'Smash' Season Finale – Let Karen Be Your Star
May 15th, 2012 2:17pm EDT
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.
Tom tells Julia that Ivy knows two thirds of their songs, but Derek won’t listen. So they’re still at the same place – no ‘Marilyn’ and no song. She’s thinking about something good, that’s bigger than the bad. She’s inspired, and begins to write new lyrics.
Karen’s frantically changing costumes backstage as they continue rehearsing the show. Dev sits in the theatre, smiling. She rehearses the USO production number, as Ivy watches from the wings, picturing herself singing the song. When the song ends, Derek tells her it was terrific. Ivy walks up to Derek and asks him why it wasn’t her on stage. She knows the show as well as he does. She worked with him night after night. It doesn’t make any sense. If it was going to be a nobody, why not her?
Derek doesn’t want to talk about it now. But he says that he can’t help it; he ‘sees’ Karen as ‘Marilyn’ in his head. Karen just has something that Ivy doesn’t. Ivy tearfully, and sarcastically, thanks him for being so honest.
As she walks away, Dev approaches and asks her if she’s found the ring. She says she hasn’t, and then runs backstage to the chorus’ dressing rooms. She looks at the photos on Karen’s table, then rummages in her purse, pulling out the boxed ring.
As Linda tells Derek about a costume problem, Eileen tells Derek that the USO number was the only one Karen got right today. She can’t learn the whole show in one day. He ignores her, shouting out lighting instructions. Eileen blows up, saying she has seven million dollars invested in the production, and wants a conversation right now. She says Karen can’t do it. Karen hears Eileen’s words, and goes to the dressing room, where she collapses.
Karen sees the ring box on her table and asks Ivy who put it there. Ivy says she did. She wasn’t even going to tell her, when she realized Dev had asked her to marry him, but he left it … in her room. Men are men. He took her out to dinner, bought her dinner, gave her a ring – it’s very Joe DiMaggio of him. Karen’s angry, and tells Ivy to stop talking about ‘Marilyn,’ this is her life. Did Dev sleep with ivy? No, she won’t believe it. Ivy asks her why she’d make it up. Karen storms out, and into the audience where she confronts Dev.
Dev asks her where she found the ring. She wants to know what Ivy was doing with her engagement ring. He says it must have fallen out of his pocket when he was in her room. He slept with her because he thought they were over. He was drunk, it was a mistake. He thought he was losing her. As angry as she is, he’s talking quickly, trying to make her see that they’ve come through a bad time, but they need to keep going together.
Linda, Derek and Eileen have been watching the argument. Linda tells Karen they need her on stage. Dev says they just need a minute. Karen says that they don’t, and heads for the stage.
Eileen tells Karen they want her to know how much they appreciate all her hard work. Derek says Karen and he will talk about the costume change problem, then begin working on Act Two. As they walk away, Eileen calls to Derek. He returns to Eileen, saying that he’s an artist, and this is his vision. No one will get in his way. If she wants a hit, then she must be quiet, and he’ll give her one.
Karen sadly watches Dev leave the theatre. Eileen looks up to see ex-husband Jerry standing at the entrance. Jerry asks Eileen what’s going on. She’s putting in an understudy, with an ending that hasn’t been finished? How many millions is she in the hole? Eileen says it’s none of his business. He says he’s there to help. She tells him to go away. He says he bought a ticket, he’ll see her tonight.
Tom’s hiding backstage. Sam finds him. Tom asks Sam to tell him why they do the theatre thing. Sam tells him it’s about the art. “Art is a sick compulsion. Art is an ego gone haywire,” says Tom. Sam replies, “Art is beautiful.” It brings joy to everyone. And now Tom should get back to work.
Tom fools around with different sounds on his keyboard, including a gospel organ sound. Julia says there was nothing gospel about ‘Marilyn.’ They bicker. Julia’s worried that Karen can’t play ‘Marilyn.’ The show will be a disaster. Julia says she’s not feeling well, and leaves. Tom waits outside the ladies room, wondering if Julia’s alright. She’s vomited, and that’s weird, because the last time she vomited, she was pregnant with son Leo. Oops!
As Karen waits backstage for her cue, she remembers introducing Dev to Ivy, and that they both pretended not to know each other. She rips the wig off, and runs away. As Derek yells for her, Linda tells him that Karen’s left. She just left.
Linda runs down the stairs, and asks Tom and Julia if they’ve seen Karen. They haven’t, and Linda has to tell them that Karen’s missing.
