Derek is compromised, Kyle inspires posthumously and Ivy works her muff
Previously, on Smash
So with golf overruns we open with the show already in progress because that’s how much respect NBC has for this show and its audience. But it’s some bit of business with that shapeless mess of a non-show Hit List so it doesn’t matter.
As the company dashes off for a costume change Daisy Parker, that dancer who accused Derek of sexual harassment and then vanished for months only to return on Bombshell’s opening night to serve as Derek’s third-choice dick receptacle, tells Ana how wonderful her performance is and how terrified she would be if she ever had to go on in her place. Gosh, I wonder of that offhand comment has any greater significance?
Jimmy’s watching from the wings, dissatisfied with the show since it transferred to Broadway. Karen says the show is good. Jimmy agrees it’s good, but it’s not great.
At the Bombshell rehearsal space (why are they still renting that?) Tom accompanies Lindsey Mendez as she belts out the end of a song called “Mr. and Mrs. G.I. Joe”. I believe we’re meant to think this is an old song from Tom and Julia. Tom compliments her and Lindsey guesses that she’ll be the only one at “Houston and Levitt night” who doesn’t have a Tony. “Except Houston and Levitt,” Tom replies.
Eileen jumps in to insist that the night is all about celebrating Tom and Julia and has nothing to do with the Tonys. Lindsey is three feet out the door and Eileen whirls on Tom. “This is all about the Tonys.” She asks after the whereabouts of Julia and Tom tells her she’s helping out with the Hit List transfer. Eileen worries that their separation will hurt their Tony chances, what with this being their last chance and the award being “long overdue”. Tom corrects her to “injustice”. He promises that both he and Julia will be there.
Karen runs into Ivy on the street, both on their way to the only restaurant in Manhattan, Table 46. Ivy congratulates her on the transfer and they chit chat about Karen’s Broadway experience and Ivy broaches awards season. They promise that whatever happens they’ll be adults about it.
Julia, Derek and Jimmy Charming are going over Hit List again, trying to figure out what isn’t working. Julia insists they have time since they’re still in previews but Jimmy insists the show has to be perfect! For Kyle, man! Derek suggests it’s probably just a question of adjusting to the larger space. Jimmy thinks it’s the sets. They wonder if Sam in the lead is the problem and Derek thinks maybe it’s Ana who’s the problem. Then he dares to suggest that it’s the book and Jimmy is all you just shut the hell up about the book Derek Wills because it is Kyle’s and he wrote it and it is perfect!
Before Derek can respond to this new breed of crazy with more than an eyeroll Eileen and Tom arrive. Eileen asks to borrow Julia for a minute and Tom and Derek fist bump and blow it up in the background and that is just bullshit. No way are those two bump-buddies.
The bartender places a martini in front of Eileen the second they hit the bar and Tom and Eileen explain their kooky new idea for the concert. Because Julia’s been spending all her time with the competition she will now sing. Julia’s all see, I really couldn’t sing I could never really sing what I couldn’t do was sing. Eileen’s all you owe me and Julia’s all my singing would be no favor and Eileen’s all I will crush you like this martini olive with my teeth and Julia’s all do re mi fa so la ti do. She tries to escape but Eileen glowers her to a halt and Julia’s all a kid DIED, Eileen! The dead kid card is the highest in the deck and Julia hot-steps off.
Eileen and Tom join Ivy and Santana Lopez From Fifteen Years In The Future, who informs them that in her capacity as Master of Whispers she has learned that a nomination for Best Score for Bombshell is a lock. A nomination for Tom for Best Director would be a surprise. Ivy asks about Best Actress and Santana Lopez From Fifteen Years In The Future is all, yeah, about that, it seems there’s going to be this blind item in the Village Voice (damn you, Musto!) about a certain Broadway blonde and her off-stage antics. Ivy’s gobsmacked because she’s been such a saint!
Santana Lopez From Fifteen Years In The Future: He mentions pills.
Ivy: Those were for my voice!
Santana Lopez From Fifteen Years In The Future: An incident at a previous show.
