The best episode of this season of Smash, “Publicity,” shows how devious Ivy can be in keeping the enemy close, i.e. Karen, as she partners in crime with creepy Ellis to sabotage the “Iowa girl;” Rebecca and Karen become BFFs; and Julia’s domestic problems turn bigger than ever when Leo goes missing.
Derek has a conversation with Karen who arrives earlier than everyone else at the rehearsal. The director confides that she would make a brilliant Marilyn. Ellis overhears it, and goes to Rebecca’s loser assistant, towards he behaved despicably last week, to break him the news. Oh, creepy and spineless Ellis, will you ever going to stop using people? Plotting with Ivy, he then uses someone else’s phone to text Karen that Julia’s got the flu and she’s off for the day, so that she won’t be there to rehearse “Secondhand White Baby Grand,” the new song Tom wrote.
On top of everything else, Rebecca wants to make some changes to “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” and since she knows it would take Julia a while to re-write it, she wants to start with something else. Derek is officially exasperated and Tom hates her for suggesting to replace songs with scenes, just because she can’t sing.
Meanwhile, Rebecca buddies with Karen. She seems genuinely interested in Derek’s muse, and she wants to get to know her better. They go out one night to a club where Rebecca suggests Karen to stand in. And she does stand in, by beautifully performing Snow Patrol’s “Run.” Dev though isn’t happy to see his girlfriend featured in “Page Six” as Rebecca’s new gal pal. Not even Karen’s parents, who take these things seriously in Iowa, and kept calling and asking their daughter whether she was a lesbian.
They do girly stuff together. Rebecca gives her expensive designer clothes she gets for free, paparazzi are following them all over New York, and Dev… Well, Dev is confused. Karen doesn’t seem to pay much attention to Rebecca’s remark that boyfriends may become a problem on the way up. And good for her!
Next, Rebecca is invited for dinner by Karen and Dev at an Indian restaurant. A disaster waiting to happen. From the water Rebecca drank, to her peanuts allergy and defining their relationship, Karen’s attempts to stop the growing animosity between her boyfriend and the movie star are in vain as she starts day dreaming Bollywood-style. Although it seemed odd, this was the most entertaining scene of the episode, where Raza Jaffrey delivers an excellent performance singing “A Thousand and One Nights” and dances joined by all the other characters in the show.
Also, Eileen has Jerry meet Nick, which obviously doesn’t end well. But Nick is there, and so much different than Jerry, plus so into Eileen. Whether this is going to be a long term thing or not, Eileen for sure has some fun for now.
As if there wasn’t enough drama already in the Huston family, Julia learns now that Leo’s gone missing. Turns out he was safe and sound but needed some space, after everything that happened between his parents, and was sleeping on his best friend’s room’s floor. While Frank goes ballistic at Mason and his mother who hid that from them when they first talked, Julia tempers him. In response, Frank drops his steely demeanour and admits how scared he was. The good thing that came out of this is that they become civil and seem to be willing to try to work things out, either as a family or separated.
Ivy’s performance of “Secondhand White Baby Grand” at the end was just superb, which made Rebecca realize she may be a movie star, but on a Broadway stage she would be outperformed in an instant by both Karen and Ivy. She suggests then that Marilyn should sing this song instead the voice in her head.
There are three more episodes of Smash left until the viewers get to see who would be playing Marilyn in the end. “Bombshell” prepares to go to Boston for previews and Karen has a tough choice to make. Tune in Monday night at 10/9c on NBC to see how it all unfolds.