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Smash recap: Opening Night

Relationships begin, end, and spin their wheels as Bombshell finally opens on Broadway

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Will Hart/NBC


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In Season
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How is it that after 27 melodrama-filled episodes focusing heavily on Karen and Ivy’s eternal rivalry, we’ve only seen the dueling Marilyns duet only four times? (That’s including the pilot’s version of “Let Me Be Your Star,” which features only a bare minimum of co-singing, and “Would I Lie To You,” which I’m willing to bet you forgot about long ago.)

As great as the ladies sound individually, their voices really do complement each other exceptionally well – and the sight of these frenemies crooning together despite their differences is much more interesting than scenes in which one triumphs while the other glowers. Unfortunately, given tonight’s (shocking! unpredictable!) plot developments, Karen and Ivy won’t be patching things up and, say, starring as Roxie and Velma in Broadway’s Chicago revival anytime soon… unless there happens to be a tie at the Tonys. (Side note: How awesome would it be if neither girl won Best Actress?)

“Opening Night” begins as Bombshell’s final preview ends. While the show itself seems to be in good shape, the lives of its creators are, predictably, a shambles. Tom’s acting like the Mayor of Passive Aggressive Village every time Julia pitches an idea for their next project. Eileen is torn between maintaining friendly relations with the Times and cursing that two-faced Richard Francis into the deepest depths of hell. And Ivy, against her better judgment, has broken her self-imposed media blackout, exposing her to rando message board comments about how she’s a “career chorus girl” with “half the grace of her predecessor.” (Obviously, they’re talking about Rebecca Duvall.) Perhaps even worse, she’s still sleeping with Derek — though Ivy does at least know enough to balk when he kinda-sorta suggests that he wants to make their relationship official.

And speaking of shades of season 1 — dost my eyes deceive me? Who is that shorn Danny Strong lookalike walking around Tom’s apartment with a glazed look and a mouth full of marbles? Could it… could it be Prospective College Student Leo, the pot-smoking, sister-craving bundle of scarves who was tossed out with the trash (i.e. Ellis) when the show’s sophomore season began? And eww, is he seriously making his grand return by earnestly asking his mom if Ivy gets naked in Bombshell? What would your baby sibling in China think of that, Leo?!

As if the return of Julia’s prodigal son weren’t shocking enough, we’ve also just learned that Smash is really committed to its Jimmy Collins/Mad Men crossover arc. Much like a certain Don Draper, Jimmy is haunted by a figure from his past named Adam — and just like Don’s, Jimmy’s Adam also happens to be the faker’s biological brother. Ana passes this news on to Karen, somehow managing not to deliver it gleefully despite how obnoxiously Karen’s been treating her since The Great 16-Bar Switchover of 2013.

NEXT: It’s Houston and Levitt’s latest show. Will it flop, or will it go?