Season Two, Episode Nine
After the story-lines of Smash were put into overdrive the past few episodes, we’re back to a steady tempo in “Parents,” where we see Karen’s father and Ivy’s mother. Let’s start with Ivy and Leigh, who in the past have had a toxic relationship. That hasn’t changed, but what hurts Ivy the most is that Tom and the rest of the production crew of Bombshell already decided to have Leigh join the show as Marilyn’s mom. Sure, they knew it was going to create some problems, but they decided it was in Bombshell’s best interest to have a piece in the New York Times. What a story it is, Broadway veteran Leigh and her daughter star in Bombshell!
While the move does work out very well and Tom is able to direct the two effectively, Ivy has the last word when she tells Tom that she only works for him now and is no longer his friend. You could just see Tom’s heart break, because he was trying to do everything in his power to be the “nice” director and to listen to all of the cast members to try and maintain a democracy production. But it was foolish to believe that possible, almost like Michael Scott trying to befriend everyone in The Office.
Once again, I didn’t find the Bombshell half of the episode very compelling. There really isn’t anything fresh about that production and even though they keep tweaking the show here and there, all of the craziness is behind them and they’re ready to be launched on Broadway. What I did like was how Julia and Eileen went to the event that was showcasing Hit List, just to scope out Derek and Karen’s show. And they absolutely killed it, especially Ana’s acrobatic performance as the diva. I was actually anticipating something going wrong but am glad nothing did.
The Hit List half of the show, in my opinion, is way more interesting than Bombshell. The chemistry between Karen and Jimmy carries it, but adding Derek’s reputation and conflict between those two, and with the pressure of competing with the production they left, half of every episode just isn’t enough. They’re becoming the underdogs of this Broadway rivalry and it’s hard not to root for them against the bigger, more expensive Bombshell.
As for the C-story with Jimmy and paying back his dealer, I don’t feel it enhanced the episode in any way, but I am glad that it seems to be over with for good (though I’m sure that bag Jimmy takes is going to ruin a performance in the near future). And the little story with Karen’s dad accusing Derek for influencing her to leave Bombshell, but then realizing it was Jimmy, that felt very out of place though it’s typical seeing Karen being stomped on.
Overall, “Parents” was a pretty bland episode of Smash without that show-stopping number I long for. Ana’s performance was close to that, but the visuals over-powered the actual song. This might become an issue for Hit List so stay tuned for that. Also, Smash is now moving to its new time-slot, Saturday night. Not sure how this is going to affect the show, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the last season for Smash.