‘Smash’ recap: Episode 13, ‘Tech’
Derek’s place is sick, first of all. He’s packing in front of a ridiculous view of Manhattan over strains of “Another Opening, Another Show.” Montage time! Tom and Sam are still attempting to be cute with each other, this time with music. The music helps; it couldn’t hurt. Karen pertly kisses Boyfriend goodbye, while Ivy pets a picture of her mom in some kind of incantation to the dark arts. Everyone else is meeting at Grand Central to get on a train to Boston. For no reason whatsoever, we see shots of the highway even though they’re … traveling by train. We’re going to have to accept that we saw these characters on Metro North before we even saw them on the MTA.
Fun fact, because it’s marginally relevant: We used to work in the theater district in Boston. It was very glamorous. We sat very glamorous tourists in very glamorous booths at Bennigan’s. Remember Bennigan’s? R.I.P. Anyway, we used to like bragging that we worked in the theater district – some habits die hard.
At what’s probably the Wang Theatre, Karen stands onstage and stares, starry-eyed, into the empty house. The lights go out by accident and Derek yells, “Bloody hell!” Them’s the breaks. Or the breakers. Tech joke!
At some future point, Rebecca is alone at the theater crying and Derek comes in to work on the set transitions. Ivy drops by with coffee. She helps him work out a problem and he says, “And that is why I love you.” And Ivy’s face is like WTF DID YOU JUST SAY I LOVE YOU? Derek walks away, totally oblivious.
Karen wakes up in a hotel room that she’s sharing with an unnamed dancer. She has to justify why she was sleeping at 9 a.m., which we’ve never heard an artist have to do before. Boyfriend calls to say he wants to come up that weekend, but he’ll have to get his own hotel. They’re acting like it’s a huge inconvenience to share a room that’s basically bigger than our apartment. Then again, we’re surprised they aren’t sleeping eight to a room, considering the price of Boston hotels and the supposedly miniscule production budget of “Bombshell.”
Tom says he has a new song for Ivy and Karen that he wants to try, but Derek’s against having the shadows sing – and also, he just likes saying “no” to Tom. (He must be taking lessons from Sam. Ba-dum-ching!) Their new DiMaggio gets cast in a pilot in L.A. and he bails on them during tech. So Derek wants Swift on the phone, pronto. Tom says, “There’s something you need to know.” Derek says, “Michael and Julia? Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m not an idiot. I just mind my own business.” WELL SAID. He’s really just the best in every possible way. As we type this, we do realize we’re probably going to eat our words by the end of this episode if not sooner.
In the dressing room, Rebecca and Karen are trying on wigs and arguing over who looks better until the flamboyant costume mister says they’re both pretty. Rebecca says, “You’re paid to say that.” And he’s like, “No – I’m not.” He’s probably not getting paid at all. In fact, this should turn into a storyline about how nobody knows who he is because he’s just some Duvall stalker who slipped in (we would watch the hell out of that). Rebecca informs Karen that the stage fright never goes away. She’s like, “Great.”
Frank is teaching Julia how to make pancakes, which we saw her make before, so that’s odd. Tom calls as the whole happy family is getting together for breakfast. Julia’s home trying to make things work out since Frank just came back last week, but we think it’s super unprofessional for her not to be at tech since there will probably be thousands of rewrites. Tom gets off the phone without telling her about Swift, and Derek calls him pitiful. Eileen says she’ll do it when she goes back to New York. No one is surprised that she has bigger balls than Tom.
Rebecca only learns that her DiMaggio quit when she’s about to start “History Was Made At Night.” She freaks out because her director isn’t communicating with her and they’re supposed to preview in three days. Ivy stands in with Dennis to replace Marilyn and DiMaggio. Derek is like, “What would I do without you?” Ivy once again notices he’s being weirdly nice. Time to get suspicious!
