The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 2 Ending Explained
Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 2 saw ambitious strides made in nearly all corners of the Upper West Side Maisel-verse, with an ending that promises even greater things to come. The action picks up only a few days after Midge’s triumphant set at the Gaslight - the set that her estranged husband Joel witnessed only to see her rake him over the coals and generally slay better than he could’ve ever hoped to. The show’s freshman season saw Midge fighting for her identity after her marriage implodes and upends the predictable, if not blissful, life she’d anticipated. Flapping in the wind with nearly everyone in her life insisting she finds a way to convince her philandering husband to return to their marriage, she pursues a career in stand-up comedy after a drunken, cathartic and hilarious first set airing out all of her considerable dirty laundry.
Midge’s fierce fight for independence and self-actualization is just that: a fight. The fallout from her decision is far-reaching despite how hard she works to keep the pursuit a secret from pretty much everyone but Alex Borstein’s Susie. And despite the professional success and personal development Midge sees during season 1, the fallout from her choices has barely gotten rolling. Whereas last season’s premiere ended with Midge triumphantly walking the streets of New York to the tune of Peggy Lee’s “Pass Me By,” The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 2’s opener ends with Midge, slowly, determinedly and fearfully walking alone through the streets of Paris after a phone call with Joel confirms their marriage is over. Season 2 is, in large part, about consequences – those stemming directly from all of Midge’s choices and those extending rhizomatically out to her family and friends as they’re unavoidably affected by the rock she’s thrown into their lives.
As sophomore seasons go, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is, first and foremost, accountable. Midge fills up every room she’s in, so when she does something out of the ordinary (largely abandoning her children and terrifying her parents pursuing one of the most socially problematic careers in existence), it’s almost contagious. Her parents are so off-balance the season begins with Rose abandoning her own family for Paris and people that like, listen to her when she speaks. After ending his relationship with Midge, Joel embraces running his father’s business (an erstwhile nightmare), but eventually realizes he needs to rebuild his life and find his own way. As for Midge and Susie, Midge’s talent combined with Susie’s dogged work ethic means the two friends are busier than ever, but also that they’re facing new obstacles as a result of said success.
Season 2 of Mrs. Maisel feels a little more frenetic than season 1 given the supporting cast is developing stronger subplots less tied to Midge (thank goodness for two extra episodes), and it’s so ambitious that it leaves us more unanswered questions and half-developed plots than it does actual resolution. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially considering how on brand it is for Mrs. Maisel to point out the fact that for a divorced female comedian, life is only going to get harder in every area the higher she climbs up the ladder of success. But the overpacked nature of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 2 means there are a few loose ends we have to tie up, or at least explain.
- This Page: Where The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 2 Left Off
- Page 2: What's Next For Midge & Suzie In The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel?
IS JOEL ACTUALLY GOING TO OPEN A COMEDY CLUB?
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 2 saw Joel develop in a number of ways, not the least of which was coming to terms with Midge’s overwhelming talent and the fact that it precludes him from being with her. The two clearly still have strong feelings for one another evidenced in Joel’s predictable jealousy over Midge’s relationship with Dr. Benjamin Ettenberg (Zachary Levi), but for the most part they settle into a comfortable co-parenting relationship that feels decades ahead of its time. Part of the charm of Mrs. Maisel is that it doesn’t villainize anyone, really (at least not for long), and Joel is probably the best example of that. He did blow apart his own marriage, but Amy Sherman-Palladino deftly showcases him on his own journey of self-discovery that parallel’s Midge’s.
After spending most of the season attempting to right the ship that is his father’s mismanaged garment business, Joel's father Moishe (Kevin Pollack) fires him and gives his son a small fortune to go find something more fulfilling. That throws Joel for just a big a loop as Miriam’s set last season did – one of the reasons he threw himself into the operating of his father’s business is that it provided a welcome distraction from his failed marriage and the guilt he still carries over it. But just as Joel finds a way to forgive himself and move on, his father cuts him loose and forces Joel to address the question that blew up his life in the first place: what does he want to do with his life?
