Flash: Duet

duet

The Music Meister explains the rules to our heroes

Flash and Supergirl team up again, although in a unique way this time out. It’s the much-hyped musical episode as the Fastest Man Alive, the Girl of Steel, and various guests get ready for, “Duet.” The antagonist this time around is the Music Meister, whose only other appearance wasn’t in the comics at all, but in an episode of the Batman: Brave and the Bold cartoon. There have been characters who have gone from cartoons to comics before (Harley Quinn, Firestar for example), but this is the first time I can think of one going from a cartoon to live action.

The episode starts with a flashback to eighteen years ago, when Barry and his mother are watching Singing In The Rain together. Over the years, this has become something Barry does to make himself feel better, like, say, after breaking up with the woman he loves for no good reason. Cisco, good friend and roommate that he is, tries to cheer him up, but it doesn’t work. The only reason Barry manages to get off the couch is that they get an alert from HR.

The team assembles at STAR (except Julian, for whatever reason), and just as HR warns them something is coming through the new breech that’s opened, Hank comes through, along with Mon-El, who is carrying the out cold Supergirl. This scene goes a lot smoother than it should, really. The team in general has only met Supergirl, and Barry has met Hank. None of them have met Mon, which makes me wonder why on one worries about whether or not he’s friendly.

As the heroes compare notes, the Music Meister himself pops up down in the Speed Lab, waving to the camera. Barry races off to deal with him. After a brief pep-talk from HR, Wally suits up and joins him. The Music Meister knows a lot about both heroes, and bests them effortlessly, apparently draining off some of Barry’s speed in the process. After the odd claim that he wants to teach them a lesson, Music Meister puts the same weird mental whammy on Barry he did on Kara.

Barry wakes up in a nightclub, very confused. Amusingly, the suit and bowtie he’s wearing call to mind the usual civilian clothes of the early Barry Allen in the comics. Kara is on stage, singing “Moon River” and looking very confused. She waves when she sees Barry and gives a sort of “I don’t know” gesture. After her number, they meet up and talk. They are in mutual bafflement about what’s going on, and things start getting even more confusing quickly. They meet dopplegangers of Malcolm Merlyn, Winn, and Cisco, who are gangster Cutter Moran, piano player Grady, and waiter Pablo respectively. The Music Meister shows up to tell them they need to stick with the script of the musical they are now in, taunts them, remains annoyingly untouchable, and disappears. After a probably inevitable joke about clicking their heels together, the two heroes decide the best way to go is figure out the story and go with it, which is when they get kidnapped by a version of Professor Stein from Legends of Tomorrow.

Held captive in a warehouse, and very aware they have no powers, the pair compare notes about the disastrous states of their respective love lives, talking about Mon-El’s lies and the mess with Iris and the future. They find out that they are held prisoner by Dixie Foster (Joe West) who wants their help to find his missing daughter, who naturally turns out to be Iris. Bemused, but convinced it’s a plot point for the story, Barry and Kara agree to look for her. With help from Cisco/Pablo, they find Millie/Iris easily enough. She’s quite happy, hidden away with her lover, Tommy (Mon-El). Just to get in all the drama flakes we can, Tommy is Cutter’s son, setting up a nice little Romeo and Juliette vibe.

In the real world, Kara and Barry are out cold, and Caitlin reports they are losing Speed Force energy and solar radiation, respectively. Music Meister is draining them. Me, I would have thought that if Kara needed more solar energy, maybe keeping her in a basement wasn’t a good idea, but what do I know? The Music Meister zips around Central City using Barry’s speed, and then blasts a building with heat vision. The team to oppose him ends up being Cisco, Kid Flash, and Hank after he shifts to J’Onn, which surprises everyone. This group of heroes does much better than the last one, and smack down Music Meister easily, with some really nice teamwork.

Back in music world, Barry and Kara find it laughably easy to convince Millie and Tommy to go to their parents and confess their love. Kara comments that it’s really easy to convince people in musicals, which is true as a rule. Both children go back and talk to their respective parents. In an amusing twist, Stein and Joe are a couple in this world, co-parenting Iris/Millie. After a musical number, the various parents say everything’s fine, and then prepare their men for war. During the child/parent discussions, both Barry and Kara get metaphorically hit over the head by analogies to their own romantic situations.

Back at STAR, Iris and Mon go down to the Pipeline to visit the prisoner. He seems to be enjoying his captivity, and drops some vague hints on how to save the comatose heroes. Back in music world, Kara and Barry muse that seeing their respective significant others with someone else was hard on them, and then end up in an original musical number. It’s an entertaining piece, with a tap number for both, and jokes about Superman being overrated and Barry not being supposed to use time travel anymore to fix things. Just when they think everything is ok, gunfire erupts on the street. Barry and Kara rush outside and each manages to get shot, falling to the pavement. Mon and Iris convince Cisco to use his Vibe power to get them into the musical, and they kiss everything better. It’s a very Disney ending.

Everyone wakes up, and the Music Meister strolls in, happy they all realized their feelings for each other. Cisco is annoyed the prisoner got out of the Pipeline so easily. Then again, none of the rest of STAR’s security seems to ever work worth anything. The Music Meister is happy everyone learned their lessons, and goes off to teach someone else. When asked where he’s from, he says in passing they wouldn’t understand. I vaguely wonder if that’s a reference to his cartoon origins. The lovers all patch things up, after a unique threat from Supergirl to Mon if he ever lies again. Most of the cast is amused by hearing about the musical. The Supergirl cast go back to their world. Barry and Iris patch things up after another musical number.

What I liked: It was an entertaining change of pace. I admit I may be biased, since I’ve always been a theater geek. All those involved sing and dance really well, but considering how many of them were on a music based show a few years ago, that’s not stunning. I loved the J’Onn/Vibe/Kid Flash smackdown of Music Meister.

What I didn’t: At the risk of being picky, the people that got involved in this didn’t make a lot of sense. Neither Flash nor Supergirl have strong ties to Malcolm Merlyn or Martin Stein. Ciscco/Pablo’s “plot” for the musical got mentioned once and never touched on again. I’m not sure why Mon-El was relegated to observer in the fight with Music Meister.

Most of those are me being picky, I’ll grant. It was a fun little number and a welcome break from Savitar and DOOM! I’ll give this one a 4 out of 5.

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