So So Gay reviews the penultimate episode of the first season of US hit show, Smash.
The penultimate episode really has brought down the house and from the outset we know it’s going to be a bumpy and tumultuous ride. With an opening that sees Karen’s love interest Dev in bed with rival star Ivy, and the return of love rat Michael we know there are going to be romantic drama. That being said this week’s instalment of the hit US series has really pulled out all the stops to make sure opening previews of Bombshell are going to be leaden with havoc and drama galore.
The choice to open straight into the musical means the much missed musical mirth is back and interspersed throughout to ensure we didn’t miss a beat – literally. It strikes a similar chord to the earlier episode ‘The Workshop’ by keeping the focus primarily on the musical and treating the interwoven romances as a subplot. It was a well-made move for the opening of this penultimate episode of what has proven to be a well-made and well written drama. Of course the course of making musical history was not made at the preview and ‘Bombshell’ failed to make much of an explosion on its captive audience.
Looking back at our three Marilyn’s we see Karen trying to build bridges with her philandering boyfriend, while Ivy’s relationship woes with Derek continue yet again. As much as we love Ivy we can’t help but feel that her hunger for affection is getting a tad contrived, meanwhile Karen’s pining love for Dev is almost heart-breaking to watch. There is also something more foul afoot as our sub-par leading lady Rebecca finds herself the victim of a poisoning plot. These are dramatic twists, but we could not help but feel that it reeked of desperation on the writers’ part to push the tension and drama to almost unbearable levels. Add in another little titbit like a missing engagement ring in a one-night-lover’s bedroom and we were practically chewing the furniture with frustration.
The production team are also under pressure as Julia comes face to face with her former lover Michael as she tries to hold her slowly healing marriage together. It was a wretched moment to see Debra Messing’s character in the grip of terrible misery, but there was still an element of smoulder that reminds us just how intense things were, and maybe still are. There was a bittersweet shift in tone though, as Julia and Tom’s dream duo begins to splinter in the face of their different views on the bleak situation which could spell jeopardy for Bombshell as they scramble to rewrite the ending.
The music this episode was a good mix of Bombshell numbers and classic covers of memorable music, and we even got to see some solo’s from places we did not expect. Tom’s enchanting new beau Sam took centre stage in a gospel number in a local Baptist church, while Eileen metamorphosed into a sultry lounge singer and helped to broaden the shows musical appeal. It was not perfect, but it helped shine a spotlight on some of the more overlooked members of the cast, and genuinely gave us a few whimsical surprises.
With Rebecca now out of the running to portray Marilyn, the spotlight now descends to our other two leading ladies, and the series-wide feud seems set to begin again in earnest. Now however, with the added betrayal by Ivy and Dev there is more at stake than just the role of a lifetime, with next week’s finale all set to be a bloodbath… we can’t wait!