Smash Season Finale Recap: Hello, Norma Jean...

megan hilty katharine mcpheeSmash‘s inaugural season may have had more irregularities than a dollar-store t-shirt, but at least its season finale gave us a little bit of suspense, some interesting inside-theater intrigue, and plenty of soap-opera shenanigans.

Things kicked off with the show’s most dynamic duo — Tom and Julia — finishing a new closing number with only 15 minutes till curtain. And then we got a Marilyn’s eye view of the backstage insanity, with everyone wishing good luck to the last-minute replacement for movie star Rebecca Duvall. But would it be Ivy Lynn, who originated the role in workshop, or understudy Karen, who hadn’t yet rehearsed the part?

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Flash back to 12 hours prior, with the entire cast eavesdropping as Eileen, Derek, Tom, and Julia — wait, who forgot to invite “producer” Ellis? — tried to figure out how to proceed following Rebecca’s abrupt exit, not to mention an opening night of previews that ended with tepid applause for the show ending in Marilyn’s death by overdose.

Here’s how our major characters’ story arcs wrapped up (until we meet up with them again when Season 2 kicks off in 2013):

* The night’s most satisfying moment came when Ellis confronted Eileen and insisted the lead role must go to Ivy Lynn, not Karen. “OK,” responded the power producer, using a single word to remind the bowtie-wearing creep that he had about as much say in the matter as a gnat trying to direct traffic in midtown Manhattan. “Why don’t you do a Starbucks run for the creative team?” she purred, winning my heart forever, before Ellis hissed that he was a producer, that he was the one who laced Rebecca’s smoothie with peanuts, and that Eileen was never to call him an assistant again. (Is dude really dumb enough to think that job-title change was in any way his to make?) “You’re fired is what you are,” lobbed back his incredulous boss, before Ellis insisted she’d live to regret it. What’s he gonna do? Offend Eileen’s eye in another tomato-colored velvet suit? With a new showrunner coming in for Season 2, let’s hope TV’s worst character is destined to either exit stage left, or wind up working the concession stand at a dilapidated off-Broadway theater.

RELATED | Smash Troublemaker Looks Ahead to Season 2: ‘Ellis Is Probably Going to Be Even More Hated!’

* Derek used his power of hallucination — remember when he visualized Karen as Marilyn in that purple dress, singing “Our Day Will Come” — to make the call that “the Cartwright girl” was getting the job, not his part-time lover Ivy. Naturally, this led to an avalanche of emotional turmoil. “If it was going to be a nobody, why not me?” asked Ivy, making an excellent point, seeing how she clearly possesses the bigger Broadway voice and Marilyn-esque physicality. “She just has something that you don’t,” responded Derek, typically awful.

This indignity led Ivy to a dark and unsavory decision (that seemed like the show’s writers trying to make the entire audience feel good about heading to CafePress and ordering their “Team Karen” t-shirts): Ivy Lynn left Karen’s engagement ring on her dressing room table, then admitted to her rival that she’d slept with her fiancé Dev. Ivy rambling that Dev’s unfaithfulness was “very Joe DiMaggio” signaled her emotional instability, but frankly, Karen didn’t fare much better, tearing off her Marilyn wig and hiding in a storage room. Bobby summed it up nicely by declaring, “She took the wig off. In this production, that’s paramount to ‘I quit!'” But Derek tracked down his leading lady via discarded bracelet — “Oh darling, you dropped bits of Marilyn along the way like breadcrumbs.” — and told her that her newfound heartbreak was the final piece of the Marilyn puzzle. (So wait, was he worried she didn’t have that aspect of her character nailed down when he decided to put her on in front of the Boston theater audience?)

And there we had it: Karen rising above her personal problems and scoring an onstage triumph, Ivy Lynn getting sucked into the undertow of her disastrous love life and career trajectory, and eyeing up a huge handful of prescription pills as Bombshell‘s closing number played on. Megan Hilty delivered another great moment breaking the news that she wasn’t going on as Marilyn to her stage star mother (Bernadette Peters). More Mama Ivy Lynn in Season 2, please! And for the love of all that’s Broadway, let’s hope Ivy picked up those pills so she could flush ’em down the toilet.

* Tom and Julia — the 2012 answer to Will & Grace? — hilariously struggled to concoct a closing number worthy of Bombshell, a terrific musical at risk of disaster all becuase of some last-minute cast changes. This exchange pretty much sums up my adoration for the dynamic duo:

Julia (hearing Tom add some organ): No, no, no. No Gospel. There’s nothing Gospel about Marilyn.
Tom: It has to be triumphant. But she just died. And Gospel is triumphant.
Julia: Oh, I hate it when you get literal.

My only note on Julia is a prayer that a new showrunner will ignore that maddening revelation that she’s got nausea and stomach cramps — which she hasn’t had since she was pregnant for her lugnut teenage son Leo — and just attribute it to a poor decision to choose the olive loaf at her local deli. That could happen, you know. And it’d make for much better TV than a Julia-Michael love child.

* I’ve really adored almost everything we’ve heard from Bombshell — to the point where I’d buy tickets for it tomorrow if the show actually existed — but that final ballad Tom and Julia cooked up for Karen was downright embarrassing. The music sounded like it came from a pile of rejected Disney princess theme songs, and uff da, those lyrics? “When you sing happy birthday to someone you love/ Or see diamonds that you wish were all free/ Please say that you won’t, I pray that you don’t forget me”? Where’s Derek when you need someone to scream, “Rewrite!”?

Okay, your turn. What did you think of the Smash season finale? Would you have chosen Ivy or Karen for the lead role? And on a scale of 1 to 10, how much did you love seeing Ellis get his just desserts? Sound off in the comments, and for all my TV recaps and interviews, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Joe says:

    Really? you hated the last song? I thought it was a perfect ending to a great season finale. the season has had its ups and downs but I am glad the last few episodes have been stellar and I look forward to season 2. Here’s to the new boss making this show into what it deserves to be … wait for it … a Smash!

    • Amy says:

      The song was great, and Karen delivered!

    • Drew says:

      I thought the song was weak, and it once again showed a disconnect between the songwriters for the show and the story writers. Julia’s breakthrough moment was that the good outweighed the bad, which should have been the core of the song. But instead, the song was a “remember me every time the wind blows and sun shines” type song.

