Karen Cartwright (Katharine McPhee) is dreaming at the restaurant in which she wastes her life serving lemonade to the overpaid. She still doesn't know if she's going to be cast as Marilyn in the Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe. In another part of the city, Tom and Julia (Christian Borle and Debra Messing), the show's writers, debate with the show's producer, Eileen (Anjelica Huston, maybe you've heard of her!) and director, Derek (Jack Davenport). They can't decide between Karen and Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty). Karen's fresh and compelling! Ivy loooks like Marilyn and has experience for days.
We cut to Ivy in the street. It's the same Ivy we were just talking about. She and her friends are nervous. They sure want her to get the part.
At city hall, Karen's boyfriend Dev is just as British as he was last episode. There seems to be no cure for it. She shows up to give him her support. So, now we know everyone's human and has feelings and relationships. Now we want them both to get the part! But there can be only one! That's the law of Thunderdome!
Julia breaks from the casting debates to attend a meeting at an adoption agency, She and her husband want a Chinese baby real bad! They have a kid already, but he's a teenager! Boring! They want a fresh one! And speaking of fresh, here's Karen again back at the studio. She's giving her all in a big, choreographed number. Surely they'll choose her!
Ivy has spies on the dance team who report back to her. She also makes sure Director Derek sees her reading books about Marilyn Monroe. Books are cheating! She also develops a creeepy Marilyn impression. Marilyn Monroe was kind of... scary.
MEANWHILE, Eileen is chugging cocktails at an exclusive restaurant when her ex-husband shows up to tell her she's stupid for wanting to put up a Marilyn musical. She points out that he has forgotten to have a drink in his face, and this place has a very strict policy about that. So she throws a drink in his face.
Karen is rehearsing too much; it's making Dev crazy. He's as mad as a spanner in a lorry's boot (as the British say). She misses an important dinner date with him, and there's tension. What's it gonna be, Karen? Art or love?
Ivy, however, gets an, um, how shall we say this... Ive gets a horizontal callback from Derek. That might just seal the deal for her. Surely a director wouldn't have sex with an actress and then not give her the part. That wouldn't be fair.
Still... we have to see one more big number to make sure. It's Karen's! She really gives 'em what for! Whirling, singing, Karening all over the place! Surely they'll choose her!
Then... we wait a little bit. And then we still don't know, and then... we see Ivy in a dressing room, and Tom comes in, because the show forgot about Tom and he needed something to do. He tells Ivy... she wins! Ivy is Marilyn and Karen is NOTHING, not even a little thing!
That would have been a fine ending, right? Like, it's sad (or happy, because Ivy is good at acting), but it's a... conclusion to a... plot we cared about.
BUT... they make us watch Julia read a letter to the invisible mother of her not-yet-adopted baby in an adoption support group circle. That's your ending? Ok. See you next week.