Smash has made a few interesting developments during the last couple weeks: From what seemed to be a broadway-centered musicfest of a series, the last two episodes have actually ditched a good chunk of the music; leaving only what’s needed and centering on advancing a plot. Funnily enough, it has worked, though not unexpectedly: If you’ve been reading the site for a while, you might’ve noticed I’ve stated that’s what Glee, the other musical series on TV right now, needs to do desperately.
The plotline for this episode is a bit more centered than on the previous one, though it still simply felt like a part of a story without a proper focus, something that’s not entirely a bad thing. While Karen strives to fit in on the ensemble, Ivy attempts to get her fired by complaining about everything she does. In the meantime, Eileen strives to find the funding for the musical on her own after her potential investors backed out due to her husband’s influence, attempting to sell a painting her husband gave her as a wedding gift and Tom goes out on a date his mother set him up for.
Honestly, the episode worked better than last week’s. While still staying away from becoming a full-fledged musical or centering on the music, the series seems to be shaping up to become a very good drama series and a potential one whose audience will actually watch due to the storylines, the music just being an added extra to give it some flavor.
The storylines were properly handled, at least in my opinion, though Julia’s hate-filled storyline with Ellis seems to be drifting a little too much considering it’s been four episodes of scenes of both of them hating each other in a hate that started with no proper reason. Other than that, however, I found Eileen’s storyline pretty interesting, showing her struggle and how she feels sad when she looks back on her marriage – Her attempt at selling the sketch to Lyle being a particularly interesting scene from all points of view.
Speaking of Lyle, I found Nick Jonas’ performance in the show to be quite amazing – Though I’ve never been a fan of the kid, I admit he has a lot of talent as he previously showed in the 25th anniversary concert of Les Misérables – And I wouldn’t at all mind seeing more of him around in the show, considering his character was quite likeable and well acted and his scenes with Hilty were just amazing on both sides – So far they’ve been my favorite onscreen couple for the series, so seeing them together more often would be a plus for me. Karen’s storyline was also a very good one, though I’ll admit a few parts of it seemed pretty odd – Particularly becoming best friends forever with three strangers who were treating you like crap after breaking down in front of them, it just didn’t feel quite real. Nevertheless, the scenes with her struggling to fit in and not get fired just because of Ivy’s ways were pretty good overall.
Musically, as I stated before, the show continued with the way it handled the previous episode: There’s music only when it’s either needed or where it would be considered suitable, and all other scenes are dedicated to plotlines. Nevertheless, the songs played were very good (Though I would’ve loved to hear a full version of Mcphee singing Rumour Has It). The two original songs featured (I Never Met a Wolf Who Didn’t Love to Howl and History is Made at Night) were pretty good, particularly the latter though the former was simply a lot of fun to watch on its own and both songs feature Hilty doing some of the best acting I’ve seen in her – Having her flirt with Nick Jonas during that song worked perfectly, making the short scene one of the highlights of the episode. Speaking of Jonas, he himself sung a version of Michael Buble’s Haven’t Met You Yet, a pretty good one at that – Something not all that unexpected considering the boy is a well-known singer.
I honestly like the way the show is going, and I’m more sold on it right now than I was after the pilot. Going after a proper plot rather than after the music and having ongoing storylines rather a story-of-the-week setup works perfectly for the series, allowing the viewership to get emotionally invested in all episodes rather than loving some and hating some others, as happens often with Glee due to the ever-changing nature of its episodes. The fact that the cast as a whole gave their best performances so far in this episode doesn’t hurt – I had previously mentioned how I wasn’t a fan of Hilty’s work, but I must say I just loved her in this episode – and I believe in general the show is growing to become quite the smash it attempts to be.
Final Review Rating: 4/5