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

So, is Scott another jilted lover? Surprisingly enough, no: Julia didn't screw him. She did, however, screw him over.

When she and Scott were in grad school together 15 years ago, they were best friends planning to collaborate on a production of Julia's first off-Broadway play. Everything changed when Lincoln Center came calling, offering to mount a production of the play directed by Mike Nichols. Julia said yes to the counter-offer, accepting an opportunity that effectively launched her career. As a result, Scott found himself effectively blacklisted, relegated to regional theater until he slowly worked his way back to New York. It's a juicy bit of backstory that's totally plausible, given Julia's history of selfishness -- and I love that it has nothing to do with another tired romantic complication, even if the saga is a little too similar to this episode's Tom/Sam situation.

Anyhow, Derek's Tom talk convinces him to reconcile with Jimmy. First, though, he takes some time to reminisce about his own start in low-budget theaters -- they were just like this one. Actually, they were worse. The audience had to walk across the stage to get to the toilet! And the stage went uphill both ways! And the kaiser had stolen their word "twenty"! In any case, Derek admits there's a "slim possibility" Jimmy may have been right, and he agrees to nix the screens. Derek also agrees to try some "out of the box" staging that ends up looking a lot like his inside the box staging. (How many Jesus lifts did you count?) Still, the new song -- "I Heard your Voice in a Dream" -- is catchy. And even if the choreography isn't exactly breaking any new ground, there certainly is a lot of it.

Hit List has officially had one successful rehearsal. The next step: Everybody drink! The downtown gang heads to a cool downtown bar, which is retro enough to resemble something from Smash's first season -- this appears to be the first stage-equipped bar we've seen in 2013. But before Karen can try out her new Adele cover, Ana snags the mic and belts her way through a powerful rendition of Beyoncé's "If I Were a Boy." The performance is impressive enough for Derek to overlook some of the song's more problematic lyrics -- "I'd make out with who I wanted / And never get busted for it" -- and offer Ana a better part in the show. She'll now be playing The Diva, "the biggest superstar in the world." Originally, Derek had wanted Lea Michele for the role; it seems fitting that he'll get one of her old Spring Awakening costars instead.

Just as Derek has learned to be more flexible, Tom has learned to be more rigid. He calmly and firmly tells Sam that he can't put "Tomorrow Tonight" into Bombshell; he tells Ivy that he isn't going to change any of her costumes; he asks Julia to rewrite some scenes, though it's more of an order than a request. So much for the days of croissants and roses. Tom also okays Eileen's decision to formally ask Ivy's own Mama Rose (BERNADETTE!) to play Marilyn's mother -- without first checking in with his star. Careful, Tom -- you may have just taken your Dereking too far.

And in the latest love triangle news: Karen asks Jimmy if he like, likes her likes her, though not in a note ("check box yes or no"). She immediately follows by asking Derek to walk her home. The two of them get close to a hookup, but Karen dodges it... only to find Jimmy standing at her front door moments later. Cue these two finally doing the Horizontal 20th Century Fox Mambo. Man, even his kissing is aggressive.

NEXT: Tonight's cheesiest line

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