Will Hart/NBC
Hillary Busis
May 08, 2012 AT 06:35 AM EDT

Real talk, Smashbrowns: If next week’s finale doesn’t divulge, once and for all, who is going to freakin’ play Marilyn Monroe in Bombshell, I might just have a Mama Rose-style musical breakdown. (Okay, I’d probably do that at some point in my life regardless — but it’s the principle of the thing, damnit!). I’ve got a nasty feeling that Smash is planning to end Season 1 with a shot of the new Marilyn as viewed from the back — which would delay the “Karen or Ivy” reveal until September, or the Monday after the 2013 Super Bowl, or whenever this exasperating, lovable oddity comes dancing back onto our TV screens.

If you think about it, it’s sort of amazing that Smash‘s writers managed to tease out the show’s central question for a full 15 episodes. But if you think about it some more, you’ll realize that watching Smash feels an awful lot like jogging on a hamster wheel — you think you’re making progress, but in reality, you’re just running in place, with nothing but some unidentifiable food pellets and a bed of wood shavings to look forward to at the end of your journey. Also, your house is filled with poop.

That analogy may have gotten away from me.

No matter: on to the formal recap. We open in Venice. Just kidding! We open on naked Dev, who slowly awakens to find the severed head of Karen’s favorite My Little Pony figurine (it’s Fluttershy) lying on the pillow next to him. Kidding again! His bedmate is a rumpled, hungover Ivy. So much for staying together for a lifetime of delights, or even a thousand and one nights. The jig is almost up when Jessica uses Karen’s phone to call Ivy, and Dev nearly answers — but the crisis is averted, and the two resolve never to speak of their dalliance again. Good luck with that, guys.

Upsetting things are happening at the theater: Derek’s smooching Rebecca in her dressing room, while a just-arrived Julia is determined never to speak to Tom again. But the cast and crew are going to have to forget their hangups for now — because tonight is their first preview performance. Hey, break a leg, Ellis! Seriously. Nick the Bartender knows a guy.

Hooray, another “Workshop”-style montage of Bombshell‘s musical numbers! Rebecca barely manages to hold it together during a neutered “Let Me Be Your Star,” then misses the spotlight in “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.” We get another peek at “Don’t Say Yes,” and though the musical’s real Darryl Zanuck can’t hold a candle to Christian Borle, it’s still a great number. And then, after a nifty onscreen costume change, the song segues into a tune we haven’t heard before. It’s called — wait for it — “Smash.” And it’s about how Karen and Ivy both want to be stars. Don’t worry, I’ll wait for you to stop rolling your eyes.

Welcome back! This meta-number is actually pretty good — I love the slinky choreography, and the way more girls keep appearing from different corners of Zanuck’s office. I’m not totally sure, though, if this is the song Tom was talking about adding to the show last week; wasn’t that one supposed to be a cut number from Heaven on Earth? How in the world would “Smash” the song fit into that other musical?

NEXT: Bombshell‘s downer dud of an ending 

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