Rachel Brosnahan And Alex Borstein Break Down Midge And Susie’s Fallout In The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Serious spoilers for Season 5, Episode 6 – “The Testi-Rostial” – of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel are ahead. If you are not caught up, you can stream Seasons 1 through 5 with an Amazon Prime subscription, as the final episodes drop every Friday on the 2023 TV schedule

Two things were clearly inevitable in the early episodes of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s fifth and final season: Midge would become incredibly famous, and she and her manager Susie were bound to have a major, and catastrophic fallout. Well, the impending fight happened in Episode 6, and it was heartbreaking. So, I had to ask the actors behind the iconic friends, Rachel Brosnahan and Alex Borstein, about this pivotal scene, and what it was like to film the fight in the synagogue. 

In the episode “The Testi-Roastial” it’s slowly revealed just how successful Susie Myerson became through a roast of her career. However, a guest that is notably missing is Midge, her first, and most successful client. 

As the episode goes on it’s revealed that Joel found out about Susie selling Midge to the mob. So, after Joel struck a deal, and when he was arrested in a synagogue decades later, our protagonist found out how her manager betrayed her. What came next was a brutal and tragic fight. Rachel Brosnahan, who plays Mrs. Maisel, explained that filming that scene was really tough, telling us:

That was a really challenging day. It was early in the season. It was one of the first days that we were in the prosthetics, and so we were still kind of learning how to act with them and through them in a way that was new for me less new for Alex but, but tricky nonetheless. We've always loved the scenes where they fight. It's a chance for us to get our hands dirty, and work out some of our anger issues with each other. But it feels true to a relationship that is that intimate. There's a lot of trust involved in being able to tell someone to fuck themselves.

Not only was this fight hard to watch on its own, when you consider the weight of the history behind it, it becomes even more difficult to take in. A fallout had been building since Susie made a deal with the mobsters in Season 3, then when the fight actually happened decades later when Susie, Joel and Midge were much older it only added to the impact, because we immediately realized our main character was left in the dark for decades. 

Alex Borstein as old Susie on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

(Image credit: Amazon Prime)

With how intense their fight was, I can only imagine how hard it was for Borstein and Brosnahan to film. One part of the scene that the Susie actress mentioned as an element that snuck up on them was where the sequence falls within the season, because it’s right in the middle of Season 5. The Emmy winner said: 

You know, that was that kind of snuck up on both Rachel and I. We both had a similar reaction to that. That ‘Oh, god, this is the…’ you know, you're not shooting that at the end. It's not the ultimate, it's not even the penultimate, it's, it's kind of right there in the middle for us. It really snuck up on us, and it was a lot to get that information and to find out you know what, what Susie was really on the hook for and how many mistakes that she made and how she betrayed how she really betrayed [Midge] and in some ways you're shocked. You're shocked as an actor to see what your characters are capable of. So it was emotional. It was an interesting thing to shoot. We had a tough time, it was a tough time during that scene.

Adding a bit of context as to why this scene was so difficult for the two Emmy winners to shoot, recalling the history the characters have, and the deep love they share, Brosnahan explained:

They need each other, they complete each other. And so that scene, it was the ultimate betrayal. What Susie and Joel did to Midge, and it takes a lot of love to be able to have a falling out like that. The way that they come back together just felt so satisfying. It just felt like like a love story. Like any great love story. They have the highest highs and lowest lows together and you see them towards the end of their lives where they're better for each other having been in it.

She is totally right, Midge and Susie’s relationship is the great “love story” of this show, and seeing them break up was heartbreaking. However, this episode also ended on a high note, as the ladies had a beautiful and totally on-brand reunion, where they finally made up, and Midge forgave Susie. Bringing the story full circle. 

This episode was an emotional rollercoaster, to put it lightly, and we finally saw an inevitable fight that had been percolating for seasons. The actresses handled the sequence beautifully, and they proved, once again, why The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is one of the best shows on Amazon Prime. It gets you invested in a character’s journey, rips it away, and brings everything back around with a beautiful solution, all thanks to great writing and these two amazing performers. 

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She has written for national publications as well as daily and alt-weekly newspapers in Spokane, Washington, Syracuse, New York and Charleston, South Carolina. She graduated with her master’s degree in arts journalism and communications from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. Since joining the CB team she has covered numerous TV shows and movies -- including her personal favorite shows Ted Lasso and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. She also has followed and consistently written about everything from Taylor Swift to Fire Country, and she's enjoyed every second of it.