What a wonderful life it must be to write oneself into a corner, and get yourself out of that corner by creating a crossover event with no other purpose than getting out of that corner.
That’s not a criticism; it’s just hilarious. I haven’t seen Supergirl or this season of The Flash, but you don’t need backstory to get it. There’s an alien and he likes to make people dream really strange dreams, and our heroes get stuck. Watch it here, at CW TV.
Barry/Flash (Grant Gustin) is broken-hearted. Kara/Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) is broken-hearted. Their respective love interests, Iris (Candice Patton) and Man-El (Chris Wood) are -you guessed it!- broken-hearted. Broken hearts all around! For plot reasons, that I don’t know and don’t really matter.
So when the mysterious alien (Darren Criss) shows up and sends them off to dreamland, Kara and Barry both dream up a musical (because broken hearts like musicals? I dunno). There we learn that dang, Melissa Benoist can sing! She does it beautifully, to my untrained ears.
Oh, and Barry and Kara have to “follow the script” to get out. If they die in-dream, they die. That’s pretty standard TV/movie fare, based off the old superstitions about dying in dreams.
We meet the other musically inclined castmembers, including John Barrowman!(from Arrow) Was I ever delighted to see him! He plays movie-Man-El’s shank-happy dad, while Iris-as-Millie has a father both in Joe (Jesse L. Martin) and Dr. Stein (Victor Garber). The presence of two dads led to Barry’s quip “I like musicals” which fell pretty flat, really, but it was nice to see some not-straightness.
Fake Man-El and fake Iris are West Side Story-ing it, and Kara and Barry respectively work out their hard feelings by monologue-ing it. Kara talks about how fake Man-El didn’t tell his father because he knew what the reaction would be (Kara’s upset that Man-El lied to her) and Barry waxes poetic on how love is supposed to be about being together.
Then Kara and Barry duet! Grant Gustin, if you didn’t watch Glee or season 1, is also an excellent singer. They sing a song called “Superfriends” which of course, fits because they’re superheroes! And friends! Get it? Said musical number also leads another Barry quip (not verbatim!):
“For instance, I’m not all that impressed by your more famous cousin.”
A reference to Superman, of course, and honestly adorable. Barry and Kara (like Arrow‘s Felicity Smoak) are ridiculously cute together. They have good chemistry and their relationship writing is great.
And then they get shot.
Meanwhile, real Iris and Man-El confront the Musical Maestro, as they call him, and find out they can save Barry and Kara if they “love them enough.” So when Barry and Kara start seizing (die in dream, die irl remember?) Iris thinks fast and gets Cisco (Carlos Valdes) to vibe she and Man-El to the dreamscape.
Remember how I said Kara and Barry had to play out the script? Well, what other way is there to end a musical than with a kiss?
They all return to the real world, mostly reconciled, and they find out that Maestro is a god (well, that’s not explicit, but it’s certainly implied!). A god who saw “two people, and two broken hearts” and decided to intervene. Talk about deus ex machina! Then he fizzles away.
Barry follows Iris to their home and sweetly sings to her, in an adorable scene that made me feel things, and re-proposes to her. And so, the writers of The Flash and Supergirl provided us with both a musical episode and an easy way to reconcile their lovers. I’m jealous, honestly. If I tried that my professors would tell me it was too easy.