Derek sits with Rebecca to make sure she’s okay, and compares her insecurities to Marilyn’s. He says she can use it. He tells her not to throw around her star power – but revel in it to escape from the terror. Outside the door, Ivy’s eavesdropping. Ellis catches her. He’s like, Welcome to the fold. Not really, but he reassures her that nothing’s going on between Derek and Rebecca. She’s like, “You’d tell me right?” And he says he’d do anything for her. Since when did these two get so close though, really?
Karen’s talking to a random dancer friend about how Dev is the love of her life, but she doesn’t want to see him right now. Back in New York, RJ is bringing Dev some bourbon because she thinks he’s sick. But he’s actually just using his sick days so that he can go up to Boston. He invites RJ in anyway, which can only end … we were going to say badly, except that it would be excellent, since they’re a much better couple than Dev and Karen.
In New York, Julia starts naming people who can replace DiMaggio instead of Swift. Eileen says they can’t take a chance, and Julia can take a break from the show. Julia says she won’t sacrifice her life or family for the theater anymore. Eileen says, I just told you: Take. A. Break. From. The. Show. No, but she says that Julia’s taking this far too personally. Julia says it just can’t happen, end of discussion.
Drinking alone with Dev, RJ’s talking about his “amazing talent.” Can they just bang so this awful couple can end already? We’ve seen this breakup coming since the pilot, and it’s tiresome. Oh, okay, never mind, that was already on the menu because they start making out. But Dev still wants to drag this out longer so he says he can’t and stops.
Tom is mediating between Derek and Julia. The former says Swift is coming no matter what and Julia says Tom had better come through to find a replacement. Derek wants intro music added to “History Is Made At Night,” and Tom says he won’t unless he gets the shadow song for Ivy and Karen. They trade.
The lights go out and Derek is hollering, but it turns out that Rebecca wants to do the notorious “Happy Birthday” number for him onstage in full Marilyn regalia – and yes, Karen did it a thousand times better. Then there’s cake. Randall pushes out the cake, which is our favorite part of this scene. He’s good for so many things!
Sam’s from Boston, and his mom wants to meet Tom. They’ve been going out for like three weeks and haven’t had sex, right? Isn’t meeting the parents at this juncture “moving too fast”? Not “taking things slow”? The arbitrary rules of “Smash” keep getting more confusing.
In New York, Eileen’s saying they’re getting Swift, period. Frank and Leo find Julia very distraught. Back in Boston, there’s a scene with horrible dialogue (in “Bombshell,” not “Smash” for once) and Tom is like, “Well I’m not a writer.” He says Julia will never come back if they bring back Michael Swift. This dramatic plot point has been hitting the same note for like 20 minutes, there’s no tension in it anymore. Derek says Julia needs to be a professional and suck it up; he won’t do three weeks of previews without a writer and lyricist. Rebecca’s facing some costume difficulties. Ivy and Karen are assigned to help take her gloves off during a song transition. Hopefully she will have a proper dresser by the time the show opens. We hope it’s the flaming costume/wig attendant aka stalker.
Dev shows up at the theater with a bouquet of roses because he feels guilty. Karen’s way too busy to talk and she says he can’t watch, so he’s kicked out to wait for her at the hotel.
Julia calls and says she’ll quit the show if they bring Michael Swift back. Nick and Eileen are at the bar discussing the ramifications of Julia quitting – namely, losing Tom and going to court about the material. And then everyone will be right that Eileen can’t produce without her husband. And she’ll let Nick and his investor friend down. He says, “It’s just money.” Who talks like that about $7 million? He also says her allegiance is to the show, not to Julia. (Wasn’t Eileen just explaining how keeping the show open requires being loyal to Julia?) The old people make icky sexy talk. Nick says he’ll close early. Closing while the sun is out sounds like a terrible idea for a bar – he must truly not care about money at all. Is he a bank thief or drug lord or something and we just missed that development?
Tom meets Sam’s parents, who seem charmed by him. But Sam’s dad doesn’t think it’s wise for Sam to be a dancer, since it’s not a career with any longevity. Tom agrees. We like Sam’s mom, who just seems calm and composed and loves theater.
