Catching Up: The Flash Episode 317, "Duet"

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Perhaps the most anticipated, most dreaded episode of THE FLASH has come upon us -- the musical crossover with SUPERGIRL.

Things kicked off in SUPERGIRL when a mysterious person puts Kara (MELISSA BENOIST) into a coma and then jumps through a breach, declaring he is looking for "the fastest man alive."

When THE FLASH opens, we find Barry Allen (GRANT GUSTIN) watching a musical (SINGING IN THE RAIN) while reminiscing about watching the show with his mother. He's crashing at Cisco's (CARLOS VALDES) after having broken things off with Iris (CANDICE PATTON), and Cisco can't get Barry to budge off the couch. But a buzz from H.R. Wells (TOM CAVANAGH) brings them to S.T.A.R. Labs, where a breach has been opened, through which step Mon-El (CHRIS WOOD) and Hank Henshaw (DAVID HAREWOOD). Mon-El is carrying Supergirl, and they give a quick rundown of what happened to her, and why they think the perpetrator has come to this Earth. They don't have to look hard for him, however, as he pretty much just announces himself at the right time.

This mysterious person (former GLEE alum with Gustin and Benoist, DARREN CRISS) gets chased by both Barry and Wally (KEYNAN LONSDALE), but exhibits super speed of his own, enough to out-maneuver Wally and get the drop on Barry, sending him into the same coma-type situation as Kara is in. However, Barry finds himself in a shared reality with Kara -- a world that is actually a musical. Kara is singing MOON RIVER, and she spies Barry in the audience.

They both soon learn that this world is populated by versions of their friends (and enemies). The club is owned by Cutter Moran, whom they know as Malcolm Merlyn (JOHN BARROWMAN of ARROW). The piano player is Grady, aka Winn Schott (JEREMY JORDAN), and the bartender is Pablo, aka Cisco. Just as Barry and Kara think it can't get any weirder, the mysterious person -- whom they end up calling the Music Meister -- appears to tell them their dilemma. They are trapped in a world of their own making. He says they're lucky, it could have been a war movie or worse, but since they both love musicals, it's that.  They can get out by following the plot -- once they figure out what that is. But if they die in here, they die for real. He then encourages them to sing by getting the entire club around them to join into an extravagant number of PUT A LITTLE LOVE IN YOUR HEART. They don't join in, but you can see at moments that they are both taken with this world they're in.

The plot, they find out, is a Romeo and Juliet story set in a gangster era, as "Millie" (Iris) finds herself in love with "Tommy" (Mon-El). But Tommy's father is Cutter Moran, and Millie's fathers (!) are Digsy Foss (Joe) and VICTOR GARBER (whom we know as Professor Martin Stein from LEGENDS OF TOMORROW.) They easily -- too easily -- convince the lovers to break the news to their fathers, commenting on just how easy things are in musicals as they do so. But the fathers don't take the news as well as planned, and despite telling their children (in song) that they are happy they found love, they prepare for war -- which catches Barry and Kara, without their powers, in the crossfire.

Back in the real world, the team at S.T.A.R. Labs has discovered that the Speed Force energy and solar radiation in both Barry and Kara are being depleted, coming to the realization that the Music Meister is stealing their powers. Cisco is prepared to go after him with Wally's help, and Hank insists on coming. Cisco denies this at first, until Henshaw reveals his Martian Manhunter persona. Together the three take down the Music Meister and put him in the Pipeline. However, he tells them that he can't get Barry and Kara out of their comas, that only he can. When he is later confronted by Mon-El and Iris together, he allows that they actually can help Barry and Kara, but they have to figure out how to do it on their own. As Barry and Kara start to go into seizures (having been shot in the musical world), Iris gets the idea that Cisco could vibe them to where they need to be, something he doubts but is willing to try. And because it's the last ten minutes of the show, that actually works. As Kara and Barry lay dying, both Mon-El and Iris profess their love, hold them, kiss them, and we fade back to S.T.A.R. Labs where everyone is healthy and happy.

The Music Meister isn't in the Pipeline, however. He can't be held by it. He declares that he came here because he likes the good guys and wants to help them -- in this case, help them realize what's important to them, and to let themselves be saved by love instead of always being the ones doing the saving. When asked if he's from another Earth or another dimension, he waffles, saying they would have absolutely no understanding of what he really is, and then he fades away, off to "help" someone else. So who is he, really? A fifth-dimensional imp like Mxyzptlk or Btmyt? Cupid? A handy plot device? Maybe we'll find out more in another musical episode. Because, you know, someone needs to get Oliver Queen (STEPHEN AMELL) to croon, am I right?

That doesn't stop the music, however. Back at the Allen/West home (just Iris's at the moment, I guess, since Barry moved out last episode), Barry and Iris talk, and Barry puts down his smart phone to play a background track. He sings, to Iris, and it's a great song but it really takes you out of the show, because it doesn't "sound" like he's there with Iris. It's produced and a little autotuned, not nearly as natural as the songs in the musical world were done. He gives her the ring as the song wraps up, and she accepts it with tears. The engagement is back on.

And if you want to hear the soundtrack, from the awesome (and apropos) rendition of "Runnin' Home to You" to the ensemble "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" to the goofy and cringe-worthy "Super Friend," the set is available at the iTunes store!

Grade: 
4.0 / 5.0