‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ Season 5 Time Jumps Completely Reframe the Show

Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino tell IndieWire about the decision to jump ahead.
A woman with curly brown hair wearing a red coat and hat from the 1960s; still from "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"
"The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"
Philippe Antonello/Prime Video

It’s the final bow for Prime Video’s awards darling “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” and the latest season introduces a new narrative device that changes the whole show.

The opening episode of “Maisel” Season 5 picks up not with Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) or her family or manager Susie (Alex Borstein), but with her daughter — a 23-year-old Esther Maisel (Alexandra Socha) decades in the future.

Creator and showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino told IndieWire that the “Maisel” creative team has toyed with using time jumps for years, but felt that it was too early to dive into the characters’ futures.

“It wasn’t earned enough. Nobody gave a shit yet,” she said. “But it was a device we really wanted to use… we kind of went all in on it because it’s a fun storytelling device, and it helps inform in quicker pops. It makes the current story that we’re doing even a little bit more interesting, to know ‘Oh, and that’s how it turns out later.’ So we thought, let’s do it now — We got one more chance! Let’s do it.”

A middle-aged man in a 1960s suit sitting in an armchair and speaking to a young boy who sits cross-legged on the floor; still from "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"
The children, I fear, are not okay.Philippe Antonello/Prime Video

Each of the three episodes included in the Season 5 premiere start with a flash-forward piecing together the characters’ futures. Esther’s therapy session suggests that Midge was not immune to narcissism and neglect as a mother while rising to fame (duh), and Episode 2 opens with a “60 Minutes” segment in which young Mike Wallace (Currie Graham) interviews Midge and calls her a “living legend.”

It confirms what fans of the show have wondered for years: Midge Maisel made it. She’s rich, she’s famous, she’s friends with celebrities — she even had a Lenny Bruce-esque fit of cursing on stage at Carnegie Hall in the ’70s that ended up benefiting her career — and despite a string of illustrious partners, appears to be uncoupled.

“She admits that she has not had a great, consistent love life,” Executive Producer Dan Palladino told IndieWire. “She thought she’d be married once — she was referring to Joel (Michael Zegen) — and since then she’s been sort of bumping around. A lot of that is just the offshoot of — we always felt like Joel was the guy who won her heart, and she could never really give her heart over to another guy like that again. So she had fun, she was with Robert Evans, she maybe was with Quincy Jones at some point, et cetera, et cetera, but she never had anything as fundamental as she had with Joel.”

Then there’s Episode 3, with Ethan (Ben Rosenfeld) working as a farmer in Israel. The major takeaway in these early flash forwards is that Midge’s ambition and activity did affect her children, and it prompts viewers to pay closer attention to Ethan, Esther, and how everyone treats or behaves around them in the main timeline. The first episode alone features a Thanksgiving dinner in which Joel’s parents announce their divorce and Joel tells everyone he’s getting married and having a baby (both of which change within the episode). Ethan and Esther have been fixtures of the show since the start, but function mostly in relation to the adults or as comic relief. The flash forwards are a stark reminder that these are people, that the issues which stay with them into adulthood are being introduced right now in that Upper West Side apartment.

It also invites a closer look at Midge’s dynamics with Susie — with whom her relationship is so acrimonious in the future that Susie freely badmouths Midge to the press — with Joel, and everyone else she’s close to as Sherman-Palladino adds more context. What cracks might emerge between Midge and Susie that will rupture years down the line? Where is Joel when his children are adults — or Rose (Marin Hinkle) or Abe (Tony Shalhoub)? As “Maisel” goes forward, story is now changing from both ends, the present and future shaping one another in tandem as the audience prepares to say goodbye.

The first three episodes of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” Season 5 are now streaming on Prime Video, with new episodes every Friday.

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