      They had the same problem in the premiere, with the baseball number making Marilyn into a shallow sex joke right after Julia got done talking about how she didn’t want to make a joke out of Marilyn.

      The finale was good overall though, because if focused on the behind the scenes drama more than anything else. Julia’s family should have had a piano fall on them, but I won’t nitpick. I just wish they’d showed us the scenes of the producers talking to Karen after the show after spending the day rather loudly insisting that she would fail.

      • Michelle says:

        Thank you. I was trying to figure out how that song came from “good outweighing the bad”. I liked it but it didn’t have anything to do with her inspiration for writing the song.

        • gm465271 says:

          I felt the same way at first, but now I feel like the point of the song was letting what people consider the “good” and iconic moments of Marilyn’s life, like singing “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” and singing “Happy Birthday” to JFK outweigh the “bad” of her unhappiness, insecurity and suicide, and letting Marilyn’s career bring people happiness and joy. That way her life and career wasn’t in vain.

          • Drew says:

            Isn’t it weird how singing “Happy Birthday” on stage, to the married man that she was sleeping with (and whose brother she was sleeping with… and who both potentially had a part in her death, depending on which book you read) was considered a high point? It’s actually kinda trashy, but since it was Marilyn and JFK, people accept it.

    • greysfan says:

      The final song was great. Karen delivered and it was fantastic. Looking forward to season 2. Team Karen all the way.

    • misha says:

      the final song was SO cheesy! Who wasn’t cringing at those lyrics… I agree with Drew I was hoping it would be something more triumphant than just a ‘don’t forget me’ type of song.

      • sara says:

        Agreed! As another comment said, it was so ‘Disney-esque’

      • TheBeach says:

        Yep, that song was definitely not up to the standards of most of the show’s other songs. I realize one must suspend disbelief a bit when watching this show but they finished the song 15 minutes before show time? Huh? When was Karen and the orchestra supposed to have learned it? Way to unbelievable, even for Smash.

      • rubytu says:

        It wasn’t only cheesy, but it seemed like a song someone just thought up at the last moment — oh wait, it was!!!

    • sfbsailor says:

      I loved the closing song of the SMASH finale and went right on line and bought it on iTunes. All the feedback there seems to be very positive. I predict that, overall, the opinion of the song and Kat’s performance will be exceedingly positive!

    • Annie says:

      I agree. The song wasn’t perfect to be sure – and undoubtedly will see a few rewrites before taking the boards on Broadway – but it’s the kind of song you will, without doubt, leave the theater humming, and that’s what it’s all about on Broadway. Karen/Katherine delivered in spades tonight. Well done, show. I’m happy you’re back. Now go away and think about what you’ve done.

      • Roxy says:

        The song does need a rewrite. I liked bits of it, and Katherine McPhee’s rendition was v. good. It was always going to be Karen. This is the classic story of the understudy going on at the last minute and becoming a star. Ivy Lynn was never going to be Marilyn. The show went out of its way to prove that she was imitating Marilyn, in life and on stage, not creating an icon. And it also kept showing us Karen’s star quality… and Ivy’s lack thereof. Derek ‘seeing Karen as Marilyn’ is not the best plot device, but that’s what a great director does: he senses stars and uses them. I expect he’ll fall in love with Karen (if it’s not a done deal) during S2, causing much gnashing of Ivy’s 99 teeth when she realized that once again, Karen Cartwright has everyghing Ivy wants. Please don’t make us suffer through the Julia-Michael pregnancy. Please! I don’t care.

    • Caro says:

      I agree. It was a beautiful song and Karen was the right person to play Marilyn. Her voice is really amazing! I just wonder if Derek’s “She’s mine now” would predict a Derek/Karen hookup… I think it does. I just hope Julia isn’t pregnant with Michaels baby, that would be unbearable to watch!!!

    • Jeff says:

      Loved the closing song…gave me goosebumps!

    • Ellen Evans says:

      That song was OK as a generic female ballad, but it had absolutely no musical coherence with the show as a whole. Perfect song for Katharine/Karen, but nothing “Marilyn” about it (like her portrayal in the “show” – nothing “Marilyn: at all). I thought it would be better to end the show with a reprise of “Let Me Be Your Star,” with lyrics reflecting the changes in her life since the first rendition. Blackout at the end, with a curtain of lights and one “star” blazing brighter for a moment. Maybe end with “And my heart still prays that you will always let me be your star.”

    • leeza says:

      I couldn’t agree more, Joe. I loved it.

  2. Andrea says:

    I really liked this episode, it was one of the best. I’m excited to see what happens with a new show runner! I hope it gets better to draw in more viewers, it still has a lot of potential.

  3. Emily says:


    • Russ says:

      TEAM IVY!

    • Matthew says:

      With you all the way. Go Ivy. I was super mad when they picked Karen over Ivy.

    • Kirstie says:


    • Erika says:

      Team Ivy, forever. She IS Marilyn and I was so disappointed with Karen being the lead. One of the things that is infuriating about this show is how they keep trying to shove Karen down our throats. She’s not bad, but they need to stop pushing her on the audience so hard. Hopefully that situation will be rectified and things will be more neutral in season 2.

      • Karen’s fine… As a bar singer, or a pop broad. Ivy is Broadway. Theatre is her soul, her body and voice was made for it. Karen didn’t even learn it until four hours before the show. Lazy and unprofessional. Ivy was ready to go on the dot. That’s why Ivy’s right for it. I just don’t know why the show feels the need to shove Karen down our throats both by having her do everything and having everyone tell her she’s perfect. Maybe they sense that we don’t think so, and that Hilty is so genius that they have to compensate, what the heck do I know?

        • Snsetblaze says:

          I have to agree with these posts. There was someone who posted on the perhaps this site or another site is that we are not shown exactly why Derick thinks Karen has something that Ivy does not and that poster was right. I don’t see it. I’m not saying Ivy has something that Karen does not either – just that we are told this instead of seeing it. But from what I have seen, it seems that it is because Karen is the first actress to say no to his sexual advances when auditioning for the role so he is intrigued. And wouldn’t the other three people running the show (Julia and Tom and Eileen see it too (well maybe not Eileen because she’s more of a business person than an “artist”). Maybe because none of them attempted to sleep or slept with either actress, they are more balanced, less biased. They seem to think both are good in the role but that it was a matter of time – Ivy knew the role, Karen did not.

