Smash “Hell On Earth” Review

Smash (NBC) Hell on Earth (8)

Hell certainly seemed to break loose on this week’s aptly named episode of Smash, “Hell On Earth.” While the title foreshadowed the intoxicated spin that Ivy put on Tom’s Heaven on Earth show, things got a little hellish for a lot of the characters in this episode.

Julia’s deceptions finally caught up with her when Frank figured out that something had been going on between her and Michael Swift. Frank’s reactions to her affair were raw, real and painful. My heart broke for Frank when he realized that Julia’s affair wasn’t simply a recent fling. Within a few seconds, he swung through a range of emotions as the truth about Julia and Michael’s history became clear and we watched as his expressions went from anger, to devastation, to disbelief and back to an uncontrollable fury.

Judging from her final conversation with Michael, Julia seemed to understand that she played a pivotal role in the collapse of her family. The fact that Julia realized this and was unwilling to make any excuses for her actions actually went pretty far to redeem her in my eyes. Forget the adoption, I want to see how far she’s willing to go to put her family back together and to make amends for her poor choices – particularly to her son who was unfairly forced to keep her secret.

While things were falling apart for Julia and Frank behind closed doors, Ivy was falling apart in front of a live audience. Having been set up as the consummate professional in earlier episodes of Smash, I was surprised that Ivy would have let her personal drama show up on stage when she returned to Heaven on Earth. By her second performance, it was clear that her bad stage behavior was a result of her new pill habit.

Ivy’s prescription happy doctor had apparently prescribed a cocktail of meds to treat the various side effects that sprung from her original Prednisone prescription. Ivy had begun using her prescriptions to self medicate her heartbreak and after popping one too many pills, she found herself keeled over on the dressing room floor.

Ivy’s intoxicated fumble on stage was rather funny and although I realize it was humiliating for her character, I was enjoying the physical comedy and I liked seeing Ivy being a goofball. It quickly turned depressing when the perpetually perfect Karen showed up and happened to catch Ivy’s embarrassing performance in person.

Karen and Ivy exchanged verbal blows before suddenly becoming best friends for the night and drinking out of brown paper bags together. Although I had a hard time believing that they would suddenly enjoy one another’s company after all their issues in the past, I was happy to suspend my disbelief about their new camaraderie. That is, until Karen and Ivy decided to break out into a spontaneous musical number in the middle of New York City.

After watching the first 45 seconds of that awkward, never ending pop number (those 45 seconds might as well have been 45 minutes), I had to watch the rest of that scene in fast forward. These pop numbers have not been working well within the Smash storyline. It’s not that they sound bad, but these numbers go on forever and are so unnaturally forced into the storyline that they make the episode feel unbearably long.

Tom had a bit of his own drama when he discovered that his dreamboat lawyer boyfriend was a Republican. It looks like there’s some kind of triangle developing between Tom, John and Sam. I like all three of them so I hope that whatever happens, it doesn’t get too messy.

Kind of like that kid that traded his old cell phone up to get his hands on a Porsche, Ellis embarked on a mission to barter and trade his way up to the top of the industry. Since Ellis didn’t have a cell phone to trade, he decided to whore himself out so that he could land a casting appointment with a big name star, Rebecca DuVall, which he would then trade for a co-producer credit on the show.

Without batting an eye at his audacity, Eileen was savvy enough to give Ellis a brutal reality check. There are times when Eileen looks at Ellis as if he were some kind of novelty. She seems to be aware of what mischief he is capable of and she lets him meddle if it amuses her or if it plays in her favor. The truth is that she’d be able to crush his career with a wave of her little finger. Eileen might be the only person in the Smash world who has what it takes to overpower that diabolical imp, so as long as she keeps him on that short leash, I’m willing to tolerate him for just a little bit longer.