It is very easy for a show to let people know just how though it can be to work in show business. With long work days, eleventh hour changes and the eternal competition of the whole business it isn’t hard to create drama around it, with most series centered on Broadway or Hollywood having at least one stuck up bitch who’ll stop at nothing to get what she wants (Ivy fills up those shoes for Smash). However, very few dramas attempt to show the difficulty as not a byproduct of actors being drama queens, but simply as a byproduct of them having absolutely no clue what show business is about or how to have a successful production, something that happens more often than one would believe.
Enter Rebecca Duvall, played by Uma Thurman. The movie star whose appearance has been touted for a few episodes now is finally joining the cast of Bombshell, bringing along with herself a pretty big ego and what she considers to be great ideas for the musical – The main of them being dropping most, if not all of the music. As a result of her constant influx of ideas that pretty much require rewriting and rethinking the whole play, the producing team spends most of the episode trying to keep her at bay and find a way to let her know exactly why her ideas won’t work or, at least, try to keep her at bay.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t keep the episode from letting us know what happens on the personal lives of the characters. After getting a call from Leo’s school regarding a drop in his grades, Julia is forced to face the fact that her problems with her husband are affecting him (Though if you ask me he clearly had problems from way before. That inability to display any emotion, as if he were a terrible actor… Oh wait. Nevermind.) This makes her also force her husband to stop avoiding her altogether, if only for his son.
Tom also has his (admittedly smaller) share of drama. Having had his lawyer boyfriend leave him, he’s now dating Sam, that actor he was spending so much time with. However, when he tries to have sex with him he gets stopped in his tracks, since Sam happens to be a Christian and an old fashioned one for who sex is a sacred thing that shouldn’t happen too fast. Tom initially attempts to laugh it off, until Sam tells him it is better like that since having sex too soon is likely the cause why Tom’s previous relationships have failed pretty fast.
Meanwhile, Ivy gets back into the cast after Rebecca’s underwhelming first rehearsal makes the whole producing team doubt her musical abilities, something that makes Derek convince them all that they need to have a replacement ready. Interestingly enough, she comes back in a much friendlier way going as far as starting a friendship of sorts with Karen, though not without letting her know she’ll fight with tooth and nails if the role for Marilyn is open again. Speaking of Karen, she keeps having issues with her boyfriend, who hasn’t told her anything about the changes in his job – The implications on the show being that he’s cheating on her with another girl from work.
Last, Eileen forces herself to look into Ellis’ findings regarding Nick and therefore finds out he’s a crook who’s been involved in several illegal operations. This, mixed with her previous reluctance to having a relationship with him, ends up with her breaking up with him in what seems to be an amicable way. She’s also forced to spend a good chunk of the episode dealing with Rebecca and her constant “Ideas” that generally are a little too intense and deride the musical a little too much to work, so she’s faced with the task of keeping her at bay while also trying to keep Tom and Julia open to changes that might be good for the musical.
As I mentioned before, I like how the character of Rebecca seems to be pretty clueless and shallow about many things, going as far as to think she knows how to make the play better even when she’s never been on one. Even when she’s mostly a caricature, she represents what amounts to a decent chunk of Hollywood hopefuls and even successful people, the ones like Marilyn who are hired for their looks and perhaps their work in front of the camera, but never their minds. That, coupled with some of the storylines getting interesting (Julia’s is still a mess, but Karen, Ivy’s, Eileen and Tom’s are pretty well, and Ellis keeps being rather shifty) and the episode actually worked fine, if only better as a pure drama than a musical. However, if there is one thing I must say against this episode is that Uma Thurman seems to have been miscast on her role, and for the most ridiculous reason: Though she plays it well, whoever was in charge of wardrobe and makeup for her clearly doesn’t like her – She’s 41, plays a woman of 37 yet she looks in her fifties, it’s almost like they hired Madonna for the role. Considering she generally looks just awesome, I dread to think of the fate of whoever might hire the stylist who was in charge of her looks. Nonetheless, it was a fine episode that keeps up with the usually good quality of the show.
Final Review Rating: 3.5/5