          And I agree that Karen was unprofessional in knowing the entire role pat (except for the new number) including blocking and word changes. She should have been responsible enough to make sure she had the updates.

          • Snsetblaze says:

            Oops – I meant

            And wouldn’t the other three people running the show (Julia and Tom and Eileen see it too (well maybe not Eileen because she’s more of a business person than an “artist”)) see it too?

        • Erika says:

          Absolutely. Megan Hilty has the voice and the moves and practically oozes Broadway (and Marilyn). Katherine’s voice is good, but lacks the rich sort of robustness and strength that’s more common in theater.
          I know the show isn’t the pinnacle of reality, but it was so terribly unrealistic for Karen to be put on instead of Ivy. Ivy has the experience, she knew the part, and this wasn’t the first time she was doing it. Putting Karen on just didn’t make any logical sense, but Derek had a feeling and sees something in her. Apparently, I’m not seeing what he’s seeing. If this show is supposed to follow Karen and her journey to Broadway, then they need to actually do that. Getting to the top means doing the grunt work, and no one just hands you the keys to the kingdom.

          I was just pretty disappointed with the finale. Really hoping season 2 is more Ivy-friendly, because Megan Hilty is spectacular.

        • Alice says:

          When Ivy is on the phone with her mother, Bernadette Peters tells her “Don’t tell me about understudies, they don’t get rehearsed in until AFTER previews. And everybody knows that.” So it wasn’t like Karen wasn’t doing her job- she wasn’t supposed to be ready to go on at this point.

      • rubytu says:

        I totally agree — I love Megan Hilty and feel she’s so totally Marilyn. But, when you see the opening credits, whose name is first? So can there be any doubt that the writers are going to stick her in as Marilyn and then pretend she’s good at it? As if we don’t have eyes and ears and can see and hear who is actually better! It’s a rigged game.
        I was glad when Ivy wasn’t picked to be Marilyn because I knew if she was, the writers would make her do something even more stupid. I think that this way she still has a chance…….Well, at least that is my hope!

      • Caro says:

        I don’t agree. Karens voice is way better than Ivy’s. Of course it’s a matter of taste, you might prefer Ivy’s voice over Karens but what Ivy did was lower than low. She shouldn’t have slept with Karens boyfriend just to get back at Derek for sleeping with Rebecca, something Karen didn’t know and had nothing to do with! So Ivy is turning into a nasty person and anyone who acts like that loses the right to deserve good things, in my opinion. So not only does Karen have the better voice, I also think she truly deserved the part of Marilyn. If Ivy wouldn’t have acted so rotten towards Karen I might feel less strongly about it, but now I’m glad she didn’t get the part. Anyway, I do prefer Karens voice after all, so I’m happy she got picked. She’s waaaayyy better!

        • It’s not a matter of just taste, it’s a matter of training. Anyone who actually goes to real Broadway shows or has studied voice can tell you that Megan Hilty’s tone and depth are far, far better than Katherine’s. I’m not saying she doesn’t have a great voice, she does. It’s just not a broadway voice. Also, not to rain on your hearts and flowers parade but Karen’s apathy toward learning the part and her tendency to have to be dragged back to the stage because of personal melt downs would be far more likely to lose her the part than Ivy being “mean”. This isn’t the Waltons or the Partridge Family. The entertainment industry is vicious and in real life Karen would be eaten alive. Ivy is much more realistic. Which is depressing… but true.

          • Roxy says:

            Who’s popping pills like a maniac? Also, Marilyn Monroe was NOT a Broadway singer. She had this little breathy voice. KMcPhee’s voice is plenty good enough to play her in a musical. She’d make an audience BELIEVE in her. Hilty just makes us see Marilyn as a movie star with a much stronger voice than she ever had. And she flashed way too many teeth, too.

          • If it were a movie your argument would be valid. It’s a Broadway musical, ergo the lead needs to have a Broadway voice. Joe DiMaggio and the rest of the characters weren’t Broadway singers in real life that doesn’t mean that if you have them singing they can suck. People don’t go to a musical and say “oh, well in real life her voice wasn’t that strong so it’s ok if her intonation sucks” Audiences expect Broadway caliber performances no matter who or what the musical is about. Saying that it’s ok that Karen’s voice isn’t as good because Marilyn’s wasn’t is just plain wrong. They aren’t casting the person to do it just like Marilyn did it they are casting the person who can project Marilyn on the stage in a huge packed theatre and make the songs sound good. I agree that Ivy is not as good at projecting the emotional frailty that characterized Norma Jean but Karen is utterly incapable of the pulsing vivacious luminescence that Marilyn projected when she performed. I’ve been re-watching some of her movies and she oozed confident luscious femininity. The overly dramatic faces she pulled during her lines would have her laughed out of Hollywood now and quite frankly I think Ivy plays that down and Karen doesn’t do it at all.

    • Word, sister! TEAM IVY!

    • laylagalise says:

      I thought I was the only one who prefers Ivy. Karen has a beautiful voice, but she is miscast as Marilyn (no matter how hard they try to sell it). I imagine her as Thoroughly Modern Millie or Belle in Beauty and the Beast or Laurey Williams in Oklahoma… just not Marilyn Monroe. And yes, that final song is horrible.

      • astrid says:

        so correct!

      • Dave in Alamitos Beach says:

        But she’s too vacant and blank to even play THOSE roles. Kat has got absolutely nothing going on behind her eyes. She seems midly, er, “intellectually challenged” to me when she acts.

        And she’s also hopelessly modern. A valley girl from the 90s is about what she seems able to play. And I don’t hate her, I voted for her on American Idol because that’s what she should be doing: karaoke.

    • epjayprc says:

      Team Ivy as well!

  4. anthonynewhall says:

    It was the best finale on NBC so far.

  5. Debbie says:

    I only got to see half the ep because my horrible Directv DVR cut it off (and no, I called them and they don’t care!) but I loved the first half and I was THRILLED to see Karen cast as Marilyn! I think Kat McPhee did an incredible job and I can’t wait for 2013!

    TEAM KAREN!!!!

  6. I agree with almost everything you said, except we disagree on the final song. I actually like it a lot and thought it was a nice capper to the season.

    I couldn’t agree with you more that I hope Julia’s nausea was just bad clams, however, if the new showrunner wants to go with it, the new season could open with a few weeks of complete nervousness on Julia’s part as to who the baby daddy could be until it’s finally proven to be her husband’s. That’s a scenario I could live with.

