As we learned during the Boston tryout, the book of Bombshell is a big fat disaster. Eileen's solution is to hire Peter, who is a dramaturg, a script doctor for the musical who will work with Julia (and Tom, a little, but he's not the problem) to make the show not suck. Julia, of course, hates this idea, because her mission is to make everything around her suck as much as possible. But the dramaturg is super sexy Broadway veteran Daniel Sunjata, and he baits and browbeats Julia into making some sensible changes, like adding John F. Kennedy to this show about Marilyn Monroe (he wasn't in it already?!) to sex things up a little. Peter is great. He should stay forever.
Derek is still smarting from getting dumped by The Wiz. He makes a last-ditch effort to prove to the producer that he can do family friendly, but the day the producer chooses to visit is the day they debut the steamy (well, since Karen is involved, "steamy") Marilyn-JFK number, which pretty much shoots that goal in the foot. But it does convince Veronica Moore that Derek is the man to help her lose her Broadway's-sweetheart cherry, and they decide to do a one-night-only, all Ronnie, all the time show together to prove how awesome they both are.
Ivy is striking out on a new path now that she's no longer part of Bombshell. She talks her way into an audition for the ingénue role in a musical version of Les Liaisons Dangereuses (you know, the part Selma Blair played. I'm kidding. Kind of.) and with Tom's help manages to land the role. Everything's coming up Ivy! Except for how Derek is still a total jerk to her and Karen still exists.
Karen convinces Derek to meet with Jimmy and Kyle to hear about their musical. He likes the music but needs to hear the story. After standing them up when JFK rehearsal runs long, they make it out to Greenpoint and Jimmy and Kyle put on a respectable little show. Derek admits it has promise and they start working on Hit List.
Previously on Smash: Ivy got canned, Julia smashed up her marriage and sunk into a dark pit of marshmallow fluff and self-pity, Jennifer Hudson showed up but she couldn't save Derek's job on The Wiz, and Karen discovered new musical-writers Jimmy and Kyle. She wants to be involved in their new rock musical, and also maybe in Jimmy's pants, but Jimmy thinks she's a horrible twit. And Derek is still on Team Karen, and I still think he has a brain tumor.
Ah, so this is one of those new-fangled dance clubs the kids are all talking about. Karen is crowd-surfing as she sings, and she's wearing half a shirt, so I'm pretty sure it's 1997. Oh, she's daydreaming. She and Derek are listening to Jimmy and Kyle's songs, which Derek thinks are very nice, but they're not a musical. Karen says the writers want to meet with him so they can tell him the story, but Derek is being all picky and old-fashioned and demanding a "book" that's "already written down." He congratulates Karen on taking the initiative while Bombshell is in purgatory, but says new musicals take a long time to come together, and he needs to work now. She pushes him to meet with Kyle and Jimmy this afternoon, but he has a meeting with the producers of The Wiz to plead his case. Karen convinces him to meet Jimmy and Kyle, then jumps around like a spastic howler monkey when he agrees.
Julia and Tom meet with Eileen to talk about the show's problems. Julia says they're talking about new numbers (MORE numbers?! The show has like forty already!) and reordering some scenes, but Eileen thinks the show needs fresh eyes. She wants them to work with someone named Peter Gilman, a dramaturg (and when I was in high school, the dramaturg was the nerd who explained all the references in Cole Porter songs to the other kids [that nerd was me] so they'd know who Jimmy Durante was when they were singing about him. But here a dramaturg is basically a script doctor who comes in to fix ailing shows. The more you know!). Tom and Julia think Eileen is joking, but she is not. Tom and Julia protest that they're ready to work 24-7, but Eileen says they need a new book -- fast. That's where Peter comes in.
Ivy hits a great big high note in an audition, and after the guy thanks her, she asks if she can come back and read for another role. He says every actress in town wants it, but Ivy presses. He was under the impression she was committed to Bombshell, but when she says she's not, he agrees to let her read. Her energy in this episode is all fresh and bubbly and optimistic and it is so refreshing after all these weeks of Ivy Who Wants to Throw Herself Under the F Train.