Ivy: Heaven on Earth? That was one night!
Santana Lopez From Fifteen Years In The Future: Rumors about you sleeping your way to the top.
Ivy: Absolutely not!
Santana Lopez From Fifteen Years In The Future: And a particularly nasty comment about you and a former co-star’s fiancé.
Ivy: OK yeah, that was pretty bad.
Santana Lopez From Fifteen Years In The Future orders Ivy into “image rehab”. She’s Marilyn on-stage and Norma Jean everywhere else.
Ana toasts Karen on finally boozing it up at Stage 46 as a working Broadway actress. Karen toasts in return their working together and Ana replies, “I’ll drink to that.” I brace for the Rihanna song but it never comes. Ana also checks in about Jimmy, which Karen reports isn’t happening.
As they talk Derek and Stage Manager Not-Linda collude in a corner. Derek is concerned that Ana is making too many mistakes because of her exhaustion. He tells Stage Manager Not-Linda to give Ana the night off and departs, stopping for a moment behind Daisy to report that it’s taken care of. Credits!
The next morning Jimmy huffs into the theater mad at Derek for subbing out Ana. He’s been reading Dustin Goolsby’s Broadway blog and Dustin and the rest of the fans don’t think the show is as good as it was downtown. Julia decides that the problem is “context”. Downtown the theaters are small and there’s no separation between the show and the audience. On Broadway the stage is higher than the audience and there’s a vast gap between them and the show. They need to find a way to bring the audience into the show. I swear, if I see any more actors crawling across paying theater patrons…
Derek heads off to rehearse Daisy and Jimmy comments that this was really Kyle’s area of expertise, the big ideas. Julia wonders if maybe Kyle can help them one more time…from beyond the grave!
At their place Karen tries to reassure Ana that she isn’t being replaced, she’s just getting a break. Ana invokes Erin Dilly, who was replaced in Thoroughly Modern Millie by Sutton Foster. Karen insists Ana is just being paranoid but promises to speak to Derek about it.
She teleports to the theater where Daisy is rehearsing that air-dancing number, seeking Derek’s reassurance that this is a one night only replacement. He lies to her blank face that it is. She reminds him that the Diva only exists because Ana caught the eye of that horny editor from the Times and Derek insists that Ana’s exhausted as evidenced by missing cues and forgetting lines. Karen says the same is true for her and for Jimmy and Derek is can you please shut up about this so I can finish replacing your friend with my dick receptacle?
Finally even Karen twigs that Daisy’s in and Ana’s out and Derek feels the need to justify his casting decisions to her and goes off about the pressure that he’s under from dead Kyle’s parents and Jimmy and his return to Broadway. Karen says that Kyle would want Ana in the role and Derek informs her that that’s exactly the problem. He examines every decision through the lens of what would Kyle do and how he has to figure out whether his choices are good for the show or good for Kyle’s memory, which are not the same thing. Defeated, Karen departs the stage but not before cutting her dead eyes in Daisy’s general direction.
Ivy shoots a commercial for a product placed product that I will not only not mention the brand of, I will not even mention the product type. The director calls “Cut, print it, moving on” (I see what you did there, Smash) and Ivy bops over to chat with Sam. She’s freaked at Musto’s column because everyone in the comments guessed it was her. Damn you, Musto! Sam advises her just to keep looking for ways to shine, like at Tom’s thing tonight. Ivy mentions she just heard from Tom that her song had changed to something called “Grin and Bear It”. Sam remembers that the song is about a bunch of strippers and Ivy and her face are like, really?
Cut to Tom at the rehearsal space, completely abandoning his planned concert in favor of entirely new material about a rundown Vegas strip club in the 1950s with maybe ten hours at most before showtime, because why the hell not? He explains the concept as Ivy bustles in and when he gets to the part about her new song she jumps in for a word. Tom sends the company off with Assistant Stage Manager Kathy, whose Emmy reel will soon be featuring the line “Raise your hand if you’re a pimp!”
