Warning: The following post contains spoilers for the first two episodes of Season 2 of Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
Before shooting began on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel‘s sophomore season, cast member Marin Hinkle got a hint that she might want to keep her passport handy.
“I got a phone call about a month or two before we were heading to Paris, asking me, ‘Hey, do you speak French?'” Hinkle, who plays Midge’s mother Rose on the Amazon comedy, tells TVLine. “I didn’t know if we were going to Canada, maybe. I said, ‘Yeah, in high school,’ and they said, ‘OK, we’ll help you out with a tutor.'”
Good thing she brushed up on her verb conjugation: Season 2’s first two episodes find Rose in Paris, where the Manhattan mom impulsively moved — without husband Abe — after feeling like no one at home needed her anymore. There, she reinvents herself as a carefree bohemian who’s about a thousands times less uptight than the Rose we met in Season 1. “She didn’t feel like she had an identity any longer,” Hinkle observes. “In times like that in life, people go on meditative searches and quests. I feel like that was Rose’s version of meditation. She basically finds herself again.”
Hinkle didn’t have much time to prepare: “We never had a script until maybe a day or two before we left, and at that point, I basically had to really learn the French that I was going to say for those episodes.” But the rushed schedule actually helped the actress get in touch with her character, she says. “That kind of fish-out-of-water feeling, of being back in a land that was unfamiliar that Rose has, was really similar to how I was feeling.”
She points to Midge’s marriage falling apart in Season 1 as the earthquake that eventually led to the aftershock of Rose’s big move: “When Midge’s relationship with her husband broke, the ripple effect is that other breakages occurred.” Plus, Rose and Abe were already suffering from “a lack of openness and deep appreciation that tends to happen in relationships after many years… I think she wasn’t feeling heard or seen, and she says that to her husband, waiting for a response. There’s a part of her that tested him a bit, and he failed the test.”
By the end of Episode 2, though, Rose ultimately decides to return to New York with Abe and resume her life as an Upper West Side housewife. How did Hinkle make sense of that character choice? “One way I got my brain around that was to say, ‘Look at that time period,'” she says. “I often, as a woman in 2018, question Rose’s choices, but I have to go back in history and say, She was a woman in her 50s, in the ’50s, who clearly needs to be devoted to her husband to keep that marriage afloat.” Also, she adds, it’s not like Rose had Skype or FaceTime to keep in touch with her family while in France: “It would be too hard to be actively connected to her daughter and her son and her grandchildren. I think that played a part in it, too.”
But she still enjoyed some lovely times in Paris — including that gorgeous fantasy dance sequence with co-star Tony Shalhoub along the Seine river at night. “We had a French dance teacher teach Tony and me to do this extraordinary waltz,” Hinkle reveals, and she found herself just watching “all these beautiful Parisian dancers who I was just in awe of.” But whenever she had any time to spare, she did her best to immerse herself in the native language: “I would sit down with any of the people we were working with, and say, ‘Please just talk to me in French.’ I’m not going to understand 90 percent of it, but I just want to hear those sounds.”
Altogether, Hinkle spent about two and a half weeks in Paris — so was she actually fluent by the time she left? “My French was… passable,” she admits. “Most of the stuff that I learned was to really understand what I was saying in those scenes. But if you put me in a museum to actually have a real conversation, I never would’ve made it.”
Mrs. Maisel fans, what did you think of Rose’s move to Paris… and her decision to come back? Hit the comments below to share your reaction.