'The Flash' Season 5, Episode 17 "Time Bomb" Put Series' Head & Heart on Display [SPOILER REVIEW]

Welcome back to Bleeding Cool's continuing fifth season coverage of the CW's The Flash. Secrets and lies come to a head with life-changing and potentially multiverse-altering consequences in this last new episode before the series goes on hiatus for a month.

I remember someone mentioning something about a "Crisis"…


The Flash s05e17 "Timb Bomb": NORA DECIDES TO TELL BARRY AND IRIS THE TRUTH ABOUT THAWNE — Team Flash finds out that a suburban mom named Vickie Bolen (guest star Catherine Lough Haggquist) is in danger and they race to save her. Upon meeting her, they discover she's a meta-human who is hiding her abilities from her family. Barry (Grant Gustin) encourages Vickie to share her secret with her family, which makes Nora (Jessica Parker Kennedy) realize she needs to come clean with her parents about Thawne (Tom Cavanagh). Rob Greenlea directed the episode written by Kristen Kim & Sterling Gates.

The Flash — "Time Bomb" — Image Number: FLA517c_0041b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, Jessica Parker Kennedy as Nora, Danielle Nicolet as Cecile Horton and Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West — Photo: Katie Yu/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved

The team is dealing with the appearance of a second Cicada on the heels of curing the first one. Through a series of discoveries – including Thawne's time sphere being in two places at once – the team realizes that the new Cicada is Grace from the future. Unfortunately, there's nothing they can do to young Grace to stop her from becoming her wrath-filled future version. What they can attempt to do is stop Grace from killing the metahuman who accidentally killed Grace's parents.

Cicada Grace steals a police report on the explosion at an ATM that killed her parents in 2017. The CCPD never followed up on the one suspect, ruling the explosion an accident. Grace is too consumed with hatred to accept that it might have actually been an accident. Instead, she's on a mission to kill all metahumans in the present day before they become a menace in the future, starting with the woman who killed her parents.

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The Flash — "Time Bomb" — Image Number: FLA517b_0255b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Jessica Parker Kennedy as XS and Grant Gustin as The Flash — Photo: Sergei Bachlakov/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved

The team tracks down suspect Vickie at her daughter's birthday party. Not only was the explosion an accident – a result of Vickie's powers manifesting – but:

● Vickie doesn't know that anyone was hurt…

● …and Vickie didn't tell her family about her abilities.


Nora is caught up in the family drama unfolding in front of her because she, too, has a secret she is afraid to tell. According to Thawne, control (or the illusion of control) over the timeline is beyond his ability to manipulate any further. He tells Nora that she needs to share her secret that she has been working with Thawne all along. Nora can't do it because of the potential reaction of her parents and the team. Nor continually tries to defend Vickie's decision to keep secrets in order to protect her family. On the other hand, Barry says no good can come from it – which is a bit rich coming from a guy who has done nothing but keep secrets from people "for their own protection" – including Nora – since this series began.

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The Flash — "Time Bomb" — Image Number: FLA517a_0223b2.jpg — Pictured: Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, Danielle Nicolet as Cecile Horton, Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West and Jessica Parker – Kennedy as Nora — Photo: Katie Yu/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved

While the varsity squad is away dealing with Cicada:

● Ralph tries to pull Cisco's girlfriend Kamilla into the group – against Cisco's wishes. Like… oh… everybody else on the team, Cisco wants to keep part of his life, namely being a superhero, a secret from her.

● Sherloque's algorithm finishes translating Nora's journal. Using the hand written note on the time sphere schematic, Sherloque pieces together that Nora is working with Thawne and is being manipulated – and by extension, all of them are being manipulated – into changing the source code of the multiverse to serve Thawne's will.

● Orlin awakens and tries to convince future Grace that the explosion was an accident and that she needs to let go of the hatred he put into her head.

● Caitlin's off on a workation at one of the Tannhauer sites because… science?

In the episode's climax, Cicada comes to the hospital to kill Vickie, but is thwarted by Barry and Nora. Instead, she'll have to settle for killing The Flash – but before she can, Orlin arrives and tells Grace one last time to let go of her anger.

For losing sight of the mission, Grace kills her uncle Orlin – who asks Barry to save his niece from herself.

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The Flash — "Time Bomb" — Image Number: FLA517b_0009b.jpg — Pictured: Sarah Carter as Cicada II/Grace Gibbons — Photo: Sergei Bachlakov/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved

Nora has seen the damage keeping secrets can cause. She really wants to tell the team her story… but hesitates. That gives Sherloque the chance to step in and tell the story for her, which leads to everyone feeling betrayed. Barry grabs Nora and locks her away, where she can't do any more to destroy the timeline. Nora pleads that she's sorry for lying to him, and Barry responds that he's sorry she lied, too.

Overall, this was a solid episode of The Flash. The exploration of a new, ruthless, insane villain from the future as the team learns that Thawne has been playing all of them through Barry and Iris's daughter was tragic. Sometimes, in past seasons, the show will muddy the logic in order to land the emotional payoff, but here we have both the series's head and its heart on display in a storyline that both makes sense and breaks your heart even as you see it coming. When the writers get that mix right, that's when this series shines, as it did in this episode.

The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. CT on the CW. The series goes on hiatus until Tuesday, April 16th (with a repeat of season 13's "Goldfaced" airing next Tuesday, March 26) – but when we return…


CW's The Flash stars Grant Gustin as Barry Allen/The Flash, Candice Patton as Iris West-Allen, Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost, Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon/Vibe, Hartley Sawyer as Ralph Dibny/Elongated Man, Danielle Nicolet as Cecile Horton, Jessica Parker Kennedy as Nora West-Allen/XS, and Chris Klein as Orlyn Dwyer/Cicada; with Tom Cavanagh as Harrison Wells and Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West. Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, and Todd Helbing serve as executive producers.

About Joey Mills

Host of Pop Goes the Culture podcast. Contributor to BleedingCool.com, ComingSoon.Net, GeekDad.com, and PopGoesTheCulture.com.

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