BY Merrill Barr
By a large margin, the crossover event, “Invasion,” was the highest rated episode of The Flash since season one. While the season in no way has been underperforming, it’s not out of the realm of possibility to believe “Duet” could match those numbers. If there are any watchers of Supergirl that don’t watch The Flash, hopefully they’ll be tuning in for this. Things are very much in the show’s favor for this episode.
In the world of genre television, it’s only a matter of time before someone asks, “hey, when are you going to do a musical?” Some attribute this trend to the success of Buffy’s attempt at the format, but it’s something that’s severely taken off since the age of Glee. Now, the minds behind The CW’s “Arrowverse” have put some of their characters through the song and dance wringer with a musical episode of The Flashfeaturing some of everyone’s favorite characters.
The biggest requirement for any episode of The Flash is to be entertaining, and it can be easily stated “Duet” meets that criteria. It’s full of laughs and even more “no way” moments that will make audiences cheer. However, the fun doesn’t pull away from the story. The reasons Barry and Supergirl’s Kara are stuck in a musical dreamland is paid off and given narrative purpose to be. It’s no accident these two, of all people, are the ones stuck where they are.
Of course, the big question is, does the show work as a musical. The answer is, not in a traditional sense. The episode is a musical, but it isn’t. As revealed by the trailer, Barry and Kara are aware their surroundings aren’t real. They are trying to figure out how to get out of it. They are told by Music Meister (the episode’s villain) to “stick to the script…” so they do. The episode follows the plot of a musical in a meta-sense that, to dive further into, would lead to some serious spoilers.
None of this addresses the biggest questions fans are going to have: who’s singing and how much of it is there? The answer to the former is, *spoilers.* The answer to the latter is a little more complex. “Duet” is still trying to tell an actual story while also playing the gimmick of being a musical. Because of this, the episode is not wall-to-wall singing and dancing. Is there enough to satiate the desires of fans? Yes. Is this the expected amount of singing and dancing? Probably not.
Ultimately, “Duet” is a fun ride that works to push the narratives of The Flash and Supergirl forward, while also giving fans what they want (something that will always be the trickiest thing to do in the world of genre television). It’s good. It’s what people want out of a Flash/Supergirl crossover musical featuring way too many classically trained actors and some Glee alums. Anyone left unhappy by the end of the episode had way off the mark expectations to begin with.