The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 5 Episode 5, “The Pirate Queen,” feels like an important turning point for several characters. There are more characters who are introduced that feel like they should have more time in the spotlight. At just over the halfway point of the final season, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is still making a valiant effort to set everyone up for a grand finale. Time will tell whether these efforts will ultimately be successful.
The reveal that Joel (Michael Zegen) is in prison in the recent past is initially shocking. However, once these initial feelings wear off, this actually makes a lot of sense for this character. He has never been one to approach difficult situations with anything resembling logic and thoughtfulness. While there is certainly room to develop Joel’s redemption arc, there doesn’t seem to be time to focus on this. He has a lot of atoning to do if he’s going to be given a genuine shot at redemption as a character.
Unfortunately, this story continues the trajectory of Joel’s relationship with Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) that this season has been on so far. By setting up Joel to be the one Midge was meant to be with all along, the show is taking both of these characters backwards. These two have seen their relationship evolve over the course of the series. There is something to be said for developing these two as parents to two children. Unfortunately, for both of them, it feels like too much has happened for them to just go back together and realize that they were soulmates all along.
This is contrasted with Midge’s dalliance with a new beau. This could have been a moment to push Midge forward. Paradoxically, this romantic encounter pushes Midge further back towards the destination from which she came. Unfortunately, it seems that Midge is being set up for failure in her romantic pursuits. The series of men that she encounters romantically seems to serve little other purpose than to push Midge back in Joel’s direction.
The issue is that the show has never made Joel seem at all worthy of Midge. Even on this episode, he’s just as condescending as he always was. Even when professing his love, it’s evident that Joel still has a massive sense of entitlement. If Joel wants to prove himself worthy of getting back into Midge’s affections he needs to make major changes. The fact that he gets himself in trouble with the law for Midge’s sake just proves that he’s still a hothead.
In happy news. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 5 Episode 5, “The Pirate Queen,” spotlights Zelda (Matilda Szydagis), and it’s beautiful. This character has been the definition of long-suffering, with all of the Wiseman’s shenanigans. It feels right that she’s finally the centre of attention, marrying the love of her life. This is a new chapter for a character who has been faithfully in the background for the entire series.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel continues to be a mixed bag in its final season. The poignant and humorous moments get lost in the chaos too often. It is nice to see some secondary characters highlighted that have suffered long enough. Hopefully, the final season can focus on the quieter character-driven moments, which is where the series shines.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel streams Fridays on Prime Video.