[Review] The Flash (2014) Episode 3×17: “Duet”

I THOUGHT I WAS DONE WITH MON-EL GODDAMMIT I am fine and calm, everything is normal, how are you, please enjoy this recap of CW’s The Flash.

Oh hey, this episode is a crossover with Supergirl Season Two. *yells across the room* Dayna, honey, how was that season?

*incoherent screaming can be heard all the way in Ohio*

She says no comment.

Spoilers under the cut.

So, I know this is a musical episode, but when I hear such unbelievable horseshit like “When you sing, you open up your soul and let who you really are shine through,” it puts me in a foul mood fifteen seconds in.

The reason for that is because I keep thinking about singers like Elvis Presley, who did everything but sleep with dozens of fourteen-year-olds. Chuck Berry videotaped women in the bathroom of his restaurant. Frank Sinatra beat up everything and everyone around him, including then-wife Ava Gardner. Cee Lo Green pleaded no contest to drug felonies after he gave ecstasy to a woman and later raped her, then went on to spew such bullshit as “People who have really been raped remember!” and “If someone is passed out they’re not even with you consciously! So ‘with’ implies consent.” Which…I don’t even know how that last one is supposed to logically work.

Anyway, we start this episode back when Barry was a wee lad, sitting at home with his mom watching Singin’ In the Rain. His love of musicals has apparently carried over into the modern day, and on Cisco’s couch, no less. Cisco’s trying to get Barry into motion, but Barry just refuses to do anything unless it involves work. Speaking of, H.R. calls them to S.T.A.R. Labs because a breach has opened. When Barry and Cisco arrive, H.R. and Wally are already there and they all catch a Mon-El infection.

Mon-El (Supergirl’s horrible boyfriend, by the way) comes through a breach, carrying an unconscious Supergirl in his arms. The Martian Manhunter is with them and tells Team Flash that she was knocked unconscious during Part 1 of this crossover, and whoever did this to her has come to Earth-1.

After a quick scan, Mon-El makes it all about him, then we get Barry and Iris drama, and then everyone suddenly remembers Supergirl is in trouble. They start putting together a plan to find their intruder, only to find the intruder has intruded into the speed lab. Barry goes down to confront him, but Wally remains behind. H.R. gives him a pep talk, and Wally zooms down. They quickly get taken out by our antagonist, the Music Meister, and Barry is sent to a shared coma where Kara is singing “Moon River” on the stage of a 1920s-style nightclub.

Whatever else I have to say about this episode, the chemistry between Melissa Benoist and Grant Gustin is absolutely magical and makes everything else fifty times better. After they meet backstage, they start comparing notes and work on a plan. With so little information, they go to the front and question Cutter Moran (a.k.a. Malcolm Merlyn), the head of the club they both apparently work for. He wants them both to sing something original, and tells piano man Grady (a.k.a. Winn Schott) to set them up. They are also introduced to Pablo (a.k.a. Cisco Ramon), the bartender. Barry and Kara start putting together that they’re in a musical, which is when the Music Meister shows up to tell them the rules: follow the script or stay here forever.

Oh, and if they die here, they die in the real world.

We then get a song and dance set to “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” starring the Music Meister, Grady, Pablo, and Cutter. After that, Barry and Kara try to piece together the plot of the musical, but are interrupted and kidnapped by…okay, he doesn’t have a name, but it’s this world’s version of Professor Stein. He brings them to his husband and fellow gangster Digsy Foss (a.k.a. Joe West), who wants them to find their daughter Millie. They agree, and one time jump later, Pablo leads them to her apartment. An apartment where Millie (a.k.a. Iris West) is getting a serious case of Mon-El. How many times do you guys think I can compare Mon-El to mono and it will still be funny?

At S.T.A.R. Labs, the team figures out that the Music Meister is stealing Barry and Kara’s powers, and they coincidentally put this together while he’s pulling a jewelry store heist. The superheroes head out, and they work together to take down the Music Meister.

Back in dreamland, Mon-El is in the role of Tommy Moran, Cutter’s son, and he and Millie share a forbidden love that would start a war between their respective fathers. Barry and Kara come up with the idea to try to get Tommy and Millie to reveal their affair to their fathers. Surely everything will go swimmingly.

While Kara takes Tommy to Cutter, Barry takes Millie to tell her dads. Barry and Kara each have an epiphany about where they went wrong in their respective relationships, and we get a musical interlude set to “More I Cannot Wish You” from Cutter, Digsy, and Digsy’s husband. After the musical, both sides get ready to go to war.

Iris and Mon-El confront the Music Meister, who tells them they’re the only ones who can save Barry and Kara, who have to go to rehearsal. They come up with “Super Friends”, and I immediately put my head in my hands. Look, I’m not good with awkward humor. After they transition the last part to a stage performance, the gang war begins. Barry and Kara are shot, and immediately begin to convulse in real life.

Cisco vibes Iris and Mon-El into the dream world, and they each administer True Love’s Kiss to free Barry and Kara. The Music Meister pops up to explain that he did it to teach them a lesson. That lesson is that it’s okay to forgive abusive, manipulative people even if they haven’t really done anything to change…wait, no, I’m sorry, that’s just the lesson Andrew Kreisberg implied via Mon-El. The actual lesson was about Barry and Kara letting themselves be saved by love. After the goodbyes, Barry finishes the episode with a new song, “Running Home to You”, and then proposing to Iris for the right reasons.

So, how was it? Most of the singing was phenomenal, the songs are well-constructed, and the plot makes sense…more or less. I didn’t dig Darrin Criss’ performance, just because it didn’t feel like there was any character there. Grant Gustin sounds like a muppet when he sings. But it’s the specter of Mon-El that really drags this episode down, and I am so tired of Barry and Iris’ “will-they-won’t-they”. So, it’s fine. Fortunately, the next episode promises to be magical.

George Hatch can be found on Twitter at @Raeseti, and his editor-slash-loving girlfriend would like to remind him that awkward humor is literally the only kind in this house.

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