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Smash recap: Hell on Earth

Ivy continues her downward spiral. At least there’s light at the end of the tunnel — in the form of some unexpected bonding with Karen

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Eric Liebowitz/NBC


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You know what? Forger Marilyn — er, Bombshell, I guess. I want to see an entire episode of Smash that focuses on Heaven on Earth. This musical has everything: a script that’s (presumably) actually finished, awesome gospel-tinged numbers, sweet dance moves, and the one and only Norbert Leo Butz as St. Peter. Plus, at Heaven on Earth, you never know when a drugged-out chorus girl might take a tumble during a giant production number. It’s like Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, but with fewer unitards!

What I’m trying to say is that while tonight’s episode had its share of head-scratchers — Julia, did you seriously write a song about your affair, then leave said song’s sheet music by the side of your marital bed?! — it was, generally speaking, about as entertaining as Smash can get. The drama, the laughter, the tears just like pearls — they were all in “Hell on Earth”‘s repertoire.

During one of the show’s signature Morning Montages™, we learn that Tom and Boring Lawyer John are two handsome ships passing in the night. John mentions a fundraiser he’s attending, and Tom brightly asks if he can come too. John doesn’t think Tom would be interested, since it’s a Republican event. And, oh yeah, John himself is also a member of the GOP. To Tom, this admission is tantamount to running an underground dog-fighting ring, or maybe committing a few third-degree murders.

Ivy, meanwhile, has suddenly blossomed into a full-blown junkie. She’s taking Klonopin, Lorazepam, Ambien, and Jugie Boogie Boy along with her habit-forming Prednisone. This bums me out, mostly because I feel like I’ve already used up my best Valley of the Dolls and Judy Garland jokes. In any case, the drugs make Ivy foggy, and she’s late for a big commercial audition. Ivy does, however, get to the studio just in time to find that Karen has also auditioned for the spot — and, predictably, its producers think Iowa is “perfect.” Smash is sort of like an series-long extension of “Lisa’s Rival,” in which Ivy plays the part of Lisa and Karen plays Allison. Just wait for the sax scene.

Eileen is still determined to get a star to front the musical formerly known as Marilyn, even though Julia and Derek are pretty pessimistic about the likelihood of signing someone like Anna Paquin or Kate Winslet. Derek, in fact, doesn’t want to even think about working on the show any more until he sees a finished script. An entirely reasonable request! Why isn’t anyone talking about how reasonable he is?

The sound of angelic harp strings welcomes us to Heaven on Earth, the completed Tom/Julia musical that’s currently playing on Broadway. We don’t know much about its plot, though it seems to concern recent pearly gate admits — including one who’s dressed like Seth Green in Can’t Hardly Wait. Ivy, who’s back in the chorus, is clearly not jazzed about rejoining the ensemble. She’s not even excited to share the stage with Fiyero! That’s what prescription pills do to your brain, kids.

NEXT: A surprisingly compelling confrontation