I’d forgotten all about the headlights and screeching tyres at the end of last week’s episode, so when I accidentally found out (before watching) that there had been a death in Smash, I couldn’t help hoping it was EFFING JIMMY.
Of course it wasn’t. As the character who did meet an untimely end – let’s just call him Dude for spoiler’s sake – pointed out, Dude had to die so Jimmy “could learn something.” Presumably it was that Jimmy ruins everything, which we already knew, but we also learned – as is wont to happen sometimes in both tv and real life – that everyone was apparently a lot fonder of Dude than they let on when he was alive.
A handful of hazily-lit flashbacks told us that Dude had captured Tom’s heart and inspired him to do yet another Bombshell re-write, had touched Julia with his love of Broadway tradition, and had even bonded with Karen over their love for the same person. Oh, Dude. Who knew these people were so close to you? Julia’s was the only flashback that felt earned and real: like us, she knew him, not terribly well, and she liked him, not loved him. She (and we) can quite legitimately be a little bit sad Dude is gone without having to posthumously beef up his part.
Flashbacks and whatnot aside though, the episode itself was surprisingly touching. The Hit List team’s grief, Derek holding it together for everyone else, Ivy and Eileen’s gestures of support, the dimming of Bombshell’s lights at the end: all absolutely lovely. But, even more surprisingly, the most moving moment came from Jimmy himself whose rendition of “The Love I Meant to Say” was both beautiful and heart-breaking. Sob!
Does this mean everything’s forgiven and I’m fine with Karen snogging Derek then deciding to go back to Jimmy instead? Not in a million years. But if we had to say goodbye to Dude (a mere three episodes before we say goodbye to Smash itself), “The Phenomenon” was a very sweet and poignant send-off.