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With both leading ladies competing to prove they are Marilyn in real life, Smash is getting less mysterious by the day.
Dictator Derek pulls Karen aside to practice a dance sequence. Ivy walks into the studio and catches their dirty dancing moment, and she's ready to go full diva on Karen. While she struggles to regain her composure and grasp on reality (it's just Broadway baby, chill), Michael is trying to regain a piece of the past. He talks Julia into joining him for dinner to talk over DiMaggio's role in the musical. Just business, right Swifty? The pair get on the topic of whether Marilyn: The Musical is truly a love story, which brings back fond memories of their affair--which is over, they both have families. Except Julia is so caught up in swooning over Swift that she ignores her ringing cell phone.
Julia's bff Tom is across town on a date of his own, and trying to find any excuse to bail on boring lawyer Mama set him up with. Luckily, Julia's son Leo calls and wants Tom to come get him out of jail. Oops, guess Mom should have picked up after all.
Tom and Jon take off to spring supposed stoner Leo from the joint. Maybe having a boring lawyer around isn't such a bad idea after all. Jon gets Leo out of trouble, and it seems to get Tom just a little bit excited. After deciding to give him another chance, Tom and Jon get it on. After rolling in the sheets, both are tip-toeing around. It was good? Yeah so good! Nope, just kidding. They finally confess that it was actually horrible sex. Tom doesn't think he's ever had worse, and the two share a good laugh about it. Hopefully they're both mature adult men and decide to just cut things off then.
Going full Mom, Julia tries to crack down on Leo post-marijuana bust, but she's really just not very good at it. He says it was a stupid mistake, he wasn't even smoking, and it won't happen again. Julia is really concerned if something does happen, it'll end up on Leo's permanent record and, even worse, could affect the adoption. Good on you Leo for calling Mom out on being more freaked out about your future sister from China. She should definitely be worrying about the kid she's already got.
The next day, Ivy is circling the drain. Derek is in yet another mood, and we're not sure if he's just being pissy or PMSing. Must be the latter, because he is fed up with Ivy and calls on Karen to share the breathy 'Happy Birthday Mr. President" she sang in his apartment. While clearly not oozing sex, Karen's meek rendition is enough to order lessons for Ivy from Miss Iowa. How embarrassing.
Ivy finally finds her moment to pull every diva move she's got. Karen will never have what it takes to play Marilyn, Ivy tells her. She knows what she brings to the party, just like Marilyn did. Careful little prima donna, overconfidence can be a sin too. Ivy continues to try too hard to please Derek, desperate for attention and praise, and quickly winds up in tears when she doesn't get it. The number this week is "Let's Be Bad," which shows Ivy as the boozy, pill-popping Marilyn who is completely unravelling. Sound familiar?
Derek walks out without giving her more gold stars than all the other kids, so Ivy turns Marilyn and heads to the nearest bar. Sufficiently drunk, she winds up at Derek's door demanding to know why he keeps ignoring and humiliating her. He tells her that he's just treating her like everyone else, and if she wants to keep their 'relationship' going, she better start separating work and home. She decides it's better to sleep with him than argue. Hm.
Meanwhile, Karen is working on channelling her inner Marilyn. In her weekly solo performance, Karen's left breast makes a stunning appearance as she gives herself a striptease in front of the mirror while singing "It's a Man's Man's Man's World." She pulls out a jaw-dropping dress to join Dev at a work party, trying to prove she knows what she brings to the table too. No Karen, you are not the sex kitten. Just put it away before you hurt yourself.
Karen does a little recon at the party, trying to figure out who is going up against perfect, amazing Dev for the same promotion at work. Talking about the show, she tells a stranger that she IS playing Marilyn. Then the man on her left makes some neanderthal remark about her attire, to which she replies, "Yes, I did dress this way just to be looked at and drooled over. Thanks for being such a gentleman!" Then she finds out this is Dev's rival and quickly runs back to base to tell him the news. He's impressed that she could find so much out just by wearing a skimpy dress and they make out in the back of their limo on the way home. Maybe Iowa is a little underestimated after all.
Back across town, an inebriated Michael Swift shows up at Julia's house to declare his love. Um, Michael? Did you forget you're both married with kids? He has dinner with Julia and Leo before bursting into a song on her stoop to prove his feelings. Julia decides to go for it and they make out in the middle of the street with Leo watching down from the window above. What kind of mother starts an affair where people can see? Come on Jules, you should know a bit more about keeping secrets.
Hopefully next week we'll take a few more unexpected turns. The ingredients are all there for Smash to actually be good, but so far the writers are playing it safe. Come on, take a chance!
Previous episode: The Cost of Art.