The first day of "Hit List" rehearsals are already off to a rough start, as Derek and Jimmy can't seem to agree about a particular scene's motivations. Jimmy clutches to his vision, while his inexperience as an actor is becoming clear. Things are going much better at rehearsals for the new and improved "Bombshell." Tom has come in with a new, more positive and open state of mind. As Ivy belts out "Let Me Be Your Star," it's clear she was made for the role of Marilyn. Tom encourages his actors to contribute their ideas, and Ivy wastes no times trying to get her ideas implemented. The cast and crew are excited when Tom invites them to his apartment that night to brainstorm, but Julia knows this lenient overcompensating will likely prove troublesome down the line.
Eileen meets with her publicist Agnes, who has a warning: Tom's name won't fill seats the way Derek's does. It's time to generate some positive press. Ivy bumps into Sam outside of rehearsals and convinces him to come up to speak with Tom. Sam is apprehensive; after all, Tom ended their relationship and pushed him to tour with "Book of Mormon." Inside, Tom's democratic approach to directing has already worn thin on Julia. He's got to parent his actors or they'll run wild. Tom asks her to simply trust that he knows what he's doing. Over at "Hit List," Jimmy becomes infuriated when he finds out Derek wants to cast Lea Michele as The Diva in the show. They're supposed to take audiences by surprise - casting a celebrity will ruin everything! Jimmy vows to not let Derek tank this show any further.
Eileen reaches out to her old friend at The New York Times, Richard Francis, head of the Arts section, but he's uninterested in writing about "Bombshell." He needs a good story. Desperate, Eileen invites Richard to rehearsals so he can see the new and improved show for himself. The only problem is, Eileen doesn't understand the show is back in turmoil. Tom is promising everyone everything, and the script is falling apart at the seams. Tom even offers Sam a role in the show on a whim! When Julia reminds him they're totally cast and there are no parts left, Tom has to find a way to break the bad news to Sam.
Jimmy and Karen aren't seeing eye-to-eye when it comes to Derek. Karen thinks Jimmy's just as much at fault for their contemptuous relationship and advises Jimmy to just give Derek a chance; she bought in to his directing and it paid dividends for her. For his part, Jimmy assumes Karen's "connection" with Derek goes beyond the stage. At the "Bombshell" party, Tom and Sam belt out the song "(Let's Start) Tomorrow Tonight" from an abandoned play of Tom's starring Nat King Cole. Even though he's supposed to break the bad news, Tom hires Sam on the spot, promising to insert Nat King Cole's character into the plot. The cast rejoices, but Julia knows this is a horrible, horrible decision based on guilt.
Since Jimmy doesn't want him to hire a big name for The Diva, Derek has arranged for a set constructed of massive, high-tech LED screens, an idea Jimmy doesn't like either. Karen suggests having Ana audition for the part of The Diva, but Derek's not receptive. Jimmy goes behind Derek's back, telling Scott about the spectacle Derek's planning. Scott thinks the beauty of "Hit List" is the chemistry between the two leads and fears Derek's going to drown that out with the theatrics of the staging, not to mention drowning the budget. Derek pitches his idea as "a Broadway show with an off-Broadway budget." His LED screens are donated; contrary to popular belief, he does have friends in the business. Scott agrees to at least see Derek's idea fully realized before making a final judgment.
Tom and Sam sleep together on the night of the cast party. The next day, Tom wants to start rehearsal with Sam's number, however Eileen has arranged for Richard to drop by to see Ivy. When he enters in the midst of Eileen and Tom's public fight, it's clear that once again, "Bombshell" is in shambles. Both Julia and Eileen agree Sam's song has to go. The only problem? Sam just quit his job to join the cast. Meanwhile, Karen tries her best to convince Ana to audition for The Diva, but she doesn't want to lose the part she already has. When Karen urges her to fight for it, Ana promises to talk to him - but only if Karen will talk to Jimmy.
Kyle is stunned to learn Jimmy told Scott about Derek's staging, claiming he won't let Derek "beat him." Kyle quickly realizes this is all about Karen - did something happen? While he doesn't give particulars, Jimmy allows that Derek told him to stay away from Karen because he wants her for himself. Just outside the theater, Jimmy spies Derek standing by a van as the LED screens are unloaded. A cheery Derek thanks Jimmy for telling Scott about his staging ideas and is happy to let him know his backstabbing didn't work.
Richard tells Eileen that the "Bombshell" story is pretty much tapped out, but when she begs, he allows that the only story he could write about is how she miraculously got her show back. Eileen knows this story involves her daughter. She's not willing to drag Katie though the mud, but she has an idea... Julia brings Tom to the "Hit List" rehearsal to watch Derek's directing skills in action. Unfortunately, he's livid and yelling, as his massive LED screens perpetually malfunction. When Karen comes down on Jimmy's side, Derek walks out of the theater. Julia hunts down Scott to ask why he's not returning her calls. Could he still be harboring ill will about her snubbing him for a director role 15 years ago? He is, since his career was thrown way off track by her disloyalty; it took him 15 years to get back to New York.
Outside of rehearsal, Derek gives Tom some good advice about directing: it's not about being the actors' friend, it's about earning their respect. It's a lonely business. Interestingly enough, Tom has some advice of his own for Derek. He sees a lot of Derek in the young and ambitious Jimmy. Perhaps maybe they have more in common than they both know - they're not enemies. Back at rehearsal, Derek apologizes and asks for a fresh start, asking Jimmy about his vision for the show. With a more cooperative partnership established, Derek ditches his LEDs to preview a scaled-back and more emotive version of the song "I Heard Your Voice in a Dream." It's a hit.
Julia offers Scott a heartfelt apology for the past, admittedly 15 years too late. Scott appreciates the gesture and offers his condolences on her split with Frank. At a dive bar, Karen can't seem to work up the courage to tell Jimmy how she feels about him. Ana tries to inspire her by taking a chance of her own: she jumps on stage and calls Derek out, telling him she's "the one" for The Diva part. Ana sings "If I Were a Boy" to resounding applause. Derek gives Ana the part on the spot, embarrassed he didn't see it sooner. Off Ana's lead, Karen asks Jimmy if he likes her. His silence says it all and Derek walks a disappointed Karen home. It's not long before Jimmy rings Karen's doorbell, and she lets him in. Jimmy doesn't say anything, making up for lost time with a passionate kiss. What took him so long?
Tom reluctantly tells Sam he can't be a part of the show. It's a difficult decision in light of their recent personal history, but Tom's talk with Derek has him seeing things differently. In rehearsals, Tom puts his foot down, no second act break for Ivy, no wardrobe changes and Julia really ought to make some edits to the Gladys scene. He's finally becoming a true director. Eileen pulls Tom aside and tells him The New York Times is ready to jump on a juicy story about the show, but she'll need his approval. Leigh Conroy, Ivy's mother, is willing to sign on as the new actress to play Marilyn's mother. Will the mother-daughter tension might be too much for Ivy? Tom doesn't care - they need the press.