After some drunken soul-searching with Archie, he eventually settles on the idea that while he was never going to be a successful comedian, he did love the atmosphere of clubs like the Gaslight that were replete with messy people and all the fun and creativity that comes with them. Seeing Joel’s passion for that environment gives a little more context into how much sense he and Midge made once upon a time, even if their relationship couldn’t survive either of their evolutions. But will he actually go through with it? Being a white male, Joel arguably has more freedom to do what he wants than Midge does, but he’s not quite as fearless or confident as he ex is. What will he actually he with the money his father gifted him in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 3?
Further complicating matters is the fact that he and Midge are still each other’s support system and Midge ended the season heading out on a six-month, international tour with singer Shy Baldwin (not to mention the fact that they still have strong enough feelings for one another for Midge to spend the night with Joel after she’s made the terrifying decision to put her career over literally everything else her life). At some point, these two will have to stop depending on one another as much as they do now.
WILL ABE AND ROSE SURVIVE HIS REBELLION?
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 2 began with Rose making a stand and leaving her family after it becomes clear they’ve totally taken her for granted. She absconds to Paris and it’s only after Abe nearly moves there that she trusts he’ll start to treat her and their relationship with more consideration. While she would’ve preferred to stay in Paris, Abe convinces Rose that they can’t uproot their life that extremely, but does work hard to support her needs and desires upon her return. That lasts for about three episodes until Abe starts to get dissatisfied and restless with his own life and proceeds to spectacularly blow it up after Bell Labs hands him his notice and Columbia insists he take a sabbatical. He waxes nostalgic about his early life as an activist (what kind remains vague) and ends Mrs. Maisel season 2 preparing to quit Columbia and take on Bell Labs in court.
Part of Abe’s charm is that while he’s a grouchy, out-of-touch man-baby a lot of the time, his motivations usually lie in his desire for a calm and stable life for his family. That’s why he objects to Rose’s desire to live in Paris, that’s why he insists that Miriam wait until after Hannukah to tell her mother about comedy and that’s presumably why he takes his sweet time telling Dr. Ben that the surgeon has his blessing to propose to his daughter. But Abe is also very, very selfish, self-involved, self-centered, etc., and nowhere is this more evident than in his blindness to the fact that if he leaves Columbia, he and Rose will lose their apartment and, subsequently, their lifestyle. When Rose points out the obvious consequences from his single-minded decision to cut off their only remaining source of income out of spite, Abe still doesn’t back down. Sadly, Rose’s desires still come second to her husband’s, even after she gave up real happiness in Paris to come back to a life Abe thoughtlessly blows apart.
Rose has shown her willingness and ability to abruptly change course in her life, but will she be able to do that without the financial comfort provided to her by Abe’s formerly dual, now non-existent, income? She certainly won’t adjust well to the loss of not only her Parisian dream world, but also the UWS life and community she embraced once more upon her return to reality – especially when the news comes down the pike that Midge and Ben probably aren’t headed for the tasteful second wedding after all. She could clearly live with her husband and daughter’s lack of consideration, but will she be able to live with Abe’s naked disregard for her comfort on top of Midge’s continuous rejection of the life and future Rose has devoted herself to so fully? That remains to be seen, but we wouldn’t be surprised if Rose and Abe were headed for some very rocky shoals in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 3.
WHAT’S THE STATE OF SUSIE’S RELATIONSHIP WITH MIDGE?
One of the things The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel gets right consistently is never making Susie Midge’s sidekick. Susie’s furious drive doesn’t come from a desire only to see Midge succeed, but to claw her way out of abject poverty and professional ridicule. Suitably, Midge’s general blindness to Susie’s problems in the face of the comedian’s own messy personal life made for some significant conflict between the two during the season. The tour Susie put together out of blood, sweat and threats of violence isn’t spectacularly appreciated by Midge who can’t stop focusing on the low-rent lodgings and disappointing bookings.
