I have been watching the Flash show since the first season's premiere and overall have loved the show. The characters, their interactions, the deep dives into the DCU, and the personal plot lines have all made the show a winner.
You knew there was going to be a but, right.
But this season has been a bit more morose than I am used to with this show. Yes, there has been a lot of drama and depression in the first two seasons, revolving around the death of Barry's mom, the multiple supporting characters dying, the betrayal of Zoom, etc. This season has really wallowed in the depression and sadness. Everyone seems a little more sullen. Everyone is carrying some emotional burden. Barry hasn't been acting the hero.
In other words, the charm of the earlier seasons hasn't been there this season. And it was that charm that made this show such a winner.
This week, the Flash aired 'Duets', the much anticipated musical crossover with Supergirl. (It is Kara's presence that has me reviewing the show here.) And thankfully, this was a rollicking good time. The charm was back. Characters were smiling. Everyone seemed to be having a grand old time. That fun and charm just oozed off the screen.
I love that we learn how much Kara loves The Wizard of Oz, a perfect musical for her, with a female hero trying to recapture her home after being sent to someplace strange.
And perhaps most amazingly, even though this was a 'side mission', the episode moved both shows plots forward.
Suffice it to say, the family and I basically grinned for an hour. Now it doesn't hurt that the Anj household likes musicals. Maybe we were the perfect target audience.
The show starts with Barry, in the doldrums, watching Singin' in the Rain in Cisco's apartment. We learn that he watched musicals with his mother whenever he was sad. "Everything is better in song."
As an avid TCM watcher and a musical fan and a huge fan of Singin' in the Rain (saw it on the big screen last month), I loved this. Who can't help but feel a little better seeing Reynolds/Kelly/O'Connor singing 'Good Morning'. Who can't get excited seeing the dance sequences in Seven Brides For Seven Brothers or West Side Story.
And this melds so nicely with prior episodes of Supergirl where we saw her watching The Big Sleep and Auntie Mame when she was feeling down. It shows why Barry and Kara would be good friends.
But before Cisco can rouse Barry out of his Iris-induced sadness, STAR Labs call. There's an emergency.
A breach has opened and out comes J'onn J'onzz and Mon-El carrying Supergirl. She has been put into a coma by the Music Meister. Does this count as a Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 knock-off?
Mon and Hank traced the Meister to this Earth and so followed him. Kara is hooked up to the monitors. Introductions are made. Mon-El struggles to say that he is Kara's ff-f-friend, trying to say that he is and isn't her boyfriend.
Before too much can happen, the Meister appears within the DEO. He tells Barry and Wally that he is simply there to teach them all a lesson. He hypnotizes Barry like he did with Kara. He collapses.
There is a nice moment in this when HR has to convince Wally to use his speed again. He tells Wally he needs to get back on the horse. 'Ride, Wallace, ride!' is his pep talk. I love all the riffs on 'run, Barry, run' we have in this show!
When Barry awakens, he is in the nightclub where we saw Supergirl at the end of her show. Melissa Benoist belts out Moon River. She just crushes it. And in a nice little moment, she changes 'Huckleberry friend' to 'Huckle-Barry friend' when she sees her friend arrive.
Barry explains how he was informed of what happened by Kara's boyfriend (she retorts that Mon-El is her nothing). They realize they are trapped in some sort of dream. Kara jokingly says she should click her heels three times, a suggestion Barry takes seriously.
And then in exploring the club, they see that their friends are there playing standard roles. Winn is Grady, the piano player. Mark Merlyn is Cutter Moran, a gangster who runs the club. Cisco is Pablo, the busboy with dreams of show business. It all seems legit for a big Hollywood musical.
I love how Kara again relates it to The Wizard of Oz saying 'you were there and you were there' like Dorothy did when she awakens from her dream.
The Music Meister arrives, describing the predicament.
The minds of Barry and Kara created this musical world. It could have been a war movie but their love for this genre made this. They need to finish the plot to get home (and it isn't to follow the yellow brick role as Kara suggests, yet another Oz reference). But there is danger within this world. If they die in this musical world, they die in the real world.
Kara admits she has reached her limits with magical creeps, a nice nod to Mxyzptlk.
But then the show kicks into high gear. The Meister leads all the ancillary characters in a big music and dance number with everyone singing the Al Green classic 'Put a little love in your heart'. Love it!
