One night only with the incomparable Veronica Moore. And a gasp-worthy finale.
1. KAREN AND JIMMY, or, “Let’s try that again when you’re not high.” AKA Frustrating Budding Relationship #1. Guys, why is Jimmy such a douche? Beyond Jeremy Jordan’s lack of sideburns, his short fuse is infuriating, to say the least. If he’s supposed to be the brooding bad boy, he’s just bad. Except when he was rolling (“I took some drugs”) and had a “wow-worthy” smooch with Katharine McPhee. We all know people like this, but it sucks to watch a total novice in the world of Broadway pout until he gets his way. Perspective, Jimmy! Take note of Tom’s eye rolls. And that your mystery-orientation songwriting partner Kyle is strutting through Staten Island singing Billy Joel’s “Everybody Loves You Now” to his iPod. Be nice to him, so we don’t have to have anymore out-of-context musical numbers. (Seriously, “Smash,” you’re usually so good about not “Gleeing” it.)
2. JULIA AND PETER, in which Debra Messing chucks a script at the dramaturg on the streets of Manhattan. AKA Frustrating Budding Relationship #2. The B-plot this week involved sassy Debra Messing’s ongoing tug-of-war with dramaturg Peter, who invites her to speak to his NYU acting class, only to have his students read the current script of “Bombshell” aloud to show her how much work it needs. He subtly changes the leading lady’s name to Mary (opening line: “Hi, I’m Mary”) – but Julia doesn’t realize she needs a new direction until she gets day drunk with Peter and realizes Marilyn is defined by the men around her, which is why the male roles in the play are so much stronger. Then Peter asks her to his house in the Berkshires to finish the new script, and in my post-Seth MacFarlane-Oscars-sexism-awareness, it felt all too “smart man guides weak woman to success and will soon tap that.”
3. EILEEN RAND’S DEVASTATING FALL FROM GRACE. ”Smash” got legal and Eileen has a deposition about her borrowed funds to produce “Bombshell.” Her corrupt boy toy, Nick (who is somehow only 15 years younger than her in real life), is back from hiding to turn himself in, but before court, a tank top-clad Anjelica Huston tells him he’s “a decent man” and should “come to bed.” Yuck. By episode’s end, she who used to throw drinks to get what she wanted is defeated – signing over producing rights to evil ex-hubby Jerry to save “Bombshell.” Then, in the episode’s final moments, a plot twist no one saw coming (unless you picked up on the hints all season): Jerry’s partner in crime is EVIL ELLIS. You know your show is now being run by a “Gossip Girl” producer when…an episode ends with an ominous phone call and a check is written to a former villainous character, who is ordered to never make contact again.
4. IVM HAS A MOMAGER. Let it be known that Ronnie’s controlling mom, Cynthia Moore, is played by original “Dreamgirl” Sheryl Lee Ralph. Considering JHud’s ASTOUNDING rendition of “And I Am Telling You” at Sunday’s Oscars, you all should be freaking out at this fabulous casting. There’s no way! No way! NOOOOO WAY! Cue the “my daughter’s still an innocent child star” vs. “I’m a two-time Tony winner and it’s time to get sexy” debate. Plus, Cynthia “seals the deal” to have Bravo (an NBC affiliate, duh) film IVM’s One Night Only concert.
5. THE PERFORMANCE THAT REMINDS US WHY VERONICA MOORE IS INCOMPARABLE. Guess what? This was a terrific episode of “Smash” – one of the best since the pilot. It had its share of ridiculous dramatic reactions, but the closing number – new original song “I Can’t Let Go” – is flawless. A belting JHud knocks it out of the park, and I got totally non-ironic chills. Hear that, hate-watchers? It was STELLAR. The added bonus is Ivy (who was IVM’s swing when she played Audrey in “Little Shop”) and Karen quite literally grinding as IVM’s backup dancers. “The Song” was a smashing success, and there are high hopes for the rest of the season, as long as JHud keeps killing it and Ellis actually doesn’t show his face. I. CAN’T. LET. GO.