'Smash' Season Finale Recap: [Spoiler] Is Cast As Marilyn

Mon, May 14, 2012 11:00pm EDT by 56 Comments
Smash Season Finale

A star is born! Do you think the right girl was chosen?

Not only was the May 14 season finale of Smash the best episode since its critically acclaimed pilot, but it also served to reinforce a few truths I’ve come to accept during the course of the season: Ellis (Jaime Cepero) sucks, Dev (Raza Jaffrey) is a douche, Ivy (Megan Hilty) is chemically imbalanced, and Karen (Katharine McPhee) — well, Karen is a star!

Much to the chagrin of the rest of the creative team, Derek insisted that Karen play Marilyn in the final preview performance, adding an additional layer of stress to the cast and crew of Bombshell. As if it wasn’t enough that Tom (Christian Borle) and Julia (Debra Messing) had to pull a brand-new final number out of their collective butt, Karen had only a few hours to learn the entire show.

No one was more upset with Derek’s choice than Ivy, who decided to not-so-subtly reveal her affair with Dev at the worst possible moment, sending Karen into a Marilyn-style tizzy. After a brief nervous breakdown, she gave Dev back his engagement ring and broke up with him for good. Derek added an extra “f**k you” of his own, telling Dev, “She’s mine now.”

I’ve got to say, it felt really good watching Dev get his head handed to him. He’s been on the decline ever since the pilot, and I wouldn’t be too disappointed if he didn’t stick around for season two. Karen needs a guy who understands what she’s going through — or at the very least, she needs to be single for a while so Derek can try living out one of his little fantasies.

But it wasn’t all bad news on Broadway this week, as Eileen (Anjelica Hustonfinally fired Ellis. He told her he was the one who poisoned Rebecca’s (Uma Thurman) smoothie — bragged about it, in fact — and insinuated he was the only one doing any real producing. Like the true cartoon villain that he is, Ellis vowed revenge before sauntering out of the theater, so it looks like we can anticipate plenty of weasel sightings in season two.

The rewrite and recasting for Bombshell clearly paid off, because Karen was sensational and the crowd loved her. But while she was belting her glorious final number, Ivy was preparing for a curtain call of her own: The final scene revealed the Marilyn-hopeful downing a bottle of pills, leaving her fate in question until the show returns in 2013.

What did you think of the Smash finale? Did it restore your faith in the inconsistent series, or will you not be tuning in when it returns next year? Was Karen the right choice to play Marilyn? And what do you think will happen to Ivy, post-pill binge? Drop your thoughts and theories in the comments section below!

— Andy Swift

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Pepper

Posted at 7:24 PM on May 15, 2012  

Although both have talent, clearly Ivy tells the story through songs that can tug at your heart. Karen has a gorgeous voice thats better for concerts and cd, but she can be decent & effective in a broadway setting. Given the experience that Ivy has and time constraints of the show “Bombshell”, In the real world, Ivy takes the role hands down. Money is bottom line…always. But, this is a “show” drama & controversy is the name of the game, so therefore the writers of the show did their job and got viewers talking. Bottom line, dollars…

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StopmakingIvythebadguy

Posted at 5:34 PM on May 15, 2012  

At first I hated Ivy, and was rooting for Karen, but the more they tried to get you to hate Ivy, the more I like her. I don’t think either of them look much like Marylin, and I think they both can sing; however, when Ivy sings, it brings tears to my eyes, there’s so much emotion there and I really feel it. Karen has a nice voice too, but I don’t feel the same emotion when she sings. I hate how they are making Ivy’s character, I really wanted her to play Marylin. Karen started getting a little annoying to me honestly. Still can’t stand Ellis, or Dev. And Leo, wow, where did they find that actor, he is terrible. Would love to see Ivy have some good luck in season 2, stop handing everything to Karen on a silver platter.

