Thursday, March 28, 2019

The Flash Season 5, Episode 17: Time Bomb

This week on The Flash we get a middling episode that's riddled with enormous plot holes, preposterous attempts at hand-waving them away and the usual ridiculous comic book science.

Thankfully there're a couple of incredible scenes that manage to make up for all that, and keep the episode from being a total failure.

This week's episode was all about betrayal. Specifically daughters betraying their fathers. Adult Grace betrays her father-figure Orlin, in the worst way possible. Nora betrays her father as well, as her dark secret is finally revealed.

Sherloque finally comes into his own in this episode, as he goes from comic relief to cold, calculating detective, and at long last proves his worth to Team Flash. I've been lukewarm on Sherloque so far this season, but he completely redeemed himself this week, and I'm finally starting to like him as a character. Which of course means he'll likely be leaving in the season finale!

Equally impressive— somehow the writers figured out a way to redeem Orlin Dwyer, and actually make him sympathetic. I wouldn't have thought it possible, but I actually found myself not only liking him this week, but actively rooting for him to turn things around.

The "Great Flash Cast Shuffle" continues this week, as Ralph finally returns after a prolonged absence. Of course this causes Caitlin to go AWOL, since there's apparently some law on The CW stating that the entire cast can't appear onscreen all at once. OK, Caitlin does show up at the very end, but only for about thirty seconds. Still, my point stands.


The Plot:

Nora runs to 2049 again to bother Eobard Thawne. She tells him that Team Flash cured Cicada, but a second Cicada showed up, stole his dagger and trashed STAR Labs. Thawne says he saw the whole thing unfold on his timeline TV, but unlike the audience, he has no idea who Cicada 2.0 could be. She reminds him that he promised that curing Orlin would change the timeline. Thawne says he was wrong, and it's too late to try again, as his time's about to run out. He tells Nora the only hope left is for her to tell Barry everything.

In the present, Orlin wakes up in a cabin in the woods, wondering where the hell he is. Cicada 2.0 is there and tells him he's healing and will be up and around in a few days. He asks who she is, and she hands him the two little figures from her old doll house. Orlin realizes she's a grown version of his niece Grace, who's somehow come to the past.

Grace explains that she eventually came out of her coma and time traveled to the present day to help him. She grimaces in pain, and Orlin sees the glowing dark matter wound on her forehead. She tells him she has something important to do, and when she returns they'll figure out how to get his powers back.

At STAR Labs, Sherloque's computer program FINALLY deciphers the language in Nora's time journal. He reads through her entries, but is disappointed when she doesn't mention who she's working with. He returns to the Cortex, which has been completely remodeled after Cicada 2.0 destroyed it last week (Barry must have sold some more stock to afford the upgrade). Team Flash fills him in, saying they've scanned everywhere for Cicada 2.0, but found nothing.

Suddenly there's an alert, and Cisco announces that someone's broken into the Starchives— Team Flash's off-site storage vault that we've never heard of before. Iris & Ralph (who's finally back this week) check out the vault while Cisco & Sherloque breach to the forest surrounding it.

Cisco finds Eobard Thawne's Time Sphere (which he forced Cisco to build back in Fast Enough) sitting empty in the middle of the woods. Iris says that's odd, because the Sphere's right in front of her inside the vault. Iris scratches a mark on the Sphere in the vault, and Cisco watches it appear on the one in the woods. He says that proves they're the same object, but from different times. Apparently someone stole the Sphere in the future and used it to travel back to the present day. They realize it had to be Cicada 2.0.

Meanwhile at CCPD, Cicada 2.0 breaks into a storage room, kills an officer, steals a file from a cabinet and leaves.

Sometime later Barry & Joe investigate the crime scene. They confirm Cicada 2.0 was the culprit and stole a cold case file, but they can't tell which one. Barry searches the files at superspeed, and somehow determines a file from 2017 is missing. Joe leaves to figure out what was in the file.

Elsewhere, Cisco decides the absolute best time to go on a date with Kamilla is during the Cicada 2.0 crisis. Ralph joins them and asks Cisco when he's going to introduce Kamilla to the gang. Cisco tells him ixnay on the angay, and hurriedly hustles Kamilla out of the place.

Back at STAR, Sherloque snoops through the records and finds the blueprints for the Time Sphere. Iris enters and wonders if he's still investigating Nora, even after she told him to knock it off. Suddenly he sees something on the Sphere plans and abruptly leaves. Iris looks down at the plans and sees the phrase, "The Timeline Is Malleable" scribbled on them, which troubles her.

Barry says Joe discovered the contents of the missing file— it seems that two years ago a metahuman detonated an ATM, and the explosion killed two people. Barry, Nora and Cisco find the site of the ATM, and Cisco vibes the concrete around it. He sees a woman use the ATM and leave. Two more people walk up to it, and are killed when it explodes. In his vision, Cisco sees Grace Gibbons screaming in a nearby car. He realizes the two people who blowed up real good were her parents.

