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REVIEW: The Flash 3×17 “Duet”

Ah screw it, man was this fun to watch even if the whole plot mostly existed outside of the respective shows. “Duet” for all intents and purposes is a one off, but a spectacular one off that manages to use each character in a way that deals with their emotional baggage and boring plot stuff. Yes, it doesn’t add anything to Savitar or the stuff with Mon-El’s parents, but all the secondary material that has been dragging down these seasons was dealt with effectively and in a fun manner that didn’t bog down the entirety of the plot. Whether it was the setting of a 1940’s gangster musical, Barry and Kara singing, the team up of Cisco, Wally and J’onn it all actually was fun to watch and never felt entirely superfluous. I just wish Music Meister had been around for the past couple of seasons of Arrow, would have solved a shit ton of problems for everyone.

So, everyone can apparently sing really really really well on the DCW shows because the crux of this episode, the actual musical performances were great. Major props to everyone who sung tonight because they were all amazing. The stand outs were of course “More I Cannot Wish You” and the finale of “Runnin’ Home To You” where John Barrowman and Grant Gustin got to absolutely slay every bit of their songs. “Super Friend” also had some great moments and Melissa Benoist nailed every bit of song time she was afforded. What made all of these songs fun was the environment which Music Meister put them into. Having Barry and Kara not only be aware of the rules of the game but actively playing into it was top notch. There were so many subtle moments of Barry acknowledging how goofy and fun it was to be inside the musical.

As for the emotional crux of the episode and having Barry and Kara deal with their emotional problems through the musical. It actually worked a hell of a lot better here than it does on a normal episode of The Flash or Supergirl. Forcing Kara to watch Mon-El mark out with Iris was awkward but also gratifying in so many ways. It forced her to realize just how much of a jerk she had been to him and that there was actually a very good reason Mon-El didn’t reveal his parentage. Same goes for Barry who after last weeks incredibly stupid mistake realized that Iris is worth fighting for and being around. It was simple and beautiful no matter how heavy handed it actually felt. That’s what musicals are known for, helping characters deal with emotional problems in the most blunt and satisfying way possible. No comic book theatrics just straight and solid resolution.

With the dream world firmly being played for comedic and emotional value we were left with a confusing and fun villain in the form of Darren Criss’ Music Meister. Criss did an excellent job of playing the subtle puppet master and having Kara and Barry work through their issues. I am pretty sure though that the Meister is related to a certain fifth dimensional imp we know as the Meister was basically a god. I mean he appeared out of nowhere, stole Kara and Barry’s powers, knows everyones secret identities, and is merely doing all of this for the laughs. Criss definitely had the right amount of suave for the Meister the only real problem with him as a character was he just didn’t feel so musically inclined. I mean he got all of one song and not everything he said was musically related. The Meister could have been any villain who traps our heroes in a dream world, what made him The Music Meister. The Meister even went so far to say that he didn’t choose to put them in a musical, that was all Barry and Kara. If and when the Meister returns I would love a little more music and a little less Meister.

The rest of the team was also sidelined due to the nature of the episode, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t get some really amazing Justice League moments. Watching Cisco, Wally, and J’onn take on the fully powered Meister was incredibly fun as we were able to get over Wally’s fear of what happened to him very quickly. Iris and Mon-El realized that even they were being kind of dicks to the ones they loved. The Meister severed a clear and necessary purpose to cut through the bullshit and make everyone realize they have bigger fish to fry.

Overall it was totally worth getting to see a musical. Now back to dealing with an all powerful speed god.

Final Grade A-

+Amazing singing

+Cool feel to the dream world

+Music Meister was fun

+Wally/Cisco/J’onn team up

+Emotional crap all dealt with easily

-Not enough music

-The Music Meister wasn’t very music-y

Extra Thoughts

-All the top moments with the exception of two go to Grant Gustin. Finding out Joe and Stein were married, reacting to Joe singing, telling Kara he doesn’t care for Superman. So much great comedy.

-Secondary best moments are J’onn revealing himself to the team and Mon-El telling J’onn to shut up about Kara and him breaking up.

-I loved that this episode could be summed up as “Things are so much easier in musicals”

About the author

Scott Swartz