    I’m also very happy Ellis got his comeuppance and I loathe the little creep, but he’s a good character, the kind you love to hate. I would like to see him suffer a little for all that he’s done, but I think he might be useful as say, a new underling for Jerry. He knows all the history of the show and it’s information Jerry would love to have to get under Eileen’s skin. At least this way Ellis is still in the show’s orbit and I would love the chance for Tom to see Ellis for what he really is since Tom seemed to be the oblivious patient zero who infested this virus on the production.

    So, all in all, I’m happy with the finale and the season and I look forward to the fall.

    Peter Anthony Holder

    • Snsetblaze says:

      Interesting thought about Ellis. I just assume he will sue but Ethan’s with Jerry’s help.

    • no pregnant Julia says:

      Why isn’t Ellis being charged with attempted murder? He admitted putting peanuts in the smoothie and it could have had fatal consequences. That would get rid of vomitous Ellis for good.

      • Snsetblaze says:

        That was my biggest quibble. Eileen should have called 1) Rebecca Duvall’s manager since he was right; and 2) the police. By not doing so, she left herself open to a suit from Rebecca and possible criminal charges.

        • TheBeach says:

          Those were my thoughts exactly. I also thought immediately, as an above poster mentioned, that Ellis will team up with Jerry.

          • Caro says:

            Couldn’t agree more. I don’t understand why Eileen didn’t call the police and Rebecca’s manager. Now she’ll only open the way for this creep Ellis to turn to her ex-husband.

    • jenna says:

      Why do people think we all love to hate ellis?!?! You just HATE him, every scoop, every story just falls into his lap. He is the WORST villain on tv

  7. I thought it was the perfect inning song too. I mean what could you do if you can’t show she just died? You have to have something that reflects “the good in the bad”. I absolutely love this show and can’t wait for next year! Oh and yes please say Ivy finds her self worth again and dumps those pills!

  8. Amy says:

    I actually really enjoyed the final song. It’s no “Let Me Be Your Star,” I agree, but it actually gave me goosebumps and seemed like a fitting end. I can only assume that if Ivy had sung it instead of Karen you (Slezak) would have given it a rousing endorsement. Also, was anyone else waiting for Eileen to toss her drink into her husband’s face during their brief scene?

  9. Josh says:

    Ergh I hated how this season ended. I hated that they just made Ivy such a horrible human being and Karen such a patron saint of broadway. Hated it all..Such easy, simple writing.

    • jc4eva says:

      But Ivy is a horrible human being.

      • Shellie says:

        Because they wrote her as a one note character! I saw such potential in her and not just with the music. She was so much closer to Marilyn than Karen would ever be.The ending was so predictable because we knew we were supposed to be rooting for her since the beginning, but I just couldn’t get into her as a character. I just couldn’t root for her. She was so flat, so one note, and any song that wasn’t modern just wasn’t sung passion. I’m so disappointed with this last episode.

        TEAM IVY

        • Snsetblaze says:


        • rubytu says:

          I agree completely with Shellie, and Josh….

        • Roxy says:

          Karen is Norma Jean. And Norma Jean WAS Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn Monroe, when all is said and done, was a construct, a star created by a slew of men, as KC sang in her final – very effective despite needing finetuning) number. She remained Norma Jean to the end, and that’s probably why she died so young. Ivy has turned herself into Marilyn Monroe, the icon, the construct. That is why she didn’t get the part and why she is no star…. just a bleached copycat.

      • Josh says:

        jca4eva…Ivy isn’t a real person. She’s a character on a show written in such a horrible, one ntoe way. That’s the point. If Ivy was a real person, then yes your statement would make sense but since Karen isn’t real and is being written as Mother Theresa, while Ivy is being written as the Whore of Babylon, it’ just equates to bad writing. We should root for both girls, both girls should have flaws…But it always equates to “Karen is perfection, Ivy is destruction”

        • Co says:

          Marilyn was destruction. She destroyed men, marriages, movies…..and then herself (with a lot of help along the way sure, but ultimately we are responsible!). Ivy should be Marilyn. Maybe the show is setting this up for next season. Maybe Eileen will finally fire Derrick who clearly does not know what the hell he is talking about as a director My issue with Karen as Marilyn is simply that McPhee is not as good a vocalist as Hilty is. On all but the ballads, and certainly on everything that requires ACTING in the SINGING I find myself waiting for Karen/McPhee to finish. Hilt is Broadway…..McPhee is a spoiled brat who couldn’t win AI. I do not understand how folks can be team Karen…..but the plurality is!

          Also, when was Ivy ever a whore? She slept with a man who cam on to her…..then she slept with a man who came on to her (who she did not know was Karen’s BF). Karen did just as many terrible things to get herself into the lead…..then we just get her deadpan wide eyed look and droopy speech to make up for it.

          I for one will stop watching if McPhee continues to be the star.

          • But no director or producer in their right mind would hire a destruction as a lead in their crazy expensive broadway show – they would hire someone who could ACT like a destruction

    • jenna says:

      agreed. I was really hoping they would do norma jean karen and marilyn ivy. I hate how the writers have made karen this really naive wide-eyed girl. She is such a one-note character and after her talk with derek I found myself just hating her for marilyn

  10. DT says:

    If they baby story plays out, it’s probably gonna be Michael’s, which is a arc that I really don’t care about.

    I actually enjoyed the last song. It wrapped up the musical.

  11. Ariel says:

    I knew they were pushing Karen this entire season, but time and time again Ivy has proven that she has the looks, body type, Broadway chops, and star presence for Marilyn. I wish they would stop villanizing her character in order to push people to Karen’s side.

    • Jill says:

      i completly agree. I like the Ivy character (mostly for Megan Hilty and her amazing voice) but i wish the writers would stop making her the villian. Its supposed to be a competition between the two, so let the two sing it out, and let the audience decide who it is they want to be marylin without destroying a character in order to level the playing field. (and this being said i like Kathrine McPhee as well i’m not attacking her or her character)

    • Leila says:

      Suspension of disbelief, people. We can pretend Karen is a wonderful actress who can look and sound like Marilyn.

      • Ariel says:

        I could pretend if she was even remotely the type for Marilyn. But in an audition, she wouldn’t have even gotten a second glance from the casting director for the lead role.

