“I should mention if you die in here, you die out there,” says Music Meister (Darren Criss) to Kara (Melissa Benoist) and Barry (Grant Gustin) who are now trapped in a movie musical dream in The CW’s The Flash season three episode 17 crossover with Supergirl.
The second half of a two-part crossover begins with a flashback to Barry as a young boy. Barry and his mother are watching Singing in the Rain in an effort to cheer him up. It works, and Barry’s been a fan of musicals ever since, turning to them whenever he’s feeling down. Fast-forward to present day and Barry’s watching Singing in the Rain in Cisco’s apartment. Cisco (Carlos Valdes) tries to convince his friend to get off the couch and for them to go out. He knows Barry’s upset over his break-up with Iris (Candice Patton), but Barry isn’t in the mood to go out. Their conversation is interrupted by H.R. (Tom Cavanagh) texting them.
Barry and Cisco arrive at S.T.A.R. Labs to see an unconscious Kara being carried through a breach by Mon-El (Chris Wood) followed by J’onn (David Harewood). They put Kara in the medical bay and tell Team Flash about an alien they caught who escaped after putting some kind of whammy on Kara. Barry asks why they brought her to him and J’onn tells him the alien named Music Meister said he was coming after the fastest man alive next.
Team Flash starts to look for Music Meister when Cisco notices he’s already in S.T.A.R. Labs, spotting him on one of their monitors. Barry races to confront Music Meister and he welcomes Barry, informing him he’s there to teach them all a lesson. Kid Flash (Keiynan Lonsdale) arrives to back Barry up – after a quick pep talk from H.R. – and ends up getting punched across the room by Music Meister. Barry tries to take on Music Meister but is stopped, with Music Meister saying, “Too slow, Flash!” Music Meister whammies Barry too, putting him to sleep just like Kara.
Barry wakes up in what looks like a 1950s jazz club where he sees Kara up on stage singing “Moon River” for the customers. Confused but happy to see his friend, Barry smiles and listens to her sing. Near the end of the song, she sees him and smiles. Afterward, Barry and Kara meet up backstage and start comparing notes trying to figure out where they are and what’s going on. They realize they both were whammied by Music Meister, but still don’t know exactly where they are.
To make things even stranger, they start to see people they know from the real world in this dream world but as different people. Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) is now Cutter, the mobster who owns the night club and makes it clear to his two singers (Barry also apparently works at the jazz club) he expects some new material from them or else. They spot Winn (Jeremy Jordan) who in this world is Grady, the pianist they work with. Cisco is a waiter named Pablo who dreams of being a star. Kara and Barry notice it’s like her favorite film, The Wizard of Oz. They also notice they don’t have their powers which puts them at a big disadvantage.
Music Meister shows up and applauds Kara’s rendition of “Moon River.” “A little flat at points but I’ll forgive it because you’re so darn cute,” says the happy-go-lucky Music Meister. Barry and Kara demand to know where they are and what he’s done with them, and Music Meister reveals they’re in a movie musical of their own creation and the only way out is to follow the script of the story. But if they die in the dream, they die in real life. (Nice nod to the films Dreamscape, Inception, and The Matrix.) Before he leaves to cause havoc on Central City, Music Meister tries to get them in the mood by performing the musical number “Put a Little Love in Your Heart,” with Grady, Cutter, and Pablo joining in. After the number’s over, Kara and Barry are ready to head out to look for Music Meister who’s once again disappeared. Unfortunately, the search is cut short when Barry Barry is knocked out by Professor Stein (Victor Garber).
When he comes to, Barry asks Kara where they are and she has no clue. They quietly talk about Mon-El, with Barry saying he seems to really care about her but Kara tells Barry Mon-El lied to her about who he is for months. Barry confesses that he and Iris have also hit a snag but before they can comfort each other, Stein tells them to be quiet and listen. Both Stein and Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) are mobsters in this dream world, with Joe (now known as Digsby) thinking he runs the city. (Not since Guys and Dolls has a musical had so many mobsters!) Digsby wants Barry and Kara to find their daughter, Millie (aka Iris), who’s gone missing. (Dr. Stein and Joe West are a couple in this world.) Not wanting to get hurt – or worse – they agree.
They reach out to Pablo who knows a little something about everyone in town. He leads them to an apartment and wishes them luck. Barry and Kara think they hear Millie yelling and kick in the door to find to their surprise and displeasure Millie and Cutter’s son, Tommy (aka Mon-El), wrapped in each other’s arms, making out.
Back in the real world, Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) has discovered that the Music Meister has stolen both Kara’s and Barry’s powers. Not long after that, Team Flash gets an alert of a break-in at a bank. Cisco and Wally are about to head out when J’onn tells them he’s also going to help out. Cisco and Wally tell him no thanks, but then J’onn reveals himself to be Martian Manhunter. He’s definitely invited along. Caitlin’s startled to see J’onn’s alien form when she arrives to tell Cisco and Wally that Barry and Kara are getting worse. They head out to tag team Music Meister and it works, with both Kid Flash and Martian Manhunter both knocking him out.
Back in the musical dream world, Millie and Tommy have been keeping their love a secret because their fathers are rival mobsters. It’s a forbidden love. “Like West Side Story,” says Barry to Kara. Hoping to complete the plot, Kara and Barry convince Millie and Tommy to come clean to their fathers.
