The Flash – Season III – Ep. 17 “Duet”: A Review

Posted: 03/23/2017 in Uncategorized

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I am not a fan of musicals. I never have been. With a few notable exceptions, “Phantom of the Opera” and “Jesus Christ, Superstar”, I tend to avoid them like the plague. As such, I find it difficult to review “Duet” citing my preferences/bias. This being said, I will try to be objective. I do not question there is unabashed talent, especially vocally, on the Flash. With various cast members having strong Broadway backgrounds and “Glee” alumni, a musical segment was inevitable. From a plot perspective, however, this was not a strong episode.  I now press on with my review.

Ok, I will start with the good. The end sequence attack by an alien criminal, later named ‘the Music Meister’ (Darren Criss) by the Flash, against Supergirl/Kara Zor-El (Melissa Benoist) seamlessly allows for an intersection of plots and characters. As Meister ‘whammies’ Supergirl, on her show, he advises the DEO crew he is now seeking the “Fastest Man Alive” which brings the SG team to Earth 1 and Team Flash at Star Labs.  That a character as powerful as Supergirl is comatose after an encounter with this guy should elicit a sense of restraint and guile from the more experienced Flash before engaging an unknown enemy in battle. Barry (Grant Gustin) along with a still shaken Kid Flash/Wally West (Kieynan Lonsdale) instead get gamely spanked and the Fastest Man Alive is whammied into the same reality currently occupied by Supergirl.

The opening segment in which a young Barry Allen watches “Singing in the Rain” segues into him watching it as an adult at Cisco’s (Carlos Valdes) as he ponders his split with Iris (Candice Patton). This moment frames the episode, mirroring a similar segment on this week’s Supergirl in which she too professed a love of musicals. So far I am okay with this. Queue a quick switch to Kara singing a solid version of the classic “Moon River” in a ‘noirish; 30s style club. “The Wizard Of Oz” is gamely referenced as various characters from both heroes’ lives appear in said club as completely different people. The “Meister” then appears to give them direction as to how to escape this reality, with a stylish musical number, namely “Put A Little Love in Your Heart”.  Again, I can appreciate the talent and choreography of said moment but does it have a place in such genre shows where the danger of falling into camp and cheese is so present….? I will however give due admiration to Jeremy Jordan who plays Win Shott on Supergirl as his voice and delivery were fantastic.

The coming together of Martian Manhunter/J’On J’Onzz (David Harewood) with Vibe (Valdes) and Kid Flash did deliver some cool visuals and a great battle sequence as the trio take on the “Meister” as he attempts to rob a bank with the powers he has stolen from Barry and Kara. I did like the exceedingly good visual of Meister’s eyes ‘morphing’ as he knocks both superheroes into another reality. It was simple and elegant, and a little bit freaky. The fight scenes, including the strong teamwork effort led by Vibe and resurgence of KF’s confidence played well.

The musical aspect however just didn’t work for me. I have read many review which lauded the episode as ‘series saving’ and outstanding. I will agree that this run did present something quite different but seeing the show’s protagonists do an elaborate tap dance number, coupled with a song titled “Superfriends” bordered on puerile in my estimation. I don’t doubt that all involved had a great time as the energy they projected illustrated such. For the standard superhero genre program viewer however, this ep did not reinvent nor did it save anything, it offered a filler episode that was an easy fix to existing issues between various characters.

If I am to be fair, however, I must acknowledge appreciation for performance, range and delivery of a “Guys and Dolls” number “More I Cannot Wish You” by Jesse L. Martin, Victor Garber and John Barrowman, respectively, Joe West, Martin Stein and Malcolm Merlyn through various series. The script denouement along with the intercession of Iris and Mon-El (Chris Wood) was somewhat feeble. The later schmaltzy moment between Iris and Barry was, however, earnestly delivered.

Meister (worst name ever incidentally) being more of a deity than villain kind of sat poorly with me and had a strong hint of brie…or maybe gouda. Overall, “Duet” didn’t damage anything, more likely than not made the cast happy and won’t detract from the battles to come. Season III is still solid but whether or not this episode was worth your time is up to your particular taste.

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