Ivy voices her concerns about the new song choice. She needs to show people that she’s more than just a Marilyn. Tom insists that this new character is nothing like Marilyn. “You’re Coco, a depressed alcoholic stripper…point taken.” He can’t take a song away from anyone else at this point so her choices are “Grin and Bear It” or don’t sing.
Before she can answer Eileen and Santana Lopez From Fifteen Years In The Future burst in, calling on him to check his phone. He has dozens of messages because news of his split from Julia has leaked. Eileen announces her belief that Jerry leaked it. Santana Lopez From Fifteen Years In The Future is worried because people already think the show has a “split personality” (Who? Who thinks that?) and an actual split will confirm it. Eileen shrieks that Julia’s constant absences aren’t helping.
Speaking of, she and Jimmy arrive at Jimmy’s place. He hasn’t been back since Kyle’s death. Good thing Kyle packed that bag for him. Julia finds a stack of note cards filled with Kyle’s rejected ideas. She shuffles the deck and lands on NEWSREEL. Kyle had an idea for an updated newsreel, with gossip sites, Twitter hashtags and whatnot splashing across the proscenium. Jimmy remembers an idea Kyle had for the Fringe Festival of taking the audience’s cell phone numbers and texting them during the show but they couldn’t pull it off. Julia is all that it a GREAT IDEA!. That is a terrible idea. You want to encourage people to leave their cell phones on during the performances? People who leave their cell phones on at the theater are douchebags. Oh wait, the Hit List fan base is hipster douchebags. This is a GREAT IDEA! Also, this is a bald-faced attempt to ratchet Tom’s unearned Kyle flashback further into continuity and I am still not having it.
Karen meets up with Ana and confirms Derek’s perfidy. Ana has news of her own, having uncovered Daisy’s previous accusation that mysteriously went away. Ana suspects blackmail.
We arrive at the Oak Room for the revue. Lin-Manuel Miranda and Tom are totally frenemies! Tom arrives at Eileen’s martini station and she again rants about Julia’s absence. He gets her on the phone, still trying to work Kyle’s terrible idea into the show for tonight because it has to be tonight because Hit List cannot possibly survive another performance without the audience getting some shitty text in the middle of it. The revue is starting in 15 minutes and Julia is now on first because of the change to a revue which Julia doesn’t know about because she doesn’t check message and oh god this is just like last year when Tom carried Julia’s saggy ass because she was so distracted and Julia’s like, we’re not married anymore. And Tom’s all yes, and everybody knows that now so we can’t mess this up. Julia decides that if everyone knows they’re split up she doesn’t have to sing. She can’t figure out why Tom is so fixated on the song and he says it’s because if they can get through one song together it will prove that the 11 years they were partners weren’t a waste of time. I’m not even going to get into how utterly repulsive I find Tom’s attitude because I just ain’t got that kind of time.
Julia starts to head out but just then Derek arrives and she delays her departure another several minutes to walk Derek through the terrible idea.
Backstage at the revue Ivy’s running through her lyrics and not looking at all happy about it when Eileen pops in to inform her of a change in running order. She picks up on Ivy’s unhappiness and Ivy explains her conflictedness over the stripper number. Eileen gives her a pep talk and sends her out.
Tom as the sleazy Emcee introduces “Coco” and Ivy burns up “Grin and Bear It”. I was going to snark on how badly the writers misread the temperature of the core audience of a show about creating a Broadway musical by putting a burlesque number in it, but it’s pretty great. And Ivy’s muff work is amazing.
Tearaway muff, haaaaay!
Tearaway muff beneath my tearaway muff, haaaaay!
Karen and Ana confront Derek ten minutes before curtain and demand to know the truth about Daisy. After initially refusing to discuss it until Karen threatens to perform (and Derek counter-threatens to put her understudy on, which, yes please) he finally admits that after he hooked up with Daisy a few times he straight up offered to trade her a part for some sex and she recorded the whole thing. The idea of a Derek Wills sex tape kind of makes my teeth itch. Karen says “I can’t believe I almost let something happen between us” and Derek comes back with “Oh my god how is this now suddenly about you?” and JESUS, DEREK, HAVE YOU EVER MET KAREN?!
