NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “The Flash” are present in this review
The much-anticipated musical crossover between The Flash and Supergirl is finally here, with this week’s episode of The Flash serving as the proper basis for the crossover effort. “Duet” united Barry and Kara in proper battle against the Music Meister, who appeared right at the very end of yesterday’s Supergirl episode to, “Whammy” Kara into a coma, forcing Mon-El and J’onn to use Cisco’s breaching device to hop over to Earth-1, so they can seek help from Team Flash over at S.T.A.R. Labs.
Surprisingly though, the Music Meister turns out to be a formidable opponent, with Barry soon after incapacitated as well, and trapped in the same dream world as Kara. Turns out, Barry and Kara are both big fans of musicals, and their emotional states of mind are what led to the creation of a music-themed world that the Music Meister has trapped them in, with the aim of teaching them some sort of unspecified lesson. Said lesson can only be learned through, “Following the script”, which is done with singing and dancing alongside familiar faces from both Earth-1 and Earth-38, who are all different people in this alternate reality.
It sounds incredibly weird, but it’s weird in all of the right ways. This is a brilliant crossover episode, effortlessly keeping pace with the also-brilliant, “Invasion!” crossover from this past November, and one that also nicely capitalizes on the otherwise forced break-ups that both Barry and Kara recently suffered. As Barry and Kara both struggle with their separate angst over losing Iris and Mon-El, they come to attain surprising wisdom in having to interact with the alternate personalities, set amidst a West Side Story-era gang war between Joe and Martin Stein, who are homosexual partners in this reality as well as dual fathers of Iris, and Malcolm Merlyn, who happens to be the father of Mon-El in this reality, complete with the false Mon-El being named, “Tommy”, in what’s likely a sly reference to Merlyn’s actual son from the early days of Arrow.
The musical numbers are firmly in the standards of television, so don’t expect anything too lavish. They are however all highly enjoyable, with the accompanying original songs also frequently being a delight to listen to, regardless of who sings them. Regrettably, not every actor from Supergirl or The Flash is present in the Music Meister’s reality, notably those without a singing background like Danielle Panabaker and Chyler Leigh, though there aren’t any weak links among the actors present. There’s even a lot of awesome self-aware jokes about musicals throughout the episode, particularly how easy it is to accomplish things in them, disguising the contrivance of the Music Meister’s fake world with a genuinely effective sense of wit and humour.
Meanwhile, in the outside world, the Music Meister announces that Central City is his for the taking, prompting Wally to try and leap into action alongside Cisco and J’onn. Team Flash’s reactions to J’onn’s true form as Martian Manhunter is pretty amusing, though J’onn nonetheless proves to be a well-respected ally, as he actually manages to successfully wrangle the Music Meister and imprison him in the pipeline, with Cisco’s and Wally’s help. All this does though is have the Music Meister warn Iris and Mon-El that they are the true keys to helping Kara and Barry escape, with the clock seemingly ticking as both heroes are drained of their powers.
That’s another huge caveat in the Music Meister’s musical world; Neither Kara nor Barry have their powers, and if they die in that world, they die in the real world as well. This culminates in the two both being hit by bullets during the gang war between Merlyn and Joe that they fail to stop, and nearly dying in the process, until Cisco vibes their sweethearts into the Music Meister’s fake reality to repair their broken relationships. Apparently, the lesson was quite literal, as the Music Meister, an allegedly altruistic inter-dimensional being, simply wanted Barry and Kara to come to terms with their romantic pain, and accept their flawed, vulnerable relationships for what they are. The vibe from Cisco that saves them so easily is a little overly convenient, mind you, but I suppose that if he can vibe people into the Speed Force and across the Multiverse, the sky really is the limit for his powers at this point. He might as well be able to whisk people over to the Marvel Cinematic Universe at this point!
Fortunately, Kara and Barry being saved by their loved ones allows them to both learn the lesson they needed to learn. Kara forgives Mon-El for deceiving her, and Barry decides that distancing himself from Iris wasn’t the right call (even if both of these heroes’ mistakes really should have been obvious to them beforehand), so all’s well that ends well. Kara, Mon-El and J’onn thus return to Earth-38, and Barry re-proposes to Iris, doing it right this time. The final song from Barry to Iris was especially touching to this effect, and the episode ending on the happy note of just getting these two back together was effective, temporarily offering some happy viewer respite, even as the threat of Savitar continues to loom on the horizon.
Considering the weak episode of Supergirl we unfortunately got this week, it’s at least satisfying to see that the musical crossover on The Flash lived up to the hype. “Duet” was a silly side chapter as both Supergirl and The Flash begin to move toward their respective seasons’ climaxes, but even if it largely existed to re-affirm the main romantic arcs of both shows, it did everything it set out to accomplish very well. The episode was full of enjoyable musical numbers, offered a great chance to pair up Team Flash and Team Supergirl, and the Music Meister even turned out to be a pretty fun antagonist, even if most of his backstory remains shrouded in mystery, especially when he appears to be as omnipotent as Supergirl’s Mr. Mxyzptlk. It’s great that this crossover episode offered such an unyielding amount of fun, because now that both Kara and Barry have repaired their relationships, both of their struggles are about to get very serious in the coming weeks, as they face what are arguably their biggest battles yet!
- Highly enjoyable, well-directed musical numbers
- Kara and Barry both effectively mending their relationships
- Amusing self-aware musical satire
- Cisco's vibe into the Music Meister's world is pretty overly convenient