I was not filled with glee by the announcement of a Flash Musical Episode. I’m just not the market for this sort of thing, even if it occasionally works. Increasingly, I’m beginning to wonder if I’m still the market for this show. Lots of people loved this singing and dancing crossover with Supergirl. For me, it recalled one of those old albums of a superstar’s previously unreleased material: a few bright moments, some familiar but enjoyable content, and a lot of stuff that should’ve remained in the studio.
Cast and Crew
Director: Dermott Downs
Writers: Aaron Helbing, Todd Helbing, Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg
Grant Gustin as Barry Allen / The Flash
Melissa Benoist as Kara Danvers / Supergirl
Candice Patton as Iris West
Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow
Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon / Vibe
Keiynan Lonsdale as Wally West / Kid Flash
Tom Cavanagh as H.R. Wells
Jesse L. Martin as Joe West
Chris Wood as Mon-El
Jeremy Jordan as Winn Schott
David Harewood as J’onn J’onzz / Martian Manhunter
John Barrowman as Malcolm Merlyn / Cutter
Victor Garber as Dr. Martin Stein
Darren Criss as Music Meister
Michelle Harrison as Nora Allen
Brandon Chase as Goon #1
Liam Hughes as Young Barry
Music Meister, a character who here combines elements of Mr. Mxyzptlk, the Power Parasite, and Sir Plot Device, makes his live-action debut, trapping Barry and Kara in a dream-world based on the conventions of old Musicals. If they can make it through, they will survive. If they die in the dream-world, they die in reality.
The actors obviously had fun playing over-the-top alter-egos, and these people can sing.
Back in Central City, friends of Barry’s and Kara’s work together. Their chemistry is good (better than Kara and Mon-El’s), even if these shows continue to pitch ideas that are beyond their budget to develop fully. The battle was short, but effective.
I didn’t find this to be much of a musical. It had many of the trappings of old movies, nicely recreated, but it relied heavily on existing songs. (Rachel Bloom’s original, “Super Friends” was something of a highlight, but only if viewed as the cheesefest they intended it to be). Otherwise, we had a couple of familiar tunes and a plot that only loosely felt like it belonged in a traditional musical.
Originality: 2/6 Musical episodes are old news at this point, and the plot of this one recalls Music Meister’s debut on The Brave and the Bold, even the Meister himself is an entirely different character.
Story: 4/6 The story was entertaining, and fits into the ongoing plots of both shows.
Emotional Response: 4/6
Overall: 4/6 In total, “Duet” receives 28/42
We have to plead the conventions of comic books, since it would be too simple—and dramatically flawed—to just have Team Flash ask Supergirl to help them out with Savitar. “Hey, Kara,” they would ask, “given that this guy threatens our reality, can’t you just slap him into next year for us? We have ice cream.”
It’s great that the CW DCU imagine earths where race and orientation aren’t an issue. I also recognize that the shared world in which Kara and Barry find themselves is a fantasy drawn, in part, from their own experiences. I would still like it if, just once, on one of these shows, they would address the complex and often difficult circumstances that have surrounded and surround long-standing prejudices.