The curtain has finally fallen on Smash.
In a nail-biting, two hour-long episode, the fates of the competing Broadway musicals Bombshell and Hit List rest solely in the hands of Ms. Antoinette Perry.
That’s right: The series finale was devoted to the Tony Award nominee announcements and big ceremony. But who took home the top prizes?
In the first half of the episode, awards season is just beginning. The Outer Critic Circle nominations have just come about, and to Team Bombshell’s dismay, Hit List leads them by one nomination. In a last-minute effort to show the Tony voters that they support the competition, Tom, Agnes, and Eileen go to a matinee showing of another musical. There, in a common display of bad theatre etiquette, Tom takes out his phone mid-performance to check the OCC wins and angers a Tony voter with his behavior.
And, as if Agnes needed another PR disaster on her hands, Ivy lets it slip to a fan at the stage door that Hit List wouldn’t have made it to Broadway had Kyle not died. This outburst is caught on camera via a stage door fan’s cell phone, and her comment goes viral.
The competition between Bombshell and Hit List is fierce, and the Tony nominations haven’t even been announced yet.
At the Outer Critics Circle Dinner, Tom and Derek accept their shared award for directing. It’s there that the long-time arch nemesis relationship between the two is dissolved—without Derek, Tom admits, he wouldn’t be standing there accepting the award.
The next morning, the Tony nominations are finally announced. First up is Best Featured Actress in a Musical, which brings about nominations for Leigh Conroy for Bombshell, Ivy Lynn for her brief but hilarious cameo in Liaisons, and Daisy Parker for her show-stealing performance in Hit List. Both Julia and Kyle receive recognition for their books as well.
Bombshell and Hit List receive Outstanding Score nods, with another nomination for Tom’s direction. Ivy and Karen also receive nominations for Leading Actress in a Musical.
And, to complete Smash’s comparison of Derek to the late Bob Fosse, Derek receives two separate nominations for his choreography in Hit List and Bombshell and another for his direction.
However, Derek doesn’t allow himself a moment of happiness over his multiple achievements. He goes straight to the New York Post’s Michael Riedel and shares the truth about him and Daisy. He’s shunned by the theatre community and shuts himself up in his apartment.
To open the second half of the episode, Smash gives us one of its best covers yet—a group version of Queen’s “Under Pressure.” Both teams walk through the streets of New York singing and ultimately end up at the Marquis Theatre, the home of Smash’s fictional Tony Awards. There, the main cast stands in a circle and sings, ultimately fanning out to a line at the front of the stage a la “Seasons of Love.”
Even though the number may have just been all in Tom’s head, it was great to see the entire cast united for one last number before it all ended.
That night, the teams of Bombshell and Hit List have finally reached the place of their final theatrical reckoning—the Tony Awards. And, after moments of agonizing waiting, the winners are announced. The awards go to…Daisy for Best Supporting Actress, Kyle for Best Book of a Musical, Tom and Julia for Outstanding Score, Derek for Best Choreography, Ivy for Best Leading Actress, and Bombshell for Best Musical.
Smash goes out with bang (and a broken fourth wall) with the Karen/Ivy duet “Big Finish.” The flashy number is interwoven with scenes of all of the nights winners and losers in the aftermath of the Tonys. Ivy finally tells Derek about her pregnancy. Julia returns to Michael Swift after an entire season apart from one another. Jimmy has decided to become a better man for Karen, and has turned himself in for a crime he committed years ago. Eileen places her Tony in her office with her boyfriend Nick at her side. Even Tom is happy, sitting at his piano and watching the medallion on his award spin.
Even though Team Ivy and Team Bombshell fans ultimately emerged triumphant from the show’s long-standing duels, it wasn’t the wins that made Smash’s fictional Tonys something special; rather the speeches that each recipient gave. Though some were more sentimental than others, with Derek dedicating his wins and presence at the ceremony to Ivy, some speeches seemed to be aimed directly at the viewers of Smash.
In his acceptance speech for Kyle, Jimmy thanked everyone in attendance for giving Kyle something to live for, his only true love—the theatre. In Ivy’s speech, she thanks her mother for giving her the gift of a life enriched with theatre.
And in those moments, we’re reminded of what Smash really was about. It wasn’t about the unrealistic storylines, the absurd fantasy numbers and Julia’s crazy scarves. Smash was, and always has been, about sharing the magic of live theatre with its viewers. It’s about showing budding performers that this showbiz life is one worth living for, no matter how bumpy the road gets. It’s about reminding those who love the theatre what makes it all worth it, from the spark of an idea to the ultimate realization of a show upon the stage.
So, bravo to Smash on a job well done. Thank you for lighting up the world with your tales of Broadway and beyond. It was a game-changer for the performers and lovers of the theatre, and ultimately a sensation that will never be forgotten.
Did you think the finale of Smash was fitting? Will you miss watching the show each week? Let me know in comments!