Smash Review: Crashing
With the status of the musical in the air, people moved on this week on Smash. Not to a pretty place for most participants, either, but rather to "Hell on Earth."
Ivy and Karen
Now relegated to the chorus, they were in search of other work. Ivy returned to the background in Tom's musical, Heaven on Earth, while struggling with being an almost-Broadway star. The competition between the two hasn't ended, though, as Karen landed a national commercial, while Ivy was late to the audition.
Ivy's use of steroids escalated to her use of a multitude of drugs. That, combined with her depression, led her to an acting out and, ultimately, a face plant on stage during a performance. Her reaction to losing the role of Marilyn may not have been healthy, but it was authentic. Very few people have the opportunity to achieve a dream like becoming a professional athlete, a movie star or headlining a Broadway show. The disappointment of coming so close and then having it taken away for a reason entirely out of your own control must be almost unbearable. Ivy has the talent, but she can't make herself famous.
Without the musical, the interaction between Ivy and Karen at the audition, the switching of the sunglasses and especially Karen being backstage to see Ivy's fall were a bit too contrived. There is no way that Karen, an outsider, would have been allowed backstage during a live show.
But all was forgiven. Why? Those convenient meetings ended up being worth it to see Karen and Ivy sing the duet of Rihanna's "Cheers" in Time Square. They put aside their differences and celebrated their love of song. The drinks, of course, didn't hurt. And even Ivy's angel outfit didn't even seem that out of place.
Of course, Ivy made it clear that they are not all of a sudden best friends, but the wall was cracked, if not shattered. Now that they will both be in the chorus, it would be nice to see them actually tolerate each other, even better if they return to the practice room friendly with each other.
Why, oh why, Julia, would you leave a song about your lover on your nightstand? Did she want to be found out? I haven't been a fan of the affair storyline because I had a difficult time understanding why Julia would hook up with Michael. She was introduced as career-driven, but dedicated to her family. This arc was poorly constructed and carried out.
Despite all that, when Frank confronted Julia, I felt for her. Frank has never been a compelling character, but for the first time, we saw emotion from him. His pain was almost lost in that initial confrontation due to Debra Messing's amazing performance, though. She sold Julia's pain.
In the end, Frank decided to leave despite both Julia and Leo begging him to stay. That surprised me. He is a family man through and through, though that could go both ways. Julia's betrayal could be too much for him to handle or his family could be too much for him to lose. For their family, I hope he returns, but her betrayal may be too much to forgive.
My favorite moment of the episode was at the end when Julia and Tom come up with the new name of the musical: Bombshell. Julia is clearly in pain and "Let Me Be Your Star" was quietly playing in the background. It's moments like that which make up for some of the show's misses.
In order for the musical to continue, she needed to find a star to play Marilyn. But she also had to deal with Derek. He didn't want to continue with the show until Tom and Julia fixed and finished it.
You have to give Eileen credit for playing hardball. She was left behind by her husband, but she will do whatever she has to in order to make this musical happen and be a huge success. Her "innocent" dinner with another director, Doug Hughes, had the intended result. She got Derek back on board with the musical.
Now, she just has to find her star. Ellis has shown no boundaries to get ahead and now that he is working for Eileen that hasn't changed. He pulled strings to get Rebecca Duvall (Uma Thurman) interested in the role. He's confidence is going to get him in trouble.
Did you cheer or at least smile a bit when Eileen put him in his place? Co-Producer Ellis? Not going to happen. For the first time all season, I enjoyed watching Ellis as he answered that phone. Is this the beginning of the end of Ellis?
Odds and Ends
- Tom and John were such a cute couple, even if John is a Republican. Everyone has to have some flaw, right? Unfortunately, it's beginning to look like Sam may be replacing him as Tom's boyfriend.
- Now that Ivy knows that Derek first tried to sleep with Karen, will she end her relationship with him? Ever since her blow up at rehearsal, they have seemed pretty solid. But if she is going to be in the chorus now, would it be better for her to not be sleeping with the director? Tough call here. They are both good and bad together.
- One of the more discussed topics about Ellis has been his sexuality. From the pilot, there has been disbelief that he was straight. We have seen him many times in bed with his girlfriend, but those who doubted his heterosexuality have been proven right. Ellis not only will sleep with someone to get what he wants, he will sleep with with a man.
I missed the workshop and seeing everyone working together on the musical during this episode. Going forward, I hope the episodes get back to the musical, instead of focusing so much on the character's personal lives.