Midge and Susie have always been an unlikely duo and “Someday…” looks at their relationship with tenderness and humor, while also continuing the trend of refusing to probe more deeply into their friendship. At this point, I’m honestly puzzled as to why this is the case, especially when the scenarios in which we are placing these two dynamic actresses encourage greater intimacy. But while this episode is terrifically fun to watch and has some tremendously good gags, we also don’t really get to know Susie any better (though we do learn that she snores!).
This all makes me worried that Susie has been thrown under the bus a bit as a character for the bulk of this season. Though she is given some of the best zingers throughout the series, and there are some attempts to get to know her through her family, we still don’t really know very much about Susie’s inner world. Sure, she has a few key desires, but most revolve around Midge. One of the reasons that I loved “Let’s Face the Music and Dance” so much was that it unpacked Susie’s longing for a warm family in a way that was both funny and telling. But though “Someday…” places Midge and Susie in close quarters, sharing a beat up car and even more beat up hotel rooms as they tour the Philly area, we don’t leave the episode learning anything truly new about Susie’s character.
This certainly isn’t true for other characters this season. One of the reasons I loved the first few opening episodes of season 2 is the fact that we got to know Rose so much more intimately. And even though some of the revelations about Abe have been disappointing—he’s gone from endearing to infuriating in more than a few controlling moments—I do feel like I have a better understanding of who he is and what he wants from life.
And Joel! Good God, last season I could barely stand to look at him. This season, I not only can see how much he’s grown and changed, but I’ve also become much more sympathetic to his character. That final moment, where he defends Midge’s right to get paid by punching a club manager in the face, may not have been feminist (“Unfortunately, sometimes to make things work in a man’s world, you need a man,” Midge tells Susie while they count up their hard earned cash) but it sure was gratifying.
In contrast, I don’t feel like I understand who Susie is as a person any more than I did in season 1, and it’s frustrating because she’s a character I love and really want to know more about. But “Someday…” just confirms what we already know: that Midge is fastidious and perky, while Susie is less uptight, but also far more surly.
Still, despite this episode sticking a bit to the surface, it was a complete pleasure to watch. A lot has been said about the way that The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel obsessively depicts wealth and beauty, but the show also does a great job conveying seediness with similarly great attention to detail, from the car that won’t start unless Midge is “ass up” to motel rooms filled with un-plunged toilets and vermin (poor Susie really gets a raw deal with whatever skin reaction happens to her face).
Midge tries very hard to see spaces like these as an adventure, but it’s clear that they make her incredibly uncomfortable too. She may be embracing her independence, but she is still the kind of woman who wants someone to bring up her bags and who hates not getting to shower. “It’s like I have a twin who is a middle aged whore!” Midge says about her own reflection as she struggles to get ready for a gig in the car while Susie drives.
The subplot of the baby shower is a great exploration of how Midge is emotionally moving away from her Upper West Side world, even though she still is enamored of its comforts. Imogene’s party is fluffy, ornate, and feminine, all true markers of a Midge Maisel event, but because Midge mixed up the dates, she isn’t able to actually be there.
Imogene may be forgiving of her friend’s mistake (which seems a little out-of-character, but maybe it’s the pregnancy hormones that have mellowed her out!) but Rose is furious by her daughter’s misbehavior. Let’s just also take a moment to note how Midge totally gets her comedic timing from her mom. After all, that zinger about Imogene closing her legs to keep the baby from coming out so that they can all wait for Midge to get home was quite the burn.
When Midge does get home, she is startled to see that her still pissed off mother left the party mess for her to clean up. In the final moments of the episode, we see a slightly disheveled Midge attempt to clean up old streamers, half deflated balloons, and plates of leftover cupcakes, while The Strokes’ (The Strokes!?) “Someday” plays in the background. Still, though tired, she moves about the apartment resolutely, like a reprimanded teenager who is obviously still proud of her mistakes.