“Smash” is pretty much a dead series airing on NBC these days, but even shows on life support can still surprise viewers. And “Smash” may have done that this week with the death of Andy Mientus’ character Kyle, the co-writer of this season’s new musical “Hit List.”
Last week’s episode climaxed with a dramatic montage of Mientus singing Jeff Buckley’s “Last Goodbye” — intended as a farewell to his friend and creative partner Jimmy (Jeremy Jordan) — and ended on a shocking cliffhanger when Kyle was struck by a car. (While singing! Never change, “Smash”!)
What could have been a prolonged drama — or simply a brush with death meant to ultimately reunite Kyle and Jimmy — instead was abruptly resolved in “The Phenomenon.” Yes, Kyle actually died.
Instead of reuniting Kyle and Jimmy, Kyle’s death helped patch up the damage between Jimmy and Karen (Katharine McPhee), while reminding Tom (Christian Borle) that his friendship with Julia (Debra Messing) means more than any professional insecurities he may have.
The episode’s final twist: “Hit List” is heading to Broadway, backed by Eileen’s devious ex-husband, so it can properly face off with “Bombshell” at the Tonys (because “Smash” exists on a planet where musicals not based on movies are nominated for Tonys) in the May 26 “season finale.”
Since moving to Saturdays earlier this season, “Smash” has been averaging under 2 million viewers and a 0.4 rating in the key 18-49 demo (though it almost doubles that, to still very low numbers, in Live+7 ratings that factor in DVR use). Barring any last minute miracle, the two-hour May 26 send-off is likely to double as the series finale.