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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.?

Review

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+.

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I loved the musical numbers in this episode, too, and I agree that Dev is a bore and an immature jerk, and I hope that Karen dumps him. I've got to say that I really think Uma Thurman is going to be a TERRIBLE Marilyn, (she has none of the soft voiced, zaftig or talent that the real MM had) and I think Kat McPhee does have the vocal talent and vulnerability to play Monroe. I loved Tom as Zanuck but I have to say Julia is pretty pathetic and grating. I, too am worried about Eileen and Nick, because I think Nick has mafia ties, (but he's really sexy), and though I adore Terrence Mann, the actor who played the Rock star investor, I have a feeling he's going to be more trouble than he's worth. I once interviewed Terry Mann, and he's a very talented guy who can sing, dance and act (he was in the original "Cats" on Broadway). I have a deep dislike of Ellis, who is creepy, but I love the interaction between Ivy and Karen..the two best actors on the show are Angelica Huston and Kat McPhee

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I am enjoying this show more and more! Last night was great - Karen is awesome... this is a unique show and I'm glad I started watching :)

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Karen proved on last night's episode that she IS MARILYN! Nuff said!!!

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@Bill: Well said. I'm sorry for your pain. I've been cheated on as well, but not during a marriage. It is completely all-encompassing pain. That said, while I can't empathize w/ Julia, Debra Messing has been brilliant the past 2 weeks (& I'm not a huge fan). Last week, when Frank left, I turned to my husband & said, "I've cried like that over you." It was very, very real.

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I enjoyed the show for the most part, but Karen didn't have a pencil & -- worse yet -- didn't know what "down stage" meant? Totally unbelievable. Anyone who's ever been on a stage -- even in "Podunkville" -- knows basic stage directions. LOVED Tom's performance as Zanuck. Zev was despicable last night. To offer to give everything up w/o Karen's knowledge of what was going on (& then to be so offended when she didn't jump to move to DC)was a huge strike against him. At least she's being honest. He's being very deceitful, & I hope it comes back to bite him. HARD.

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Questions: - Even though Ms. Duvall made it, is Karen still the understudy? That's how I interpreted it.
- Did anyone else take Derek's daydream about Karen to mean that even though he's sleeping w/Ivy, he's falling for Karen? Or is he just projecting qualities on to her that having nothing to do with who she is?
- They aren't really going to use towels in the Zanuck steam room number, are they? Those things opened up in all sorts of inappropriate places during the dancing.

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Part III...That would be "a quarter of self-esteem, please." Maybe it's just me. But, I thought a lawyer and graduate of Cambridge would both show *some* signs of self-confidence and trust in their respective mates, and not act like complete tools.

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Part II...Dev's a bore. His actions aren't consistent with his past character. There is no reason why he couldn't tell Karen that he didn't get the promotion. Big whoop; he still has the same job. It's not like he was fired. The entire thing is just manufactured to make him act out, and it's a lousy reason for acting out. He looks petty and immature, unable to handle the politics in his own job. No, it wasn't fair of him to ask Karen to leave NYC for him. They're not even engaged. Why should she? BTW, can we talk about immature jealousy radiating from significant others? Tom & his lawyer boyfriend have been dating for, what, 1-2 months? When did dashing lawyer guy get so clingy that he can't understand that theatre colleagues actually laugh at work, and kid around? Are people really this insecure in NYC that every little laugh, giggle, and touch is magnified waaay out of proportion? Geez...can we write these characters as having half of a backbone and a quarter of self-esteem, please?

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Really enjoyed this episode. Has anyone noticed that when things are better for the musical, the personal lives take a hit, and vice versa? Sometimes it's that way in life, too. I was disappointed that Eileen's financial desperation, and bruised ego, made her too gullible to Nick's suggestion. She is supposed to be an experienced Broadway producer, having backed several shows with her husband. Is it really wise to put all your financial eggs in one basket, have ONE investor? I don't do that with my IRA's. Why would she put her entire show at the mercy of one millionaire with nothing better to do? And, shouldn't she have discussed it with her creative team before refusing all other investors? BTW, since when do producers REFUSE $$ from willing investors? I would have taken their money *and* the millionaires. To be continued...

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And Kat McPhee lost to Taylor Hicks (who?) On American Idol! Puhleez!