‘Give em that big finish, and they’ll forget what came before.‘ At least that’s what one hopes will happen. And in the case of the series finale of the once lauded, then panned, Smash, it certainly seems to be the motto: forget YOLO!
So did it work? Did the curtain call make us forget the residual bitterness from season one?
When shows get cancelled, they don’t always get to say goodbye. My DVD collection is riddled with such shows (I’ll miss you most of all My So Called Life). Of course for Smash, most agreed that they were lucky to even get a second season. After a disastrous first season, nobody expected them to get a second chance (or even a Golden Globe nomination – what was that about?). Now here we are at the end of that second chance, and no one can fault the writers for trying to win us back and using every trick up their sleeves. I can’t say all the tricks worked but the final hurrah was filled with more wins than losses. Let’s see how things ended up.
First off, let’s tackle the bad. The whole Daisy (Mara Davi) storyline, which came out of nowhere in the last few episodes. I’m happy that we’re able to get a swift resolution. In the last review I mentioned the obvious turn of events. Of course that doesn’t mean I wasn’t surprised by how things played out. Did I expect Ana (Krysta Rodriguez) to take the touring role and drop the case against Derek (Jack Davenport)? Nope. And I definitely didn’t expect Daisy to win the Tony for best supporting actress.
Unfortunately this storyline and its resolution is the weakest link in the two hour finale – not only for its clunky handling, but because I just don’t care about it. Daisy isn’t enough of a character for me to be that involved in this case, and if I’m being honest neither is Ana. I wish I could care what happens but the only thing driving this storyline is Derek. And that’s not saying much.
What’s nice is that Derek does redeem himself by coming clean about his indiscretions, showing remorse for how things played out. It’s a nice finish to his story arc this season, and Davenport really does a good job of making us feel bad for him. It certainly helps to know that he is the father of Ivy’s (Megan Hilty) newly formed embryo. We just want these two crazy kids to end up together, and they do! There’s so much chemistry between the two of them that I can’t help but be happy that they end up together, even after all the sleazy stuff he’s done. I just know she’ll be able to change him…right?
Also closing off his story line: Jimmy (Jeremy Jordan), and let me tell you, NO ONE is happier about that than I am. I think I’ve made it pretty clear how annoying I found Jimmy this season. It’s only in the last few episodes that I have felt some of that ice begin to melt. And I have to be honest, he kinda wins me over tonight, especially with that Tony acceptance speech for Kyle (Andy Mientus). It’s a sweet and touching moment, and one that makes up for all the grumpiness we’ve had to endure (mostly). He also makes it up to Karen (Katharine McPhee) by kissing her and finally declaring his love for her – on the Tony stage, no less. For someone who’s been so afraid of showing his feelings all season long he sure picked the most public way to do so!
Of course the real stars of this finale are musicals and broadway itself. In its final moments Smash pays tribute to its muse and raison d’être. The evening is filled with wonderful moments in homage, including cameos from some of Broadway’s biggest stars (I nearly peed when I saw Christine Ebersol!!!) I love the Rent homage and the Chicago-style finale totally won me over. While the musical numbers on this show have definitely gone from inspired to uncomfortable, these final numbers are all fun, even the sweet Hit List number at the Tonys. The stand-out is the final number with the two leading ladies together again, giving us their best Velma and Roxie! Give ’em your best shot girls!
So, the $24,000 question: does the big finish make us forget about all the bumps in the road? Well I don’t know about you, but for me the answer is ‘kind of.’ Yes, that first season was a mess, and the second season ended up being hit and miss, but I can’t deny that I was a little misty eyed during this final swan song. I have fallen for these characters. I wish I could go on with Ivy, Tom (Christian Borle), Julia (Debra Messing), Derek, Eileen (Angelica Huston), Karen and Jimmy. Yes – even Karen (!!!)
I am happy that they all get some kind of resolution. And I seriously love the final number! What’ so great about the final moments is that we finish right where we began, with two massively talented singers belting it out for our enjoyment. It seems like the perfect send-off to a show that may not have been perfect, but gave us more than a few moments of razzle dazzle. I didn’t think I would have said this last season, but I will miss you Smash.
- I loved how they used Bernadette Peters’ acceptance speech from the 1999 Tonys. (Totally deserved that one!) The best part is Ivy’s comment that she wasn’t mentioned.
- Seeing Luke Macfarlane made me wish there could be a third season to see where that storyline goes. He and Borle would’ve been the cutest couple!!
- I do have to say that the Tony awards sure seemed low budget! Where was NPH?
- One of my favorite parts of the episode is the entire cast singing ‘Under Pressure’ (especially Julia’s huge contribution – snark). “People on streets” indeed! Jokes aside, it’s about time they were all together. I only wish Kyle could’ve joined as a heavenly presence, à la Angel from Rent.
- I could’ve done without the whole Julia divorce drama because it seemed totally out of the blue. As much as I enjoyed seeing Frank (Brian d’Arcy James) again, his presence didn’t add anything and the whole divorce thing was resolved in the most absurd way. One scene he’s screaming at her through the phone and the next he’s thanking her for admitting to the fact that she has always been in love with Michael Swift (Will Chase). Ummmm okay…
- Speaking of Julia and Swifty: she seriously ends up with Michael Swift? Whaaa?
- If you check out Safran’s interview with EW you’ll learn that the whole Daisy storyline was meant for Ronnie (Jennifer Hudson). Now that would’ve been a great storyline. More J-Hud is always a win!
What did you think? Was the finale emotionally satisfying? Did it leave you wanting more? Were you happy with all the winners? Sound off below.
Smash has now finished its run on NBC