary thoughts are really all that's actually necessary with these seasons. As such, here are my latest thoughts on the next episode of Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

"The Punishment Room" was written by Daniel Palladino and directed by Scott Ellis

Midge's stand-up career has been very rewarding and transformational in a number of ways. It gave her a passion that she was excited to pursue. She was no longer just the typical wife and mother at home taking care of Joel and the kids. Susie had a client she was very proud of and who she believed could reach stardom. However, this hour also highlights the damage of this career. That was already apparent in the physical consequences from the first season. Midge is still learning what is acceptable in this business. Even then, she is still more than okay making fun of her fellow comics without really expecting any fallout whatsoever. Susie is still being targeted by Harry Drake. They may be moving closer to midtown clubs. A montage occurs here that shows off some of Midge's new material and how she is continuing to perform and evolve as a comic. She is still putting in the work to improve and build up a reputation for herself. However, she still hasn't told anyone in her personal life about the job that she does at night. She didn't tell her parents when they came home from Paris. Rose and Abe are actually more united than ever before. Now, Joel is the one dealing with parental drama because Moishe and Shirley are so disorganized with the family business. And Midge wants to remain involved in her friends' lives. She cares about what happens to Susie now that she reveals just how broke and homeless she is. More importantly, Midge plans the wedding reception for Mary, her co-worker at B. Altman. It's something that she is happy to do. She sees herself as an expert because things were so perfect during her own wedding. The marriage shouldn't be judged based on how the ceremony went at the start of it all. The drama only came later with Joel. At the beginning, they were the talk of the town. Midge wants to give that to Mary so that she can be very proud of this day. However, all of this continues to prove that Midge may struggle in actually adjusting her act for the audience she is playing to in any given room. She can get laughs from everyone coming out to comedy clubs in the hopes of a good time with laughter. The series memorably started with Midge speaking at her own wedding. That was the first moment where it became clear that comedy was something that she was good at and could actually pursue a career in. She is capable of giving a speech at a wedding that is perfect for the audience assembled. And yet, she is unable to do so here. She has become much too vulgar. She bombs in this room. However, it's much more destructive here because this is her friend who wanted this to be a special and happy day. Instead, it ends with everyone realizing that she is marrying Bill after only three months because she's pregnant. That's horrifying and it does rightfully make Midge examine just how much she has changed because of her comedy pursuits. The world may always expect her to be the performer and comedian after her secret is out to her friends and family. That's how she views herself now. It just stands opposed to the role that she has played for so long. Moreover, she's still counting on the support from the previous world. She relies on her parent's apartment and money while working this job that gives her something to do during the day. Susie needs the money to start flowing. She keeps propping Midge up in the hopes that they are one event away from making it big. That's her worry at the moment. She is betting it all on Midge. She does find inspiration at the conclusion of the hour. She learns the comedy store is selling records of Midge's first performance. That could be a useful tool to increase business. Of course, it will also lead to a higher profile for Mrs. Maisel as well.