TV Review: The Flash – Season 3 Episode 17 “Duet”

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

EPISODE 17: "Duet"

SYNOPSIS: Barry and team are surprised when Mon-El and Hank Henshaw arrive on their Earth carrying a comatose Supergirl who was whammied by the Music Meister. Unable to wake her up, they turn to Team Flash to save her. However, the Music Meister surprises The Flash and puts him in a similar coma, one that Team Flash can’t cure. Kara and Barry wake up without their powers in an alternate reality where life is like a musical and the only way to escape is by following the script, complete with singing and dancing, to the end.

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REVIEW: Musicals are not as universally beloved as some other genres but they have a solid history on the small screen with special episodes dedicated to showcasing characters breaking into song. The most famous genre series to have a musical episode is Buffy The Vampire Slayer whose episode is widely considered one of the best of all time. After the run of Glee, musical episodes have not been as common as the used to be, but this crossover between The Flash and Supergirl is one of the best hours The CW has ever put to screen. Bringing Glee veteran Darren Criss as the Music Meister to this reunion with former costars Grant Gustin and Melissa Benoist along with stage veterans John Barrowman (Malcolm Merlyn from Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow), Victor Garber (Dr. Stein from Legends of Tomorrow), Jeremy Jordan (Supergirl), Jesse Martin and Carlos Valdes (The Flash) who all have experience on Broadway gives this episode an air of talent that some musical episodes do not garner with actors unaccustomed to the singing on screen.

The episode comes on the heels of last night's episode of Supergirl where Kara breaks up with Mon-El after learning he lied about his true identity as Prince of his home planet and last week on The Flash, Barry and Iris took a break from their relationship. In the closing moments of Supergirl, the Music Meister whammied Kara which forced Mon-El and J'onn J'onzz to bring the comatose Supergirl to Earth-1 where they tracked the villain. Quickly, Barry is dropped into the same dream world as Supergirl where they learn the rules of the game. According to the Music Meister, the pair need to play out the plot of the movie musical in order to escape. Actually inside their own minds, the world they are in was created due to both heroes having had a childhood love of musicals with their parents. In this world, they have no superpowers and are warned if they die in the dream they will die in reality. The Music Meister leaves to wreak havoc in Central City as he has taken the powers of The Flash and Supergirl but is very easily apprehended by Wally West and imprisoned in STAR Labs.

The plot of the musical ends up being fairly straight forward as characters from Kara and Barry's real lives appear as characters. The heroes are singers in a nightclub owned by the gangster Cutter Moran who looks like Malcolm Merlyn. A gangster who looks like Joe West kidnaps the heroes and demands they find his daughter who looks exactly like Iris. They easily find Iris' doppelganger who is in love with Tommy Moran who just so happens to look like Mon-El. Yeah, the plot is fairly generic and recycled from the typical movie musical formula but it provides a perfect story for Barry and Kara to focus on their broken hearts. They decide to help the story by having the star-crossed lovers reveal their feelings to their fathers who seemingly accept the news but quickly turn on each other and declare a gangland war on one another. Of course this follows a song number from Martin, Garber, and Barrowman, all acclaimed Broadway performers.

Before we can get to the big shootout, we need our stars to sing a song, right? In one of the sole original songs from the episode, Supergirl and The Flash sing a ridiculously fun song called "Super Friends" that is full of puns about their alter egos and also harkens back to the most traditional musicals of the 1950s. Gustin is one of the weakest vocalists in the episode but he offers so much heart that it can easily be overlooked. Once the shootout commences, Barry and Kara quickly jump into the crossfire and both catch a bullet which leaves them convulsing at death's door in the real world. On a mysterious clue given by the Music Meister, Mon-El and Iris have Cisco vibe them into the alternate world (because apparently there are no rules or guidelines that restrict what Cisco's meta-ability can actually do). They find their respective lovers on the ground, bleeding, and quickly profess their love and kiss which returns them to the real world.

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Back and safe, the Music Meister appears and reveals that he was never really a villain at all. Treated much like The Watcher from Marvel Comics, the Meister witnessed the sadness of Kara and Barry and decided to set up this elaborate dream to teach them a lesson about the power of love. He then disappears into thin air and our heroes share the song and dances they saw while in their comas. Mon-El and Kara reconcile and return to their world along with J'onn but things are a bit more complicated for Barry and Iris. Not instantly back together, Barry returns to their apartment where he breaks into a sincere song for her and proposes marriage yet again, now truly in a mindset to tell her that he wants to be with her forever.

My biggest complaint about this episode is that there were not enough songs! For a musical episode, this hour only has five songs and doesn't even give Grant Gustin or Darren Criss a decent amount of singing. While this is more of an alternate reality episode like last season's "The Runaway Dinosaur" or "Welcome To Earth-2", this episode manages to progress some of the relationship drama on both series. Even if it is a standalone that doesn't address the big Savitar plot, this was a welcome aside into the bright and cheery world of The Flash that we have not really seen since the first season. There is a smile on everyone's face in this hour and there is a powerful sense of humor that made me truly enjoy watching The Flash for the first time in a long while. I loved this episode but I recognize how divisive it will be for those who are not big musical fans. As a standalone episode, this ranks as one of the all-time best of The Flash.


NEXT ON THE FLASH: "Abra Kadabra" airs March 28th – The Flash battles Abra Kadabra, a villain from Earth-19, who makes him a tempting offer – release him and Abra Kadabra will reveal Savitar’s true identity. Desperate to save Iris, Barry considers taking the deal but Gypsy breaches in to capture the villain for her own reasons and during the melee, Abra Kadabra manages to escape. Barry is furious that Gypsy interfered but Gypsy refuses to back down, forcing Cisco to take sides. Meanwhile, Julian is still a bit cold towards Caitlin but when she is severely injured in a battle with Gypsy, he rushes to her side.


About the Author

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Alex Maidy has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. A Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic and a member of Chicago Indie Critics, Alex has been's primary TV critic and ran columns including Top Ten and The UnPopular Opinion. When not riling up fans with his hot takes, Alex is an avid reader and aspiring novelist.