Tonight’s two-part Smash series finale – two episodes forced into a single episode, in truth – was a bit if a mixed bag, if we’re honest [and if we never have to use that tired pseudo-signature phrase of ours again we’ll be happy women – ed.]. While the second half (the true finale, if you will) was a fantastic episode worthy of a reunion run down the line, the first, “The Nominations”, left something to be desired.
It’s not that it was a bad episode, it’s just that we would have hoped for more from the opening episode of finale night. It was that bit too chaotic, most likely a result of trying to cram a cliffhanger and resolutions into two episodes when the writers had hoped for a third season to sort it all out. One could argue that it gave everything one could hope for – a healthy dash of Smash’s typical drama, some twists, some turns, some emotion, some closure (though, of course, the majority of that closure was saved for the second episode) – but it’s almost as though the writers took it that single step too far. It was all a little heightened as if, in the excitement of finishing up (the televisual equivalent of summer fever), they let the spirit of the show carry them away and lost all sense of constraint and moderation.
Not that that’s entirely a bad thing. That heightened drama, that gathering of arc and that bustle to the finish line, gave us some great moments, some fine comedy and just a couple of last minute twists to be unraveled in the episode to follow. This first half focused on the Outer Critics Circle nominations and awards, building toward the all-important Tonys. It was the start of the mud slinging (and also the somewhat hurried end of it). The drama continued to center on Ana, Daisy and Derek, and on Ivy’s pregnancy. Side issues included Julia’s divorce, Tom’s potential fledgling romance with Patrick Dillon (Luke Macfarlane, Brothers & Sisters), and Jimmy’s determination to get Kyle his Tony nod. This latter arc brought some sweet moments, as well as a rekindling of romance between Jimmy and Karen. The moments that most set up the finale episode were, of course, those Tony noms – 12 for Bombshell, 13 for Hit List; Julia and Kyle for book; Julia and Tom, and Jimmy for original score; Ivy, Leigh and Daisy for featured performance; Tom and Derek for directing; Derek (twice) for choreography; and Ivy and Karen for best actress – and Derek’s final redemptive admission.
Unfortunately, our greatest take away from the episode was none of these things. What struck us most was Continue reading