Friday, April 14, 2023

REVIEW: 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' - Midge Must Trust That Susie's Instincts Will Support Her Career in 'Go Forward'

Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel - Episode 5.01 "Go Forward"

Midge worries about her future while Susie has a light-bulb moment.

"Go Forward" was written by Amy Sherman-Palladino and directed by Amy Sherman-Palladino

Midge was determined to become successful as a comedian her way. She was left defeated and embarrassed. She never wanted to experience that crushing low ever again. She never wanted others to dictate what she had to do in order for her career to thrive. She has brilliant ideas. She turned a seedy strip club into a lavish experience. She was comfortable operating in that space. That only promised to give her limited success. She has a much lower ceiling playing in that room. Lenny offered his tough love. He feared she was blowing her potential. She said no to too many opportunities. Those aren't private discussions between her and Susie either. They extend throughout the industry. A reputation forms. The proverbial window shrinks as a result. Midge wants people to recognize her talent and greatness. She needs tough skin and a delusional attitude in order to make it in this business. She often stands in her own way because she fixates on what she believes needs to be done. Midge and Susie will do anything for each other. Susie helps Midge make sense as she recovers from severe hypothermia. Midge ensures Alfie gets on a plane to start a two week showcase in Las Vegas. Midge even remarks on Susie's genuine talent at spotting people with potential. New offers may come in to represent Alfie. However, Susie was the only one who saw greatness when he was simply annoying patrons at a bar. She takes risks on behalf of her clients. She's fully committed. She has invaded Midge's life. She has a key to the apartment even though Abe really wishes she didn't. It's convenient. It's a relationship built on trust. Susie sees greatness in Midge and Midge sees greatness in Susie. Business has expanded. Susie couldn't just be the manager for one client. That wasn't what success looks like for her. She sought out new opportunities. And now, she's back to caring for Midge above all else. She invades Gordon Ford's show in pursuit of another chance for Midge to showcase her talents. She refuses to admit that the opportunity is gone. Mike doesn't give out second chances. Midge wouldn't perform at a space where Mike could see her. She stood her ground. She's still stuck performing in the same space that's technically illegal. It's incredibly convenient that Gordon just happens to show up one night. Susie negotiates a deal for Midge to write for the late night talk show. It's not the career Midge wants. However, she is now in a more accepting place to acknowledge the power that comes from taking a detour on the path to greatness. She orchestrated a situation for herself believing it was for the best. She doesn't know how this new gig will pan out. And yet, she trusts Susie completely. Her manager sees the path clearly. And so, Midge accepts despite Mike's exasperation over Susie prevailing over him.

It's incredibly convenient when Midge runs into Lenny at the airport as well. These opportunities are numerous. They frequently present themselves. She has to be perceptive enough to take ahold of them knowing they will help her in some way. Things remain awkward with Lenny. He's leaving for an extended stay on the west coast. He too has the opportunity to be a better father. That's the path he must follow. He's coming down from the high of performing at Carnegie Hall. That achievement may be in Midge's future. She got on that stage and was humbled by its magnitude. She received a message in the blizzard outside. It takes the extent of this premiere for her to remember that. It's annoying how the show suggests serious consequences from Midge staying out in the cold for too long. However, her toe quickly becomes a punchline as well. It offers her more character and an amusing story to tell. That's what experiences ultimately become. They are stories she gets to tell onstage to make people laugh. That runs the risk of her not ever having a genuine moment. She's more focused on her career than on other relationships. Abe and Rose are upset Midge didn't want to send them off on the trip they won. She was free to go to the airport. They all still end up back at the apartment. They remain in that space together. Their lives remain remarkably different. It extends throughout the generations as well. The premiere opens in a completely different time period. In 1981, Esther endures a therapy session in Boston where she juggles her thoughts about her mother and the breakthrough she is making in her research. It's all incredible. She too makes these massive achievements. The conversation still pivots around her mother and how she will react in any given situation. Esther has grown up in Midge's shadow. Abe was the only person she ever connected with. He understood the way she thought. They are kindred spirits. That must annoy Midge even though she's constantly in awe of how smart the members of her family are. She has her own way of expressing that. That hasn't exactly been healthy over the years. It's simply invited more dysfunction in. That's the life she wants. It has ramifications far beyond her though. This is the first instance of the kids actually mattering. Even then, it's a conversation far off in the future. It's not something Midge can work on right now. Instead, her career is the priority. Meanwhile, Joel drowns in his sorrows upon learning there will be no marriage or child with Mei. That's a sudden and jarring development. One that leads to Joel getting onstage trying to be funny once more. That started Midge on this path. His journey is unique though. He experiences his own crushing low. His life is no longer certain. His parents are getting divorced. And then, he's hit with this news from Mei. He doesn't know how to react. It's simply more turmoil to inform the colorful details of the lives of those around Midge while she remains firmly in the spotlight for the final season.