'Smash' Recap: Allergic Reactions - Rolling Stone
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‘Smash’ Recap: Allergic Reactions

Tensions high as preview curtain rises


Megan Hilty as Ivy Lynn and Raza Jaffrey as Dev Sundaram in 'Smash.'

Will Hart/NBC

It’s the penultimate episode of season one of Smash, and after 14 weeks we’re right back where we started: Wondering who will play Marilyn Monroe after star Rebecca Duvall suffers a suspicious allergic reaction. Le sigh . . . 

But before that unfolds, let me back up, because some relatively juicy stuff happens in between. Like Karen‘s boyfriend Dev waking up next to frenemy Ivy after doing the drunken nasty. While sharing some regretful morning-after glances, panic sets in when Karen’s number pops up on Ivy’s phone.

Phew, it’s just some random, cell phone-borrowing chorus girl reminding Ivy that she’s late for rehearsal. Crisis averted. For now, at least, as Dev and Ivy promise they’ll never ever, ever reveal their one-night stand to anyone. Good luck with that!

As Ivy does the walk of shame to rehearsal, Julia and her family arrive at the Boston theater at the same time as her ex-lover Michael Swift. Can you say awk-ward? (Yes, just like that, please.)

Also awkward? Producer Eileen catching womanizing director Derek sneaking out of Rebecca’s dressing room after a quickie. He claims he’s just doing what he has to to keep the show’s star happy. Uh, sure, whatever you say.

It’s amazing anyone has any time to get anything done with all the sleeping around going on. But despite all the lasciviousness, the curtain indeed rises on the first night of previews.

As the theater fills, Karen spends her time before her big debut speed-dialing Dev, who she thinks has returned to New York to nurse a broken heart because she didn’t jump on his proposal. Oh, Iowa.

When Rebecca steps on stage for the first time as Marilyn, it’s obvious she doesn’t have the vocal chops to play the part. Still, everyone behind the scenes seems happy with the way things are going. Well, except Karen, who keeps trying to reach Dev in between songs.

As the musical ends, the audience sits in confused silence as a sad, lonely Marilyn commits suicide. When the lights dim, there’s reluctant applause as people filter out before the cast takes its bow. Guess they just put the “bomb” in Bombshell. (I’ve been sitting on that one for a few weeks now.)

The execs immediately start squabbling over what to do, realizing it probably wasn’t the best idea to end the show with a suicide. “But that’s what she did!” defends pop-eyed storywriter Julia. Still, Eileen says they need to come up with a new ending ASAP.

Meanwhile, Dev turns up in person after avoiding Karen’s calls. As she runs into his arms, Ivy inadvertently crashes the make-up party, and she and Dev pretend they’ve never met before. How long can this charade last, really?

In bed the next morning, Dev looks hella guilty, but of course Karen doesn’t catch on. Instead, she finally accepts his proposal and pushes him to pop the question again. When he can’t produce the ring, he says he brought it back to New York, though he really left it in Ivy’s room. Yeah, this won’t end badly.

At the same time, Ivy confronts Derek about his affair with Rebecca. He takes it in stride, justifying his actions by saying, “Rebecca needs my attention, and I’m giving it to her.” Wow, this show is filled with such thoughtful men!

When Karen arrives, she makes a beeline for Rebecca’s dressing room, overhearing the movie star talking to her shrink about how badly she tanked the night before. As Karen sits down, Rebecca sips a smoothie that looks like green sludge, and she immediately starts choking. Seems like an appropriate reaction to something so disgusting. But it’s not the revolting combo of kale and flaxseed that makes her hurl, it’s that someone slipped peanuts into the concoction – and she’s deathly allergic to them.

After being rushed to the hospital, she’s fine. But the execs decide to cancel the remaining previews so that she can recover and they can come up with a better ending. Win-win for everyone! (Yay, Ellis?)

Back at the hotel, Michael confronts Julia, saying he returned to the show hoping they could pick up where they left off. But she’s having none of it, physically pushing him away and telling him she doesn’t want him anymore. 

After storming off, she confronts Tom about not having her back when it came to re-hiring Michael. They get into a tiff, and Julia implies Tom will be responsible if her family falls apart again. To this, Tom points the finger back at her, saying she’s the one who chose to have an affair. Touché. 

With all that’s going down, chorus boy Sam invites everyone and their mothers to his church for Sunday service, where there’s a big lovefest complete with a rousing sermon and people busting into song. Hallelujah!

Outside, Dev paces pensively before telling Karen he has a confession. Ring! Ring! What’s that? Oh, just Rebecca calling in the nick of time to sweep Karen away before all hell breaks loose. Well, there’s always next week.

At the hospital, Rebecca tells Karen that she could tell there were peanuts in her smoothie but drank it anyway because she wanted an excuse to leave the show. With that, she packs her bags and gives understudy Karen her blessing to take over the role. But the execs aren’t as sold on Karen’s skills, still waffling between whether she or Ivy should play the part.

Now it’s my turn to pray to the Broadway gods that they make up their minds during next week’s season finale, because I can’t handle this storyline dragging into next season.

Last episode: Tech It Out


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