Smash returns with another well crafted episode which revives the rivalry between Ivy and Karen, while simultaneously taking the primary focus away from the romance and back into the musical itself making it take centre stage again.
After the precariously fragile state that Ivy has existed in during the last couple of episodes the pressure has finally started to take its toll. Her vocal chords became inflamed from the strain and she is forced to take drugs to try and get back to singing shape. Meanwhile Karen is very much aware that she could be called in to take Ivy’s place for the workshop. The rivalry has been a staple of the series since its inception, but seeing Karen ready to step into the breach feels like a big step in making these two forces of nature collide. It is hard to not feel sorry for Ivy as we see her dreams of success threatening to crumble under the demands of the role. Her rendition of Jessie J’s ‘Who You Are’ was perfectly appropriate and was performed amazingly.
With the production team still reeling from their romantic entanglements, it was a pleasure to see Eileen come in and take command with such ease. It also meant that the hard decisions that some of the others were trying not to make are now being made, meaning the gloves have well and truly come off. Meanwhile Tom finds himself less than impressed with his new lover, and finds himself acting a shoulder to cry on for Julia. Julia meanwhile is under a massive strain as the shock of kissing Will last week is playing on her mind and puts her relationship with her family under risk. Debra Messing shines as Julia this week as we empaphise with her temptation, her desire, and her sadness. The possibility of an affair with Will also represents more than just another romantic sub-plot as it really could bring a new kind of jeopardy to the show. In the background as always, young Ellis is working his way to manipulate events to his own duplicitous agenda.
After a few weeks of being at the mercy of the relationship drama, Smash finally gives us that much needed glimpse back into broadway that we have not properly had since the pilot. Seeing the work go back into creating the musical and preparing the workshop means that we get to see a little bit more of the energy going back into the creative process. Its true the romance generates a lot of the drama. However, as the show comes closer to fruition it is the production itself that rightly claims our attention, forcing the production team and ensemble to interact more and more. That being said the relationships are still too much of a drive in this show which needs to spend a little more time in getting on with the plot. We are now over a third of the way through the season, and it feels like not a lot of progress has been made in the show’s direction and it is beginning to make us wonder just where are we going.
The show’s final moments showed Ivy release a lot of the growing tension and showing us a side to the diva that we always suspected was lurking there. Eileen also got to walk the walk as she finally became our idea of a great producer without her personal life constantly almost getting the better of her. The season is starting to show all the signs of progress, lets just hope it continues.
Smash airs every Saturday night on Sky Atlantic at 9pm.