Smash Review-- It’s All Politics: Is That a Conscience I See?
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Last week’s promo promised drama and it delivered—well, sort of. It still wasn’t even remotely as dramatic as the promo implied, but they’re getting there. The workshop is over, and everyone’s playing hard-to-get-ahold-of and avoiding one another’s calls. Eileen won’t answer Tom and Julia; Tom and Julia won’t answer Ivy or the rest of the cast, and Ellis seems to be the only one who’s universally in the know, due to relentless spying. This week we meet Eileen’s daughter, bleeding-heart-after-my-own-heart Katie (Grace Gummer, daughter of Meryl Streep), and are given our first glimpse into Derek’s attempt to take control of Marilyn: The Musical.
Ellis’ scheming is nothing new, but this time it’s actually moving the plot forward—or, at least, connecting the dots. First he shows up at Eileen’s apartment (“the door was open”) to let her know he’s available if she needs anything; then he’s with Tom, recounting the information he gathered chez Eileen, and revealing—if there was ever any doubt—that the only side he’s on is his own. (Not that he wants to be an artist, though—“artists are losers”). Julia meets Michael to break the news he’s already divined: he’s fired. I still hope it’s not permanent, though, even if I am glad the affair storyline is over. They’ve separately reached the mutual decision that they’re grateful for what they have (Frank’s science teacher does Bob Marley cover was pretty cute), and don’t want to do anything else that could mess it up.
Meanwhile, as Tom’s meeting with Ellis and Julia with Michael, Karen is meeting with Derek, who wants to look into going another direction with Marilyn. He’s collaborating with OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder to give Marilyn: The Musical more of an edge. You know, while it’s obvious that we’re supposed to view Derek as the bad guy here, I think I see where he’s coming from. There was definitely a lot more to Marilyn Monroe than the sort of Disneyfied version we’ve been shown so far. Tom’s songs are fantastic, but Derek’s right that they’re also “too nice.” They could stand to be balanced out by a couple of edgier numbers. (I’m not rooting for the one they tried tonight, though. It was a cool song and would make a great music video, but didn’t really speak to me at all, as far as the musical is concerned.)