[Friends, beware: If you haven’t watched the Smash season finale, please step away from your computer. I suppose you could also just close this tab…but my order is much more dramatic, and therefore more Smash-appropriate. In any case: Spoilers follow. You’ve been warned.]
Wait a minute. Weren’t we just told that it’s a bad idea to end a musical with a suicide?
In many ways, Smash’s finale was as predictable as Terrible Ellis lurking by a closed door. Derek’s Karilyn hallucinations led him to champion Karen over Ivy. Ivy spent the show moping and scowling; Karen spent it looking alternately blank and worried. Tom and Julia wrote a triumphant concluding song with lightning speed. Everyone’s least favorite character revealed he dropped the screw in the tuna… er, the peanuts in the smoothie. Dev, Leo, and Frank did nothing to convince us they deserve to be characters on this show. We were subjected to unnecessary flashbacks. Bombshell’s musical sequences continued to be a thousand times more interesting than anything happening offstage.
But Smash also had a few surprises in store – provided you didn’t watch last week’s promo. After learning the truth about Rebecca’s Death Smoothie, Eileen finally gave Ellis the unceremonious sendoff he deserved. Though the sweater-vested sycophant vowed we haven’t heard the last of him, I’m hoping Josh Safran will listen to the deafening roars urging Smash’s writers to kick His Terribility off the show for good. Another quasi-shock: Julia realized that she might be pregnant with Leo Jr. Good luck with that, Jules.
Then there was that final scene. While Karen-as-Marilyn crooned the show’s stirring new final number, Ivy sulked backstage, wondering why Iowa has all the luck. The crowd began to roar for Karen, brought to their feet by the majestic power of her unparalleled vocal talent and electric stage presence. (So much for realism.) Ivy took out a bottle of pills left over from her episode-long drug addiction and shook a handful into her palm. We didn’t see her down that Monroevian cocktail – but given Ivy’s Marilyn obsession and her deep despair, I’m going to guess the starlet took the pills.
My full recap of Smash’s season finale will be up just as soon as the west coast is finished bathing in Karen Cartwright’s incandescent light. In the meantime, use this space to discuss that doozy of an ending. Could Ivy be dead? She almost certainly isn’t – but imagine how the show would be shaken up if she were. Did you see her suicide attempt coming? How do you think Karen performed in the end? And every time you sing “Happy Birthday,” will you obey Karilyn’s orders and think of her?