Glee notwithstanding, there aren’t many shows out there that could dip its toe in the wonderful world of musicals without coming off as trippy or lame. When I heard about the Flash/Supergirl mashup a few months back, I admit I was a bit skeptical on just how good The Flash musical would actually be. Sure, One More with Feeling, the very well-known Buffy musical episode was fantastic but this was different. This was The Flash, for goodness sakes, surely the musical numbers wouldn’t hit those same Buffy notes.
I’m pleased to say that, while “Duet” won’t be up for any awards—Emmy’s or otherwise—I’d put it under the successful banner of ‘Mission Accomplished’.
As an inconsistent viewer of Supergirl—it’s more of a Netflix binge type offering for me—I did not see the arrival of “Duet” villain Music Meister as he took the DEO by surprise and whammied Kara with his meisterly powers. Flash forward to Tuesday’s The Flash. J’onn J’onzz (aka the Martian Manhunter) and Mon-El (evidently Kara’s current love interest) bring the unconscious Supergirl to S.T.A.R. Labs for help. It doesn’t take long for Barry to suffer the same fate as the National City hero, waking up to find himself in a 40s type night club listening to Kara belt out a wonderful rendition of “Moon River”. Not long after, Mr. Meister shows up with the simple solution for the two heroes: to get out of this musical maze, just follow the script, learn the lesson, and you’re out. Easy peasy. Of course, one small caveat as heard in the promo was that, if they die in this world, they’re dead in the real world as well.
Speaking of the real world, nothing much goes on topside as Barry and Kara stick to their lines in the musical world. Yes, there’s the Vibe/Kid Flash/Martian Manhunter team-up to take down Music Meister but the primary focus is on Barry and Kara’s experiences on that B-side. Based on their current romantic statuses with their significant others—specifically the bumpiness of said relationships—the two superheroes find the continuing story of the musical a bitter pill. Iris is represented by Millie while Mon-El is Tommy Moran. Both are the kids of city gangsters on opposing sides, thus setting up quite the forbidden love them, and while Barry and Kara’s situations aren’t quite as dramatic or dire, both can understand the uncertainty of love when reality interferes with that bubble of rightness. Long story short, both are able to rectify said uncertainty with their partners and, surprisingly enough, it’s all thanks to the Music Meister. Turns out his motives were driven by he “believes in the good guys”. “I see everything,” he continues on the lessons of love, “and I saw two people with two broken hearts.”
“Love,” he continues, “is about letting yourself be saved. It’s not just about saving other people…even if you are superheroes.” And just like that, he’s gone, leaving the titular characters in better places.
Now, enough of the plot lines: what about the musical aspects? First off, this was a mini-Glee reunion as Grant Gustin, Melissa Benoist, and Darren Criss–the Meister himself—all starred in the former FOX phenomenon. It comes as no surprise that all three can flex those golden pipes but it’s the rest of the cast that pleasantly surprises. Several members from both shows as well as DC’s Legends of Tomorrow makes their vocal presence known. The songs and dance numbers are nothing too crazy, mindful of the cast’s strengths while keeping with the theme of love and accepting said love. And though there are a couple of well-known songs to go with “Moon River” (“Put a Little Love in Your Heart” the biggest), the “Duet” original “I’m Your Super Friend” is a tap dancing joy, filled with Easter Eggs from both shows, including Barry’s time-traveling escapades and his less-than-impressed attitude towards Kara’s “more famous cousin”. It was nearly impossible to keep the grin off my face as I heard the two take to solidifying their relationship as super friends.
While primarily a fun romp, “Duet” also smoothed out the romantic entanglements for both Barry and Kara. Though we only get a glimpse of Kara and Mon-El’s resolution, Iris and Barry’s re-unification to “Runnin’ Home to You” is the feel-good curtain-call “Duet” both needed and deserved. There may be pain and heartache ahead for Team Flash but, for at least one week, we were given a “light in the dark” and the promise that sometimes you need to set uncertainty aside for a bit of love.