‘Smash’ Recap: Karen + Ivy Face Off at ‘Callback’
The show started out with Karen singing a powerful rendition of Blondie’s ‘Call Me’ in a smoky lounge. Watching her are Julia (Debra Messing) and Tom (Christian Borle), the creators of the musical Karen wants to be in, as well as the director Derek (Jack Davenport) and producer Eileen (Anjelica Houston). However, Karen is quickly thrust back into reality at her waitressing job when her coworker interrupts her daydream.
In the next couple of short scenes, the creative team argue over which girl would be better for the role of Marilyn: Karen who has the chops or Ivy who has the experience. Ivy and Karen each vent to their friends how stressed and anxious they are because they haven’t heard any updates about the show.
Meanwhile Julia and her husband are meeting with an adoption agency and are told that it will take another three to four months to finish the background checks and after that a waiting period estimated at two years before finding a baby.
Next Tom and Julia brainstorm about the musical, and Julia suddenly decides to make the first number ‘Let Me Be Your Star.’ We see Karen standing on a stage as plain Norma Jean while other girls in the background whisper that she isn’t good enough, repeating “nobody wants you.” Karen ignores them and starts belting the song, begging the world to give her a chance.
The following day Derek is back in auditions with Karen, but she keeps messing up. Outside he runs into Ivy who is reading a Marilyn biography and shows off her knowledge of the actress. Derek officially introduces Karen to Ivy to throw the girls off, and Karen leaves with the door slammed in her face.
Later at her home, Julia explains to her husband that they have to write a letter to their future baby’s birth mother. However, her husband reveals to her that he no longer wants to adopt because he feel that he is too old and Julia is left speechless.
Back in rehearsals, Karen is about to leave for the important business dinner but of course Derek makes her stay to work on an acting scene, making her miss the dinner entirely. Later on Dev is furious but quickly forgives her.
Next, Ivy is doing a one on one reading of a Marilyn scene with Derek. She pauses after the line, “A sex object is a thing. Who would want to be a thing?” Derek ends up kissing her and the scene makes a dramatic change to Ivy and Derek passionately in bed.
When its callback time once again Karen performs an original number for the show, ‘20th Century Mambo‘ to perfection. At the end of the song she is in full Marilyn attire and attitude, convincing us finally that this skinny girl could pull off the blonde bombshell look.
However in the following scene Tom reveals to Ivy in person that she has been given the role of Marilyn. She is of course beyond ecstatic and even though she is Karen’s rival, we are happy for her.
Derek reveals to Eileen that her ex-husband has bought her previous project, ‘My Fair Lady’ and wanted Derek to work for him. Eileen assumes Derek is leaving their project but we are all surprised to find he turned down the offer.
The episode closes with Ivy singing a tearful cover of Carrie Underwood’s ‘Crazy Dreams’ for her friends at a bar. During the song we see Julia and her husband, who has a changed mind, at an adoption support group meeting as well as a heartbroken Karen being consoled by Dev. The final moments are powerful as Ivy sings, “Thank god even crazy dreams come true,” with tears in her eyes.
But what does this mean for Karen? All supporting cast members are working on this Marilyn musical … S where does our lead starlet play into this picture? No previews were shown for a new episode leaving us in the dark on what the show’s next move could be.