The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 2 doesn't waste a minute of time before propelling us back into the hustling and fascinating life of the titular character, and it doesn't slow down much from there.
Banned from "the show" both on stage and on the showroom floor behind the cosmetics counter at B. Altman, Midge is using her talents as a switchboard operator and with a quick push of her chair, Midge rolls across the floor back and forth in a carefully choreographed scene to charmingly assist all of her coworkers.
With comedy, music, singing, dancing, and the most stunning bursts of color and design seen all season, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 2 is like a ten-hour Broadway production.
This new season makes the most of what came before it by doubling down on the investment of the characters introduced during The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 1. Instead of layering more new characters into the story, those who deserve the chance to shine are given that opportunity.
Of course, Midge is the heart of the show, and Rachel Brosnahan so embodies her it begins to feel as if she was genuinely a product of the 1950s. Midge's journey to become a full-fledged comedian continues, and a part of that is discovering who she is as a friend, a daughter, a wife, and a mother, too.
Midge's initial introduction to comedy felt like a descent from her station, while her continued exploration of the craft during Season 2 feels like an ascent. The tides have turned, even if she's hiding her activities from those she loves as if they're sent from Satan himself.
The entire production of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel expresses the shift in tone, too. The use of color and the lighting are simply glorious. For most of the season, it's like a spring garden after a fresh rain with the sun shining down.
The exciting locations help spruce things up. In a welcome storyline, Midge's mom, Rose (Marin Hinkle) is off in Paris. What better time for the cast and crew to follow suit? Instead of the drab, smokey dive clubs where Midge is used to working, she grabs a moment on stage with a trio of drag queens who have cast a spell on her.
In gay Paris, the story shifts to Rose and Abe (Tony Shalhoub), allowing Hinkle and Shaloub to deepen their connection to their characters beyond the fussy mom and whiny dad we've come to know and as individuals who can carry amusing plots without the need for Midge in the picture.
Throughout the season, I noticed my laugh out loud moments came from Hinkle and Shaloub, as their years of experience landing punch lines put them up there with some of the best in the business.
Romantically, Midge is still struggling with her love for Joel (Michael Zegen), but Joel has the realization that standing beside his wife as she claims fame in the career of his dreams is something he cannot do. With the honesty between them and the beautiful friendship that blossoms, it's easy to yearn for more from them as time passes.
Joel's conundrum is put to the test as the entire family heads to the Catskills at a resort, interestingly, that turned down the opportunity for Dirty Dancing to film there, so they jumped at the chance to host Mrs. Maisel. It's a gorgeous location and gets a lot of screen time.
It's at the resort where Midge's secret starts to unravel and where she meets a new man, Benjamin, that may or may not play a significant role in her life going forward. He does have a scene with Zegen's Joel at the resort that is one of my favorites of the entire season.
And, of course, nothing would be happening with Midge's comedy career at all without Susie (Alex Borstein). If family, friends, and two jobs keep Midge moving forever forward, Susie never allows anything to interrupt her perseverance to find Midge a stage to stand on.
All of the characters have grown beautifully, and Susie most of all. She doesn't let anything keep her from her goal, whether it's their lack of transportation for a regional tour, her lack of accommodation for a two-month stay in the Catskills, or a pesky kidnapping, Susie takes it all in stride.
It's not just the story of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, but of the plucky Miss Susie and how she will surprise everyone by taking the world by storm by managing the heck out of it while nobody was paying attention. She makes moves people easily dismiss because they think she can't be serious.
But Susie is generally as serious as a heart attack, and the way things play out for her is almost as interesting during the season as the way they pan out for Midge by the last of the very fast-paced ten episodes.
There is less comedy on stage this season than there was during the show's initial run, and the series is better for it. The funniest part of the show, and what Sherman-Palladino and her producing husband and partner, Dan Palladino, do best is in the dialogue.
Even Midge's best standup is when she's off-book and winging it and delivering her set by chatting with the audience rather than having prepared in any way.
The finale left a lot of things up in the air and offered many options for the sure-thing that is The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 3. If you don't have Amazon Prime, now is the time for money to exchange hands. You don't want to miss this treat with all the time to watch over the holidays.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel drops on Amazon Prime Wednesday, December 5 on Amazon Prime.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.