THE "SMASH" REPORT: Episode 13, Or, Blue in Beantown

By Kenneth Jones
03 May 2012

Jack Davenport and Uma Thurman
Photo by Will Hart/NBC

Some highlights of (and comments about) Episode 13:

SAY IT WITH MUSIC: Company rat Ellis (Jaime Cepero) agrees to be Ivy's spy. Insecure after all these months, she doesn't trust Derek. And for good reason, it turns out. When Ellis turns his back, Derek goes to the dressing room of insecure movie star Rebecca Duvall (Uma Thurman) to buck her up and give her acting advice. They end up kissing — deeply, passionately — while her assistant, Randall (Sean Dugan) stands guard at the door. Randall turns Ivy away in the hall. Behind him, we hear giggling between Derek and Rebecca. The writing's on the wall: It's time to sing a sad song. In a hotel room with the tipsy chorus kids, a "sing-off" between Ivy and Karen is proposed. "I Love Louisa," again, is not the song of choice, but a completely lip-smacking, delicious, toothsome cover of Rose Royce's R&B song "I'm Going Down" is. The populated hotel room magically transforms to an empty room bathed in blue, and a rainstorm outside the window. The crisply made-up, unused double beds are a nice touch. Megan Hilty tears it up. It's so raw and arresting that Karen doesn't get a chance to offer a musical reply. Sing-off averted!

Raza Jaffrey in the theatre lobby in Boston.
photo by Will Hart/NBC

KAREN AND DEV: Dev (Raza Jaffrey), who has seemed so smart, evolved and collected in the series, comes to Boston and proposes marriage to Karen. Understandably, perhaps, her reply is, "I'm in tech!" (Hey, partners of show people: Don't materialize during "ten out of twelves," when actors are working ten straight hours in tech.) Dev doesn't like taking a backseat to Karen's career, he is hurt that he was passed over for a promotion in the mayor's office and he is feeling guilty that in Karen's absence he made out with that scheming New York Times political reporter R.J. Quigley (Tala Ashe, who has theatre credits Off-Broadway and regionally, including at Oregon Shakespeare Festival). Dev makes the mistake of telling Karen that he almost slept with R.J., prompting this reply from Karen: "I can't decide to get married during tech, particularly to someone who's cheating on me!" She leaves his side, and he retreats to a Boston bar where, on the stool next to him, sits a boozy Ivy. They introduce themselves (wait, don't they know each other through their partners?) — and he buys her a drink. Fade to black. Cue the Jif and Chiquitas?

SAM AND TOM: Chorus dancer Sam's family lives in Boston, and he takes Tom home to dinner, where we learn that Sam's father owned a paint store for 35 years, and Sam's brother is a doctor. Mom and sister-in-law are also at the supper table. It's "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" without the tension. The gay thing isn't an issue, but Dad wishes Sam had a more solid job. Tom agrees that dancing is a precarious thing, with little security and a high rate of injury. Sam overhears the conversation, and says Tom is "taking an ax to my life choices." They talk it out and continue on the road to a deeper relationship. Another sing-off averted!

(Kenneth Jones is managing editor of Follow him on Twitter @PlaybillKenneth.)

Check out the earlier "Smash" Report recap of Episode 12.

View Playbill Video's earlier visit with cast and creatives of "Smash."