The fifth episode of NBC’s drama Smash is called “Chemistry,” and though the title likely refers to the illicit romance heating up between Julia (Debra Messing) and Michael (Will Chase), you’ve got to wonder what’s in those “seven dollar martinis” producer Eileen (Anjelica Huston) is suddenly very fond of. Take a look at this week’s Smash-Back highlights:
Luckiest So-and-So in the Biz: We already know Ellis (Jaime Cepero) is a scheming little rat hellbent on getting back at Julia for firing him (Tom, played by Christian Borle, rehired him later). Ellis swallows his distaste for the menial parts of his job as an assistant (fetching tea for a bitchy Julia, picking up incredible amounts of dry cleaning for Tom), and takes full advantage of his access to the good life (hobnobbing at Derek’s swanky party). In this week’s episode, Ellis was in the right place at the right time yet again. He caught Julia and Michael getting hot and heavy at rehearsal and managed to overhear Eileen complaining about her lack of funds on the phone. (Just where is her temp anyway?) He also insinuated himself into Eileen’s good graces by playing spy as well as introducing her to a ruggedly handsome bartender and a video game called Big Buck Hunter (!) at an out-of-the-way dive. This is the kind of cold ambition on which showbiz was built. Cheers!
Best Reaction Shot: When Ivy (Megan Hilty) has vocal troubles and suffers side effects (hallucinations? mood swings? whatever!) from her medication, she goes off the deep end in rehearsal. It’s fun to watch her humiliate Derek (Jack Davenport) for once by calling him “not that good in bed” in front of everyone. And there ain’t no gossips like theater people gossips, so we’re sure this will be big news at Joe Allen. The best part? Watching Marilyn stage manager Linda’s (Ann Harada) wide-eyed reaction after Ivy slams the door. We feel you, Linda.
Weirdest Thing to Wear on the Subway: OK, it may seem like we’re picking on poor, distracted, lovelorn Julia. Sorry about that—she does already have enough problems: pot-smoking teen son, gap in the second act of her possibly flailing musical, devoted hubby out of town, burnt pancakes. Nevertheless, we’re wondering why she didn’t throw on a T-shirt or something when sneaking out to meet Michael late at night. Is a white silk pajama top (with nothing underneath) really a good choice for the F train?
Hava No Idea: Karen (Katharine McPhee) gets a gig singing at a Long Island bar mitzvah for five hundred bucks. One teensy issue: she doesn’t know the words to Jewish celebration standard “Hava Nagila” and seems to have lost her work ethic in favor of her iPhone. No worries. She makes it up to the kids with the very last song (Florence and the Machine’s “Shake It Out”). She also apparently impresses a big music mogul with her performance. Mazel tov!
Name Dropping: Eileen continues her efforts to line up investors for the Marilyn musical, and one surefire way to do so is to name drop. If someone big is coming, you’ll want to come, too (and don’t forget your checkbook!). Some of the names she mentions are real-life producers David Stone (Wicked) and Jeffrey Finn (Seminar—written by Smash mastermind Theresa Rebeck, natch), theater-owning family the Nederlanders and two-time Tony winner Nathan Lane. Let’s see which of these luminaries actually shows up next week!