The Marvelous Mrs Maisel
opens its second season in immaculate style, with a one-shot sequence of our heroine Midge at her new job as a switchboard operator (we learn she was demoted here after the very public confrontation with her ex-husband's new girlfriend in season one). The shot is delightfully smooth and brilliantly coreographed, as Midge happily darts back and forth with ease to help her overwhelmed colleagues.
It's a reminder that Midge is relentlessly committed to being the best at everything she does – whether that's being a wife, a salesperson, or, of course, a comedian. The opening also returns viewers to one of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel's greatest strengths: its delicious aesthetic, which is wonderfully detailed with explosive colour, with the camera sweeping through the sets with the same high energy and inexhaustible positivity of Midge herself.
It's a curious choice, then, that the first episode almost immediately swerves the plot to a brand-new location: Paris. But it pays off rather humorously, as we discover that Midge's mother, Rose, has fled her marriage to live out the dream of her 20s in the French capital, right under the nose of Midge's father, Abe. Witnessing the potential breakdown of her own parents' marriage forces Midge to reflect on her own separation, sending her on a solo sojourn through Paris.
It's nice to feel as though the world of the show has expanded, both geographically and emotionally, in season two; it hints at further character development outside of Midge's own journey. Her parents, often reduced to mere caricatures in season one, have the chance to start unveiling their own inner lives this season, and it's particularly rewarding to watch Rose follow a path of her choosing – especially as it offers the underrated Marin Hinkle some scenes to sink her teeth into.
Though Midge and Joel's will-they-won't-they storyline is starting to lose its dramatic tension, Midge's emotional night in Paris is still compelling, especially when she stumbles into a drag bar. It's nice to finally see some queerness on screen after a very white and heterosexual season one; one of the strengths of period pieces made today is the chance to give voice to those that history might have forgotten, and I was starting to wonder whether The Marvelous Mrs Maisel would bother. It's nice to see some visibility in this scene, and I hope it hints at a stronger presence across season two.
Above all, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel's greatest trick is Brosnahan, who's back on form with her wisecracking wit and sharper-than-sharp dialogue. It's an immense pleasure to watch Midge trade barbs with her manager, Susie, or entertain a crowd in a bar, and, despite the show's flaws, it's worth watching for this performance alone.
What: The Marvelous Mrs Maisel season two
When: Available now
Where: Amazon Prime