‘Smash’ recap: Episode 14, ‘Previews’

Not pictured: Ivy's knife going into Karen's back.

Dev’s face is a weird choice for an opening shot, but all right. Next we pull back and see that Ivy’s asleep next to him, reminding everyone of that trite plot “twist” that happened at the end of last week’s episode. Because NBC is pretty sure you would have forgotten otherwise. REMEMBER?

Karen’s telling her unnamed dancer buddy that she fought with Dev and that Derek’s banging Rebecca, continuing to rehash everything that already happened. We wonder how many minutes this episode can continue without introducing a lick of new material. Ivy is missing, and she has no room to mess up today after what happened with “Heaven On Earth.” As the title card would have you recall, today they start live previews.

Ivy and Dev are still canoodling in their hotel room. There’s the always-delightful shenanigans of phones looking exactly alike; when it rings, Ivy scrambles to pick it up before Dev. They also have the same ringtone, obviously. It’s Jessica wow, the dancer girl finally gets a name! saying Derek’s about to start notes. Ivy says Derek won’t notice if she’s not there. Dev and Ivy promise not to tell anyone what they did. Surely this means no one will ever find out, and we’ll all be spared the overblown dramatics of that fallout. Right? … Right?

Frank and Leo are seeing Julia off at the theater and Michael Swift walks by, ignoring all of them. Leo asks if he was the only one who enjoyed that random moment of tension, and Frank assures him that he was. We second that. Julia coldly greets Eileen as the she walks into the theater, and then she goes to sit by Tom and Ellis, who is conspicuously operating a Mac. Julia is not speaking with Tom right now since he agreed to casting Swift. She’ll be really useful, since it seems like she’s just mad at everybody today. Maybe she should have stayed in New York. Maybe she can channel it into her writing, though?

Derek and Rebecca are kissy with one another; we still have no idea why he’s into her. Eileen confronts the director(/choreographer) as he exits the star’s dressing room, telling him he’ll be in deep trouble  if this tryst blows up and ruins anything for “Bombshell.”

Karen asks if Ivy’s OK. Ivy says that she’ll fall apart if Karen’s nice to her right now and goes to sit all by herself. Dancer Dennis comments that things always fall apart when a show moves out of town. Derek comes to give notes, mostly welcoming Swift back. The ensemble gets up to rehearse. Rebecca wonders why Karen’s acting weird toward her. The reply is, “Are you sleeping with Derek?” Rebecca thinks Karen is interested in him, but Karen says it’s Ivy. “Which one is that again?” Karen says she just doesn’t want to see anyone get hurt, and Rebecca says she’s in the wrong business a line Karen hears about every other episode. Karen could be replaced by a stick with googly eyes and people could just say to it, “You’re too nice!” “You don’t want it badly enough!” “You’re in the wrong business!” and “Smash” could save a lot of dough.

SMASH!

The first preview is about to begin. Eileen learns that Nick showed up for it. He’s wounded from some fight she doesn’t want to know about at least not right now. He bought a ticket, which was sweet but unnecessary, and she drags him up to sit with her in the mezzanine.

Rebecca does an OK job with “Let Me Be Your Star.” And we montage through some of the other well-known songs we’ve seen the cast develop all season. We see clips of backstage, and Linda even speaks to give a cue! Randall cruises by to drop off a smoothie while Rebecca whines about Swift.

Karen and Ivy get a new number, “Smash!” It’s extremely boring and lacking in content or purpose maybe Marilyn just needed a costume change break here or something? Backstage, Ivy and Karen bond. The end of the show includes Marilyn talk-singing some sappy words about people never talking or listening enough and then she dies with zero emotional impact, and no one in the audience claps. That’s exactly how we feel.

Walking out, Karen runs into Dev. Ivy comes up, and Karen “introduces” them. Eileen tells the writers that the show needs a new ending immediately, and Julia’s like, “But she dies!” Surely they can find some creative way around that?

Tom and Sam are having dinner together; Sam wants him to come to church even though Tom’s Jewish. It’s weird that Sam wants to hold off having sex, but introduces Tom to his parents and his religion which are actually much more serious, we think.

Eileen, Nick and Ellis are having a drink together. Ellis thinks the problem is Rebecca, but Nick thinks Rebecca is hot. This is why bartenders shouldn’t be casting agents. Ellis says he’s just trying to produce, because “someone has to.” Kid gets lippy when he’s deep into a whiskey neat! He gets sent back to his hotel room. Eileen actually mentions that she sees a lot of herself in Ellis. Awww, we like them so much!

Eileen gets up to sing with the pianist, who’s playing Sinatra’s “September Song.” We see Karen and Dev go back to her hotel together. Tom sees Frank escorting Julia home so she doesn’t get distracted on the way and have sex with Swift. Next we hope to see Frank walking around with her on one of those kid leashes.

In bed the next morning, Dev says he shouldn’t have “come back” when Karen asked him to give her space (not that he ever actually left town). We’re really angry that she says it’s fine because she actually wanted him to come back. Thanks for telling the world that girls don’t mean what they say and secretly want to be chased down, “Smash”! Why does this show hate women so much? Anyway, Karen says it would have been terrible if RJ had managed to come between them. Then she makes him propose again and accepts it. And then they have an awkward hug. At least when the Ivy/Dev thing inevitably comes to light, it will break up Karen/Dev for good. We don’t want to see their unconvincing relationship drag on for another season.

