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When faced with heartache and stress, people tend to act irrationally. That’s why this week’s episode of Smash opens with Karen and Derek in her empty apartment, surrounded by empty wine bottles and free of their inhibitions. They finally kiss, and move to the bedroom.

Jimmy wakes up in his crack den, looking as if he just remembered what he said to Karen and Kyle the night before. A sober version of himself sings Radiohead’s “High and Dry” while High-Jimmy gathers his belongings and stumbles out into the daylight. Although he doesn’t say it, this seems like Jimmy kicking the drug habit for good this time. He walks to Karen’s apartment and climbs up the fire escape, prepared to apologize for his actions and the cruel things he said at the bar. But when Karen opens the window, he sees Derek walk out of the bedroom and runs away before Karen can explain; Karen and Derek never slept together because they felt they were rushing things.

Tom gives Kyle a call because they were supposed to meet up after the Hit List performance the night before, and he never heard from him. He really likes Kyle, and with everything that’s going on with Julia and his professional life, hanging out with him is a welcome distraction. But when he gets a call back shortly, it’s not Kyle on the other end of the line. While walking home from dropping off Jimmy’s belongings at Adam’s house, Kyle was hit by a car. He didn’t make it.

Tom is devastated, and goes down to the theatre to tell Derek and the cast. Jimmy is still missing, and when he finally does show up for rehearsal, the whole cast has to confront him with the news. He can’t handle it, especially since he’s still high, and bolts. Karen chases after him because she is afraid he’ll do something drastic in his grief.

To honor Kyle, and to give the cast a chance to grieve properly, Derek calls for that night’s show to be canceled. Scott is weary, because he doesn’t want to lose any money, but Julia and Derek insist. If Scott can’t use Julia’s Great Gatsby next year, the theatre will likely have to close its doors completely.

Which is why, despite that day’s events, Julia has to go uptown to meet with Tom to formally dissolve their partnership. Neither of them are particularly happy with the arraignment, but as Tom explains, he’s not doing it to be the bad guy; he’s doing it so Julia can work on her play without him standing in the way. Since right now, he owns half the rights to Gatsby, she would have to consult him on every move. He’s doing her a favor.

Smash - Season 2

The exchange is particularly bittersweet because Julia has no idea that Tom and Kyle were involved. She doesn’t know that Tom is grieving just as much, or even more, than she is. The episode pays tribute to Kyle’s relationship with the other characters through flashbacks, showing intimate moments that are truly sad; Kyle would have been a big name one day, and he already made a big impact.

Julia asks Eileen if she can call in a favor to get the lights of Broadway dimmed that night for Kyle’s memory, since it was his passion and dream to make it there one day. Eileen tells Julia that this is reserved for Broadway veterans, but she’s going to pulls some strings and see what she can do. What winds up happening is that Bombshell dims its lights for Kyle, and the Hit List and Bombshell casts unite out front for their friend.

Despite canceling Hit List, a huge crowd forms in the street, and they have no choice but to put on a show; they decide to do a concert instead of the full performance. But that crowd didn’t form spontaneously; Julia finds out that Scott never canceled the performance so he wouldn’t lose out on money. She is appalled. He argues that Kyle would have wanted it this way. And now, Julia is having deep remorse about dissolving her partnership to help Scott.

Minutes before show time, Karen is still racing around town, trying to track down Jimmy. She finds him at the waterfront, balancing on the barrier. She coaxes him down and asks him to do the performance for Kyle – and for her. She confesses her love and runs back to the theatre.

Jimmy comes back halfway through the concert and resumes his role, and plays a beautiful “goodbye” song for Kyle. It gets a standing ovation from the audience. Also in the audience is Ivy, who called out sick from Bombshell to support Derek. Despite her cooling feelings, she knows that he needs a friend, but is keeping her guard up. Derek begs her to take him back. “It’s not Karen, Derek, it’s you. I’ve realized that there will always be a Karen.”
And with that, Ivy finally cut Derek loose.

But just when you were thinking things were getting stable over at Bombshell, JERRY returns. He was at that standing ovation Hit List performance, too. And he has decided to produce it and take it all the way to Broadway, pitting it up against Bombshell for every Tony category.

Sorry, Eileen.