But despite that issue, the two are still incredibly supportive of one another, and Susie is, by all accounts, a really good manager. While Midge’s talent is undeniable, it’s Susie’s guidance and skill at breaking down doors that is responsible for a large portion of Mrs. Maisel’s professional growth. But Midge is intelligent and independent, which leads her to question Susie perhaps more than she should. Their first major disagreement comes late in the season as Susie reads Sophie Lennox (Jane Lynch) the riot act after Lennox bumps Midge off-camera and to a later time slot during the latter’s first TV appearance. Midge disagrees strongly with Susie’s methods and the two part on not great terms. All appears forgiven on Midge’s end at least after she gets word of the Shy Baldwin tour, but not before Susie gets a call from Sophie Lennox inviting her to be Lennox’s new manager.
This presents problems because it means Susie likely won’t be able to accompany Midge on tour and start working with Lennox – a far more odious client, but also a more lucrative one and one who values the tenacity Susie has to offer. It would feel beneath the show’s progressive look at female friendships to see Midge get too upset at Susie’s own success – not when Susie is the main reason Midge has any success of her own. Like Joel and Midge, Susie and Midge are poised to move in slightly divergent directions in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 3, and it’ll be interesting to see how their relationship evolves as their focus is split. After all, while Susie is an integral part of Midge’s development, Midge is just as much a part of Susie’s. She’s the only person to have taken Susie seriously, and a major reason Susie’s career is where it’s at.
WHAT’S IN STORE FOR MIDGE AFTER THE TOUR?
Miriam Maisel ended the season on a very high note. After fighting all first season to create an act, she spent this year getting people to watch it. From club owners who balked at the use of the word “pregnancy” to parents who still couldn’t find their way to being any kind of supportive to the only other female comedian she’s ever met sabotaging her first television appearance, Midge has had to fight and scrape to be heard. And if her final scene is any indication, she won’t be able to stop any time soon.
During The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 2 finale, singer Shy Baldwin invites Mrs. Maisel to open for him on a six-month-long tour. After barely a moment’s hesitation, she accepts, despite her impending engagement and oblivious to the fact that her parents/childcare givers might be out of a home soon. After watching her friend Lenny Bruce sing a sad song about a couple who keeps breaking up and getting back together, Midge realizes that by making the choice to tour with Baldwin, she’s possibly consigning herself to a lonely existence, however thrilling it may be. As she comes to terms with this, she seeks out Joel and admits that she’s just ultimately chosen to be alone for the rest of her life. Her reaction probably has more to do with the fact that she’s completely overwhelmed by such a huge step than the actual probability of going through life alone (this is an Amy Sherman-Palladino show, after all). But she is genuinely stepping into undiscovered country by pursuing her dreams, and there aren’t many, if any, examples in her life of women who put themselves first who aren’t also social pariahs of some kind. And all that’s in addition the astronomical difficulty of anyone fighting for a career in entertainment and trying to maintain healthy relationships at the same time.
Women in Midge’s world aren’t supposed to be selfish, but where Joel spent most of the season learning to be less so, Midge was doing the opposite, and while it’s paying off professionally, she’s staring down the barrel at an even more complicated personal life. She’ll no doubt head out on tour with Baldwin inThe Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 3, but what she’ll come home to at the end of it (or if she’ll even be able to complete it with an infant daughter at home) remains to be seen. It seems likely that Susie won’t be there to offer support, and her parents’ lives are at a crossroads as well, so no telling what her home will look like when she returns, or if she’ll even have one.
That said, as an audience, it’s nearly impossible to root for Midge making any other decision than grabbing the best opportunity she’s ever gotten instead of the nearest hot doctor or fabulous apartment. She’s moving in the right direction, to be sure, but that’s no guarantee the road for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel will be smooth or that she’ll make it to her desired destination at all.