The following story contains spoilers from the Last. Episode. Ever. of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel — proceed at your own peril
Hewing to a darkness-before-light structure, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel‘s series finale gets the sad stuff out of the way first.
The opening scene of “Four Minutes” flashes forward to 1965 and promptly reminds us that the tale of Lenny Bruce was a most tragic one. While series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, who wrote and directed the hour-plus swan song, thankfully spares us from having to witness the immediate lead-up to the real-life comic’s untimely 1966 death, the sight of Lenny bombing spectacularly on stage in a dingy, depressing San Francisco club — followed by an unsuccessful intervention on the part of Susie — tees up his the predestined drug overdose to come. (Our now-complete Mrs. Maisel final season flash-forward cheat sheet can be found here.)
But once the action jumps back to the present and Midge learns that Susie’s Hedy-themed Hail Mary pass had, in fact, resulted in a touchdown — Midge is gonna be on The Gordon Ford Show! — the episode delivers one satisfying rapid-fire payoff after another. And an 11th hour hiccup that sees the program’s deeply insecure, and aggressively sexist eponymous host nearly sabotage our heroine’s big, hard-fought break made Midge’s ultimate, inevitable triumph all the more rewarding.
Scroll down to view the 10 finale moments that brought us to our feet.
Hail to That Spectacular Taxi Traffic Jam Set Piece
No doubt a bunch of those yellow cabs were digitally added during post-production. Nonetheless, the sequence wherein Rose and Abe — en route to The Gordon Ford Show to witness daughter Midge crash through the glass ceiling — race through the streets of New York searching desperately for an available taxi amid an epic bottleneck was the final over-the-top set piece we did not know we needed.
Impromptu Dance Break: Part 1
Midge Maisel is excited and she just can’t hide it after learning — from her woeful weasel of a boss Gordon Ford — that she will appear as a guest on The Gordon Ford Show. (How satisfying was it watching a fully emasculated Ford melt down while begrudgingly extending said invitation to our girl.)
Impromptu Dance Break: Part 2
We can count on a fingerless hand the number of times we witnessed Susie Myerson experience and express pure unadulterated elation, so watching her jump up and down while clutching Midge was as rare as it was rewarding. (The smile on the face of Susie’s trusty assistant Dinah in the background of their embrace was the icing on the cake.)
‘Thank You, Papa’
After spending five seasons unsuccessfully attempting to gain the approval of her impossible-to-please academic father, Midge is finally able to impress — even excite — Abe with the news that she will be appearing on The Gordon Ford Show. The simple, soft, soul-uplifting “thank you, papa” she offers him in return is what lands this sweet scene in our Top 10.
Fourth Wall, Begone!
Watching Jason Ralph, who joined Mrs. Maisel in Season 5 as Gordon Ford Show producer Mike Carr, help facilitate his real-life wife Rachel Brosnahan’s climactic onscreen victory lap was meta-licious.
One Last, ‘Tits Up’
Midge bestows on Susie a gorgeously rendered final “tit’s up” right before she hijacks the mic for her climactic, career altering set on The Gordon Ford Show.
Gordon Ford Invites Midge to the Couch
In a nod to Johnny Carson’s coveted seal-of-approval gesture, a crow-eating Gordon Ford invites a gobsmacked Midge to his couch for an interview (and a pink slip) following her rousing stand-up performance.
Midge’s Gordon Ford Show triumph caps Susie’s exhaustive five-season battle to “break” her No. 1 client. And the pride and relief on Susie’s face as she watches Midge take flight reminds us that Alex Borstein is a national treasure that must be protected at all costs, reasonable or otherwise.
A Flashback Worth a Fortune
As the screen fades to black following Midge’s big Gordon Ford Show success, the episode flashes back six months (to the night of Midge and Lenny’s long-awaited hookup in the Season 4 finale) and treats us to one final swoonworthy moment with the couple. The looming tragedy of Lenny’s untimely death — foreshadowed earlier in the episode — only heightens the moment’s heartbreaking poignancy. It also confirms, sadly, that Midge and Lenny’s impromptu airport run-in in the Season 5 premiere unwittingly served as their final goodbye.
That Final Jeopardy! Scene
The finale ends by revealing via a circa-2005 flash-forward that not only will Midge (living alone in her resplendent apartment at New York’s famed Dakota with nothing but her busy touring schedule to keep her warm at night) and Susie (now retired and living in Hawaii with a small army of parrots) eventually patch things up, but they will spend their twilight years partaking in a nightly check-in by phone-slash- Jeopardy! viewing party. It was the happiest of endings.
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