Wednesday, February 6, 2013

On Broadway: Smash Season 2 Episode 1 Recap

Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

Season two starts out at the end. The end of Bombshell’s run in Boston, that is. We get another song from this faux musical called “Cut, Print, Moving On.” Personally, I liked the song, and this made room for the montage showing the cast, crew and creative returning to NYC. Karen has moved in with friend Ana (Krysta Rodriguez, who I’m THRILLED we’ll be seeing more of this season), signaling the end of her relationship with Dev. Ivy returns home and ditches all of her pill bottles a’ la Diana Goodman. Through the montage and the opening scenes it’s easy to see that Karen isn’t letting Ivy off easy. Karen even refuses to be in the same elevator with Ivy.

A creative team meeting with producer Eileen, writers Tom & Julia, and director Derek is quite the informative scene. Michael Swift wants out of his contract (there’s no arguing about that change from anyone). Julia refuses to read reviews, which Derek finds ridiculous. And Eileen announces she’s meeting with Jordan Roth to book “the best theatre New York has to offer: The St. James.”

Derek introduces Karen to Broadway Sweetheart Veronica Moore, played by Jennifer Hudson. We see a short part of Veronica’s show, and while I never really picked up the exact title of the song (or the show), Veronica’s performance was fabulous. It makes me wonder when Jennifer Hudson will come to Broadway for something more than a concert performance.

Seeing Ivy & Sam chatting about Ivy not being called for contract renewal is interesting, but only because they are sitting at those metal tables in Times Square. Who actually SITS at those tables? I think I once tied my shoe using one of the chairs. But I can’t imagine anyone outside of a tourist sitting at those tables and having a drink. Even being a tourist myself, I’d rather walk to the Marriot and go sit in the bar. But, it makes for good filming, I suppose. Great shots of Times Square and all.

We head back to the dressing room where Derek and Karen are talking with Veronica. Derek is apparently about to take the helm of a revival of The Wiz. Veronica is lined up to take on the lead role. When Derek asks Veronica to give Karen some advice, she tells her to “Protect the work.” And before heading out the stage door, she says “Get Ready. This is gonna be you in 6 months.” She heads out to a stage door full of camera flashes and yelling fans.

While Eileen waits in a restaurant to meet with Jordan Roth, her ex-husband Jerry shows up again. He throws his typical barbs about her not having the money or the friends to get her show to Broadway. Sadly, there was no drink throwing this time. Although Eileen does tell him to “Get out of here before I throw another drink at you.” Is this the first time Jerry Rand has NOT had Eileen throw a drink at him on this show? I think it might actually be.

Jordan Roth comes sweeping in full of smiles and announces to Jerry that he’s offered the St. James to Bombshell. This is immediately followed up by Eileen getting a call from Nick. She wastes no time before telling Jerry that Nick is her boyfriend. As both Eileen and Jordan walk away, Jerry texts someone (mysterious!) and tells them to go ahead with “the plan.”

While practicing for the press “soirée,” Karen finds out that Ivy will be singing a separate number with the ensemble. Karen is obviously disturbed by this. Ivy approaches Julia about her future with the show, and Julia tells Ivy to apologize to Karen again, and advises her that she may have been apologizing for the wrong thing. I worry more than a little about Karen at this point. We can see she’s run directly to Derek about Ivy’s participation in the press event. She waits for him while he does an interview with Michael Reidel. Reidel asks about Rebecca Duvall’s abrupt departure from the show. When he asked that question, I actually had to think for a moment about who Rebecca Duvall was. Oops.

As Karen waits for Derek we get our first glimps of highly anticipated (at least by me) Jeremy Jordan. Jordan is playing a bartender named Jimmy. You can already tell there is going to be some friction between Karen and Jimmy when she calls him on his poor people skills. When Karen finally gets her chance to speak with Derek, she tells him she wants Ivy gone. While not said in such a harsh manner, she refers to Veronica’s advice to “protect the work” and Derek tells her that it’s done. Do we think this is the end of Ivy’s participation in Bombshell? Not by a long shot. But the fact that Karen has taken her problems with Ivy this far is sad. I think it takes some of the “sweet/innocent” away from Karen’s personality.

