Smash Review: Bombshell

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Smash returned to the rehearsal room this week in "Understudy" after a week away. The Marilyn musical is now officially Bombshell, with a star lead in Rebecca Duvall. One problem: Rebecca was stuck in Cuba.

The arrival of movie star Rebecca (Uma Thurman) was delayed and that was not without consequences. The show's investors got nervous and started demanding more and more access from Eileen. The lowest blow came when one investor told Eileen, "Jerry would have never put us in this situation." Ouch!

Ivy and Karen

On a more positive note, the production had to go on; they couldn't waste a single day. Karen was promoted to be the Marilyn understudy. If you are tracking the competition between Ivy and Karen, it would seem Karen is currently in the lead -- at least in regards to Marilyn.

Smash may have started as a battle between Ivy and Karen, but it has become an ensemble show with Bombshell at the center. It will be interesting to see whether the focus shifts again with Rebecca as the lead.

While the musical was moving in a positive direction, the personal lives of some involved suffered. Dev was withholding the truth from Karen about losing out on the promotion, which caused him to act out in other ways. Tom and John seemed to be doing well until John realized that Tom had feelings for Sam. And, Julia was still a wreck about Frank leaving her.

The show has struggled to incorporate the characters' personal lives into the episodes, but this week there was improvement in that area. Even if not the most compelling to watch, they weren't entirely separate from the musical part of the story.

The moment that Julia told Tom about Frank leaving her was immensely heartbreaking. Tom may be her "work husband," but he was there to support her when she needed it the most. She brought this pain on herself, but it was difficult to watch her try to communicate with her absent husband.

Should she have given him space? Probably. But, you have to give her some credit for trying so hard to communicate with him and start to make the situation right.

A different situation that was corrected was with the financing of the musical. Eileen felt she was stuck with Jerry's investors, but was saved by the bartender, Nick. I'm not sure that Randy Cobra will end up being the right decision as an investor, but we will have to see. Ellis's research turned up nothing nefarious about him.

Nick, though ... what did Ellis find out about him? As much as I don't like Ellis, Eileen should have looked at what he dug up on Nick. Was he involved in criminal activities as was mentioned by Randy? I'm a bit worried for Eileen. She has gone from seven dollar martinis, to a romance, and now involved Nick in the musical. Hmm....

The musical is now in full swing with the financing finalized and a big star booked. What could possibly go wrong now? From the previews, it looks like plenty! What a shift in tone at the end from Karen's beautiful performance of “Never Give All Of The Heart" to Rebecca's abrupt entrance. And, the knowing look exchanged between Derek and Karen. Until next week!

Odds and Ends

  • Ivy dealt with her unemployment surprisingly well. Will her "killing them with kindness" act work to get her back on Bombshell? Probably. Hopefully, the nice act will come with her. The bar scene between Ivy and Karen was a highlight and nice carryover from their night out.
  • Ivy's rendition of Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway" was well done and a good fit for the scene.
  • Tom stepping into the role of studio executive Daryl Zanuck for the new number was brilliant. Christian Borle was a joy to watch. It's too bad we usually only get to see him perform behind a piano.
  • Was it fair of Dev to ask Karen to give up her Broadway dream to go with him to Washington, D.C.?


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (64 Votes)

Carla Day is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


oh and that hallucination of Derek's involving seeing karen as marilyn was total BS--gimme a break she cant pull off marilyn even all dolled up, she dont got the chops. completely UNNECESSARY scene.
anyone but karen should be playing marilyn (preferably Ivy since she actually researched).


gawd karen keeps getting on my nerves! im sorry katharine mcphee, but i now do not like you b/c of the character you play. the whole innocence act is played out and just irritating. i feel like the show has to keep repeating "star" in regards to karen thru other characters to make the audiene convinced; well im NOT!
I dont buy her as a Marilyn, none the less as anything that has to do with musicals. her voice is too commercial and nothing special.


Keith, I think you should cut Dev a little slack. First, he hasn't told Karen yet about not getting the promotion because he feels like a failure and also because when he first saw her after getting the bad news, she was on a high from becoming the understudy for the lead role in the play. He didn't want to bring her down and did a great job hiding his disappointment and being joyous about his girlfriend's success. And why should Karen keeping what Derek did at his apartment be any less fortcoming. I wonder how Karen would have taken it if the reporter had made a pass at him and like that and he not have told her. As for Dev's anger over finding out a guy he already doesn't like made a pass at his girlfriend, who wouldn't be mad about something like that. He doesn't trust the guy around his girlfriend and do you blame him? Then he sees him coming out of Karen's apartment and yes, he probably overreacted. But he was obviously angry about a lot of things and he took out his rage on Derek. Probably not his finest moment, but given all the "snake-in-the-grass" behavior by Derek throughout this series so far - although he may be starting to change his ways - I didn't mind at all seeing him get punched. Now Karen is not speaking to him because basically, he defended her honor. I know there is more to it than that, but isn't that essentially what he did? I would think she could find a way to forgive him for that. As for Derek and Karen, there is something going on there. Ivy sees it too. So for that reason alone, Dev getting physical with Derek is not surprising.


Hands down my favourite Smash episode to date. I agree with @Cody that Katherine McPhee in the "full out" Marilyn act was breathtaking. Brava.


Who else got chills when Karen was Marilyn to Derek? McPhee nailed it!


terrie what show are you watching? Karen's performance in Touch me was THE best so far AND was perfect for Bombshell, so much better than that 50's musical nonsense the tom and julia wrote. dev was mean and stupid and not telling karen what is happening plus his relationship with the reporter, looks like that will end poorly.

Sarah silva

I also liked Tom's performance.

Sarah silva

This was such a great episode! I guess Derek is just a jerk as he treated Karen worse than he treated Ivy. I know Ivy told him to be nice and treat her like a baby, because she was pretending to be super sweet in hopes to get back in the workshop as after her meltdown no one in theater wants to hire her. However I think it made Derek realize he was being a jerk and that is not the way to get things done. It was nice to see a nice Ivy eventhough it was all BS!
I like that Nick was able to help Eileen get the funding and it was priceless when they light the contracts for the other investors on fire. I did not like them and they did not deserve to make money off Bombshell!
I am not sure if I will like Tom and Sam as a couple so we will see what comes of that.
I do not like that Karen and Dev are fighting. I have a feeling he will move to DC and they will break up.

Uss biddle dlg 34

McPhee lost AI 5 because half wits with unlimited votes hijack the show , and vote through some stiff...especially if there is one from the South.... Perfect description of the winner --Taylor Hicks- the worst of all the AI winners !!!!


@Bill sorry for what you went through(I've been cheated on too) but I think you and some others are taking this show WAY too seriously. Every week people keep harping on Julia having the affair like they never ever happen. IT'S A FACT OF LIFE THEY DO HAPPEN!!!!!!!!! They've incorporated it into the show so get over it!!!!! The reason Katharine McPhee didn't win AI is simply she has no stage presence and no personality. Go back and watch the show from the beginning.....Yes, she can sing but she is just blah when it comes to stage presence and personality.......the scene a couple of weeks ago where Derrick and Eileen arranged the performance of Karen for Tom and looked forced.........she looked uncomfortable.......... Going to be interesting to see where this Eileen and Nick thing go.....

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