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Nees

Posted at 12:31 AM on May 16, 2012  

Yes! I agree with everything u said except the part about Ellis, he’s such a good villain lol.. But back to Ivy she is Marilyn and they’re making hate Karen, she’s so boring I need her to sleep with Derek, trash Dev’s house something, anything. She’s too pure to be pink for me

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Steph

Posted at 1:46 AM on May 16, 2012  

Agreed!!! That’s exactly what I felt too! The more they tried to get the audience on Karen’s side, the more I hated her for getting everything on a silver platter. I REALLY do hope for the show’s sake that Ivy gets some vindication in season 2. Even though Karen had a great voice, the role should have gone to Ivy.

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Claire

Posted at 5:18 PM on May 15, 2012  

It’s obvious Ivy is more talented than Karen at the moment, and i did not feel like they thought otherwise in the show. Choosing Karen was clearly Derek’s choice, because he sees something in her that is yet to bloom. I think the writers want to show that Ivy is at the climax of her talent, that she won’t be any better, whereas Karen is just beginning her career. Anyway that’s how i felt it.
Plus, Ivy’s personnality is absolutely dreadful. She suffered i know but it made her so bitter and mean! Can’t help it, i’m definitely team Karen ;)

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cinephilactic

Posted at 2:56 PM on May 15, 2012  

Thought the finale was good, but didn’t repair all the damage. Hope never to see Dev, Leo or Ellis again (use your extended time off wisely, Smash!)

Thought it should have been Ivy. She deserved better than her pill-addled, second fiddle status.

Our take: http://wp.me/p1VQBq-VJ

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bitchstolemyremote

Posted at 2:54 PM on May 15, 2012  

I think the finale went a certain ways to restoring faith in the show. Ellis getting kicked to the curb was good (though Eileen should have been meaner), Will deserved his wife leaving him and Dev should just exit stage right now that Karen is a star.

Don’t agree with the decision to go with Karen as Marilyn, but the show has clearly been angling for her since the start. Hilty deserves better than the jealous, drug addicted second fiddle, so hope that they treat her better in S2.

Our take: http://wp.me/p1VQBq-VJ

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Sandi Torske

Posted at 2:50 PM on May 15, 2012  

Ive Loved Every episode. Will definitely be on board for season two. Top notch entertainment.

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mon

Posted at 2:33 PM on May 15, 2012  

im pissed that ivy didnt get it!!!! ivy was better in everyway plus i hate how karen didnt have to work to get a lead role i wanted her to struggle like a real actress would. its unrealistic that she just gets everything she wants without trying …. and ivy isnt a bitch the theater is a cutthroat industy.

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January

Posted at 2:27 PM on May 15, 2012  

Both women r very talented. The only diff. Is that Hilty is a seasoned thespian & McPhee is not. McPhee has this gorgeous tone to her voice but Hilty is more effective at telling a story with it. But, they r equally good actress. What u see in the delivery of their lines is a big part of their personality. McPhee is quieter and Hilty is more expressive. As far as who should have been Marilyn, Ivy deserves a lot, she’s paid her dues and has talent, but, she did have her chance but nerves and mind games got to her performance. Karen was “light” but talented and focus. She has less bagage that is endearing to directors and casting. When she was given the opportunity, she went for it with conviction. She too deserved the part. They both had vurnerability intheir own personal experiences. Besides Karens talent, her innocence was the plus that was the deciding factor for Derick. Karen was the right choice…

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Melchior

Posted at 2:12 PM on May 15, 2012  

Dear Andy:

You don’t know a thing about musical theatre. Please go watch a Broadway show ASAP.

If you honestly believe McPhee was great, then you have very low standards and probably a serious hearing condition. Get help.

BTW, she did not belt the last song. Her voice is average, which is why they never showed her doing “Let’s Be Bad”. She could never belt like Hilty. Not to mention the fact that she can’t act or emote at all.

She’s a terrible choice for Marilyn and it’s sad to see people like you thinking she’s fantastic. You’re probably the same type of person that thinks Twilight is awesome and Finn/Rachel from Glee is “the best couple ever”.

I weep for humanity.

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Lisa

Posted at 3:43 PM on May 15, 2012  

Please get over yourself!

