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‘The Flash’ recap: 5×17 “Time Bomb”

The truth bomb drops on Barry.

The Flash episode “Time Bomb” aired 19 March 2019.

Okay you guys. This episode had me floored.

Sometimes these days, I don’t know what to expect from The Flash anymore. It’s no longer the wholesome, lighthearted family show we used to know. And this season has had some real ups and downs. But last night, it drove the stake into the earth.

The episode title suggests explosive action, and there were plenty, but there was also an undercurrent of emotion that culminates in the real big moment of the episode. You know what’s going to happen, but only right before it happens. Then you realise that bomb has already dropped and you’re left standing in the rubble. That’s what “Time Bomb” felt like.

There’s nothing left

Eobard Thawne has been blindsided, possibly for the first time in his life. Well, he apparently only has 12 minutes left to something (we still don’t know what the timer on his cell is counting down to), so if this is his lowest point at least he won’t suffer for too long. He tells Nora the only left is to come clean to her father.

the flash
the CW

Orlin Dwyer wakes up to find future Grace. He sees for himself her head wound infused with dark matter. Grace steals the CCPD case file on the bank robbery/explosion that killed her parents, and goes to hunt the responsible meta down. Her behaviour puts off Orlin.

Team Flash discover a break-in at their hidden storage house in the woods, aka the “Starchive”. Upon investigating, they find they now have two of Thawne’s “big hamster ball thing” (as Joe so eloquently puts it). Or rather, they now have two of Thawne’s time-travelling sphere – one of which is from the future.

After looking into the stolen file, and Cisco vibing the former crime scene, they piece together that the new Cicada is Grace, who travelled back from the future using the time-sphere.

I am Harrison Wells

Any long-time viewer of The Flash already knows this, but it’s worth saying: Tom Cavanagh is phenomenal.

Sherloque finds the “timeline is malleable” note on the blueprints of the time-sphere, leading him to believe Thawne is Nora’s accomplice/mentor. He pokes around Thawne’s old stuff and good lord, when he put on the OG Harrison Wells glasses and sat in the wheelchair… Tom Cavanagh playing Harrison “Sherloque” Wells putting himself in the shoes of Eobard Thawne pretending to be Harrison Wells played by Tom Cavanagh. Is your mind blown yet?

Sherloque finds a driver hidden in the wheelchair which contains a video file. In the video, Eobard-Wells declares he cracked the multiverse’s ‘source code’ hence why the timeline can be malleable. Analysis of Thawne’s handwriting in the video confirms his relation to Nora.

the flash tom cavanagh sherloque wells
the CW

Cisco and Ralph enter the spider-verse

Cisco and Kamilla become social media official. Ralph starts dropping hints about Cisco’s Star Labs/superhero gig and tries to get more involved with the team. Such as, convincing her to apply for a photographer position at Iris’ new paper.

“I Peter Parker-ed her!”

the flash raph dibny cisco ramon

Ralph making the spiderweb hands at Cisco as the latter glares over his shoulder while leaving is something I did not know I needed. Of course, Cisco is displeased by Ralph’s antics as he enjoys the normalcy he has with Kamilla and doesn’t want to break it by getting meta stuff into the mix. Ralph steps up and apologises, but asks how long Cisco can keep his two lives separate.

I’m impressed with how Ralph handled that conversation. He was respectful of Cisco and mature. His development has been an understated but welcome sidenote this season. You keep doing what you’re doing, man.

Grace goes to war

Team Flash find the meta, a woman named Vicky, who caused the explosion killing Grace’s parents. She had unknowingly set an ATM up to explode, and Grace’s parents were simply unfortunate to attempt using it after her. Because of the incident, she’s kept her powers from her husband and daughter. This prompts a conversation between Barry and Nora about Why We Should Not Keep Secrets Especially From Our Family.

Cicada arrives to kill Vicky. The woman manages to knock Cicada out long enough for the Flash and XS to speed her and her family to safety. Grace comes home angry at the failed mission, and Orlin realises he corrupted his niece with his own anger.

the flash
the CW

Graciecada (Grace-cicada, get it?) attacks Vicky again. She is more skillful and powerful than Orlin was – she can make the lightning dagger follow speedsters’ energy trails and block breaches. She easily gets the upper hand against the Flash and is about to deliver the final blow, but Orlin appears.

The former Cicada begs Grace to let her anger go.

At this point, my notes read:

oh my god she’s going to kill him


Yep, Graciecada made Cicada’s old dagger fly into his back. As Orlin dies, he tells Barry to ‘save’ “his gracie”.

Truth bomb

Back at Star Labs, the team decide that first and foremost, they all need a drink to process what happened. Nora, who has been struggling with her secret this whole time, is very uneasy at this point. Cecile senses that she wants to say something, but Nora cannot respond.

the flash nora west-allen

Sherloque drops the bomb. Only he doesn’t, he draws it out, explaining how he found his suspicions and slowly walking the team through until they reach the truth. Nora is working with the Reverse Flash.

It’s significant how you can see everyone’s shock and hurt. This scene invented ACTING. There’s something else unreadable in Barry’s – anger? Disbelief? – and then suddenly he’s grabbed Nora and locked her in the pipeline.

the flash barry allen


I trust that Iris will lay it on him the next episode. Yep, trailer opens with the “she’s our daughter” talk.

Oh my god. What do you make of that?!


More from Ralph and Cisco:

  • “You don’t think she would be a good spider-person?”
  • “And that you occasionally dress up in leather and go ‘pew pew’.” “Especially the leather.”

Carlos Valdes chewing on a red vine!!!

When Flash and XS ran into a kid’s birthday party, the kids thought they were cosplayers. “Yes, uh, I am the Flash, and I like…*looks around and sees it is a soccer-themed party*…soccer! Yeah!”

Also, Nora has occasional visions of Grace, probably from her time in the girl’s memories. This might become important later.

Holy moly!! What an ending! Revisit all that led up to this point in our very own Flash Zone, the Pure Fandom archive for all things The Flash!

(featured image: the CW)


Ellen Ng

Ellen is a exhibition planner by day and TV fanatic by night. Currently brewing lots of matcha and managing a team in Fantasy Premier League.

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