After last week's orgy of breakups and makeups and shouting at each other, this week is a lower-key affair. Rebecca Duvall arrives and throws herself into rehearsals for Bombshell, and that would make everyone happy if it weren't for the fact that she is tone-deaf and wants Tom and Julia to make the musical less, you know, "musical-ish." Derek is horrified, and also still hallucinating that Karen is the One True Marilyn, while Ivy skulks around the perimeter, sowing discontent.
Eileen takes center stage this week. Her curiosity gets the best of her and she reads Ellis's top-secret background research on shady bartender Nick, A.K.A the guy she was sucking face with last week. They meet up and everyone at my Extremely Serious Smash-Watching Party is psyched that the lady in her sixties is getting some hot bartender ass.
Julia forces Tom and Sam to go on an actual date rather than just flirting madly with each other during rehearsals, and for the first time we see her fulfilling the duties of her fruit fly role, rather than just benefiting from Tom's duty to scoop her off the floor when she's a sobbing mess. But we learn that all of the dudes Tom falls for have A Thing, and Sam's is that he is not a licentious heathen free of morals. He zeroes in on a number of Tom's deficiencies, like his allergy to commitment at the age of thirtysomethingsomething. But Tom is still warm for Sam's form, so we'll see if Jesus is the same kind of dealbreaker that a bedroom shrine to John Boehner was.
The creative team takes a few of Rebecca's suggestions seriously, and the result is a decent number based on Marilyn learning the Stanislavski method that impresses not just Julia and Tom, but also Derek and Eileen. It appears that if Tom and Julia completely overhaul the musical and make it impossible for an actual singer to ever play Marilyn in a future revival of Bombshell, it might actually work with Rebecca Duvall in the lead. But with Ivy still scheming at the fringes and Karen's ambition getting stronger by the week as Dev's professional outlook appears ever dimmer (and as RJ sinks her pretty hooks deeper into him), it doesn't seem like this musically neutered version of the show will ever see a Broadway stage.
Previously on Smash: The boys did their Darryl Zanuck number, Derek asked Karen to understudy Marilyn when movie star Rebecca Duvall joined the show, Derek hallucinated that Karen was actually Marilyn, and then was confronted by Dev and they had a pushy-shovey match in the street. Lawyer John broke up with Tom, driving him into Sam's muscular arms, and Eileen got cozy with possibly criminal bartender Nick. This week: Why movie stars don't have a reputation as team players.
Karen comes to rehearsal with coffees, and the dancers snark about how she's dressed up. She confesses that she's excited, and smugs, "I'm Rebecca Duvall's understudy." Sam and Tom come in together, discussing their first experiences with Rebecca's movies--Sam's was when he was 10, which leads him to ask, "Isn't she a little old to be playing Marilyn?" Since Marilyn died when she was 36, so with 42-year-old Uma Thurman in the role, we're getting dangerously close to Kevin-Spacey-tries-to-play-Bobby-Darin territory. Tom announces that Rebecca is also 36...ish, "Ish being the operative word," Sam replies, which leads Tom to the most ill-advised line he's ever delivered, which I can only chalk up to nerves around his hot new potential gentleman friend, because he actually says "Girrrrrrl, oh no she di'in't," and does three snaps in a Z formation. Sam looks tempted to flee from the crazy man, while Julia has had enough of the flirting and makes a reservation for the two of them to have dinner together so they'll start an actual relationship and stop being, like, happy in front of her.
Rebecca, Eileen, and Derek get off the elevator together, discussing some place that has an "original in Cobble Hill--it's less sceney." Ah, so she's the reason brownstones in Brooklyn cost $7 million. Derek suggests diving right into rehearsal with "Let Me Be Your Star," which I've had stuck in my head since the damn Super Bowl. Derek is wearing his giant, swirly king of the vampires coat, which I hope means he's moved past his Karen hallucinations and will soon resurface as the cranky bastard we came to love all those episodes ago. Rebecca declines warming up, and launches into the first number. The dancers arrange themselves eagerly on the floor. Rebecca sings breathily, and Tom and Julia look like she's slaughtering a puppy in front of them. Derek seems to be passing a kidney stone. Ellis looks like someone has finally embalmed him. Ivy's vengeful spirit has inhabited Rebecca's throat, and she is terrible. Although Karen still seems impressed, because Karen is an idiot.