He says their only chance is if Daisy is terrible or Jerry hates her so he can say it’s not up to him. Karen blinks disapprovingly and Derek retreats inside. Karen blinks disapprovingly again, and sighs. ACTING!
Inside Sam and some random deliver a couple of lines that establish forever that as a writer Kyle makes a hell of a corpse to introduce “I’m Not Sorry” which is set at the VMAs (ugh) and at which “Nina” and “the Diva” will share a stage and be on their very best behaviour. Karen and Daisy duet while the ensemble portrays their respective entourages and they have a dance battle that makes Lorenzo Lamas’s crew in Body Rock look like the American Ballet. The stage goes black and social media messages start appearing across the stage and cell phones start going off in the theater and the hipster douchebag audience eats that shit up.
At the Oak Room Tom announces the last song of the evening but Julia begs to differ. Julia pulls a number out of their trunk, prefacing it with a supposed Arthur Miller quote: “Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.” This leads into Julia singing “The Right Regrets”. Much like Eileen on “September Song” last season it’s clear Julia isn’t a trained singer but her roughness helps sell the song. What doesn’t help sell it is the montage of clips from past episodes chronicling Tom and Julia’s relationship. They’ve been together for 11 years but the montage can perforce only include existing clips so there’s no real depth to it. Tom joins in on a few lines and the number closes with Julia solo. The crowd loves it and Tom and Julia embrace.
At the after-party Eileen congratulates Tom and informs him that a producer is interested in mounting the revue for a commercial run. All he has to do is win the Tony, or at least get nominated.
Santana Lopez From Fifteen Years In The Future sidles up to Eileen. She’s isolated the source of the leak. It’s not Jerry.
Eileen you crafty bitch
The farewell concert is already bearing fruit, what with several Tony voters having switched their allegiances.
After Hit List Jimmy wants to start signing autographs but Karen pulls him aside to say how proud she is of him and that Kyle would be proud too. He thanks her and then leaves her and her honeypot right there on the sidewalk.
Tom and Julia connect at the party. She thanks him for tonight and he thanks her for the song, for all of the songs. She wonders if they’re doing the right thing because she’s been “Houston and Levitt” for so long she isn’t sure how to just be “Houston”. Tom feels the same and thinks maybe that shows it’s the right thing. They toast and he departs.
Julia gets a call from Jimmy who reports that Kyle’s terrible gimmicky idea went swimmingly and wants to map out plans to write the rest of the social media stuff. Julia explains that she doesn’t feel comfortable writing for Hit List. Jimmy starts down his usual road to asshole behaviour but manages not to quite complete the journey. So yay growth?
Derek reports that Jerry loved Daisy so Ana is totally fired. Karen wants Derek to stand up to Daisy otherwise she’ll hold that tape over him forever. He won’t do anything more to jeopardize his career. He walks out, brushing past the arriving Ivy without a word. She meets up with Sam and they exchange notes about their shows. Ana comes up to Ivy wanting to know if she was fired after the workshop because she stopped sleeping with Derek. Karen told her all about how Derek wanted to sleep with her and she didn’t but Ivy did so Ivy got the part. Ivy’s all, and what else did our Miss Cartwright tell you?
Ivy confronts Karen, saying she had no right to tell Ana anything. Karen’s is all number one, she’s my best friend as you can tell from all of our scenes from the entire first season of which there are none and two, everybody knows you prostituted yourself for the role already. Ivy goes you play this naive schoolgirl to get what you want but deep down you’re just as calculating as the next person, and again, have you met Karen Cartwright? She doesn’t have a deep down! Karen snipes something back and Ivy’s all somebody hold my earrings because I am taking this bitch’s Tony!
And then Ivy gets a call from her 24-hour gynecologist who reports that she’s pregnant and there are only two episodes left so just go get an abortion and shut up about it.
The “two hour series finale,” which is NBC promotional speak for “we’re burning the last two episodes of this dog off on the Sunday before Memorial Day when no one watches TV,” will air on May 26.