Smash, Season 2, Episode 15: “The Transfer”
Written by: Justin Brenneman and Julia Brownell
Directed by: Holly Dale
Airs Saturdays at 8pm (ET) on NBC
As we hurdle down the final stretch of this season’s Smash NBC announced over the weekend that this would be the last season. This was an announcement we all could have predicted. Smash hasn’t necessarily been the worst show on television this year and the original songwriting will sorely be missed. Now it’s up to Smash to properly treat all of us that have been so devoted over the past year and bow out of the series with some of those over the top, melodramatic moments that attracted viewers to Smash in the first place. And where’s a better place to begin that slow roll downhill than with some good old fashioned blackmail and an unexpected pregnancy!
First, starting with poor Ana. It would have been really nice if the writers of Smash would have spent a little more time developing your character and making you more likable. Even when Karen came out to say that Ana is her best friend it was difficult not think, “Really?” Smash had an excellent chance to make a big reveal of the real reason why Derek is replacing Ana with Daisy in the show- although it’s a convoluted twist (look out for that Daisy, she’s a crafty one) it would have been even more dramatic to see it happening to Derek as opposed to hearing Derek talking about it. What’s rule number one for screenwriting? Oh yeah- Show, don’t tell!
After Karen and Daisy perform the quite enjoyable “I’m Not Sorry”, which included choreography that an elementary school gym teacher probably came up with, it is easy to see that Daisy is a better fit to play the Diva. Daisy plays the role with more aggression and fight, as opposed to Ana who tried to play the Diva character with sincerity, probably because she felt guilty for taking songs away from her “best friend” Karen. Which speaking of the Diva, don’t we all agree that the Diva is a horrible name for an antagonist? For a show like Hit List, which is supposed to be cutting edge and modern, the Diva is such an ill-fitting choice.
For Julia and Tom it’s their big reveal for the public that they are moving on in their separate ways, which is sad because the friendship that these two have shared has been a cornerstone for Smash and a source of lighter, comedic times. Sometimes though, you do need a change of scenery, especially if you’re a writer. Why Tom is being so difficult about the whole situation is rather annoying, since how many times in this episode did he mention he wants a Tony for DIRECTING? And as far as Julia working on Hit List, she needs to not feel guilty about it. Putting Kyle’s idea of a social media newsfeed intermixed throughout the show is a pretty rad idea. Although seeing as the theatre is one place you don’t want a performance getting ruined by a noisy cell phone, do you think it’s wise a show encourages cell phone play during the show?
Eileen plans a tribute night for Tom and Julia, which makes it pretty obvious that Eileen was the one who leaked to the press about them splitting up, in order to gain Tony voters for Bombshell. Tom decides to turn the night into an old-timey strip club revue, which doesn’t help Ivy’s reputation especially now since it’s been leaked she’s had problems with pills and slept with Derek. Also not to beat on the feminist drum again, but instead of Ivy allowing her talent to speak for herself she has to gain Tony voters by doing a striptease? There were hardly any repercussions for Derek when five dancers came out to claim sexual harassment, but Ivy sleeps with one Broadway director and it threatens any chance of her getting a Tony? Smash you should know by now to make your female leads stronger. During tribute night Julia decides to sing for the audience as a sort of farewell gift. She wasn’t quite as bad as everyone probably expected (good job Debra Messing!), but it would have been funny to watch her be terrible at singing.
The last minutes of “The Transfer” feels as though we have been transported back to the good old days of the first season, in a quick span we are treated to the aftereffects of gossip and backstabbing. First Derek lets Ana know that she’s officially been fired. This sends Ana in a rage causing her to confront Ivy about when Ivy slept with Derek and promptly got fired from Bombshell. Ana’s questioning infuriates Ivy, especially since Ivy and Karen made a pact earlier that day not to backstab each other during Tony season. Ivy confronts Karen about what she told Ana. Karen thought everyone knew about Ivy’s relationship with Derek (isn’t that the best response ever?) and now Ivy plots revenge on Karen by winning a Tony for herself.
During this whole kerfuffle Ivy’s phone rings three times. Finally she answers to hear the results of her blood test have confirmed she’s pregnant! (What kind of health insurance does she have where she has a doctor that calls THREE times in a row? It’s called voice mail?) One can only hope that the two-hour series finale will give us more of this soapy, dramatic plot.