*SPOILERS* This week’s episode of The Flash, “Time Bomb,” is brought to you by a very angry young woman – Grace from the future, who has come back to the present timeline to kill the meta who killed her parents, as well as to convince her uncle Orlin to work with her. Thanks to the efforts of Team Flash, both of these goals are thwarted, but not everything goes as well as they would have liked. The meta who is revealed to have accidentally and unknowingly caused the death of Grace’s parents is a woman by the name of Vickie, who can charge objects with some form of dark matter energy. Grace attacks the woman at a birthday party for her daughter and her soccer team, and by the quick actions of Flash and XS, as well as the use of her own powers (powers she had not revealed to her family until this point), she is able to get away with her life. Future Grace is less than pleased with this outcome, and storms back to the cabin in which she’s keeping Orlin while his body recovers from his injuries. Dwyer asks Grace what she’s doing, and she explains to him her desire to seek revenge and to continue his work in killing every last metahuman. You raised a real winner, Dwyer; chip off the ol’ block! The former dagger-wielding meta-mass-murderer feels far different on the inside and appears to have begun to regret his prior actions.
During all of this, the other members of Team Flash discover an odd anomaly in that their “Starchives” (I… can’t believe they called it that) safe house, which is used as storage for prototypes and all-around Flash-related equipment, is missing something rather important. Or is it? In actuality, the device in question is the time capsule sphere they designed for Thawne (yes, that one from way back), and it’s both right where it should be and where it shouldn’t be at all. Confusing? The short version is that the second sphere is the exact same one, but from the future and brought to the present by the new Cicada, Grace, and this is where Team Flash deduces her origination. This also sparks increased curiosity (or tenacity, whichever you prefer) in Sherloque, and he discovers that the blueprints for the oversized, time-traveling hamster ball have the same phrase written on them – by Thawne himself – as Nora’s time journal (that’s what we’re calling it, right?): “The timeline is malleable.” With this revelation, the multiversal detective thinks he finally has the answer to what Nora has been hiding: she’s working with Eobard Thawne. Before he can reveal her secret, Team Flash must face off against Grace again in “Time Bomb” as she makes another attempt on Vickie’s life. As seems to be a commonality with Team Flash vs. Cicada interactions, she throttles them pretty well and is even about to put Barry down for the count before Orlin shows up and convinces her otherwise. The father figure pleads with the grown-up version of his adoptive daughter to end the violence and bloodshed so that she doesn’t continue to make the same mistakes he did. This does not go over well, as Grace kills her uncle by quite literally stabbing him in the back. Everyone has that one crazy member of the family who everybody else thinks is secretly a superpowered serial killer, right? That’s not just me, right?
The wins, if you can call them that, just keep coming in “Time Bomb,” as the final minutes of the episode bring about what we’ve all been waiting months for – Nora’s big secret getting revealed to the rest of the team. Sherloque’s bedside manner could stand to see some improvement, but upon the team’s return to the lab after their battle against Grace, he drops the atom bomb of secrets, that Nora has been in contact with and under the direct supervision of the Reverse Flash. That’s a recipe for an angry Barry, and that’s exactly what it results in – angry Barry, who immediately throws his daughter into the pipeline. Ouch; that’s pretty cold, even given the context of why he did it, which is to protect everyone when he has no idea what to think as of right now. The way that Sherloque Wells goes about trying to put himself into Thawne/Wells’ shoes (or rolling chair – take your pick) is particularly cool, and it’s fun watching Cavanaugh get into his own other characters’ heads. In fact, this was my favorite sequence, short as it was, with this incarnation of Wells all season. Many of the action sequences in “Time Bomb” suffer from the same bad visuals the last episode did, and while I buy Grace as being more menacing than Dwyer, it’s not by much. On the topic of the former Cicada, I almost felt bad for him as he lay dying in the Flash’s arms, pleading with Barry to save Grace. That was, however, only after jumping for joy at the realization that I no longer had to suffer through his Diet Dark Knight voice.
The other noteworthy events in “Time Bomb” deal with Ralph very obnoxiously butting into Cisco’s love life and attempting to get his new girlfriend introduced to the team and to the world of which they’re all a part. This is largely unnecessary, and I feel its sole purpose is to further solidify Cisco’s desire to leave his Vibe powers, and the mayhem that goes with them, behind him so that he can focus on having the life of a normal dude, complete with social media official relationship status. Ralph goes so far as to get Camilla a photography gig with Iris’ paper, and afterward, the two teammates have a heart-to-heart about the whats and whys of Cisco’s current stance on the matter. This is really all just a long-form way of showing that Carlos Valdez is on his way towards his exit of the show. I had hoped that we were passed all of this Cicada stuff – and in a way, we are – so that we can focus on Thawne, but the writers are presently doing the reverse of what I wanted with this.