'Smash' Recap: Reaching for the Star
'Smash' Recap: Reaching for the Star
Modern Marilyn

Last week, if you'll remember, the workshop was held and didn't go over that well with critics and potential investors. So this week, Derek and Eileen leave everyone hanging and work on a more modern take on Marilyn. They go behind Julia and Tom's back and collaborate with a new set of writers to come up with a more contemporary song, and they go behind Ivy's back because they enlist Karen to sing that song. So in the meantime, all the characters have to wait on a call from Eileen to know what's going to happen with the show.

Court Case

Over at Julia's house, for example, their annoying rebellious teenage son Leo has a court case because of his pot smoking in the park. But weirdly, the show doesn't really go through with it. The case gets thrown out quickly, and Leo's left with a citation because he allegedly walked on some patch of grass at the park that was supposed to be sealed off from the public. Can you feel the dramatic excitement? In the end, apparently, everything works out because Julia, lioness of a mother that she is, yells at the judge because the legal system mistreats her privileged son.

Musical Bowling

On Ivy's side, she is impatiently waiting on the word if she's going to be Marilyn in the show or not. How does the show spin that into dramatic tension? Ivy is sent bowling with other members of the chorus, and they all break out into song and dance while hauling bowling balls around the bowling lane. A chance encounter with Ellis awakens suspicion in Ivy that Derek might be up to no good with Karen. So Tom's nosy assistant and Marilyn-in-the-making team up to spy on Derek.

Family Tension

Meanwhile, Eileen's daughter comes back to town. She is a "saint," and normally busy "saving the world," but Eileen's conniving ex-husband has put $3 million into her trust fund, which somehow suggests to her that something might be up with her parents' relationship. So we get a scene in which she repeatedly tells her dad that he should give Eileen money (how empowering!), but the storyline doesn't really go anywhere from there. In the end, she puts some furniture into her mother's empty apartment, and they hug it out.

Derek's Past

There were two great scenes involving Tom. Eileen and Derek showcase the new song to their creative team. It's a, frankly, horrible electro-dance number and totally out of sync with what we saw from the show last week. Understandably, Tom and Julia are not amused. It culminates into an intense shouting match between Tom and Derek in which they work out some issues they had in the past.

On a previous collaboration over a decade ago, Tom's songs were heavily criticized in a big review while Derek's stage direction was lauded to high heavens. And after Derek unleashes a few homophobic bombs on Tom, he retorts that the only reason Derek got a good review was because the critic was sleeping with the director's dad. Ouch.

Ivy's Future

And then Tom needs to tell Ivy that she won't be Marilyn. It's a heartbreaking scene because Ivy was great, and Tom knows it. But it's out of his control and she knows that, too. So it's with a general sense of "this sucks but there's nothing we can do about it" that they give each other some sad looks -- and then Derek crawls into Ivy's bed to make it all better.

So what did you think of this week's episode? Curious to see who may be the new Marilyn? Sad to see Ivy sidetracked like that?

Jan Cee
Contributing Writer

(Image courtesy of NBC)