Friday, December 7, 2018

REVIEW: 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' - Abe Questions Who His Children Have Become in 'Let's Face the Music and Dance'

Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel - Episode 2.06 "Let's Face the Music and Dance"

With Midge's secret now exposed to Abe, tensions between them are higher than ever. Summer is nearing an end with Susie fully immersed in her Steiner persona and Joel contemplating life as a bachelor. Rose takes advantage of Astrid's fragile state to learn some surprising intel about Noah.

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.

"Let's Face the Music and Dance" was written by Daniel Palladino and directed by Daniel Palladino

It was such a huge moment when Abe saw Midge performing comedy on stage. Her secret was exposed. She could no longer keep her two lives separate. He was taking her and Susie back home to deal with the consequences of saying all of those things in public about their family. However, it's also clear that Midge and Abe actually black out a lot of what actually happened. Abe has no awareness of whether or not Midge was actually funny. He just went completely numb upon seeing her on stage. Meanwhile, Midge can't tell Joel just how well the gig went because she was too focused on her father and playing things mostly to him. Of course, the audience knows that it was one of her best stand-up performances. It became clear in that moment that she was moving on up to bigger and better things. The only question was if she would be allowed to continue. Her father is a very opinionated man. As such, it's surprising when he has a more subdued reaction. He doesn't have a conversation with his daughter until the following morning. Even then, he's warning her to keep this a secret from Rose until after Hanukkah. That's absurd considering the summer is just now ending. It's clear why Midge was programmed to believe that she had to keep this portion of her life a secret. She always felt the need to bottle things up because that was the example that was set for her by her parents. However, this season is also breaking everything apart. Of course, it's a little frustrating in this hour because it wants to equivalent Abe finding out about Midge's comedy career with Noah working for the CIA. That would be a huge reveal if Noah was actually a main character on the show. He is certainly in the right position. He's Midge's brother. He's the son that Abe always wanted and can point to as a proven success because he followed into the same career. They are kindred spirits. However, a significant portion of this hour is spent on Abe once again being stunned upon learning that his children are keeping secrets from him. Noah's may even be larger because of the danger and secrecy that comes from his job. He literally can't talk about any component of it because of security clearance issues. Midge only kept comedy a secret because she didn't know how to talk to her family about it. As such, it may not be such a bad thing after all. It's also just a weird way to frame this entire situation. It ensures that Midge can still go off and does what she does so well. But it also lessons Abe's reaction. Sure, there is still likely more to come this season. It's telling that he opens up to Rose about Noah's secret job right away while wanting to spare her from what he has learned about Midge. It proves that things aren't entirely equal at all. That too can be a valuable lesson. These personal issues are at the forefront of this hour too. Midge does have another gig but she doesn't perform onscreen. Instead, it's all about her navigating the fact that her father sees her differently now. He at least wants to know if she is as good as the comic brought up onto the Steiner stage to perform for the closing night of summer. She beams with pride while declaring that she is. That proves that things are moving in a different but positive direction for Midge. She may have started the summer dancing with Joel. But now, she is confidently dancing with Benjamin. That's something to look forward to as well. Sure, it means that Joel is still clearly yearning for Midge. He understands her comedy career and what Abe learning the truth means to her. But it was also his decision not to get back together. And so, all of this is incredibly complicated to navigate. It can't be as fun as Susie performing in the staff's grand performance. That's unexpected but absolutely delightful as well. That proves that she is full of surprises as well even if she's not into it as much as everyone else.