Julia and Peter have finished the new Bombshell book, all about how Marilyn Monroe was defined by the men in her life. There's a read-through scheduled with just the creative team and new producer Jerry, and if Jerry doesn't love it, the project is dead. Even though Julia runs into Famous Playwright Jon Robin Baitz, who tells her horror stories about how Peter worked with a friend of his and totally went behind her back, eventually producing his own draft of her show, Julia comes down out of her crazy tree long enough for the reading to go really well and everyone to gush that she is the next Wendy Wasserstein, but with Christina Hendricks's hair.
Everyone agrees the show is genius and wonderful and amazing, except that Jerry says it won't put butts in seats for a decade and make him super rich. So he wants to produce the workshop draft from last season — and Tom sides with him. Derek sides with Julia. So Eileen will be the tiebreaking vote on which version of Bombshell goes forward — the one that's about how she was defined entirely by the men in her life, or the one that's about her becoming a star. We'll have to wait till next week for Eileen's decision.
In Brooklyn, Karen convinces Jimmy and Kyle to do a reading of the first act of Hit List with some of our long-lost dancer friends from Bombshell. Everyone likes Jimmy's songs, but they agree that Kyle is a shitty writer and his characters and dialogue are worthless. Kyle goes up on the roof and cries, and then they decide not to have any dialogue in the show at all. When she's not being the center of attention by reading the lead in the show, Karen is prattling inanely about why doesn't Jimmy worship the ground she walks on? It's so great and doesn't at all make you want to punch the TV.
And at the Flatiron Building, Ivy's costar in Liaisons!, comic movie actor Terry Fall, shows up and starts playing de Laclos's tragedy as a farcical cross between Molière and Jerry Lewis. Ivy tries to bring him around to the ideal of real dramatic acting, which Terry thinks is a great idea! So he's going to stop taking all his psychiatric medications. Well, running around like a crack-addled capuchin won Sean Hayes an Emmy and four SAG awards, so let's see where this goes.
Previously on Smash: Karen wants Jimmy to get famous with Hit List. Ivy is moving on, to her new role in Liaisons! Peter is helping Julia fix Bombshell, and horrible Jerry is now the producer in place of Eileen.
Eileen's office. She's angry she can't attend a reading of the new Bombshell script, but Jerry is somewhat less than sympathetic for her whole telling-the-truth-to-the-feds thing. He tells her she'll be having tea at the Mandarin Oriental while her baby is moving on without her. He's still a gross sleaze.
Tom and Derek tour the Belasco, Bombshell's new home (and most recently home to Clifford Odets's Golden Boy). Tom wanders around on the stage, wondering if a new number for the top of act two will fit -- he wants to land Marilyn's plane on the stage, like he thinks he's freaking Claude-Michel Schönberg. Tom launches into the number, playing all the roles of the reporters waiting to greet Karen's Marilyn. "Public Relations" looks like most of the other Marilyn numbers, with the dancers moving Karen around like she's a particularly expensive, inexpressive prop. The costumes are divine, though.
Derek asks Tom if he's done with his prancy little daydream already, and asks if the number is in Julia's new draft -- Tom sure hopes it is, but he hasn't read it. Julia and Peter arrive and Tom comments on how they're finishing each other's sentences and being all chummy rather than lunging for each other's throats like the last time we saw them. Derek asks if they have a finished book, and -- the show was interrupted here by the noise of two enormous raccoons fighting on my back porch. Guys, I live in Brooklyn and I'm on the second damn floor. What in the actual fuck is going on here?
Anyway. Yes, they have a book. Yes, Peter and Julia are being really smug about it. Derek is still uncertain, because Jerry has threatened to pull the plug on the show if the reading doesn't go well. He's mean to Julia and Tom about it, because he is Derek. I wish he'd come to my house and be mean to these fucking raccoons. Peter reassures Julia about the quality of the show and mentions how they made the smart choice to leave out a Liz Taylor sequence, and I would totally settle for Peter coming to scare off the raccoons.
Karen and her new roommate, Ana, are at a trendy kickboxing gym. Derek calls Karen and they discuss the read-through. He asks how Jimmy and Kyle are, and she doesn't know, because she's treating Jimmy like a potential boyfriend and refusing to call him rather than like a business partner. Derek mentions the upcoming winter fringe festival, and thinks that might be a good fit for Hit List to make its debut.