‘Smash’: Kyle’s death brings together the ‘Bombshell’ and ‘Hit List’ teams in ‘The Phenomenon’

Tom and Kyle in "The Phenomenon."

Tom and Kyle in “The Phenomenon.”

The race to the Tony Awards is on but in an emotional turn of events, Smash deviated from the Bombshell versus Hit List battle to focus on Hit List’s book writer, Kyle Bishop, who is confirmed dead just a few minutes into the episode.

Kyle, who was introduced at the start of the season, was an instant fan-favorite both because of his charming and relatable personality and the endearing performance delivered by theatre actor Andy Mientus.

As the episode transitioned from past to present, viewers had an opportunity to see the blossoming romance between Tom and Kyle that ended too soon, the raw talent and potential that Kyle had with his gift of writing an engaging story and his influence on his friends.

This influence extended especially to Jimmy who, in a tender scene with Karen, takes full responsibility for Kyle’s death because Kyle died after being hit by a car on his way home from delivering Jimmy’s personal effects to his new residence.

Despite spending the last several episodes high or trying to get high, Jimmy takes a sober approach to his best friend and creative partner’s death and sings a new number, “The Love I Meant to Say”, during a memorial concert performance of Hit List.

The song, as we learn in a flashback, was written for Jimmy’s Hit List character, Jesse, to sing in order to lure Amanda away from her death. It’s then that Jimmy and Kyle decide that Amanda has to die at the end of Hit List in order to teach Jesse a lesson. Later, we see that this storyline mimics Jimmy and Kyle’s lives, as Kyle’s death leads Jimmy to decide that he should get sober.

Another flashback shows Tom serenading Kyle with a special late-night rendition of Billy Joel’s “Vienna.” Kyle also offers Tom his notes on a scene in Bombshell – “At Your Feet”, a number between Gladys and young Norma Jeane, is “too depressing” to be the second number of the show. As an homage to Kyle, Tom later writes the change into the show, so that Norma Jeane is “remembering things better than they actually were.”

The final flashback shows Kyle working on the Hit List book with Julia, who encourages him to change the post-death song of the show from the ensemble number “The Goodbye Song” to a reprise of “The Love I Meant to Say.” Kyle suggests that they have the lights dimmed in the show, as his favorite Broadway tradition is having the marquis lights dimmed after a Broadway star has died.

After that evening’s Hit List concert, that same tradition is carried out in Kyle’s honor. The lights of Bombshell’s theatre are dimmed as the casts of Hit List and Bombshell watch from across the street. They raise their glasses as Tom leads them in a toast to Kyle.

Now, to make Kyle’s dreams come true, Jerry decides that it’s time to bring Hit List to Broadway. And with only three episodes left and the Tonys quickly approaching, it appears that Hit List may be competing with Bombshell for this season’s awards. The outcome of the Tonys might be tipped in Hit List’s favor, thanks to the show having just lost its book writer.

What’s going to happen to Hit List in the aftermath of Kyle’s death? What will happen at Smash’s fictional Tony Awards? Let me know in comments!

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