Even though there is so much evidence to the contrary, it seems that Bombshell really is coming together. But between a steadily breaking down leading lady, a lecherous director and a number of other twists and turns the show is quite possibly in more danger than ever. It’s terrific, it’s tragic and it’s shamelessly addictive, which is why we just can’t stop watching it.
Rebecca finally got to show a little bit of humanity again this week as we saw the fragile woman behind the starlet. After the playground manipulations we had last time, we were glad to see Thurman inject a bit more of herself into a role that we have actually begun to fall in love with. She even managed to treat us to a classic Monroe moment, where she sang to the director for his birthday. Of course in a predictable shift the divine Miss Duvall became the latest notch on Derek’s well whittled headboard, much to the chagrin of long term lover Ivy. We can’t help but feel that this was a bad call for Derek’s character, whose latest liaison may well be the show’s death warrant if left unchecked. We were also left a little bemused and wondering if this is just a last ditch effort to insert a little more drama into the maligned production.
The romantic altercations did not end there, with almost every character managing to get a few knocks before the end. Julia is slowly mending fences with her ex-husband after her scandalous affair with former leading man Michael, but now finds herself having to work with him again in another dramatic twist. Debra Messing’s portrayal of the writer has always been pitch perfect hanging between brassy and genuine vulnerability, which was a joy to watch unfold on screen. It also hearkens back to the reality of show-business where a small community means that everyone has to deal with everyone else at some time or another. Dev meanwhile almost cheats with series star Karen with the exotic RJ, and tries to allay his guilt by proposing. This typically goes down like a lead balloon and he soon finds himself in the crosshairs of another wannabe leading lady who takes no prisoners. The only romances that fared well this week was Tom with his new beau Sam, and even they managed to squeeze in a little spat into the show’s desperately small airtime. Don’t get us wrong, this just adds to the drama, but really if the characters put as much time into the show as they do in their love lives, it really would be a smash hit… see what we did there?
A sour note in the composition is the low number of high quality music numbers this week, making us wonder if last week’s music heavy instalment was a figment of our imaginations. We had an early number by Christian Borle which helped to set up to tone of a promising episode, but sadly the show failed to live up to its own expectation and it declined for the rest of the run. Even Megan Hilty’s terrific vocals couldn’t save this music-lite episode from also being enjoyment-lite. This is especially heart-breaking this close to the end of the series, which seemed to get something of a second wind only to apparently hit the wall at the last hurdle. There is still time to turn it around – and we hope it does – but there is only so much disappointment we are willing to put up with at this stage.
What this episode does do well though, is show the humanity and vulnerability of its characters as the big show comes ever closer. Little moments, like Dev’s guilt and Ivy’s heartbreak go a long way toward making the characters feel like they are being pushed to their limit by the show. Even watching the rest of the cast get plastered for the sake of comic value seemed to have its place and our hearts went out to the poor stressed out little things. This is where the true gold of the episode lay hidden and not just in the romantic subplots, which is just making us lose focus.
We were disappointed to have such a sub-par episode this close the finale, but we can only hope things improve or Smash will just become another show that never lived up to its own potential.