Smash Season 2 Review “The Read-Through”

Just when you thought ‘Bombshell’ would be heading to the bright lights of Broadway after all, Smash throws in yet another obstacle for the hapless production to climb over. In ‘The Read-Through’, Julia has pretty much perfected the story, with plenty of assistance from Peter, but no one foresaw the complications that would arrive next.

Jerry has decided that he likes an earlier draft better than he new, more focused and character-driven story, and the crew are split of which one would work better on stage. The choice is between a potential hit with critics and a potential hit at the box-office, and Tom and Julia are split for the first time. Tom, not unexpected since he’s the musical director, wants the version of ‘Bombshell’ that has the show-stopping song and dance numbers taking precedent over the story, while Julia and Derek can’t fathom why anyone would turn down the more recent script.

It’s an interesting dilemma, and one that relates well to most areas of the entertainment industry. Do you make the critical darling that no one pays to see or do you dumb it down for the widest possible audience? Fittingly, with the foursome split over which would be the better choice, it’s up to Eileen which one ultimately wins out. We don’t get to see her decision, but the set-up was effective enough to leave me desperate to know.

Meanwhile, there’s also a read-through of ‘Hit List’ going on across town, and it’s not going quite as well. While we’ve heard some of Jimmy’s songs and he’s managed to get Karen and Derek on side, it seems that Kyle’s story doesn’t quite measure up. Jimmy was foolish to expect Kyle’s writing to be stellar just because he was a theatre geek, but it’s a hard situation now that one half of the duo has fallen into the other’s shadow. It’s ironic that this is happening to Kyle, too, since he is the hardest worker out of the two. It mirrors the differences between Karen and Ivy, since it’s too often the lucky one who gets the big break.

Speaking of Ivy, she’s busy with her production of Dangerous Liaisons, and we get our first glimpse at guest star Sean Hayes. He’s playing the buffoonish actor who wants to make the classic story into a farcical character, but Ivy’s having none of it. She delivers one, short, powerhouse performance that instantly stops the room, and it’s enough to convince Terry to come off all of his depression and anxiety medication. True acting can’t be achieved if you’re unable to feel anything, but this sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.

I liked the trio of comparable stories in this episode, and it solidified the different factions that have formed during season two so far. In terms of the future, I really hope that Karen will join ‘Hit List’ and Ivy will fill her spot on ‘Bombshell’ after ‘Dangerous Liaisons’ goes under. I’ve always preferred Ivy as Marilyn, and it’s clear that Karen is the perfect muse for Jimmy.

What did you think of the episode? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.