The Flash: Duet Review
The CW’s The Flash: Season 3, Episode 17: ‘Duet’ was a very entertaining hour filled with songs, gangsters, and some awkward situations. If you aren’t into musicals, then this episode probably won’t be your cup of tea. However, if you love the idea of seeing two superheroes performing musical numbers, then ‘Duet’ is going to be a enjoyable way to spend an hour. Even the idea of having Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Kara (Melissa Benoist) being trapped in a prison world and the only way out is to sing and dance pretty much sounds like a fun time. For what it’s worth, this was one of the best episodes we’ve seen in this less-than-stellar season of The Flash.
There have been shows that have done musical episodes and work really well. This week’s installment features the appearance of the Music Meister (Darren Criss), a villain that fans may be familiar with from the popular animated series Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Similar to the animated counterpart, this version can hypnotize his victims into a deep slumber and have them trapped in a fantasy world in their minds. The Music Meister shows up and forces Barry and Kara to put on a musical as they are stuck in a period piece looking like they’re in the 20s. This is certainly a change in tone as we step away from the dark and gloomy atmosphere that the show has had recently. It does give viewers a break from the regular drama and distract them with some entertainment.
The thing that makes this musical episode work is the fact that our main characters are fully aware of the crazy situation they got themselves in. It seemed like the episode was more of a parody of the musicals that we often watch. Even if you aren’t familiar with Grant and Melissa’s musical background on TV, it was funny to see them in this dilemma and how easily things can get done in musicals. The episode became much more of a comedy than a musical, and it worked really well.
Similar to their Earth-2 counterparts, it was more fun to see some familiar faces having a different role in this fantasy world. It was a joy seeing Iris (Candice Patton) as the daughter of gangsters speaking with a Chicago accent. Even more surprising was seeing both Joe (Jesse L. Martin) and Dr. Stein (Victor Garber) as romantic partners and Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) as a nightclub owner with a habit of killing people who annoy him. It was also fun seeing Cisco (Carlos Valdes) as a meek waiter with big dreams of performing on stage. There wasn’t one moment in the episode without having some of the characters break out in song.
All the musical numbers were entertaining in their own right. The episode didn’t just pull a Supergirl/The Flash crossover, but also bringing in other people from the Arrowverse. What we have are these actors whose musical background came in handy. Some might agree that other actors like H.R. Wells (Tom Cavanagh) or Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) could’ve been a part of Barry’s musical world, but at least they chose the ones who have the skills and talent to pull off such a task.
Benoist started the episode on a high note with her touching cover of ‘Moon River’. What came after was the beautifully staged and choreographed rendering of ‘Put a Little Love In Your Heart.’ There were also some original songs that were added in the mix thanks to actress Rachel Bloom. Her song ‘Super Friends’ was a nice track that showed the strong bond that Barry and Kara have formed in the past year. Barry really made ‘Runnin’ Home to You’ his own towards the end of the episode. It was really a nice way to cap off the hour, and it was a nice romantic gesture that Barry made for Iris. The only problem here was that Music Meister wasn’t given any musical number to perform in the episode. It is Darren Criss’ moment to shine as the antagonist in the crossover, but he wasn’t given enough material.
The musical crossover of course didn’t ignore what was going on in the regular storyline for both shows. What was cool is getting to see Wally/Kid Flash (Keiynan Lonsdale), Martian Manhunter (David Harewood), and Cisco/Vibe teaming up to take down Music Meister. It just shows just how big the Arrowverse is. It also dug deep into Barry and Kara’s relationships. It turned out that Music Meister isn’t such a bad guy after all as he was only trying to repair the rifts between Barry/Iris and Kara/Mon-El (Chris Wood). At the very least, the episode ended on a happy note rather than a sad one.
‘Duet’ got to truly show how a crossover could be pulled off by using all of the Arrowverse. The episode was tons of fun and entertaining without dragging the drama into it. It was also a nice homage to all the musicals while showcasing the actors’ musical skills. Let’s hope we can get some great crossovers like this in the future.
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