While everyone at Bombshell waits for movie star Rebecca Duvall to join (and save) the production, relationships both personal and professional hit the skids. Eileen is trying to secure the money from her investors, who are skittish about Rebecca's involvement. So she partners with bartender Nick to rope in sketchy rock star Randy Cobra as the show's primary financial backer. Nothing can go wrong with that plan.
It's Tom and Julia's professional anniversary, which they celebrate every year by seeing a production of a (terrible) show they wrote, Three on a Match. But since Julia's actual marriage, as opposed to her work marriage, is in worse shape than the Costa Concordia, she is flipping out on Tom and Leo and Derek and basically anyone dumb enough to come within arm's reach of her elaborate system of shawls.
Tom's bliss with Lawyer John comes to an end as Tom and Sam get closer, their friendship fueled by their mutual love of Ivy, whose relationship with Derek is the only one functioning even close to normally in this episode, and isn't that insane? While Ivy is less pill-poppy than last week, she's turned into some kind of vengeful Broadway wraith, like a live-action version of The Ring, lurking around the edges of Bombshell and occasionally reaching out a ghostly hand to send a cold chill of horror up Karen's spine.
Because Karen has been tapped to understudy Marilyn while everyone waits for Rebecca to arrive. This throws a wrench into her previously even-keeled relationship with Dev, who didn't get that promotion he was angling for and is floundering at work. What I wouldn't give for Bloomberg to wander through the frame and tell him to sack up. He's considering trying for a job at the White House, which is of course not within commuting distance of the St. James Theatre, and all but gives Karen a "Me or Broadway?" ultimatum. Poor Dev. It's never going to be you, buddy.
And in the one bit of forward action in the show-within-the-show, Tom temporarily sings lead in the number "Don't Say Yes Until I Finish Talking," which is big and glossy and has dancing boys and is everything we want every minute of Smash to be.
Previously: Ivy got all cracked out and collapsed onstage at Heaven on Earth; Derek smarmed at Karen about her (invisible) talents, making Dev super jealous; Tom and Sam met cute, despite the fact that Tom is dating cute Lawyer John; Julia had an affair with Not Adam Pascal and her boring husband, Shrek, found out and left her; Ellis attempted to assert himself, and Eileen crushed him. This week: THURMAN!!
At the rehearsal space, many, many people are sitting around, waiting. Karen asks Girl Dancer what happens if "she" doesn't show up. "She," as we learned last week, is movie star Rebecca Duvall. And apparently "she" is super late. Julia freaks out on Derek and Eileen about Rebecca's absence. Actually, she shouts it. Eileen discloses that Rebecca's in Cuba, which makes two of Eileen's new financial backers, played by actual Broadway producers Manny Azenberg (like, all of Neil Simon's plays) and Robyn Goodman (Avenue Q), pull her aside to say they're quitting this dog and pony show if Rebecca doesn't magically appear. Somewhere, Ivy's nose is itching. Wait, that's the meth.
Downtown, in Dev's ludicrously enormous office (isn't he, like, an assistant press secretary to a deputy mayor or something? Even Jack McCoy didn't have an office like that), the lovely girl he's going to cheat on Karen with after she sleeps with Derek* says she "just heard." Dev confirms that the smarmy Denby, from that episode where Karen went to Dev's work party and tried to shmooze his competitors, got the job that Dev was up for and is now Dev's boss. Dev, maybe you should sing a damn song about it if you want it to be of any interest to anyone watching this show, oh my God. Lovely Girl asks what Karen said, and Dev says he hasn't told her.
*My prediction track record is not so good.
Back uptown, Julia and Tom are bitching about why Rebecca Duvall missed meeting the investors. ("Some goodwill mission, with Sean Penn." In... Cuba?) Derek calls them in to work and hails Karen with a devastatingly sexy and not at all demeaning finger snap. The trio tells Karen they want her to understudy Marilyn. She tells the dancers, and those TRAITORS giggle and hug her like Ivy isn't right this minute throwing a shit fit that is crumbling the very foundations Manhattan is built on (those foundations: discarded Metro cards and cigarette butts, mortared with dog poo). "She's never going to be able to hack it," Smirky Boy Dancer smirks to Sam. "Especially after Ivy breaks her kneecaps," Sam replies, because someone in this room knows what's up. Karen is delirious.