      • jen says:

        Ivy was MUCH better in wolf, I don’t think karen has the right voice for it

        • Josh says:

          Ivy killed it in wolf. I think Karen is great on “Let Me Be Your Star”, but on Wolf she doesn’t even hold a candle to Ivy. Same with that “Second Hand and Broken” song..It just makes no sense why Ivy wasn’t picked. No casting director would pass her for Karen for this role. If this was a Wizard of Oz musical, I’d think Karen should have it but this is Marilyn.

          It’s why they needed to make Ivy such a villain. It was so obvious she was write for the part they had to make her do hateful things…I can’t wait until the showrunner is gone. She wrote all the worst episodes.

          • sarah says:

            I honestly had chills when ivy sang second hand, will she at least be the understudy this time??

      • Sorry, but she’s standing there singing about curves and she has no a slick of them. Ivy looks and sounds like Marilyn, not to mention she’s a much better singer and actress.

    • Drew says:

      Ivy doesn’t have the body type at all. After watching some Marilyn Monroe movies recently, I can safely say that she was way more Karen than Ivy. I’m not saying that Ivy is fat or anything, but the general build and body type is all wrong.

      • Shellie says:

        What the heck are you talking about?! I’ve been watching Marilyn Monroe movies since I was a wee little kid (Mom & grandparents were huge fans of old movies) and Ivy is WAY closer to Marilyn Monroe than Karen in height, weight, and especially boobs. Karen is too tall, too skinny, and too flat chested. Saying that, body type isn’t the be-all of picking somebody for a roll and in that aspect, I still choose Ivy.

      • You know Marilyn Monroe maintained an average size of 14 right? So yeah Ivy’s build is closer to Marilyn, but personally I was Team Karen through it all. She just has something about her that just hits you. It’s subtle so I can see why some people didn’t get it.

        • Michelle says:

          Size 14 by today’s standards is bigger than it was when Marilyn was a 14. If she were alive today, she would be a size 8-10 and not a 14

        • k says:

          But that’s not a 14 by today’s standards. It’s more likely to be a 8-10 in today’s standards. You can pad a bra if necessary. Karen is more in line than Rebecca was, talk about a twig.

        • Drew says:

          Actually, I’ve read that she fluctuated a little bit, but someone who wrote an article once actually got to try on one of her dresses and was surprised by how small it was. The myth that Marilyn was big by today’s standards is just a myth. Granted, McPhee might be smaller still, but she has a better build for it. I have nothing against Hilty, but her shoulders are broader, she seems too short and she has rounder features than either McPhee or Monroe.

          • Shellie says:

            Marilyn wasn’t big but she was curvy. Hilty is still a much closer body fit just for the same reason you much up there about Marilyn “..surprised by how small it was”. Meg Hilty is small but boobs and but give her curves and the illusion of plushness. Take a look at “Some Like it Hot” and compare Marilyn Monroe there to Hilty and McPHee and you’ll see the body comparisons. Marilyn is all luscious awesome curviness. McPhee is gorgeous no doubt but she’s more sinewy.

          • Drew says:

            I have to disagree still. Hillty has more curves, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that she’s the better body type. As I said, her shoulders are a bit too broad, and overall, her features are too round. Marilyn’s figure certainly had curves (and the pointy bras didn’t hurt either) but was “How To Marry a Millionaire” and she looks way more like McPhee than Hilty.

        • Snsetblaze says:

          I did not see it at all. She was awful in Marilyn’s death scene. Rebecca, while not being able to sing the role well, actually nailed the death scene.

  12. Aubbie says:

    loved this episode! I’ve always liked Karen better than Ivy, and this was Karen’s best episode. She really had to step up. I especially love (always) her scenes with Derrick. They have a seriously awesome Doolittle/Higgins vibe, and it’s amazing.

  13. Andrew says:

    why didnt ellis get killed by a falling light or something?!

    • Aubbie says:

      awesome idea. especially if he became a ghost, since that would be a much more logical/less creepy explanation for all of his scheming and eavesdropping lol

      • Linda says:

        Love it! Maybe we can kill Ellis next season and have him come back as a ghost in chains like Marley in Scrooge! :)

      • Snsetblaze says:

        But for this to work, it woud have to be on Broadway, not at the Boston theater.

      • Alice says:

        I love it! Then, after Bombshell moves on to Broadyway (at which point, I predict, Ivy will have managed to snag back the Marilyn role in time for the New York debut) they can start the next season of American Horror story with a bloodied and bitter Ellis tormenting the next group of actors. Maybe he can kill Rachel Berry? Drop a light on her? I’d pay to see that.

    • dan says:

      A light falling on him would be too merciful. Ellis deserves a more painful, slow death.

  14. jc4eva says:

    I thought that final number and the song was very appropriate and not disney at all. Sorry I don’t agree with you.

  15. smashluver says:

    Amazing episode all around!!!!!!! Ahhhhhhh my favorite show by farrrrrrrr :) excellent go Karen!

    • TheBeach says:

      I’m so sorry we won’t get season 2 until next Spring. I wish it were returning for the Fall schedule.

  16. me says:

    You didn’t like the song? I disagree. The ending gave me chills. This was the first episode of smash where I actually felt something for Karen. Can’t wait for season 2!

  17. smashtastic says:

    Loved that finale! McPhee really shined in it – and I loved the last number. Sure it was Disney cheese but it was epic, and i felt pretty emotional watching!

    Couldn’t feel too sorry for Ivy after the b*tch move she pulled on Karek. Karma!


    Oh and loved the Karen and Dev scenes. Want more of them together next season. Hot chemistry!

    • diane says:

      I`m sure you meant Karen and Derek scenes, not Karen and Dev. Karen and Dev had ZERO chemistry and now that they broke up, Dev should never come back in Season2.

      Karen and Derek do have incredible chemistry.

      • Rachel says:

        Exactly what I said. I think next season they might stir something up with a triangle with Karen/Derek. with Dev and Ivy on the side going back and forth. Jack Davenport has and always has been a hottie so as long as he stirring up romance with something Im okay with it.

