We’ve been waiting three months for the inevitable to happen and it finally did: Nora’s secret came out in tonight’s episode, “Time Bomb.” And boy oh boy, Barry did not take it well and gave his daughter the ultimate form of grounding; a punishment he reserves for his enemies.
Frustratingly, though, the big reveal doesn’t arrive until the very end of the episode, which opens with a panicked Nora rushing to the future to get Thawne’s advice on what to do about Cicada II. However, Thawne seems genuinely surprised by this change in the timeline, telling Nora there’s only one thing she can do: tell her father everything. That’s the last thing Nora wants to hear, of course, because she knows how much her father hates Thawne. So, she spends the entire episode going back and forth on whether or not she should tell him. There’s even a metahuman case of the week that mirrors her struggle and gets into the dangers of keeping secrets from the ones you love in order to protect them.
See, Grace, a.k.a. Cicada II, decides she wants to use her journey to the past (via the Time Sphere the team built for Thawne in the season 1 finale) to murder the metahuman who killed her parents. Luckily, the team figures out Grace is going after her and finds her first. To their surprise, the metahuman is a mother named Vickie, who has been hiding her metahuman powers — the ability to make things go boom by touching them sort of like Gambit — from her husband and daughter because she believes she’s keeping them safe. Furthermore, it turns out that she didn’t mean to kill Grace’s parents. Her power accidentally activated when she touched the ATM and that’s what caused the explosion that killed them. Unfortunately, she didn’t realize that someone actually got her in the explosion.
Barry tries persuading Vickie not only to accept his and the CCPD’s protection but also to come clean to her family about her powers, but she refuses. Of course, Cicada II ends up attacking her daughter’s birthday party, her family finds out about her powers, and her daughter gets injured. In the wake of the attack, Vickie’s husband and daughter turn on her because she kept the secret. Nora believes this is proof that Barry’s advice was wrong, but Barry — who, praise Beebo, has learned from his mistakes — tells Nora that keeping secrets from your loved ones doesn’t keep them safe. “When you do that, you rob those people of making their own decisions,” he says. And I’ve never been prouder of our boy! One of The Flash’s consistent problems is that the characters keep making the same mistakes over and over, no matter how many pep talks they receive, but this moment is a clear and definitive sign of growth.
In the end, Barry’s right, too, because Vickie’s daughter forgives her after she apologizes for lying. Watching that happen convinces Nora that she needs to do the right thing and come clean; however, before she can do that, Cicada II shows up at the hospital and threatens to kill Vickie’s husband unless she surrenders. The ensuing battle is one of the strongest Cicada ones of the season, if only because the dagger chasing XS and Vickie through the streets was relatively frightening even though we followed most of it from a computer screen in S.T.A.R. Labs. Eventually, Orlin, who feels terrible about what his niece has become, shows up at the hospital to talk her down, but she simply kills him as a result, which we definitely all saw coming.
Next: Sherloque drops a bomb
While most of the team was dealing with Cicada II and Vickie (read: the show was stalling on the big, momentous conversation), Sherloque was busy investigating Nora. He manages to decode her entire journal, but that doesn’t do a thing really. He doesn’t find a lead until he examines Thawne’s designs for the Time Sphere and sees that he wrote, “The timeline is malleable.” From there, Sherloque finds a drive in Thawne’s old wheelchair that contains a video of Thawne explaining that he has managed to crack the timeline’s code and can alter it. Sherloque compares Thawne’s handwriting in the video to the second writing sample in Nora’s journal and, surprise, surprise, they match!
After the Cicada II brawl, the team returns to the Cortex, and Cecile can sense that Nora wants to tell them something. Nora resits, but then Sherloque makes a grand entrance and drops the bomb on the team: Nora has been working Thawne. In classic Sherlock-style, he runs through the evidence and recaps everything we already knew. Everyone on the team is shocked beyond belief. The most affecting reaction, though, comes from Barry, of course. Without saying a word, he throws his daughter into the pipeline.
“Dad, I’m sorry I lied to you,” pleads Nora from her cell.
“So am I,” says Barry coldly before turning his back on her and walking away.
In terms of the emotional impact of the reveal, the episode definitely hit it out of the park. Barry’s speechless reaction feels very real and true to the character. How else would he react to finding out that Nora has been working with the man who killed his mother? He had a similar reaction when he began to suspect that Harrison Wells killed his mother. Before confronting Wells in season 1, he simply just gave him the cold shoulder for multiple episodes. Furthermore, Grant Gustin plays the moment so well; it hurts just to look at him because the sense of betrayal is so clear on his face.
The other part of the episode that definitely worked for me was Ralph and Cisco’s little subplot together because it tied into Cisco’s season-long arc of figuring out how much Vibe he wants in his life. During the hour, Ralph keeps pushing Cisco to bring Kamilla into their world and even helps get her a job at Iris’ newspaper as a photographer; however, Cisco actively resists even though they’re social media official because he likes that she’s not part of his craziness. “Being with somebody has never felt so easy. When I’m with her, I just feel like a normal dude with a normal life and social media official girlfriend,” says Cisco. Ralph advises him that keeping her at arm’s length from this world is like shutting off a part of himself. We’ll have to wait and see what he decides.
Wall of Weird:
- God bless The Flash for allowing Chris Klein to say lines without growling before killing him off.
- Is it just me or did Sherloque’s investigation not reveal anything new of substance about Nora’s partnership with Thawne? Like, the reveal that the timeline is malleable is cool — and Thawne’s ability to manipulate it by changing the smallest details like he did in “Goldfaced” is cool — but that’s also not a groundbreaking reveal because we’ve seen the team change the future already.
- Both The Flash and Arrow have mentioned Spider-Man this week. Not sure what it means, but I like it.
- The Flash recap: A scary yet familiar villain rises to challenge Team Flash
- Cicada II reveals why she traveled back in time in The Flash sneak peek
- Emily Bett Rickards, Grant Gustin react to news of Arrow ending