Barry accompanies Millie to see her fathers and Kara goes with Tommy to see Cutter. The two young lovers admit what has been really going on with encouragement from Kara and Barry. In backing them up, Barry realizes all he really wants is to be with Iris no matter what dark future awaits them. Kara realizes she needs to forgive Mon-El for lying to her if she wants to be with him. The fathers sing “More I Cannot Wish You” from Guys and Dolls to their kids to tell them they’re happy they’ve found love. However, as soon as the song is over, Tommy and Millie are out of earshot when both Digsby and Cutter tell their right-hand men they’re going to war.
Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Music Meister is in a cell in the pipeline and Iris and Mon-El try to get him to tell them how to get Barry and Kara out of their dream world. He smiles and asks just how much they love Barry and Kara because it’s up to them to get them out. He finishes by telling them to let love lead the way.
Back in the movie musical world, Barry and Kara are wondering when it will end so they can go home. They decide if they go through with the new original musical number Cutter demanded, it might work to get them home. They team up with Grady and come up with a new song called “Super Friend” which they not only rehearse but perform on stage. Their applause is cut short when they hear gunfire outside the club. Still behaving like heroes even though they don’t have their powers, Barry and Kara run outside to see Cutter and Digsby in a gun fight with their mobsters. Barry and Kara try to get them to stop but are caught in the crossfire and are shot. Lying on the street bleeding to death, Barry and Kara call out to each other.
In S.T.A.R. Labs, Caitlin tells everyone she’s losing Barry and Kara, and Iris tells Cisco to vibe her and Mon-El into the dream. Cisco isn’t sure he can but she reminds him he vibed her into the speed force so she’s sure he can do it. Sure enough she’s right and she and Mon-El run to Barry and Kara. Not knowing how to get them out of the dream, Mon-El tells Kara he’s sorry he lied to her and he’ll get her out. She says she forgives him, but there’s no time left as she passes out. Barry looks at Iris and tells her he loves her as he starts to slip away, and a crying and pleading Iris kisses him. In a glow of bright light, Iris and Barry vanish and appear together back in S.T.A.R. Labs with Barry waking up. Mon-El kisses Kara and ditto.
The Music Meister also appears in the room, applauding them and saying he knew they could do it. He reveals that he’s been watching them for a while. Turns out he loves “the good guys” and wanted to teach them a lesson – that love is about letting yourself be saved. Cisco wants to know how he got out of the pipeline and H.R. asks if he’s from another dimension or multiverse to which Meister tells them they would not be able to comprehend where he’s from. With that, he promptly vanishes, must likely off to teach someone else a lesson.
Joe gets brought up to speed about the whole dream movie musical and finds it amusing. He’s surprised to hear Barry has a very good singing voice, according to Kara. Caitlin enthusiastically agrees, saying she’s heard it. (Back in season one Barry and Caitlin dueted on “Summer Lovin.”)
In the final scene, Iris gets to hear for herself how good a singer Barry is when he plays an instrumental version of the song “Runnin’ Home to You” and sings it to Iris as he once again pulls out his mother’s ring and proposes…but this time out of pure love. Iris says yes.
The Flash Season 3 Episode 17 Review:
Bright, upbeat, and a little campy at times, episode 17 titled “Duet” drastically steers the show away from this season’s tone and dark foreshadowing but fails to move forward or add anything to the main plotlines of the season. The stand-out performance goes to guest star Darren Criss as the Music Meister. Criss brought such energy and zest to the role of an interloper who it turns out is trying to actually help the heroes with their personal lives. Criss stole every scene he was in and added some much needed pizzazz to the show. Here’s hoping he returns next season.
The production number “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” was extremely impressive and gave Valdes, Criss, Jordan, and Barrowman a chance to show off their musical talents. It also serves as the major set up and main message of the episode. The final scene allowed Gustin the opportunity to show just how talented a singer he is, performing “Runnin’ Home to You” as he declares his undying love for Iris and once again asks her to marry him. (Although sweet and moving, it did feel out of place happening outside the dream world).
One production number which was too campy and painful to sit through was the “Super Friend” which made the 1960s television series Batman look like a serious drama! It’s too bad it didn’t end up on the blooper reel where it belongs.
With the musical crossover episode now done and Barry and Iris back together, it’s time for Team Flash to come up with a plan on how to stop Savitar once and for all. But first they need to find how just who he is…
A little background on the musical crossover’s participants:
– Grant Gustin played Sebastian Smythe, a member of the Warblers, in seven episodes of Glee. Gustin also played Baby John in the Broadway Revival Tour of West Side Story.
– Melissa Benoist played Marley Rose on two seasons of Glee.
– John Barrowman has appeared onstage in Anything Goes, Miss Saigon, The Phantom of the Opera, Sunset Boulevard, and Matador. He released three albums Another Side (2007), Music Music Music (2008), and John Barrowman (2010).
– Jesse L. Martin originated the role of Tom Collins in Rent.
– Jeremy Jordan played Jack Kelly in the musical Newsies and was Clyde Barrow in the musical, Bonnie & Clyde. He was also part of the Broadway cast of Rock of Ages. Jordan was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album as part of the Newsies cast.
– Victor Garber starred as Jesus in Godspell and he was part of the folk group, The Sugar Shoppe. Garber’s been nominated for four Tony Awards and starred in Noises Off, Sweeney Todd, and Damn Yankees on stage.