In this week's brand new episode ("Hell on Earth" S1E9) of Smash, things start to become less about what happened before, and more about where the show is headed in the future. Over the last eight episodes, we've seen the idea of a Marilyn Monroe musical grow into a production with a workshop under its belt.
We saw the writers, Julia and Tom (Debra Messing and Christian Borle) struggle with their own lives while trying to finish the script. Tom's past with the director, Derek (Jack Davenport) was also brought up recently, shedding light on the hostility between the two characters, but now it seems like they got over it and are okay working together again.
Aside from production worries in "Hell on Earth," Tom is also keeping tabs on Ivy (Megan Hilty), who seems to be sliding into the deep end after being dropped as Marilyn in favor of bringing in a big star to headline the show. Not making things easier, Tom's boyfriend, John (Neal Bledsoe) is starting to reveal more about himself that makes Tom start to have doubts about their future, while also flirting with Ivy's friend Sam (Leslie Odem Jr.) to make matters even worse.
Julia's husband Frank (Brian d'Arcy James) also finds out about her affair with the actor who played Joe DiMaggio, Michael (Will Chase), which creates another turning point in this story arc after her son found out, forcing her to abruptly end the affair in "Hell on Earth."
On the upside of things, Karen (Katherine McPhee) finds herself booking a commercial, after bumping into Ivy at the audition. The two accidentally swap sunglasses, prompting Karen to do the right thing and return them, while Ivy throws Karen's away the second she gets home.
Having just come off of a horrible performance of "Heaven On Earth," Karen is the last person Ivy wants to see, but when Karen sticks around to take care of Ivy, the two spend the night bonding, which will no doubt have a huge impact on their roles in the show going forward as the role of Marilyn is being stolen from the both of them in favor of a movie star.
As Eileen (Anjelica Huston) is finally starting to see hope for the show again, she is forced to act when Derek threatens to leave until his demands are met. After staging a meeting with a rival director, she calls his bluff, and gets him to stay on board. All the while, Ellis (Jaime Cepero) is still causing trouble, trying to get credited as a producer while going behind Eileen's back to try and book a star on his own.
With all the drama this week in "Hell on Earth," they were still able to fit a couple songs in, believe it or not. This episode really demonstrated that the show can keep a fresh story, and even as the show moves onto the next stage of development, the whole world around it continues to change. Everything is up in the air right now, but when the dust starts to settle and guest star, Uma Thurman arrives next week, we'll start to get a better idea of where they're headed next.
I give this week's Smash a 3 outta 5.
"I see. She likes crazy people. Of source she does," Ivy Lynn - "Hell on Earth" S1E9