Barry and Kara are brought to a gangster's hideout.
While waiting, they talk about their current relationship woes. Mon-El lied for 9 months. Barry proposed for all the wrong reasons. Before they can talk more, the gangsters show up - Joe West and Professor Stein! West is 'Digsy Foss' and his daughter Millie (Iris) has gone missing after being seen at Cutter's nightclub. He asks Barry and Kara to look for her. And Millie best be fine or the 'city will run red with blood'.
A quick look at the club finds Millie with 'Tommy Moran' (Mon-El). These two are true star-crossed lovers, the children of the rival gangsters. It is also fascinating that they are the real love interests of our heroes now thrown together.
I thought this was a nice wrinkle, forcing the Barry and Kara to see their partners entwined with each other.
And Millie's absolutely forced Brooklyn accent is so laughable it is stupendous.
There is a silly side plot where the heroes on Earth try to stop the Music Meister who is draining Flash and Supergirl of their powers. A little strategy and they are able to punch the Meister unconscious. But it doesn't matter much to the plot.
Still, I like to post pictures like this to remind me how good we have it. Martian Manhunter, Vibe, and a yellow-clad Kid Flash teaming up to stop a super-villain. Unbelievable.
Barry and Kara convince Tommy and Millie to come clean with their folks. Barry thinks it is like West Side Story (apt given the star-crossed aspect). But Kara thinks it is like The Fantasticks. I'll 'Try to Remember' if that makes sense.
Barry brings Millie to her dads. He tells them that Millie is obviously strong, obviously understands the risk of being with Tommy, and wants to be with him regardless. It resonates with Barry. Iris gets it. He should know that. He loves Iris and shouldn't have asked her to marry for the wrong reasons.
Meanwhile, Kara brings Tommy to Cutter. When Cutter gets angry, she tells the hood that it shouldn't be a surprise that Tommy lied knowing this would be the response. Maybe Cutter should listen to Tommy's reasons for lying and see things from his point of view. This, of course, applies to Kara and Mon-El.
Literally Kara broke up with Mon-El 23 hours earlier. Maybe this realization is a little too fast?
Still, this sort of metaphor of their relationships was a nice way to keep the plot progressing.
We get another big number!
Now all the dads, hearing about their kids' love, break into More I Cannot Wish You from Guys and Dolls. And let me tell you, Martin, Garber, and Barrowman can bring it. Incredible!
I love how Barry, caught up in the moment, claps when the song is over!
Remember, Barry and Kara are singers in the club and they need an act.
Grady tinkles the ivories, prompting the two to break into the song 'I'm your super friend'.
The lyrics are so much fun. Kara says Barry could travel back in time to help her and he says he shouldn't do that. He says he is more impressed with her than Superman. They break out the top hats and tap shoes.
Iris and Mon-El had heard from the now imprisoned Meister that they can help save their 'friends'.
When the gangster war happens, Kara and Barry are caught in the crossfire and are shot. Both are dying. Iris and Mon-El vibe into the musical world. I thought this shot had to be some homage or riff of the classic Wayne Family murder in Crime Alley.
Both couples exchanges apologies and statements of love. And then a kiss from true love for both couples brings our heroes back to Earth.
Back in the real world, the Meister appears out of his cell. He reminds them that he really was there to teach people a lesson. He sees all. He saw two broken hearts. He wanted to mend them. And then he disappears.
Okay, a little bizarre. Maybe a little Silver Age crazy.
But we just had a musical episode. I can get over it.
There's nothing left but the wrap-up.
Kara and Mon-El return to their Earth. Kara says if Mon lies again she'll drop a mountain on his head. Again, I hope we see more of this reconciliation on the Supergirl show. Kara should need more than a kiss and a nod to get over this.
And Barry heads to Iris' loft and breaks into a song, 'Running home to you', a sweet love song of how life may be tricky and the future unclear but he needs her there. He wants to come home to her.
He pulls out the ring. And Candice Patton, as Iris, shows the shock and love wonderfully. He proposes and she accepts. Now it is for the right reasons.
I loved this episode. Complain about Mon-El all you want. Complain about the dour feel of the Flash this season. But take this madcap music crossover for what it is. Brilliant fun.