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Rio

Posted at 3:53 PM on May 15, 2012  

omg I cant believe what a complete idiot you are “Melchior” IT’S A FREAKING TV SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!! yeah yeah in real life hilty is perfect and mcphee came out of Idol, but on the show they’re supposed to have more or less the same amount of talent! besides you talk like you’re an expert and oh so perfect, but uhm in case you have forgotten this show was created by people who are broadway experts and that have waaaaaay more talent and better taste than you will ever have in you pathetic sad little life.

I weep for humanity because YOU’re probably ‘the same type of person’ that thinks that just because you have talent you can go through life being a bitch to everyone and treating them like they’re an inferior, just like Ivy, WHAT AN AS*!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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nellie

Posted at 1:07 PM on May 15, 2012  

Routing for Karen, BUT Ivy IS Marilyn.

Also, did they actually show her taking the pills? I thought they just showed it in her hand.

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Cesar

Posted at 1:04 PM on May 15, 2012  

Great season finale,I was fascinated with Karen’s performance and the way she subtly told (or hinted) Ivy and Dev to F.. off, first giving the ring back to him and then returning all cool and ready after her breakdown just as Ivy was getting all cozy with the red costume, I’m sorry for Ivy’s fans but that b..tch had it coming.
And speaking of evil b..tches getting what they deserve, what the hell was Ellis thinking confronting Eileen like that? she should’ve called the police after he confessed about the smoothie, he could’ve killed Rebecca, what a creep, the only thing missing was Eileen’s foot print on his ass.
It’s going to be a very long wait for next season

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Teresa

Posted at 11:54 AM on May 15, 2012  

Ivy is way to unstable and unpredictable we all saw what happened to her in the workshop…Karen I think pulled it off with grace! I was hoping to see her slap ivy for what she did..but no she didn’t do that she had GRACE unlike ivy! Karen has a beautiful voice! So anxious for what season 2 unfolds

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Joanne Weisenfeld

Posted at 11:53 AM on May 15, 2012  

I was very disappointed that Ivy (Megan Hilty)did not play Marilyn. Megan is a much better actress and she is a broadway star. Katherine McPhee is a great singer, but Megan put so much heart into every song. I was so so disappointed.

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ANederlander

Posted at 11:05 AM on May 15, 2012  

Obviously the author is not familiar with Broadway. Karen was sensational? “Glorious final number”? You should have your ears checked, Andy, and educate yourself on Broadway musicals. I’m sure you can afford a show or two. Karen screeched her way into the finale number. If you think Katherine McPhee, discounting the fame she got from American Idol, could get a starring role on Broadway with her mediocre acting skills, her nothing-special voice and her so-so dancing, you are deluding yourself. I’ve been attending casting sessions since I was about 8, and the ones we hire as understudies are miles away from Katherine talent-wise.

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rio

Posted at 3:57 PM on May 15, 2012  

dear god for the millionth time SHE’S NOT GETTING A BROADWAY SHOW ON REAL LIFE, SHE’S JUST ACTING LIKE SHE GOT ONE. seriously some people have issues diferencing reality from TV!!!! Just because robert downey jr plays Ironman doesnt mean he’s got superpowers and will save the world, you know that.. right?????

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Anony

Posted at 2:32 AM on May 16, 2012  

And yet, if i’m going to be fed a show about actresses/singers trying to make it big on Broadway, I expect to see actresses/singers who look like they can believably make it on Broadway. You’re right that TV isn’t real life, but when it’s trying to imitate real life (in this case, imitating actors and actresses who want to be Broadway stars) then what I see needs to get me to suspend my belief. If Katherine had been cast as someone trying to make it in the pop scene in LA, that would have been much more believable, but seeing her try to believably compete against Megan Hilty as a viable Broadway show lead…just isn’t.