Nora reminds them that when she was in Grace's mind, she saw her as an adult Cicada. They then theorize that Cicada 2.0 is the future version of Grace, who's come to the past to target her parents' killer. Which of course the audience has known since last week.

Cicada 2.0 returns to her cabin and starts tossing furniture in a fit of rage. She shows Orlin the file she stole, and says the police did nothing to find the meta who killed her parents. She uses a futuristic gauntlet to somehow track the meta and find her location. She tells Orlin she's going to finish what he started and kill all metas. Orlin is horrified by what his niece has become.

Joe checks bank records and figures out that a meta named Vickie Bolen was the one who used the ATM right before Grace's parents. Joe, Barry and Nora track Vickie to a fun center, where her daughter Alice is celebrating her birthday. When they confront Vickie, she admits she's a meta who can turn anything she touches into a bomb. She says she used the ATM in 2017 and inadvertently used her powers on it. When she realized what was happening she got scared and ran. She says at least no one got hurt in the incident, right? Barry and Nora exchange knowing looks, but for some reason don't say anything about Grace's parents.

Barry tells Vickie a killer is targeting her, and that he wants to put her into federal protection. Vickie says there's no way that's happening, as her family doesn't know about her powers. Barry says keeping secrets from your loved ones is no way to live (!!!!!!!!!!), and that she needs to tell them immediately. Vickie angrily tells him to get the hell out and leave her alone. Joe tells Barry that Vickie's still in danger, and he's not leaving until he knows she's safe.

Meanwhile, Ralph takes Cisco to Iris' office, and proudly says he got Kamilla an interview for a photography gig. He's blindsided when Cisco explodes at him, explaining that he didn't ask Ralph to do this, and he's trying to keep his life with Kamilla separate from the insanity at STAR Labs. Despite Cisco's apprehension, Iris is impressed by Kamilla's talent and hires her.

Elsewhere, Sherloque snoops around in the Starchives and finds Thawne's old wheelchair, from when he was posing at Harrison Wells. He sits in the chair to try and get a sense of what kind of man Thawne was, is, or will be. He accidentally pushes a button on the chair's armrest, and a secret compartment pops open. Inside is a futuristic flash drive.

Back at the party center, Nora tells Barry he was wrong to advise Vickie to tell her family about being a meta. Barry admits that keeping secrets does protect people, but more importantly it also robs them of the chance to make their own decisions. Suddenly Nora's eyes turn red, and Barry realizes she's somehow linked to Grace. Nora says Grace is coming for Vickie.

Barry & Nora suit up and rush in to save the party-goers. Alice and the other kids think the two are cosplayers, so Barry plays along. He herds the kids to safety, while Nora tells Vickie she's in imminent danger and has to leave. Fortunately, his time Vickie listens. Just then Grace appears and slams her dagger to the ground, creating a shockwave that knocks Nora and Vickie on their asses.

Nora tries to tell Grace that her parents' death was an accident, but she won't listen. Vickie uses her powers to charge up a soccer ball and throws it at Grace. The ball explodes, knocking Grace across the room, but it also injures Alice. The speedsters zoom Vickie and Alice out of the center, and Grace vows to find them.

Barry & Nora take Alice to the hospital. While there, they look in on Young Grace's room. Joe & Cecile are there as well. Joe asks why they can't just give Young Grace the meta cure NOW, in order to eliminate Adult Grace in the future. Excellent idea, Joe! Incredibly, Barry says they can't do so without Grace's consent. Jesus Jetskiing Christ, Barry! I'll be ranting about this scene at length in the Thoughts below, so hold onto something. Cecile scans Young Grace's mind (did she get consent for THAT?) and senses that she's filled with seething hate.

Elsewhere in the hospital, Vickie's husband John orders her out of Alice's room, saying she's a metahuman menace. Joe leads John out of the room to cool off. Vickie tries to comfort Alice, but she shrinks away from her. Barry says they did the right thing by exposing Vickie's secret, as it kept the family safe (well, except for the fact that Alice is in the hospital with a broken arm). Nora says it feels like they made things worse.

Ralph apologizes to Cisco for interfering. Cisco tries to explain that he has a good thing going with Kamilla, and wants to keep that part of his life separate so it doesn't get screwed up. He also says he can be a normal person around Kamilla. Ralph understands, but asks how long Cisco thinks he can keep his two worlds apart.

Grace returns to the cabin, angry that she wasn't able to kill Vickie. Orlin says that's a good thing. He says he read the police report she stole, and it really does seem like her parents' death was an accident. He sees the dark matter wound on her forehead and says needs to get Dr. Ambres to patch it up. Grace coldly says she killed Ambres, because she took Orlin's power from him. Orlin's horrified, and says he voluntarily took the cure. He says he just wanted the two of them to be happy, and that he loves her. Grace says that gives her an idea, and she shoves Orlin to the floor and flies off.

