Barry and Kara: the Musical!
(Mild spoilers are ahead: you’ve been warned)
Oh, man! Usually, it’s not a good thing when a show goes out of its way to be out of character, but this week’s episode of the Flash proved to be an exemption to that rule. I guess what I’m trying to say is: this is probably the most un-Flash Flash episode in the series’ whole run, and it was surprisingly good.
Alright, alright, we’re not here to blow smoke up the show’s behind, so I’m going to say this right from the start: it wasn’t perfect. But its positive points more than make up for the shortcomings the episode had. So, just to set it aside as quickly as possible, here’s the one flaw from this week’s installment of the Scarlet Speedster/Girl of Steel crossover: Music Meister was a one-note (zing!) villain. And that’s pretty much it. All in all, it was a very entertaining breather from all the speed force and Savitar yarn. Plus, it’s always a joy to have characters from different shows appearing together; that’s what we nerds live for!
Going back to Music Meister, it’s easily forgivable to make him a one-dimensional character. After all, this episode, for all its feel good moments and overall lighthearted fun, is still more a filler than it is a story beat. What I’m trying to say is, don’t expect much of the Music Meister anytime soon although it would be admittedly amusing to see him pop up in other shows (I wonder what kind of movie Ollie Queen will find himself in should they cross paths). So, giving him a heavy back story would be pointless.
Now, you may find the whole “love saves everything” trope to be cheap and pretty much akin to beating a double dead horse at this point, but I’d beg to differ. First of all, it’s the whole point of the episode: it emulates those old romantic musicals of yesteryear. Hell, even La La land was optimistic despite its rather bittersweet ending. So, I wouldn’t say it’s so much of a flaw as it is a way of keeping with the spirit of the genre. Secondly, come on, at this point you’d be some sort of sociopath to yearn for the dark and gritty output coming from popular media, especially superhero fiction; this episode was the answer to that. In the current climate of superhero media, I’d take a Batman v Superman musical any day instead of the one we actually have right now.
But perhaps the highlight of the show is none other than the cast’s song performances throughout the episode. Yes, we all know Grant Gustin (Barry Allen/Flash) and Melissa Benoist (Kara Zor-El/Supergirl) are alums of Glee, so it’s no surprise they brought some top-notch musical numbers. But to me, three actors stole the show: Jeremy Jordan, Jesse L. Martin, and John Barrowman. The performances they brought were nothing if not amazing. To be fair, though, Gustin and Benoist may have been on Glee, but Jordan actually has a degree in musical theater and has performed in Broadway; John Barrowman is a pretty accomplished recording artist; and Jesse L. Martin, well, the guy was in Rent.
In a nutshell, this episode was that shot in the arm we were looking for from this season’s slate of CW programs based on DC properties. In fact, it even gave me hope for this week’s Arrow; that’s how good it was.