 
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Anon

Posted at 9:00 AM on May 15, 2012  

Maybe season 2 will have dueling shows, with Ivy being the star of one of them. Eileen vs Jerry/Ellis. Or, have the reviews come in and be good, but some comments about Karen which cause the show to try Ivy for the next night who is a bigger smash. Whatever happens, Ivy should be cast in a lead role. She is soooooo much better than Karen. Megan Hilty is a star.

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Andy Swift

Posted at 9:06 AM on May 15, 2012  

If next season is STILL about Karen and Ivy vying for the same role, I’m going to hang myself.

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den

Posted at 3:45 AM on May 15, 2012  

I’m happy with the decision of choosing Karen as Marilyn. I also love Megan Hilty but I really think that Mcphee’s character is the right person for the part.

http://denisewy.blogspot.com/2012/05/nbc-smash-and-cbs-himym-finale.html

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Kathleen

Posted at 2:27 AM on May 15, 2012  

No NO NO – Ivy should be Marilyn – she is a million times more talented than Karen that insipid small town good girl who gets everything handed to her on a plate. Aside from that Ivy is just aan amazing singer and I love to hear her voice. Karen is very mediocre – sorry.

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Uncle Sam

Posted at 7:53 AM on May 15, 2012  

Agreed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ivy is a thousand times more talented than Karen!

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Alli

Posted at 10:49 AM on May 15, 2012  

whattttt?? her voice is annoying, she can’t act nearly as well, she doesn’t have marilyn’s innocence, and she’s so self-centered that it makes me want to scream! the only thing she has going for her is that she looks more like marilyn.

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Debra

Posted at 1:19 AM on May 15, 2012  

Karen was the right choice. How anybody can say her voice is mediocre is beyond me. And she does have more of the vulnerability the part requires. Not to mention that Ivy’s revealing her affair with Dev just when she did was totally despicable and I would have hated to see her rewarded for it. The way she sauntered in all dressed and ready to take over the part was just too blatant. I’m not convinced Ivy is going to go through with taking those pills. But it does make an interesting cliffhanger leading into season 2.

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Andy Swift

Posted at 9:06 AM on May 15, 2012  

“How anybody can say her voice is mediocre is beyond me.”

THANK YOU!

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cesar

Posted at 1:17 PM on May 15, 2012  

I seriously don’t get why some people think Ivy looks more like Marilyn, why? just because she’s blonde? come on, have you seen Marilyn??? Ivy looks more like Mae West with that round face and huge Jay Leno jaw…
Karen in costume looks more like Marilyn and she’s got what it takes, her voice is beautiful and she is really talented, if that doesn’t convince you then I guess nothing does.
She actually looks more like Marilyn then Michelle Williams. I’m so glad she got the part, she freakin’ deserves it.

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Cam

Posted at 12:32 AM on May 15, 2012  

So glad Karen got it! Ivy looks more like Marilyn and can sing definitely, however Karen doesn’t have to sleep with someone to get what she wants. Karen can belt and sing just as good as ivy can.Karen was the good girl and the good girl is ALWAYS overlooked. The ones with sex appeal always get it over the “good girl.” so great to see that even with Broadway, HARD WORK and PERSERVERENCE without having to sleep with a director, really does pay off in the end! GO KAREN.

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Brianna

Posted at 12:13 AM on May 15, 2012  

I’m so happy Karen got it! She plays the role of Marilyn brilliantly. Ivy had too much of the sex appeal without any innocence which was completely unlike Marilyn. Plus I think it is wonderful to see that the “good” girl got the role in the end. I never thought Ivy deserved it, they just played her up for the public that had chosen her. The Karen followers is where it’s at! :)

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April

Posted at 12:11 AM on May 15, 2012  

It’s really disappointing that Karen was chosen. Ivy is so talented from the way she acts to the way she sings. She would also be a better Marylin ‘cos when Karen plays Marilyn, she has this fake soft voice like shes trying too hard. And well Ivy, she makes acting look natural and the way she dances is incredible. She has the body, look, talents to be Marylin. Katherine may be a good singer but her acting sucks to me.