        • Alice says:

          Agreed. Yum. Derek is a bastard. But he’s really good at making you not care about it during those few scenes when he’s being nice. You don’t trust him, but you’re gonna go ahead and let him adjust your costume all he wants. :)

          • Roxy says:

            Derek is not a bastard. The creative process is everything to him. He’d pass his mother lying on the street, dying, if he had to get to the theater to solve some important problem. He told Ivy the truth. You could tell from the start that he always felt dissatisfied with her performance. He was looking for something that simply wasn’t there, but he got a glimpse now and again when Karen sang. So, Derek is like a good many very talented men (writers, directors, musicians, etc.): he does great work, but he’s intolerable in daily life. His wife, girlfriend, whatever, will always have a miserable life because he cares about one thing: his shows. Genius has a price, and most of the time, other people end up paying. No one can touch him on Smash. All the others are either talented or good business people. Derek is sheer genius at work. If Ivy was too stupid not to realize that he’d throw her away in a New York minute for his show, it’s on her. And if Karen is too stupid to realize what a mistake it would be to get close to him in S2, it’ll be on her. It’s not hard to judge a guy. Women who don’t assess a guy properly and give him chance after chance to hurt them are just plain stupid.

  18. Cathy says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Ellis sues, claiming that the show was his idea (well, the germ of it was) and don’t forget he “borrowed” Julia’s notebook. I don’t doubt he copied some of her concepts and will claim that they were originally his. He’s got a deadly combination of ambition, narcissism, and viciousness, and believed him when he said that Eileen & Co. haven’t see the last of him.

    • jc4eva says:

      Ellis is prolly going to partner with Ivy in crime. Ivy will sleep with Ellis yuckkk. She sleeps with everyone..its what Ivy does.

      • Josh says:

        One can only hope the writer will redeem Ivy and not send her further down the rabbit hole.

        Can Ellis really sue though? He almost killed Rebecca.

        • Snsetblaze says:

          Well since Eileen did not call the police, and he only confessed to her, there’s no proof of it. It may come out during a trial – it may not – depending on how good his counsel is (i.e. can he block the testimony somehow?

    • Roxy says:

      I wouldn’t if I were him. Don’t forget Eileen has some very shady investors. One word in his ear, and that bartender will make sure Ellis will never be a problem again.

  19. smashtastic says:

    I meant Derek obviously!!!

  20. Carol C says:

    I, too, loved the final song. I wondered how Julia & Tom would get away from the suicide ending, and I think they nailed it. Team Karen, yay!

  21. Jessi B. says:

    I also loved the last number! I usually agree with most of Michael Slezak’s opinions, but I thought that would, in an actual musical, be a very satisfying ending. Although I still don’t understand why it couldn’t end with her dying. Anyone ever heard of a little show called Evita?

    Anyway, more to the point, I think if you’re going to go out on a positive note (pun unavoidable), that last number was a great way to do it. I’m not always sold on Katherine’s acting, but I thought she killed that final number. Brava.

    • Lime says:

      The difference with Evita, to me anyway, is that it doesn’t just end with her dying and then cut to black. For one thing, Eva dies from cancer, not suicide. And her last words are a song. There’s the funeral/viewing/whatever and Che’s sad, broken last words. “Lament” is heart-wrenching.

      I really liked the new ending song, I loved how Karen’s voice just got stronger and stronger through the number. I was originally team Karen, though throughout the season I’ve rooted for both the girls to have success. After Ivy’s betrayal, I’m firmly on team Karen now. I KNEW she had the ring!

  22. Morgan says:

    I didn’t hate the final song, but I did think it had a certain Disney-esque sound to it.

  23. GuestCritic says:

    You are enirely wrong about the last song. It was really great and I can’t wait to hear it again. As for the cliffhangers — here’s hoping that this re-boot will give us a next season with NO ELLIS, Karen with a backbone and maybe stealing Derek out from Ivy as payback, Ivy with a storyline and character worthy of Megan Hilty(perhaps she can get some counseling) and NO BABY! More musical less caricature and we could really have something

  24. Rolfe says:

    I actually really enjoyed the last song. Considering they wrote it in half a day and Karen learned it in fifteen minutes, (Is that possible?) I thought it was a great ending.

  25. Chloe says:

    Still Team Ivy. But in fairness, I think Karen did an amazing job & really knocked it out of the park. Can’t say I liked the song though.

  26. Vianna Peters says:

    Karen is not a good Marilyn. She is a great singer. Ivy is the perfect Marilyn. When I see her I actually see Marilyn Monroe. Too bad they made Ivy a nutcase.

    • Alice says:

      I LOVED, LOVED the scene when Ivy was talking about Dev’s actions, saying, “it’s very Joe Dimaggio” and Karen looks at her like she’s nuts. “Stop talking about Marilyn! This is real life!” Ivy was so obsessed with being Marilyn, thought she was such a perfect Marilyn, she literally went nuts. But in that moment, Karen voiced what I shouted at the TV all season- Stop relating everything to Marilyn Monroe! It’s like no one could have a problem with their husband or boyfriend or life without someone in the cast saying, as if on cue, “Just like Marilyn!”

  27. Amy says:

    Oh, I just love, love, love Angelica Huston and the looks she can give- especially the one she gave to Jerry! Her eyebrows could tell a thousand tales!

  28. Ross says:

    You’re crazy. That last song was phenomenal!!!

  29. Marie says:

    I loved the finale. I like both actresses but Katherine McPhee’s acting in the bed/dying scene was pretty bad; Uma was so much better. So I can’t help wondering how much better Ivy would be in the acting department.

  30. Linderella says:

    I don’t know what I loved more – the closing song or Ellis getting the old heave ho! Can’t believe MS thinks the song is a snorer but not that’s why radios have dials. As for Bernadette Peters…sorry Michael, another disagreement there – I hit the mute button every time BP comes on the screen; she might as well put a clothespin on her nose when she talks or sings. Katherine McPhee and Megan Hilty are both awesome and either one could play the role of Marilyn. It’s because the character of Ivy is written as such a wacko, I think Karen was the right choice. The finale was a “Smash”!

  31. Livsantos says:

    Really liked it! Karen for sure.

  32. Martina says:

    I too would go to see the musical if it existed, I also hope that Julia’s nausea was from the Boston fish & chips :)

  33. dan says:

    One of the things I will always love about Smash is that both Marilyn’s could be fantastic in the part, right up until the end you could see them going with Ivy Lynn, and that she too would have been great. Even though the character is fairly reprehensible at times, you sympathize with her because we’ve seen proof all season long that she is a star, and you can understand her frustration. They did a great job with the finale, I can’t wait to watch it again. I’ll definitely be tuning in next season.