Sam and Tom still appear to be going strong in their relationship, though to this point in the episode, we’d seen little of it (I was beginning to wonder). Sam tells Tom he’s been offered a leading role in the Book of Mormon tour, but that he’s passing it up to stay in the city with Tom. Tom tells Sam he’s crazy, but Sam says he’s staying with Bombshell and with Tom. While they are walking down the street, they also see Frank, Julia’s husband, putting a lady into a cab. They appear very comfortable and it’s obvious that Tom thinks Frank could be cheating on Julia.

The press soirée is where everything begins to fall apart. After the interview with Michael Reidel, Rebecca Duvall announced to the press that she left Bombshell because Derek sexually harassed her. This is causing all kinds of trouble for Derek with the producers of The Wiz. Veronica gives him her support and he asks her to call the producers for The Wiz to give her support.

Stage manager Linda approaches Frank about how happy she is to see Frank & Julia working on their relationship. When Frank approaches Julia about her co-workers known about their personal life, he’s obviously upset. Then Eileen gets a call from Jordan Roth who is backing out of the party ad isn’t telling her if they actually do have the St. James. Eileen looks for a “distraction” and it ends up being Veronica and Karen singing “On Broadway.”

Cue another montage. Ivy shows up. Nick shows up with a somber face and he and Eileen take off to speak in private. Tom pulls Julia aside and whispers something to her. Derek pulls Karen aside after the song and there’s obvious sexual tension. Ivy walks up as Derek is about to kiss Karen and we find out that Derek called Ivy to come to the party. Ivy realizes that she’s being let go because of Karen.

Julia approaches Frank about Tom seeing Frank with another woman and Frank is horrified. He makes a scene that eventually has everyone at the party listening in while Frank spills all the details of his and Julia’s relationship. Michael Reidel shows up just in time to say “Can I quote you on that?”

Ivy makes another attempt at an apology, and almost admits to trying to commit suicide “I almost did something really stupid.” She apologizes for getting in Karen’s way and wishes her good luck before leaving the party. This is the first Ivy apology that I really felt. I actually wanted to like her again!

Tom finds Julia standing outside and she says, “My marriage is over.” It felt slightly like déjà vu to me. But one thing I wasn’t expecting was Julia admitting to reading opening night reviews for Bombshell and being mortified at the all-around panning of her book writing. I do love most of the moments with Tom and Julia. They have perhaps the most heartfelt and real relationship of the entire show.

Eileen admits to Tom, Julia, Derek and Karen that Bombshell is under investigation after someone tipped off the government about the source of the money that Eileen was using to fund the show. What a halt to the party.

Ivy enters another audition and sings “Don’t Dream It’s Over”. Perfect opportunity for another musical montage. I’m beginning to think the writers of SMASH really like their montages. Ivy walks along the streets of New York singing (ironically, or perhaps not so ironically) under the awning of the St. James. We also see Jerry Rand (I’m not sure WHAT he was doing) and Eileen hanging a framed Bombshell window card on her office wall.

Karen has made her way back to Jimmy’s bar and she’s getting wasted by herself at closing. A bartending Andy Mientus plays a fangirling bartender named Kyle who asks Karen to autograph his Bombshell Playbill for his “collection of failed musicals.” When Karen returns to the bar to get her forgotten cell phone she hears Jimmy playing the piano in the back and singing “Broadway Here I Come.” She calls Derek and tells him to listen. Personally, I've already downloaded and listened to this song about a million times since yesterday. It is quickly becoming a favorite of mine.

This was the first hour of the two hour seasons premiere, titled “On Broadway” and a great start to the night. It seemed to be clearing up a lot of things left hanging at the end of season one and cleaning up a lot of things that weren't so great in season one.

Still, my favorite part will probably always be seeing all the actors that I recognize from the theatre world. My recap of the second hour of the show will be up soon (I have to get to work on it tonight!). What did YOU think of last night's first hour? Anything surprising? Anything you hated? Anything (or anyone) you loved?

1 comment:

  1. Just for the record, "Broadway Here I come" was written by none other than Mr. Joe Iconis, creator of "Bloodsong of Love" and "Things To Ruin," among others! :)