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Andy Swift

Posted at 9:05 AM on May 15, 2012  

Don’t forget that Ivy’s kind of a liability after what happened during “Heaven On Earth.” And considering how the episode ended, they’re right to think she’s unstable.

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Twee

Posted at 12:02 AM on May 15, 2012  

I’m sorry, I can’t tell if this is written to be sarcastic or not.

Given how Dev accosted Ivy at the moment her world started to unravel, asking yet again after the ring, I don’t blame her for not slipping it back to him. Nor do I blame her for how she told Karen – if Dev wasn’t going to (like Julia not telling Frank about Michael) then it needs to come out (yay Michael for telling his wife!) And since it provided Karen the opportunity to complete her metamorphosis into God’s Gift To Theatre, I don’t see how anyone can complain.

On the whole, I’m baffled as to why we got 40 minutes of Karen and 2 minutes of Ivy. And Ivy got no new songs. Which might have been wise, actually, setting her version of Wolf against Karen’s only served to highlight how amazingly emotive, sassy, and sexy McPhee made the song, versus McPhee’s flat “I’m singing it!” rendition.

Karen was always going to get the part, I just didn’t realize they were going to go to such lengths to cram her down our throats, and leave no permission at all for a viewer to prefer Ivy.

Which I do. Not because Ivy loves theatre more, or Karen doesn’t actually have a work ethic without instant reward. Not because Hilty is true Broadway and McPhee is a lovely pop singer and pompous actress. But because I love to watch Ivy perform, she engages me and makes me live and feel the song, she tells me a story and sweeps me along even when my mind would wander. In short, Ivy is better. Only thing getting in the way are a didactic PTB, and even THEY can’t break Ivy (or Hilty), just shove her to the sidelines.

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Andy Swift

Posted at 9:14 AM on May 15, 2012  

I love Karen’s singing voice, but I think it was a mistake having her do an entire number that we’ve seen Ivy do better. Her “Wolf,” admittedly, wasn’t nearly as good as Ivy’s.

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Kelly

Posted at 11:58 PM on May 14, 2012  

I think this was the wrong choice. Ivy was a MUCH better Marilyn, in looks and in sound. I was very disappointed indeed.

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Anon

Posted at 11:43 PM on May 14, 2012  

I think Ivy is a much better singer, and actress. Wish she got the part.

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HDDA

Posted at 11:58 PM on May 14, 2012  

Agreed! It kills me that Karen has such an incredibly mediocre voice, stage presence, and acting and she got the part.

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Andy Swift

Posted at 9:02 AM on May 15, 2012  

I agree Ivy has better stage presence, but I actually prefer Karen’s acting. I feel like Ivy’s Marilyn comes off too much like Betty Boop.

 
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Melchior

Posted at 2:02 PM on May 15, 2012  

Her “acting” would not work on stage, it’s barely good enough for TV. Her final scene was particularly bad.

 
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Anon

Posted at 11:08 PM on May 14, 2012  

Karen was the right choice, and all throughout this episode I was hoping they wouldn’t switch to Ivy at any point in time. Don’t get me wrong, I love Ivy, but I just needed the chance to see Karen finally get to play Marilyn. Icy got a chance for the larger portion of the beginning of the show, then Rebecca Duval got it, and finally Karen got a shot at the very end. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that she pulled it off stunningly!

Can’t believe we won’t get to see any new episodes or the premiere of Season 2 until early NEXT year! ):

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Andy Swift

Posted at 8:59 AM on May 15, 2012  

“I love Ivy, but I just needed the chance to see Karen finally get to play Marilyn.”

That’s EXACTLY how I felt!

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Joanne

Posted at 12:05 PM on May 15, 2012  

I read all the comments so far and ofcourse people have a right to there opinions. The one I totally agree with is that Ivy (Megan Hilty) was so great at making you feel the songs that she sang. It was obvious throughout the episodes that Karen was getting the part, but I was hoping for Ivy. I have been going to Broadway shows for over 30 years and my daughter is in Musical Theater. Karen (Katherine McPHee) has a beautiful voice but Megan Hilty is an accomplished performer.

 
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