Previously on Smash: Movie star Rebecca Duvall ‘accidentally’ drank a smoothie laced with peanuts, and had a serious allergic reaction. Who will replace her when the show re-opens – Ivy or Karen?
“Break a leg!” The camera pans backstage, following someone who is about to take the stage. The chorus gets into place, the musicians tune up, and the curtain rises on ….
12 hours earlier: Julia, Tom, Derek and Eileen argue over the new song and ending to the show. They have the melody, rough lyrics, but no ‘Marilyn.’ They can’t afford to hold back the previews any longer. Derek storms out of the meeting, as the cast and chorus eavesdrop nearby.
Eileen stalks out as well, and stands outside the theatre, where Evil Ellis finds her. She has a call from Michael Riedel at the Post to take. She charms him, cooing that their main concern is that Rebecca rests. They have a thrilling ‘Marilyn’ waiting in the wings, but they’re not ready to release her name yet.
Karen gets a call from Dev, but hasn’t time to talk. Ivy’s mother, Broadway star Leigh Conroy, calls, wanting to know if they’ve chosen Ivy to replace Rebecca. Ivy reminds her that Rebecca has an understudy, but Leigh says Karen’s not rehearsed in the role, while Ivy is.
Derek looks through the ‘Marilyn’ costumes, picturing Ivy in one, Karen in the other. But it’s Karen, in the mauve suit, that he likes the best.
Stage manager Linda calls the company, Tom and Julia to the stage, and asks Evil Ellis to find Eileen. Derek announces that Karen will be going on as ‘Marilyn’ that very night. Everyone looks shocked. Ivy holds back tears.
It’s chaos as Linda worries about the costumes, Derek screams for the wig, Tom and Julia worry that Karen doesn’t know most of the show, and Karen tries to reassure everyone that she can handle the part. Julia reassures Karen, saying that everyone loves her, and wants her to succeed.
Karen calls Dev to tell him what’s happening. He’s proud of her. She wants him to come down to the theatre and watch her rehearse.
Derek tells Tom and Julia that there’s a lot to do, but Karen’s going on; they should be working on the new song. In the audience, Ivy looks devastated. Evil Ellis eggs her on, saying he can’t believe Derek’s choice.
Tom and Julia are frantically working. He’s got the melody, and is working on the arrangement. She doesn’t have the right lyrics yet.
Eileen chats up the press, playing up Karen’s rise to star from understudy as a ‘grand old theatre story.’ Ellis confronts her, saying she can’t let this happen. Ivy is ‘Marilyn.’ He pleads Ivy’s case, but Eileen tells him he doesn’t get a vote. She then asks him to do a coffee run for the creative team. He says he didn’t get Rebecca out of her way so that she could ignore him yet again. Rebecca was nice enough, but couldn’t get them to Broadway. He admits putting peanuts in the smoothie. She must never call him an assistant again; he is a producer. No, she says, he’s fired. She tells him to leave the theatre.
Ellis tells Eileen she hasn’t heard the last of this, and skulks away.
On stage, Karen is rehearsing “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” with Michael. She’s singing beautifully, but doesn’t fully know the stage directions. And her costume is baggy. And she’s singing an older version of the song. Julia comes on stage to teach Karen the new line. Suddenly they lose the lights on the stage. As Derek hollers for a fix, Michael approaches Julia and says he came back to the show because he thought she needed him. She doesn’t have to run away from him. She says she’s running away from herself, not him.
Michael tells Julia that his wife Monica left him, took their son, and went to her parents in Seattle. She puts her hand on his arm, telling him to give her some time. Frank comes into the theatre as the lights come back on, and sees Julia comforting Michael. He turns and leaves. Julia runs after him.
Outside the theatre, Julia tries to explain to Frank that it was nothing. He knows, but he can’t even see her talking to Michael. How can they go on if he still feels that way? He wants to trust her, but he can’t. She tells him that they will create good things as will, and the good is more important than the mistakes. Leo arrives, carrying a bag of fish and chips for their lunch. Frank and Julia pretend that all is well, and then walk back into the theatre, hand in hand.
Eileen notices that a musical number is missing; Linda says Karen can’t dance the “Wolf” number in Rebecca’s dress. Tom tells Derek that they have to slow down. The song’s almost done, they’re polishing the lyrics. Derek won’t hold the show. Tom and Julia need to finish their song, and leave the rest to him.