This post contains spoilers for The Flash.
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“Time Bomb” would have been a much different episode had it not led with Eobard Thawne telling Nora Allen to tell her family everything about their partnership. It makes sense to build up to your most interesting moment, but if you’re gonna open with the idea that it’s going to happen, you’ve got to fill the middle with something a little bit more worth our time. Introducing a tertiary plot featuring a Meta that no one bothered to make interesting, or even endearing, doesn’t fit that bill.
Grace is after the woman who killed her parents. Unlike her Uncle Orlin, she’ll mow down anyone that stands in her way. Vickie Bolen (Catherine Lough Haggquist) might be a Meta, but she falls under the umbrella of folks that are probably going to want that cure. She hates her powers so much that she keeps them a secret from her family. That secret makes her pretty cranky.
When the team tries to convince her that she’s in danger and that she’ll need to put her family in protective custody, she refuses. I’m all for unlikable women characters, but if you’re going to have the majority of your episode focus on saving someone, you might want to make the audience root for her to come out the other side alive. Instead, Vickie and her family are used as a vehicle to convince Nora to come clean and nothing more.
Before Nora can spill her secrets, Orlin Dwyer has to die. It’s a quick end to a character that we were all but done with. He does have a change of heart right before he dies, realizing that his hate had created a monster. All he wanted to do was save his niece, but hatred can be as toxic as poison, and a whole lot of folks are going to die because of his hubris. Way to go, Uncle Orlin!
And finally, the reveal. Turns out Nora’s not the one to come clean at all. When Sherloque sees her struggling, he steps in and shares everything. His delivery’s a touch cruel, but the reaction punishment fits the crime. Can’t just team up with Daddy’s arch nemesis and think there’ll be no consequences. Through Sherloque’s investigation, we learn that the “This House is Bitchin” language is actually what Thawne described as the timeline’s source code.
That source code can be used to notate shifts in the timeline. So, while your memories may be erased due to the shift, you can still decode alternate lines with the help of this code. Don’t think about it too hard, we don’t want to lose you. Bottom line: the timeline’s source code is how Thawne has remained so knowledgeable in his various iterations, despite multiple timeline shifts. Apparently that knowledge wasn’t enough to save him from time jail, or whatever the hell mess he’s found himself in.
When all’s said and done, Nora West-Allen gets the most epic and definitive grounding in history. Barry locks her in the cell in the cortex. She breaks down appropriately, fearing that she’s broken her relationships for forever. Next week Team Flash will dig through the journal to get to the bottom of this whole mess. At some point they might even answer what’s going on in Thawne’s future.
You know what to do if you had thoughts on this week’s episode!