If you have even a passing interest in musical theater, you may have noticed that Arrow and Flash – or “the DCW,” as I’m trying to get the world to collectively call that universe – has a heck of a lot of singers in their casts. Like Broadway legend Jesse L. Martin. Or Glee’s Grant Gustin. Or Barrowman’s…being Barrowman.
But did you know that Colton Haynes and Carlos Valdes can also sing? Or that Wentworth Miller was in the Princeton Tigertones and Caity Lotz was in a terrible girl group? Or that Colin Donnell (MISS U, TOMMY) played Billy Crocker in Anything Goes just like his TV dad (and also I saw him from the first row and he was GREAT)? [Bonus, must-watch clip.] Or that the Arrow cast does this when they get bored?
Clearly, the only proper response to this is a TWO HOUR MUSICAL EVENT. Especially with the upcoming appearance of the Pied Piper (also a singer). Since Berlanti & Co. are falling down on the job – I will never forgive them for failing to give us a Merlyn Family rendition of Aida’s “Like Father, Like Son” before offing Tommy – it looks like I’m going to have to show them the way.
We open with red velvet curtains parting on a shot of Central City, because go big or go home, I say. It’s Karaoke Night at C. C. Jitters, and Barry is watching awkwardly while Eddie completely butchers “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls, because if Geoff Johns can load up every episode with Rogue-themed puns I can make stupid music-themed jokes. (AND I WILL.)
Iris, who is delighted by her terrible serenade, is urging Barry to sing and he’s aw-shucksing it off when he gets a call from Team Flash over at S.T.A.R. Labs. Someone is breaking into the Central City Museum! The Bovine McFeely exhibit is in danger!
Barry Flashes over to find…THE MUSIC MEISTER, played by Neil Patrick Harris reprising his role from Batman: The Brave and the Bold because if your universe has a good excuse to use a singing Neil Patrick Harris, you use a singing Neil Patrick Harris. He’s stealing a Stradivarius because what else would he steal? Barry tries to stop him, but the Music Meister breaks into “Smooth Criminal” and jumps out the window while Barry is busy dancing and singing backup, compelled by the Music Meister’s powers.
Feeling like a failure, Barry trudges back to Jitters and looks sadly inside at Iris (“Iris Reprise”), then walks off into the night. Cue “The Ballad of Barry Allen,” only the best song ever written about comics.
Meanwhile, the Music Meister makes tracks for Starling City, where he attempts to steal an antique Steinway from the abandoned Merlyn Manor. Malcolm shows up to stop him, of course, but senses a kindred spirit. Over the course of an extremely hammy rendition of “You’ve Got What I Need” from It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s Superman (yeah, we’re getting some deep cuts up in here), they decide to team up.
Thea, of course, wants no part of this because the Superman musical is terrible, so she takes off to be moody on rooftops. Naturally she runs into Roy because “being moody on rooftops” is the second most popular leisure activity in Starling City, after “dying in a cataclysmic season finale event.” A brief skirmish leads to a rockin’ duet (“You Give Love a Bad Name” [“SHOT THROUGH THE HEART! AND YOU’RE TO BLAME!” get it?]), then Thea jumplines away.
Back in Central City, Barry returns to S.T.A.R. Labs to find Cisco singing “What a Feeling” (get it??). At first he thinks the Music Meister has gotten to Cisco too, but no, Cisco just likes singing. Barry shares what happened with the Music Meister. Wells smiles inscrutably in the background. Ah, yes. It’s all going according to plan.
Quick cut back to Central for a quick Joe scene. Barry’s bummed that he didn’t catch the MM. Joe reassures him that he believes in him. Flashback to Joe, Little Barry, and Little Iris (“You Two”). Aw, family.
That night in Starling, Thea is still conflicted (“Tommy, Can You Hear Me?”), which transitions to Ollie, brooding at Big Belly Burger. In comes Laurel, with “I Think I Love You” playing in the background (get it???? NOT her cover of it, though). They reminisce about Tommy and Sarah and we get a flashback of the four of them, all bedecked in the show’s trademark terrible flashback wigs, partying at a nightclub. Tommy and Sarah dance on the bar and sing “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” until they all get kicked out. IT’S VERY MOVING.
As Ollie and Laurel wipe a couple tears away, the TV changes over to the Music Meister and Malcolm Merlyn. They control the horizontal! They control the vertical! And they’re holding the city hostage for one billion dollars, delivered tonight, or they’ll force the people of Starling City to dance until they DIE! (Malcolm: “Ooh, very Red Shoes. I like it.” Music Meister: “Oh, that movie always makes me cry.” Malcolm: “Me too!”)
“What are you going to do?” Laurel asks Ollie. “Nothing,” he says, and walks off into the night. Gasp!
Team Flash has also seen this broadcast. “You’ve got to help him!” Caitlin says. “I lost to just one of these guys already,” Barry says. “I can’t stop them. But I think I know someone who can.”
Cut to Barry visiting Pied Piper in prison (“Jailhouse Rock”). He knows Piper has good in him! This is Piper’s chance to help, by building a device that will combat the Music Meister’s powers! Will he do it?
…He will! Hooray! Barry breaks him out of jail and takes him to S.T.A.R. Labs. (Look, this show has Wentworth Miller, someone’s gotta break someone else out of prison. Oh, and speaking of Miller, he’s leading the rest of the Rogues in “Cool.”)
Piper and Cisco build the device together, while singing “Isn’t She Lovely” about it because Carlos Valdes is really good at singing that song and also because Cisco is a nerd. Caitlin works the deadpan reaction face like a champ.
Off they go to Starling City (Cisco sings “Greased Lightning” the whole way until Barry makes him stop), where they find Ollie in the cave working out while Felicity sings (“Eye of the Tiger”). But Ollie refuses to confront the two MMs himself! He’ll send Team Flash and Team Arrow, but he won’t take them on personally. The others can’t figure out what’s wrong, and after a few choruses of “Why,” they learn Ollie’s secret: He can’t sing. No, seriously. He’s, like, really bad at it.
Diggle puts a comforting hand on his shoulder. “Oliver, man…you can just speak-sing it.”
And he won’t be alone…because in come our two official law enforcement representatives, Joe and Quentin (“The Heat Is On”)! Cut to Team Flarrow storming Merlyn Manor. Malcolm is not impressed, since he kicks Ollie’s ass pretty much every time they meet (“Oliver, Oliver”). “I’ve known you your whole life, Oliver,” he says. “You sing like a dying frog. You can’t stop us.”
Ollie smiles. And then:
It’s an epic group number! There’s harmony all over the place! There’s Cisco breakdancing! (Come on, he’s Vibe, he’s gotta breakdance.) And while the Music Meister is distracted by all the synchronized dancing, Barry shoots him with the de-musicifying gun Cisco and Piper built, nullifying his powers! The heroes apprehend him, but Malcolm and Thea manage to vanish into the night, to return later in the season for marginally less silly episodes.
“We did it!” Barry says. “We won! In fact…we are the champions, my friends…”
“I’m out,” Ollie says, and leaves the rest of the cast to their final triumphant song.
Oh, and the pre-credits stinger? Is Wells singing “Hit Me Baby One More Time.” In French. Creepily. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN???
The curtains close. In living rooms across the world, audiences jump to their feet and applaud, tears streaming down their faces.
You’re welcome, CW.