Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Flash - Duet

"Duet" made me angry. Not because the musical episode failed to impress. No, the episode infuriated me because this is what I want from both Supergirl and The Flash and somehow you just know the writers of both shows will ignore all that works here as each show gets stuck back in the grim and grittiness of its current storylines. "Duet" is what I want both shows to be: bright, fun, energetic, and hopeful. This shouldn't be a standout. This should be the bar both shows attempt to reach every single week. This year Supergirl has been more successful than The Flash in the regard, but both have struggled juggling darker themes and unnecessarily convoluted relationship drama getting in the way of the fun. I'm not saying never get serious, but embrace more zany hopeful storylines so that when you do need to take a serious moment it will have all the more impact (as opposed to episodes of moping or acting like a dick for weeks at a time to those who love and rely on you).

And it isn't hard to have fun with these characters. Seriously, you could team Barry (Grant Gustin) and Kara (Melissa Benoist) up every week and I'd be happy. The pair are adorable together. Throw them into a dream reality where they are forced to sing and dance their way back to the real world and that's just a a cherry on top. For me the episode's standout was the ridiculously-improvised "Super-Friends" duet between the pair (which including Kara rolling her eyes at Barry's obvious Flash-pun). But that's just one of many moments the episode had including a pair of terrific numbers featuing multiple cast members of The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow. Even small moments, such as character reactions (Kara seeing Barry during her opening song, Barry watching Joe sing, and Iris being serenaded), are all terrific.

While the Music Meister (Darren Criss) himself may have lacked the off-the-wall nature of the original incarnation, and was a bit too similar to the mischievous Mr. Mxyzptlk, I enjoyed the character and the late twist explaining his motives. Yes, you can fault both shows by dragging us through relationship drama in recent weeks to lead into the episode, but there's certainly a strong payoff. Although the Savitar storyline looks to resume next week, I am glad to see the first appearance of another classic Flash villain in the futuristic magician Abra Kadabra. Both Supergirl and The Flash work best when highlighting the joy of these characters, while often struggle through emotional turmoil. Give me more imps, dimension-hopping musical creatures, talking gorillas, and magicians. And please, continue to embrace the whimsy and hope of what makes these super-heroes work best.

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