  34. Artlight says:

    I wonder if the writers are actively trying to make me hate the show. I haven’t had a lot of problems with previous episodes (I know they are hardly great tv but they are perfectly watchable) but I have no idea if the last song was any good because I spend all the final montage basically screaming “THIS IS BULL$#!T” at my tv

    Let’s count all the ways this was a terrible episode:
    1) Apparently Derek can choose who plays the lead even though Eileen (his boss, last time I checked), Tom and Julia all think that’s a terrible idea and told him so… repeatedly
    2) Are we supposed to believe everyone involved in the show can magically learn a new song and make all the modifications necessary for Karen to play the part in just a few hours without almost any rehearsing?
    3) Ellis admitted to poisoning Rebecca and Eileen doesn’t report him to the cops because…?

    • Owen says:

      1) Yes, he can. Though, technically, the producer is the boss, a good producer always gets out of the way of the creatives.
      2) Actors, especially musical theatre actors, are an almost supernatural bunch, preternatural at the very least, in their ability to learn, absorb and perform new music in seemingly a matter of minutes. And I’m sure Karen’s direction was minimal. Out of town previews are for fixing, Derek will dig in much deeper starting the next day.
      3) Yes, though Rebecca admitted to Karen she knew there were peanuts in the smoothie and drank it anyway…

      • dan says:

        Hate to disagree with you, but on #1 you are incorrect. The director definitely has power, but the creators (Tom & Julia) along with the producer can have the final say. Julia even confronted Tom with this point last week when talking about Michael Swift returning. The creators have contractual control which includes casting. Tom, Julia and Eileen could’ve easily told Derek that Ivy was going on as Marilyn…Derek could’ve disagreed but he wouldn’t have final say.

        • Owen says:

          The writers ONLY have creative control over their words and music. Some, possibly in the league of Tom and Julia MIGHT have casting control, but that’s highly unlikely. Eileen DOES have creative control as producer, but like a good producer should, defers to the director.

          • Snsetblaze says:

            Actually we saw Tom and Julia having a lot to do with casting. We also saw them bring Ivy back after her mishap in the other show.

      • Snsetblaze says:

        3) Yes but only Karen knew that Rebecca tasted the peanuts right away. It is still attempted murder – there was an intent to harm. Whether Ellis knew it could kill her (and it could) was irrelevant. The fact that Rebecca continued to drink it knowing she’d be in trouble might be considered a mitigating circumstance but that’s only if it came out during the trial. Eileen just did not report him to the cops or ask for an investigation because it would hurt the show.

  35. Mike says:

    It didn’t seem much of a shock Karen was chosen because of the hype going into the series. Tho’ for a moment I thought Derick might split the role cuz every sexy(red) outfit he saw Ivy and every innocent(pastel) he saw Karen. I thought Ivy going a little wack-a-do looking at the photos and distorting her reality regarding Marilyn was interesting. I think in the real world Ivy would have done that nights performance while Karen was brought up to speed for the next, leaving the cliffhanger as still who was gonna ultimately go to B’way. I also thought Ellis would meet it when the Starbucks blew up due to a gas leak! U liked the last song but agree where was the idea of the good over bad? Should she have sung ‘you will..’ as opposed to ‘I hope…’ ‘…diamonds are free.”? WTF?

    • Snsetblaze says:

      That’s a good point about the sexy v. innocent outfits. And it still might happen but would more of an Ivy as Marilyn, Karen as Norma Jean thing.

    • Alice says:

      They could still have a cliffhanger/conflict about which Marilyn is going to B’way. This is only the Boston premiere. Cast and show usually change to some extent before the big Broadway Premiere

  36. Mike says:

    Oh yeah…. NO NO NO BABY? That totally showed lack of creativity on the writers part. And they need to fire whoever is dressing Debra Messing

  37. I love this show! I am sorry to see the last episode tonight until 2013. Team Karen all the way, woot woot!

  38. dlferriola says:

    Fabulous finale and I loved that last song. Katherine rocked it and gave me chills. Ivy got what she deserved seeing how evil and unkind she always is to Karen. I hope Julia is pregnant with Michaels baby they had such chemistry together. Now if they could just get rid of her son and Ellis next season would be doing something. Karen needs to dump Dev for good because all he really cares about is himself. He cheated with Ivy knowing who she was. Karen was great as was the songs she sang. I love her voice. Great finale.

  39. starforeman says:

    Team Ivy, I find that I just can’t root for Karen. I don’t like her.

  40. Alex says:

    Seems like alot of people liked the last song, but I agree did not like that song at all. What were those lyrics?

  41. mvmm says:

    Smash season finale was really great! Definitely the best episode.. I love the Karen and Derek moments.. I hope in season 2 their relationship will develop. Derek’s line at the end with Karen.. “I do believe in love”. There’s something in there..

    I will disagree with you.. The song in the end was perfect for the finale.. Karen was great. I want more of her and derek. This show is really smashing. Can’t wait for season 2. Hope it will be soon. February is so long. But I’ll wait because I really love this show.

  42. Evyn says:

    So tired of Mary Sue Karen and villain Ivy, I think if their had been a better balance, give Karen some flaws and don´t make her so innocent she would have been more realistic and I would like her more. I really hope the new showrunner changes this or I don´t think I´ll be watching next season.

  43. charissa29 says:

    Julia is not pregnant, please for the love of little green apples! So glad that Karen got the role, though Ivy (Megan Hilty) is the better actress and has greater emotional depth in her voice and acting, but I just LOVE Karen’s voice. Megan Hilty is so good at showing Ivy’s downward spiral that I want to see where it goes! Kathering McPhee is better at portraying less hefty emotions and I really love it when she sings, so all is good. Killing Ellis would be good, I wouldn’t be too upset and would try to soldier on.

  44. Bill says:

    The final song was a perfectly okay anthem reminiscent of such schlocky anthems as “The Impossible Dream” and “What I Did for Love.” It was not in the same league with the best songs in “Smash”–I’m talking “Let Me Be Your Star” and “Second-Hand White Baby Grand”–but it served the purpose.

