“Smash” Recap: “Joltin’ Joe”

We open this week with Ivy riding on top of Derek in bed. Sweetie, you already got the part, you can stop banging the director. When they’re done she wonders if maybe they could get together sometime and actually work on the role. His response of “That’s all we’re doing, darling” somehow doesn’t lead her to slap his face and roll off him. He calls it a joke and promises to set up a rehearsal time.

Eileen is selling off her jewels. She spots a pair of earrings that the jewelry store clerk says were inspired by a pair Marilyn wore in The Seven Year Itch. For fifty bucks Eileen has to have them.

Karen meets Derek for drinks. He explains that with the show being in such an unfinished state they had to go with Ivy because of her greater experience. Karen makes like she’s happy to have landed a part in the ensemble but Derek sees through her. He tells her that things can change rapidly in the theatre.

Just then Dev shows up out of nowhere, marking his territory with an inappropriately passionate kiss. He and Derek do the British equivalent of a dick measuring contest, comparing accents and universities.

The Marilyn gang is auditioning actors to play Joe DiMaggio, Arthur Miller and JFK. A nameless assistant notes that one Michael Swift is available to play DiMaggio. Eileen is excited, but Julia is less than thrilled. Derek is unfamiliar with him so Eileen suggests they catch him that night at his Bruno Mars show.

Cut to Michael (Will Chase) onstage performing the Mars song “Grenade”. He’s sexy and all despite his unfortunate pseudo-tribal armband tattoo, but the performance rings false for me. It’s like he’s trying a little too hard.

Eileen and Derek go out for drinks after and Jerry approaches, trying to tempt Derek into My Fair Lady. He spies Eileen’s new earrings and asks who bought them for her. This earns him his second drink to the face.

Tom is noodling song ideas on the piano and Julia thinks it should be “more ballad-y”. Ellis of course loves it. He offers to stick one of Julia’s note cards back on the cork board but her over-reaction cues him to depart to pick up the dry cleaning.

With Ellis gone Tom asks Julia why she dislikes Ellis. She deflects by saying everybody doesn’t have to like everybody then shifts the discussion first to the likeability of Derek and then to a possible duet for Marilyn and Joe. This leads Tom to bring up Michael Swift which prompts Julia to suggest cutting Joe DiMaggio out of the show completely. Why such an extreme reaction? I’m thinking she banged him.

Shift to Michael at home playing with his toddler son as his wife enters. She’s way more excited about his playing DiMaggio than he is. Yeah, he and Julia totally did it.

Eileen meets with potential backers in her office. Any enthusiasm they may have had evaporates upon hearing Jerry won’t be involved in the production.

Karen’s packing for a trip to Iowa for a baby shower. She’s worried that the trip, and the workshop, will cause her to miss too many shifts at the diner. Dev assures her that he can cover expenses but she isn’t sure she wants anyone paying her bills.

Ellis is chilling on a roof with an as-yet unnamed man and woman. The guy wonders how he managed to score the job with Tom so easily. It turns out Ellis’s mother knew Tom’s brother in college. The woman asks if he’s being paid for his Marilyn idea.

Cut to the next day. Ellis sees Julia’s notebook in her bag as Julia and Tom brainstorm about what Joe and Marilyn wanted for their lives. Julia babbles “marriage is a good thing” over and over and goes in search of her notebook. She can’t find it, because Ellis has snagged it and left the apartment. Cheeky monkey!

Karen arrives in Iowa and Dad crushes her dreams a bit. Unlike their last conversation in New York, she holds her ground.

Ivy, Dennis and the chorine (who really needs a name; does she have a name?) are backstage at Heaven on Earth nattering about Ivy and Derek’s relationship, and it’s all very uninteresting. It’s going to end in grief sooner or later. I’d prefer sooner to later because they bore me.

Ellis, on the other hand, interests me a great deal as he peruses Julia’s purloined notebook in a black wifebeater. The woman from the rooftop calls him on swiping it, but he justifies it by saying Julia has it in for him and he has to defend himself. He spots something of interest in the book but rather than tell us or his lady friend he decides on a makeout session instead. So Ellis is apparently straight after all. Le sigh.

Following a quick scene of domestic bliss, Michael is at Eileen’s office when Julia arrives. Awkward small talk ensues, culminating in Michael telling Julia she smells good. Total bonage.

Eileen’s at a restaurant when a waiter delivers a Manhattan and a jewelry box. Jerry smarms up to her table and tries to charm her, telling her the backer she’s there to meet is in because of him. Eileen lets him know in no uncertain terms that he’s not worming his way into her musical. And she lets him have it with drink number three to the puss and leaves.

Tom and Dennis meet for lunch. Tom thinks it’s to do with Dennis’ contract renewal but Dennis lets him know it’s an actual date. He also spills that Derek and Ivy are doing it.

Which leads to an argument with Julia about the ethics of having sex with someone you’re working with. Julia, not being without sin, has no stones to cast, which only angers Tom all the more. He stalks off and Julia goes after him, only to be intercepted by Ellis. He’s all you need to let him cool down, and she’s all I think I know better than some assistant… what he needs… and you go away… and he’s all I don’t work for you… and she’s all I fired you once, I’ll fire you again… and he’s all yeah, that firing really took the first time didn’t it.

And he gives back the notebook he “found” with a butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-his-mouth smile. It’s a little early in the game for Ellis to be showing his cards, but the back-and-forth was just awesome. I heart Evil Ellis.

Eileen finally meets with her potential backer, Manny, who tells her he’s not interested in investing unless Jerry’s involved.

Out in Iowa, the baby shower provides an excuse for Karen to sing Gretchen Wilson’s “Redneck Woman.” I’m not a country fan but I don’t hate it.

Then there’s another scene of relationship drama between Ivy and Derek. Next!

Tom and Julia kiss and make up and Julia confesses her affair with Michael Swift. No one else knows, except of course for Ellis who’s eavesdropping.

The morning after the shower Karen and her dad have a heart-to-heart and she assures him that she’s doing just fine in New York. Dad finally seems to get it but he slips her a check just the same. “I’m your dad, I gotta help out every once in a while.” He also fesses up that he sneaked into the shower so he could hear her sing. It’s very sweet.

The episode closes with Ivy and Michael singing the Marilyn/Joe duet “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”. It’s…not good. Definitely a song destined to be cut in out-of-town tryouts. Intercut with shots of the pair recording the song and singing it onstage are shots of Julia’s domestic bliss along with longing glances at Julia from Michael.

So. Interesting developments from Ellis this week. It should be fun watching the snake emerge further and further from the grass. I can’t wait to find out what he spotted in Julia’s notebook. And it was nice to see Tom and Dennis on a date. I don’t fully trust Dennis at this point, but they make a cute couple.