There’s no argument that Midge Maisel is back with a bang: there are however plenty of arguments in the opening episode of season four. Everyone seems to be shouting at everyone else – making Eastenders seem like a love-in – fortunately the shouting subsides before the onslaught of a monumental headache sets in.
If you haven’t seen the first three seasons, you missed a compelling show. If you did, then you’ll know that Midge Maisel was heading for the stars when her routine naively outing singing superstar, Shy Baldwin, gets her thrown off his world tour and knocked back down to earth, with a thud.
But that’s good for viewers because Midge, or Miriam, as she seems to be called most often in this series, is back where she started: making her way in smoky drinking clubs and strip joints. It’s the environment in which she feels most at home and performs at her best.
The magnificent cast has also returned in great form with sub-plots continuing their journeys through life’s trials and tribulations. Standout performances from Alex Borstein as Susie and Tony Shalhoub as Abe Weissman lead the way but there isn’t a weak link anywhere.
It is however, Rachel Brosnahan, as Mrs Maisel, who sets the screen alight delivering another impeccable performance as she has done from the start: never more so than when performing stand-up on small stages to intimate audiences. Although she yearns for the trappings and financial stability of success she feels more at home in smaller intimate venues. The glamour and glitz of the big tours, the arena performances, the razzamatazz does not set the inner Midge free. And she is only free when she is performing, spontaneously from the heart. It is both her strength and, as she has found out the hard way, her weakness.
So back at rock bottom, broke and fighting against entrenched male chauvinism of the 1960s comedy scene, will she claw her way back from the brink? Well, we’ll have to wait and see. Amazon are only releasing two episodes a week on Prime Video so we are yet to see what she and her manager, Susie, can do to restore her frozen career. I for one can’t wait for the thaw.