Ivy shows up for rehearsal early and confronts Derek. The last words he said to her were “I love you,” and now he’s banging the lead. He says the star needs his full attention, and he’s going to direct his attention where it’s needed. And Ivy will understand, because she’s a professional. And with that bit of emotional abuse, they part.

Rebecca’s on the phone, “I’m alone in Boston, dying.” And she got no applause for it. She’s very upset. Apparently she’s on the phone with her shrink, who always takes all of her calls because she’s so nuts. But mostly because she’s rich. Karen enters and tries to comfort her, and then Rebecca starts choking on her smoothie. RANDALL, YOU CAD! The rest of the weekend’s previews are canceled. The whole ensemble decides to go to church with Sam. But mostly just so they can fit more songs into this episode, we’re guessing.

Eileen and Randall chat outside; Randall insists that Rebecca is too careful with her meals to accidentally ingest peanuts. He says it must have been a deliberate poisoning, and Eileen says, “Who are you, Miss Marple?” Showing your age with that reference there, AH. Eileen just wants to wait until Rebecca feels better to figure out what happened. Derek says he’ll visit her in the hospital when she “wakes up” because apparently peanut allergies cause comas now. Eileen laments that this delay is costing them tons of cash. Julia and Tom need to work on a new ending, and Julia’s worried about how long Rebecca’s recovery might take. They’ve never rehearsed Karen, even though she’s the understudy. They say Ivy might need to step in, so having an understudy at all seems entirely pointless. It’s been months full of revisions since Ivy last spent time in this role, so how is she better equipped for the current version than Karen?

Ivy, Ellis, Dennis and an unnamed dancer are day drinking, and we’re jealous. They’re having the same Ivy/Karen conversation. Ivy gets a text and runs outside to sneakily meet up with Dev. He thinks he left the engagement ring in her room. They’re at the Colonial Lodge, by the way. This is a fictional hotel, so don’t try to book a room there during your “Smash” reenactment tour (wow that would be the lamest thing ever; if you do it PLEASE e-mail us). Later, at some point, Karen’s practicing the songs in case she needs to step in, and Dev is just watching her. Yeah, that moment could have been left on the cutting room floor.

Next, Swift is confronting Julia in the hotel lobby, but she tries to walk past him. He grabs her and physically forces her to talk to him. He’s under the impression she wanted him to come back. She says she never wanted him to come back. She shouldn’t have told him this since they could lose their DiMaggio. Or it could seriously disrupt his concentration and performance. She needs to play it cool and flirt with the leads until they’re happy, like Derek. Derek does everything right on this show.

Julia confronts Tom, saying that if he’d voted against bringing Swift back then it “contractually” couldn’t have happened. (Writers do not have contractual voting rights to casting input, in case you were wondering.) She says that he put the show ahead of Julia’s family. He cuts her off and says she did that, not him. He told her a million times that running around with Swift was a bad idea, and she kept making poor decisions that ultimately hurt her “perfect family.” Julia says she’s trying to fix her mistake, but Tom’s ruining it. He says he stood by her through all of it. Julia accuses him of being righteous and never thinking things are his fault. (But this really isn’t his fault, Julia.) She says they’re not a true team, because the show is more important than their teamwork. Stop being mean to Tom! She yells at him and storms out, saying she needs to get back to work. Writing a new ending and a new song sounds like something they should really be working on together, but oh well!

The dancers are saying something about Jessica never being able to find her phone, and we wonder what stupid phone-swapping thing is about to happen as a result of this setup. Jessica having a name is causing nothing but trouble. We see the cast going out for drinks and Dev and Ivy exchange weird glances.

Next we’re at church, and we get to see Sam’s awesome family again. Karen says she “loves church.” They joke that if Derek came he would burst into flames. Julia shows up with her family, and Frank thinks church will cure his philandering wife. (Wait, he can be a science teacher and religious? We’re going to have to check our “Smash” stereotype guidebook, this one’s throwing us for a loop!) Inside, as predicted, Sam starts singing Donnie McClurkin’s “Stand.” This scene is much more ironic thanks to Leslie Odom Jr.’s role as a do-good preacher on Broadway right now in “Leap of Faith.” Sadly, Karen runs up to steal his spotlight.  

Tom walks up to Julia afterward and says Marilyn could go to church at the end of the show instead of dying, but Julia says she has a better idea. They apologize to each other. Shortest fight ever on this show!

Dev says Karen was gorgeous singing at the front of the church choir. He’s moved to confess about his sins with Ivy. But Rebecca calls, and Karen has to take it. She goes to meet Rebecca at the hospital. Rebecca says she could taste the peanuts in her smoothie but she drank it anyway because she was too scared about the show. And now she doesn’t want to go back, either. Karen tries to encourage her to come back because Karen has no sense of self-preservation. Karen says she’s not as ambitious as everyone else. Rebecca thinks Karen should get this role. We don’t understand how Rebecca isn’t contractually obligated to stay with the show. But she won’t be totally better for a few weeks anyway.

Back at the hotel, Karen reassures everyone that Rebecca will be fine, even though she was purposefully poisoned. And she’s not coming back to “Bombshell.” So now they question who will replace her to play Marilyn. The episode ends with Ivy and Karen locking eyes in an unspoken standoff.

Next up is the season finale! We can’t wait. TEAM IVY FTW!


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