Smash recap: New Directions

Can Derek learn how to compromise with his collaborators -- and can Tom learn how to say "no" to his?
Ep. 08 | Aired Mar 26, 2013

HELLO, I MUST BE GOING Sam's back in town, but only for a spell -- unless Tom can come up with a reason to make him stay.

Will Hart/NBC

Oh hey, look who dropped into town -- it's Sporto Sam, who is somehow unhappy touring the country with The Book of Mormon. How can this be? Has he seen his own show? To Julia's chagrin, people pleaser Tom wastes no time telling his ex that he'd be happy to find a place for Sam in Bombshell. And at an impromptu cast party that night, Tom realizes what that role could be: Nat King Cole, a singer who didn't know Marilyn Monroe but did moonlight as a big Kennedy supporter. Thanks to an aborted '60s Vegas musical, Tom even has a fully-written song for Sam to croon in the show.

The tune, a jazzy faux-standard called "(Let's Start) Tomorrow Tonight," is great -- especially when accompanied by a little makeshift soft-shoe. (Of course Tom just has a bunch of hats lying around, waiting for a moment like this.) Unfortunately, it's not right for Bombshell. As Julia points out, JFK already has a song; there's no need to turn this show into the musical equivalent of The Aviator. Tom just can't bring himself to break the bad news to Sam, so he meekly enlists Julia to do his dirty work. The problem: Though it's been just about 12 hours since Tom offered Sam the part, Sam has already gone ahead and quit Mormon. Ruh-roh.

Derek and Jimmy, meanwhile, keep doing the same old dance. They fight, they break up, they kiss, they make up, minus the last two. Their latest battle is over Derek's proposed Hit List set. He wants to line the stage with giant Japanese LED screens -- an idea that does, honestly, sound fairly terrible. (Have we learned nothing from The Woman in White?) Jimmy -- surprise! -- hates the whole concept, snarling that Derek must lavish his shows with fancy, expensive trimmings because he doesn't trust the material to shine on its own. Somewhere, Andrew Lloyd Webber shrugs his assent and counts his tiaras.

Though he's made his point in the most obnoxious way possible, Jimmy does end up getting the last laugh. Derek convinces Tom Collins Scott to let him try the screens; they turn out to be a malfunctioning disaster. Adding insult to injury, Karen confesses under duress that she, too, isn't a giant fan of the electronic set. And oh, here's that extra wound salt Derek ordered: Tom and Julia have just showed up, ostensibly because Julia wants Derek to teach Tom how to make hard decisions. There's a dick joke in there somewhere, but frankly, I don't feel like reaching for it.

Against all odds, Tom and Derek do end up having a mutually beneficial conversation. Bad Cop tells Good Cop that having his team's respect is more important than getting them to like him. Good Cop tells Bad Cop that he should maybe consider listening to what Jimmy has to say. And as they're trading advice, Julia sets off to do what she really came downtown to do: confront Scott, who hasn't returned her calls since their awkward encounter last week.

NEXT: Even Jimmy's kissing is aggressive

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