#8: Evil Meets Evil
Okay okay, Anjelica Huston probably isn’t evil. Not PURE evil, anyway. It’s the cheekbones, really. Like, I mean, if Ellis is Chaotic Evil, she’s Lawful Evil.
Anycrap, those two are in cahoots! Though the relationship gets very little screentime, it lays the foundation for some serious scheming. And, not so secretly, we all want to see Ellis try to doublecross Eileen so she can rip him apart with her mind. We’d be fine with her ripping anybody apart with her mind, really. Or Ellis dying a horrible death under any circumstances at all. The potential union of these two fantasies should be enough reason all by itself to watch this show.
#7: The Worst Actor On Television
I don’t know about you guys, but I’d watch this show just to laugh at the actor who plays Leo. It’s like he learned English phonetically. It’s like there’s somebody flashing cue cards at him, but he’s so high he can’t read. Remember that part in 30 Rock where Jack Donaghy’s filming a commercial and forgets how to walk? Leo going up the stairs. GIVE THIS DUDE MORE LINES. GIVE HIM A SPINOFF. WEBISODES. ANYTHING. SOMEBODY GET HIM ON CSI: MIAMI.
#5: Jack Davenport is Your Favorite Character
Search your feelings. You know it to be true. We hate Ellis because he’s evil and dumb, but we love Davenport because he’s evil and really, REALLY good at what he does. Never afraid to tell it like it is. Never backs down from a challenge. And bit by bit we get hints of his Snape-y nature. That final reveal when we get his whole story… man. Can’t wait.
#4: An Honest Portrayal of Gay Relationships
Ladies and Gentlemen, Glee has left the building. These two awesome dudes provide the ONLY gay relationship on television that’s just… a relationship. One of the biggest beefs people have with Second-Wave Gaymenism in TV and Film is that the vast majority of gay relationships only exist because the characters are gay. And, duh, don’t get me wrong, we the people want as much exposure of healthy homosexuals as possible, but what’s unique about Tom’s character arc is that it doesn’t matter that he’s a dude who likes dudes. The story would be just as interesting and nuanced if you changed the genders of any of the characters involved. Props, Smash; props.
#3: Hints of a Showdown Between Karen and Ivy
Alone in a room together for the first time since the callback in episode two, it’s Ice Queen vs. Field Mouse… but not yet. Civility keeps them in their respective corners, but you can tell this is the beginning of something vicious.
#2: The Ice Queen FINALLY BREAKS
Blink and you’ll miss it. During rehearsal, when everything’s really supposed to be coming together, we see the first real chink in Ivy’s armor. We knew there was a human under all that raging bitchiness, and we get a peek for just a few seconds… and then it’s gone. Subtle, gorgeous. Ivy pulls herself together, leading into—
#1: The Most Inception-Ass Shit You Have Ever Seen
It’s when you realize you’re watching, as New York Magazine puts it, “a TV show in which an actress playing an actress is having a fantasy of playing a character in a stage musical about a movie star in a movie musical,” that your mind is truly blown. Even if you’ve already seen the episode, you probably didn’t even appreciate all the layers until right now. I’ll give you a second. Take your time.
Back? Good. What Smash has effectively done is chuck you headfirst into a world that you didn’t previously know jack shit about (unless you live in New York and are involved with the world in question) and convinced you to give a care. Don’t fight it. You KNOW you want to know what’s up with this business. You know deep down that Karen’s gonna get this thing, but you have NO CLUE what’s going to happen between now and then. And neither does she! And that makes for damn good drama.
(Probably) Next Week on Smash: Ivy rips Karen’s face off, Eileen rips Ellis’ face off (with her mind), Debra Messing bangs DiMaggio and then rips his face off (like a praying mantis), and Jack Davenport kills Dumbledore.
“Smash” airs Mondays at 10p.m. on NBC