clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Flash season 3 episode 17 recap: sing a little song

New, 9 comments

The musical episode gets to the heart of The Flash

The CW

Well, here we are. We’ve finally reached the big musical crossover episode with Supergirl. Even the show itself has seemed impatient in waiting for this moment to come — and why wouldn't it? Superheroes are money machines and so are musicals. Throwing a bunch of Glee alums into a primetime event couldn't possibly backfire. Unless, you know, it did.

Which it almost did.

The last episode of Supergirl ended with her getting kidnapped across worlds by a new villain who intended to use her to capture “The Fastest Bad Boyfriend Alive.” On Earth 1, a comatose Supergirl shows up and Team Flash moves to help.

One of the highlights from the episode is watching Darren Criss spring to life as Music Meister — a super villain whose only other appearance is in an animated role starring Neil Patrick Harris in Brave and the Bold. Since Criss has also replaced Harris in Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway, it makes sense he would step in for Harris, too. And boy does he bring his flamboyant A-game to do some real classy work here.

Music Meister puts our two leads into a shared dream state where they must keep a weird musical, populated by their friends and fears, moving forward by sticking to a script that they cannot read. With the threat that dying in the dream will cause them to die in real life, Criss disappears and allows this “West Side Feverdream” to play out in real time.

Thanks to classic covers, there's a stage set for delight, and that’s hammered home by the exceptionally talented Broadway pairing of actors Jesse L. Martin (Joe West, The Flash), Victor Garber (Martin Stein, Legends of Tomorrow) and John Barrowman (Malcolm Merlin, Arrow). Unfortunately, the show seemed ill-equipped to show off their talents without succumbing to some terrible dubbing.

Guys, it's Victor Garber. He’s a Broadway legend. Take a little extra time and let him actually sing the role.

The plot shifts as our two heroes stumble upon their two exes in flagrante delicto and realize they'll need to help this forbidden love bloom in order to escape the fairy-tale prison. Convinced that love will save the day, we start to lose the main thrust of the plot just as the entire episode peaks with the original song "Super Friend," which is positively and without a doubt one of the best things Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's Rachel Bloom has ever produced.

The old-timey soft shoe work is left behind as this becomes a full blown gangster shoot 'em up caper, leading to some untimely death and destruction.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, Music Meister has stolen both superheroes' powers to rob a bank, requiring Martian Manhunter and Vibe to team up so they can bring him in. He's trapped at Flash HQ, until he isn't. Those pan-dimensional beings can be a real nightmare.

Flash and Supergirl awake with a renewed dedication to their loved ones and Music Meister takes credit for their improved love lives before fading into a different universe. Barry delivers an original love song called "Runnin' Home To You" that tore my heart into ribbons. You've done it, Flash. You've finally done it. I wasn't ready and you blindsided me and now I have cried during an episode of The Flash and there's no coming back.

Damn you. Damn your eyes.

In the end, there was so much spectacle to behold that it is difficult to unpack it all. A straightforward plot allowed for some straightforward character momentum focusing on our leads without getting lost in every other sidekick B-story. Is the message about requiring extra-dimensional villains to fix you a good story? Meh. But there was so much heart, from start to finish, and heart is overwhelmingly all that this show wants to project. So when you get something exactly on message, who am I to argue?

This was a delight. And also, fearfully, I realize we have to return to this Savitar storyline next week, and I just don't want it anymore. This was a perfect episode for two different TV shows, and I want to re-watch it again as soon as I'm done writing this. Congrats to everyone involved and please consider that a little magic goes a long way for all of us. Come back soon.