Well Smasholes, we did it. It seems like only yesterday I was promising a "great" season of tea and breasts
and despite my natural human instinct to boil myself alive rather than watch another second, week after week, I kept going. The tea was allowed to steep, the breasts were exposed (but not really, this is network TV people), and the Smash
went on to impress even the most cynical of viewers (like myself) with just how much these characters could shirk empathy with their behavior. Although I'm ecstatic that I will no longer be writhing in excruciating pain every Monday night at 10/9c on NBC, I can't help but feel conflicted, because now what will be the worst part of my week? Before it was expected, and now IT COULD BE ANYTHING! AH! Anyway, once more, with feeling.
We're dropped right into the action, or Smash
's idea of action, which is just fast cameras and overacting. Tom and Julia are busy finishing the final song on the step in the lobby of the theater as patrons pour in for the Monday night show. Talk about crunch time! We then follow the actress playing Marilyn backstage from the wings to the lights and everyone is wondering WHO IS IT? So it all comes down to the central question (again), whose cuisine reigns supreme in Smash
stadium? Will it be the green, crunchy, sweet-and-sour Karen chops? Or the tangy, tough, pork-fried Ivy? Revenge is a dish best served in season 2, so I'm going with Karen, because of Tom's indignant face as mystery Marilyn passes. But let's begin 12 hours earlier, because Smash
tells us it is so.
12 hours ago, the dream team is arguing about finding a replacement for Rebecca and Derek storms out. The cast hears it. Confusion and chaos. Ellis delivers a message to Eileen and he has the world's dumbest suit on, I mean, we're talking thrift store run by Willy Wonka bad. Speaking of clothes, Derek only understands thing in terms of sexual desire so he goes to sniff the Marilyn costumes in the hopes that one might arouse him more than the others. Yes, it's Karen he wants to bone, he decides, so it looks like he's going to pick her early and I just lost five dollars. God damnit Smash
, couldn't you draw it out a bit? You could ruin a Hot Pocket.
The revelation that Karen is going on as Marilyn hits everyone. Tea tells her it's going to be hard, no duh, but "everyone wants you to succeed!" And then five seconds later she's telling Derek she can't do it. Haha, what a chai-ho. Ivy is still a "shadow self" which is a totally heavy-handed metaphor at this point. Ellis makes a play for Ivy to take over and yells at Eileen that "it's [Ivy's] part," and Eileen tells him to go on a Starbucks run. LOLbucks! Angered at this perceived slight and belittlement, Ellis admits he was the treacherous dog who put peanuts in Rebecca's smoothie, and thus Eileen fires his dumb ass. FINALLY. He promises we haven't seen the last of him and with a twist of his Dick Dastardly moustache, he vanishes in a puff of smoke and a suspenseful deceptive cadence. Great. Another reason to Bravo watch what happens.
Michael tells Tea that his wife left him because of their scandalous late night boink-sessions and they share a tender moment in the dark which OF COURSE Frank gets a look at. Whoops! Outside the theater in a huff, he says he can't trust Tea, which is fair. She tries to sell him on the idea of their family being good, and more worth Frank's problems with her and the bad and they end it on a handshake? Perfect marriage. 10/10. Julia realizes her speech to Frank is the answer to her problem with the last song's lyrics and begins to work on "the good is bigger than the bad" which sounds sneakily like a Marxist philosophy on their policy if you ask me. COMMUNISTS.
Karen isn't doing so great at filling in, which makes me nervous about how I doubled-down on Karen staying as Marilyn. Smash
I swear if I lose $20 today, I'm going to write some fan fiction where Ellis joins the Illuminati and pioneers the downfall of Broadway by producing the first Reality musical (wait a second... plausible). Ivy assaults Derek for answers on why she wasn't chosen and he gives her the absolute meanest answer ever, "she just has something that you don't." What? Brown hair? Are you serious? Who says that? He must really want a bite of that Karen-chop! Ivy takes one look at Karen's pictures and turns into a giant green rage monster. She tells Dev she never found the ring but OH SHIT SHE LIED SHE HAS IT! I'M SO SURPRISED THAT SHE WOULD KEEP IT BASED ON THIS RECENT TURN OF EVENTS! Ivy smash.