Derek comes into the dressing room to boost Rebecca’s confidence and they end up doing it. Yes.
Back at Sam’s parent’s house, Tom’s helping dad dry the dishes. They keep talking about Sam’s pointless life choices. He overhears them and gets pissed off and wants to go back to the hotel. We think this is exactly what we watched with Ivy, where her mom is hard on her because she loves her and doesn’t want to see the industry tear her apart. SO PREDICTABLE.
Ivy runs into Ellis outside the theater. Why isn’t he guarding Rebecca from Derek??? He says he was sent on an errand. When assistants are sent on errands, it can clearly only mean one thing – so Ivy runs to the dressing room, where Randall blocks her path. He asks Ellis to get hold of his woman (hee). Ellis tells Ivy she should leave it alone and it will be fine. Ivy does not look like she believes him. Randall looks smug. He also looks like he wants to go back to pressing his ear to the door, so please leave, thank you very much.
Dev and Karen get dinner. He proposes to her out of nowhere. She says she can’t answer while things are so crazy with this show. He gets mad about her answer to delay answering, so Karen walks out.
Sam’s out on his parent’s porch, and Tom comes to apologize. Sam says he made a decision to do what he loves to do, and he accepts the ramifications. “This is what theater is – it is joy one day, and it’s gone the next. It’s like a religion. And I don’t apologize for wanting to be a part of that. And I don’t wish for something more, I really don’t.” Nicely spoken, Sam. It’s the more verbose version of “we’re all masochists.” Tom approves too, because he pulls him close for a smooch and says, “You are my best self.” His brother pokes his head out and hollers, “OH LORD, TWO MEN KISSING. Get a room, but not here.” He’s just teasing, though. We think Sam’s family needs to move to Staten Island and be on the show all the time.
The ensemble is partying at the hotel, so they must not have an early call time tomorrow. They decide to have a sing-off between Karen and Ivy, yet another ridiculous excuse to insert music into this increasingly nonmusical show. We would like to interject that everyone should really be resting their voices and probably not getting drunk two days before previews begin, but what do we know? Ivy would like to interject that she knows Derek is banging Rebecca. She thinks Karen knows about it already because Rebecca is her BFF. But of course we get Karen’s little ol’ Iowa face of shock instead. And then the singing begins: Mary J. Blige’s “I’m Going Down.”
It’s Karen’s “turn” in the “sing-off,” but her boyfriend barges in and steals her away. They’re by the riverfront for no particular reason outside of scenic ambiance. He’s mad she went to a party after he asked her to marry him – but more importantly, after all he’s given up for her, like a career in Washington, D.C. Because RJ found him a job there, and he turned it down. Karen says maybe he should go be with RJ, and he says he was. He says he almost slept with her, but he realized he only wants Karen. This is his grand declaration of love: Making grownup choices about his career and then resenting Karen for them, acting like she owes him something for decisions she knew nothing about and treating his own indiscretions as romantic loyalty tests. Dump him immediately, Karen, lord. Him: “I want to be with you always.” Her: Enjoy the Bolt Bus back to NYC.
Julia’s in bed feeding her sorrow. Frank and Leo say they made up their minds and Julia needs to work on her show, because it’s what makes her happy. She says they have to come with her. They’re randomly on spring break, so they have two weeks to visit Boston. Who has two-week spring breaks? We want to go to high school there! Anyway, that was pretty tidy to take care of, after all. Ivy and Karen have nothing to worry about, because cheating is apparently remedied on “Smash” faster than Sam is allowed to sleep with Tom.
At a random bar, Ivy and Dev meet up to drink the pain away. They’re all: “Hello, stranger.” Oh, we see where this is going. Everyone on this show sucks. But mostly the writers. Annnnd that’s a wrap!
Okay, so! Our recap next week will be very late, because we’re heading out of town (be jealous). In order to make up it to you, we’ve posted an extra article this week: an interview with Jaime Cepero, the deliciously devious Ellis. And yes, we asked him about Randall Jones. Enjoy!