Eileen finds Lyle West waiting for her in the lobby. He’s brought back her Degas painting, which she’d traded with him for the musical’s seed money. She says she can’t take it back; the shows in trouble and her assistant tried to poison the star with peanuts. She’s not sure what’s going to happen next. Lyle asks her what happened to the gorgeous blond that was playing ‘Marilyn’ before – she was spectacular. Eileen agrees that she was.
The chorus gossip in the dressing rooms. Could Karen be cracking? Ivy pretends not to know what’s caused Karen to bolt. Bobby says it’s easy to understand, what with the pressure of the show, but he knows that Ivy wouldn’t bolt in the same circumstances.
Derek finds Dev outside the back of the theatre. Dev’s trying to call Karen. Derek asks him if he’s seen Karen. Dev says it’s none of his business, but Derek says it is his business. He doesn’t care what’s going on between them, but Dev needs to back off, and let Derek get her through the show. The show is who Karen is. She’s Derek’s now.
Derek searches for Karen, and finds her in the Costume room, where she’s stripped off her wardrobe, and is huddled in a corner in her underwear. She tells him to go away. She says she can’t do it; she doesn’t want to do it. He says they both know that’s not true. Now, what happened?
She says it doesn’t matter, and he agrees. Art isn’t therapy; they’re not there to work out their personal problems. They need to take those problems and completely exploit them, no matter how much it hurts. She says he can’t talk her into going back; her whole life is completely ruined. She doesn’t understand love. He says it doesn’t matter if he doesn’t, but she does. And ‘Marilyn did. Karen already had so much of ‘Marilyn’ at her fingertips. And now she has the heartbreak.
Meanwhile, Ivy, in the wig and the red bombshell dress, dances on to the stage where Eileen, Tom and Julia await. They know it’s a lot to ask, at this late minute, but they can’t cancel another preview. Before they can continue, Derek, followed by Karen in ‘Marilyn’ costume, walks on to the stage and apologizes for the delay. Ivy’s face falls, as Karen looks at her, steely-eyed. Eileen tries to comfort Ivy, but Ivy just tells them its okay.
On with the rehearsal! He calls the cast on stage, and demands the new song from Julia. He places Karen center stage, and calls for a spotlight. Karen looks out into the audience with a new determination.
In the dressing room, Leigh enters with champagne. Leigh’s driven all the way from Connecticut to see her daughter play ‘Marilyn.’ Ivy has to tell Leigh that it’s Karen that will be playing the part. She’s just in the chorus, so her mother should go home.
Tom and Julia frantically scribble a few last lyrics, then race through the preview crowd to get the lyrics to Karen, who’s preparing to go on stage. (We’re right back to the beginning of the show, as everyone tells Karen to “Break a Leg!”) Places, please!
Shadow Ivy tells Karen’s ‘Marilyn’ that no one wants her, and she’s nothing. Karen begins singing the first song, “Let Me Be Your Star.” Cut to “The Twentieth Century Fox Mambo,” where again, Karen is excelling. Michael does his show stopping “Lexington and 52nd Street.” Lastly, Karen plays the last scene, where ‘Marilyn’ has her final phone conversation, and then dies, while singing a reprise of “Second Hand White Baby Grand”.
In the audience, Frank looks at Julia, who’s holding back tears. In her dressing room, ivy’s teary as well. On stage, in a spotlight, Michael sings a reprise of “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” as Karen struggles into the last costume, with Derek’s help. He murmurs, “whatever happens next, don’t ever doubt. You’re a star. And I do understand love.”
Spotlight on Karen, center stage, in a gold lame gown, singing the new, ending song, “Don’t Forget Me” as visions of ‘Marilyn’ in her many famous poses are highlighted in the background. Backstage, Derek watches Karen. So does Dev, from another area.
As the lights rise, and the audience roars, Ivy pours a handful of pills into her hand, and then looks at herself in the mirror. The last shot is of Karen raising her arms in triumph, with an enormous photo of Marilyn Monroe’s face as the backdrop.
And that’s all, folks. Was the right ‘Marilyn’ chosen? Are you looking forward to Season 2? Is Julia pregnant, and if so, is it Frank’s or Michael’s baby? Will Ivy survive the overdose, and ruin Karen’s big night? And is Derek waiting to swoop in and grab Karen from Dev? We’ll have to wait until next fall to find out!
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