    My problem is that nobody would have had time to learn that song in the time Karen was allotted. Tom and Julia just finished writing it minutes before the curtain rose and Karen had the whole show to perform in the meantime. There was intermission, I guess, and she could have drilled it and drilled it then–but I still would have liked to see her glancing at a crib sheet during the performance. That said, McPhee was certainly up to the task, though Hilty still gets MVP from me for her “Baby Grand” triumph.

    • dan says:

      It wasn’t just about Karen learning the lyrics, but the lighting, new staging for Joe DiMagio with a refrain of “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” the background flashes of Marilyn while Karen sang…all of that was done while the audience was entering the theatre (because that is when Tom & Julia finished the lyrics)? Just a little farfetched.

      • jenna says:

        I’m still confused about this, didn’t they re-write a lot of the show since rebecca wasn’t that great of a singer/ let the shadow marilyns do a lot of the difficult singing? How could all of that staging and blocking be re-done when they suddenly had more of a singer playing the part

  45. Danielle H says:

    I hate the Julia/ Michael love child…. sickening. I hope they really listen to the viewers and just go away from that in season 2.
    I loved the last song. It was a good ending to the show. I just still can’t grapple in my head if I really feel Karen or Ivy should be Marilyn. I guess I feel that ultimately Ivy is almost like a Marilyn incarnate. Honestly.. in the actual industry wouldn’t they have put Ivy on with such short notice anyway?

    • Bill says:

      “…wouldn’t they have put Ivy on…?” Short answer: Yes. Long answer: Yes, duh.

      • Snsetblaze says:

        Funny. And you’d think in the real world they’d rehearse the understudy even for the previews in case something happens to the lead. Didn’t it happen with the Spiderman musical – the lead actress was hurt and was replaced with her understudy?

        • M says:

          you would also hope the understudy wouldn’t be learning everything so last minute, I still don’t know who i prefer for marilyn but Ivy lived and breathed that part whereas karen wasn’t even putting in the extra effort to learn it

  46. Lynda says:

    So disappointed in the finale! Karen is so bland! She has a beautiful voice, but cannot act. Hated how the whole episode just dumped on Ivy – what Derek said to her was so cruel. She doesn’t have “it”, but Karen does? Right!!

  47. Kimm says:

    Some are getting the person confused with the character. Megan Hilty is awesome. Katherine McPhee is awesome. Ivy, the character is not awesome, has lots of baggage and Broadway is full of people like that. Karen, the character did a consistently wonderful job every time she was asked to step up (no matter the circumstances) and the character triumphed in the end. By going with Karen (an unknown “star” with no baggage), Derek rolled the dice and hit it big…even Jerry had to admit it. Did anyone catch his “Son of a…” comment? I think the song was good for a rush job (very realistic) and gets better with time and tweaks by Tom and Julia. I love this show and look forward to next season.

    • Kristen says:

      I agree with you 100%. I think the finale was perfectly set up. I loved that Derek helped show Karen that she should use Ivy and Dev’s betrayal to her advantage, rather than walk away from her dream. It showed how much stronger of a character she is than Ivy. I know and agree that there are some things about Ivy that fit Marilyn, but Ivy has been depicted as weak from day one. She puts up a heck of a fight, but she has never been the character to overcome the adversity when placed it front of her. She always gives in to drugs, or booze, or sex, and relies on those to get her through. Karen was written to be small town, naive, trusting, and fair. She showed that every episode. Yes, it was annoying at times, but that was the one thing holding her back from Marilyn. Now, Ivy has handed her the missing pieces on a silver platter. I think next season we can expect to see an entirely different side of Karen Cartwright, and I look forward to it wholeheartedly. I’m over the top annoyed with Ellis. There’s no telling what he will do now. I wish he would just disappear between now and S2.
      I think I might be one of the only one’s who doesn’t mind Michael and Julia. I know, I know… she cheated, blah blah blah. I think I just love the fire and passion between the two. It’s intoxicating.
      I agree with whoever said they wish they would’ve had a closing scene with everyone telling Karen how she did. Everyone but Derek was against her the whole time. Even trying to sneak Ivy in when they thought Karen had run off. Not even once giving her the benefit of the doubt. I think it showed on all their faces throughout the performance how wrong they were, and how much they knew it, but it would’ve been nice to see/hear.

    • Lyria says:

      Yes to all of this. I love both Megan and Katharine, but I’m really glad Ivy didn’t get the part. She is weak, despite her talent. And I also think it’s perfectly in Derek’s character to choose Karen. Ivy knows the part and has a wonderful voice for it, but she is the obvious choice and Derek is too contrary to immediately go with the obvious. Part of Karen’s appeal is that she isn’t who you would picture as Marilyn immediately but she was wonderful. I also think she looks damn good in the costumes. Ivy has the curves, but Karen has the delicate features.

  48. diane says:

    Finale set the stage for perfect and early exit of Ellis (fired, nuff said) and Dev (ditched, nuff said) two of three most irritating and hated characters on the show. Now all we need is a reason to drop Leo. Without these 3 black holes of screen time, the show can only get better.

    • Bill says:

      Never have been able to comprehend the haters going after Dev. Ellis is a horror and Leo is a bore, but Dev is a layered and interesting character and I don’t agree that he lacks chemistry with Karen. Also, Raza Jaffrey’s performance in the Bollywood number alone is enough to justify his existence. Dev! Dev! Dev!

  49. the thing i love most about this show is that it switches your alliance between Ivy and Karen but ultimately I think making Karen Marilyn made more sense in that Ivy doesn’t have much else but the stage and I think taking that away from her gives us more chance to explore her in season 2. Karen however has a whole range of other things going on and for me personally it was nice to see her doing what she was meant to be doing! Loved the end bit with derek. Those two should never be a couple but a bit of after show sex should happen already!
    Ellis getting put in his place was my favorite part of this season. Eileen should just run for president, i’d vote for her!

    • Christine L says:

      I don’t understand why you’d vote for Eileen for president. I think she’s a hot mess. She may have the title of producer but her boyfriend raised the money and made the final decision to bring back Michael. Derek ignored her decision to have Ivy take the lead. She was pretty horrible to her old friends that wanted to back her show and she encouraged Ellis to be a spy. Ms Houston may have charm but her character is too dependent on the men in her life to be appealing to me.

      • Josh says:

        Yeah the only good thing Eileen did was fire Ellis but that’s after basically being the reason he rose to the position she was in.

        She like every other character on this show, was a hot mess.