So, the workshop happened. And Michael (Will Chase) is out as Joe DiMaggio. (Bye-bye, Michael. No more sneaking kisses with Julia in plain sight.) He wasn’t gelling with the show — “Marylin: The Musical” that it, not Smash — and he had to go. His performance was suffering from the torrid affair. And the writing process itself had become stifled since Julia’s head wasn’t in the game. But she’s more important than Michael so he was shown the door.
(And frankly, the scene where Julia sits in for Ivy as Michael goes over lines was pretty dumb — and pretty on the nose. So, an upside is that we’ll never have to see a moment like that again.)
Anyway, most of the episode not involving the workshop is devoted to Ivy (Megan Hilty) and her Broadway diva mom played by Bernadette Peters (for you non-theatre folks, she was in The Jerk). It’s a fun guest-starring role where Peters gets to belt out “Everything is Coming Up Roses” to the delight of the enter ensemble and then have it out with Ivy with regards to her career and love. It’s not groundbreaking but it’s a nice coloring in of Hilty’s character, especially since she’s dangerously close into becoming a cartoon character — though through no fault of the actress. She’s been pretty game.
In the meantime, Eileen (Anjelica Huston) continues to flirt with the handsome bartender, Karen (Katharine McPhee) starts working with a music producer while Tom (Christian Borle) finds out that Sam (Leslie Odom, Jr.) is gay. Minor developments that might blossom into more in later episodes. Also minor diversions from the big event: The Workshop.
And oh boy was it a thrilling sequence. Wonderfully filmed and edited. It came close to the rush one experiences when watching a sports film. And like Rocky Balboa, the ensemble doesn’t necessarily KO the big bad competition (in this case, expectations) but they live for another day. Well, everyone except for Michael. Sucks to be him but that’s showbiz.
But overall, this was an okay episode. Nothing groundbreaking happened. Nothing that will push this show into the same league as Mad Men or the now-dead Luck. It’s still entertaining but it is “missing the whole story” (to grab a phrase from one of the songs in the musical). Hopefully, Smash will get the needed injection or jolt it needs after the big cast shakeup.