Ivy drops the Dev-bomb on Karen-- that she Roger'd his Hammerstein (last one for the season!) and Karen doesn't believe her so she confronts Dev about it, and he admits it. Oh boy, all these feels unraveling and just hours to curtain! Karen breaks up with Dev and Derek takes Karen in the back to direct her, which given his track record, means we're up for yet another move in musical chairs with little Derek. She won't be the first to sit, and she certainly won't be the last.
Jerry shows up to help Eileen, but she's not having it. For all her character development as trying to prove herself, she actually does very little in the episode to fix the gigantic mess of Bombshell
so Jerry's offer isn't exactly off the mark. Still, he's a total douche, so she sends him packing. Fine. Pointless.
Tom and Julia come to the conclusion that Karen can't do it and Julia is sick, so she goes to throw up. Uh oh, TV trope alert-- she's pregnant. Double or nothing my losses so far, we have a tea biscuit in the oven and it ain't covered in Frank's Red Hot.
JoBro cameo reminds us that he (whatever his name is on the show) favored Ivy as Marilyn, probably because of the underage beej she gave him. Karen breaks down and takes off the wig, which is symbolic of her quitting her Marilyn role, in case you didn't pick that up from the eight times people said it.
Meanwhile, Derek is looking for Karen and finds a frantically dialing Dev, trying her cell. Dev and Derek have words, and Derek claims ownership of Karen. Yikes. We leave Dev looking like he just recapped fifteen episodes of a hit NBC show about musical theater-- mouth agape, stunned and miserable, like he just found out he is terminally ill with hearing "Let Me Be Your Star" in his nightmares every night ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?
Derek finds Karen in the closet, which ironically, is where I thought we'd find Derek after 15 episodes. He convinces Karen to do it (with weird sexual undertones), and she agrees, even though she claims he doesn't understand love. It's just as the rest of the dream team is letting Ivy know she's on (come on guys, stop meddling), and the excitement and unbridled joy in Ivy's face drops like a bombshell (GET IT) when Karen walks back out in the wig. Ivy's mom shows up with the bubbly because she's convinced Ivy is going on, and she knows a thing or two about Broadway, because she's the god-damn Bernadette Peters. Alas, she's wrong, this is Ivy's last midnight. "I'm just in the chorus mom, you should just go home." Actually there's like ten minutes left in the show, so you should probably stay, because judging by the look on her Chekov's gun-face, something bad is about to happen.
And we're back to the first scene! It's Karen. I win the bet? We get clips of the final Bombshell
product, with Ivy looking pretty pissed and mopey throughout. From song to song, we're reminded of how the show's narrative has had an effect on the songs and vice versa, which is essentially the thing that makes Smash
bearable from time to time, so OK. Fine. We finally get to the final song, and right beforehand, Derek tells Karen that no matter what happens to remember she's a star, and he "does understand love." Oh brother. Just when I'm bracing my manhood to say something nice, Smash
winds up its six-inch stiletto and rams it into my crotch as hard as possible.
The new ending "Don't Forget Me" is full of hope and wonder, and honestly, it's much more Broadway, so I guess it's better? Except that during the song, we watch in "horror" as Ivy plays with an entire bottle of her no-no pills the show ends with Ivy's apparent suicide, which totally steals my thunder, because I was going to kill myself at the end of this recap. FINE. I'll just keep on living.
Is Ivy dead? Who is the tea biscuit? Will Derek opt for the triple play? What happened to Ensemble guy? Shouldn't Ellis go to jail for attempted manslaughter? All this and more, unfortunately, next season. Now hand me my drink.