‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ Season 5 Episode 6 Review: Roasting the Future

May 5, 2023

With three episodes left in its final season, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel finally finds a way to make peace with the jarring flashforwards it has decided to employ to tie up all of its loose threads. The first five episodes of Season 5 failed to figure out how to cleverly use the future to push the story forward, but Episode 6 shows that it is possible to move between the future and near-future to explore where Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) and Susie (Alex Borstien) end up. While the structure is remarkably better in “The Testi-Roastial,” the truth is: their future sucks.

As Sean Gunn’s Roastmaster snarks at the top of the episode, Prime Video has advised us to avoid going into specifics about the riff between Susie and the person “whose name we shall not utter,” in addition to a myriad of other critical aspects of what the Testi-Roastial exposes about that bleak future. So let’s unpack what we can about Susie’s rise to managerial fame and the fact that The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is uncomfortably hung up on Joel (Michael Zegen) still. Told through undeniably unreliable narrators, the episode reveals that in 1973, Midge abandoned her would-be groom at the altar because she suddenly decided she still cared for Joel — which makes as much sense as the rest of how Season 5 has been playing out.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel made a grievous mistake in Season 4, one that was a blessing and a curse all rolled into one. Paying off four seasons of chemistry between Midge and Lenny Bruce (Luke Kirby) came at a price, and the price is apparently the wildly off-putting idea that Midge just can’t quit her cheating ex-husband. Time and time again, the series has showcased the fact that Joel is kind of awful, and still, they keep trying to make him out to be a white knight, when his heroism is just male pride masquerading as care. Joel may frame his actions around the fact that Midge is still the mother of his children, but it reads like he still wants to control her and this is his only way to keep some grip on her fate. With how little the series seems interested in revisiting the Midge and Lenny of it all, and using it to contrast Midge’s bleak future as a multi-time divorcée, they should’ve left their short-lived fling on the cutting room floor. Why even pursue something with four seasons of build-up in order to keep pushing the lead back in the direction of her lame ex? The toothpaste is out of the tube at this point, but this storyline just doesn’t care.

Image via Prime Video

RELATED: ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ Season 5’s Timejump Is the Best Way to End the Series

The fact that Midge and Susie’s friendship inevitably falls apart isn’t necessarily surprising—and not just because it’s already been hinted at in the first three episodes of Season 5. Midge has proven that she isn’t a great person: from her horrible handling of what she did to Shy Baldwin to the fact that she’s a downright terrible mother. Sure unlikable female protagonists are what Amy Sherman-Palladino has become known for, thanks to the personalities of most of the Gilmore Girls cast of characters, but The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has jumped the shark by using its final season to destroy every likable part of Midge. Is fame really worth it if you burn every bridge on the way to glory? Showbiz demands a certain degree of narcissism, mostly as an act of self-preservation, but every flashforward has painted Midge in a horrible light. While Susie is hardly shown as a “good” person, she is at least painted in a slightly more sympathetic light because she was never pretending to be kind. Susie was born to be a cutthroat manager who was willing to do anything for her clients, and ultimately herself, and “The Testi-Rostial” proves that she may not be liked, but she’s respected by her peers.

Admittedly, the roast is quite comical in how it is constructed, and it is a really clever way to info-dump, rather than giving the series a proper send-off that doesn’t feel rushed and half-hearted. The cast of characters brought in to portray Susie’s colleagues are stellar, and really make the most of their screen time. As Sherman-Palladino is wont to do, she’s even tapped a Broadway star (Darren Criss) to pop up in a flashback as one of Susie’s almost clients. It is also very upbeat, both in the pacing and the story it tries to unravel, which will keep audiences fully engaged. It’s not necessarily bad; it just feels like a poorly contrived attempt to rush through character beats in an effort to bring the series to an end.

In theory, Episode 6—like most of Season 5—warrants a much lower grade, but it is salvaged merely by the grace of Borstein’s acting chops. Historically, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel always gives her at least one episode where she is allowed to be front and center, like “Everything is Bellmore” last season, and “The Testi-Roastial” is that for the final season. While most of it revolves around her reacting to the off-beat and colorful things being said to her and about her, the episode uses flashbacks (and flashforwards) to allow her to really sink herself into some of the integral moments that made Susie into who she is in the future. Borstein helps the audience see the cracks in the friendship in very nuanced and honest ways, even if the script’s delivery is shaky at best.

Rating: B-

New episodes of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 5 are available to stream on Prime Video every Friday.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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