Sherloque enters the Time Vault, where Gideon greets him as Dr. Harrison Wells. He inserts the flash drive, and it plays a video of Thawne, who says he's discovered the universe's "source code." He claims that with this knowledge, even if the timeline changes, his memories of previous events won't. Sherloque sees a sample of Thawne's handwriting in the video, and realizes it matches that in Nora's journal.

At the hospital, Barry & Nora stand outside Alice's room, and overhear Vickie apologizing for not telling her about her powers, saying they'll get through this as a family. As they walk away, Nora decides to tell Barry about Thawne. Before she can though, Cicada 2.0's dagger flies into the hospital. Barry speeds down the corridor in front of it, jumping into his costume along the way. He enters Alice's room and zips Vickie out of the way just in time, as the dagger sticks into the wall behind her.

Just then Cicada 2.0 yells from the parking lot, and Barry sees she's holding a blade to John's throat. She tell Barry to surrender Vickie or John dies. Barry tells Joe to get Alice somewhere safe, and orders Nora to do the same with Vickie. Just then Cicada 2,0 somehow tosses ANOTHER dark matter dagger through the hospital window. It flies past Barry and chases after Nora and Vickie.

The two speed through downtown Central City, as the dagger manages to keep up with them. Barry zooms down to the parking lot and confronts Grace. He asks her to let John go, and for some reason she does. She says she knows her parents' death was an accident, but that doesn't change the fact that they're gone. Barry tells her they can help her by giving her the meta cure. She says the only cure is death, and blasts Barry across the lot.

Meanwhile, Cisco and Ralph (who tags along just to get some screentime) breach ahead of Nora. Cisco opens another portal and Nora and Vickie run through it and into STAR Labs. He closes the breach just as the dagger approaches, and it embeds itself into a brick wall. Cisco tries to open a breach to the hospital, but Cicada 2.0 sees it and seals it, preventing anyone from coming through.

Grace then approaches Barry, intent on killing him. Just then Orlin appears, somehow knowing exactly where to find her. He says he realizes he was wrong to hate, and begs her to let go of her anger before it's too late. She seemingly hesitates, and then says he's right— it is too late. She summons the dagger, causing it to pull out of the brick wall. It flies back to the hospital, where it stabs Orlin in the back.

Grace pulls the dagger out of his back and flies off. Barry runs over to Orlin and holds his former enemy in his arms. Orlin asks him to save Grace, and then promptly dies. Somehow Barry stops himself from looking up at the sky and shouting, "GRAAAAACE!"

Back at STAR, Team Flash realizes that Grace is more dangerous than Orlin ever was. Cisco scans for any sign of her, but finds nothing. Cecile says Vickie's family is safe in the federal relocation program. Ralph suggests they all go out for a good stiff drink.

Just then Sherloque enters and says Nora has something to tell them first. She looks stricken, as everyone turns to look at her. Sherloque says she doesn't know where to begin, so he'll do it for her. He says when she first came back in time, she did her best not to affect the past. This suddenly changed when she "brazenly" helped the Flash destroy DeVoe's Enlightenment satellite.

Panicked, Nora begs Sherloque to stop, but he continues anyway. He says this change didn't make any sense, and must have been someone else's idea. Someone who was instructing her to alter the timeline for his benefit. Someone who believes the timeline is malleable. And that someone is Eobard Thawne.

The others stare at Nora in disbelief. Barry in particular is stunned, as he can't believe his future daughter would betray him this way. Before Nora can say anything, he speeds her into the STAR Labs Secret Super Jail. A tearful Nora tells him she's sorry she lied. Barry says, "So am I" and walks away.

Next Week On The Flash: Well, there ain't no next week, because the show's taking a goddamned MONTH LONG hiatus. Jesus Christ, I hate these "start-stop" schedules!


• This episode's title refers to Vickie Bowen, who has the ability to turn any object into, well, a time bomb. Note that no one ever calls her Time Bomb during the episode though.

There's a "Timebomb" in DC comics, but he was an obscure Superman villain, and absolutely nothing like Vickie.

The Flash, like all the various Arrowverse shows, is filmed just across the border in Vancouver. Whenever the cast & crew goes out on location, I like to try and figure out just where in the city they're shooting.

Like here, for example. Early in the episode there's a superfluous scene set in the Central City Medical Center, in which we're treated to this establishing shot. 

I googled "Vancouver hospitals" and got a ton of results, but none of them looked even remotely close to this building. Hmm...

On a whim I did a google image search, and found out why I couldn't find it in Vancouver— it's a piece of video clip art! You can even see the same black SUV at right sitting at the stop light, and the same people walking down the sidewalk in front of it!

I'm assuming The CW didn't have time or the budget to send out a filming crew to shoot five seconds of establishing footage, so they just spent $179 for a short clip. Smart!

• After what seems like nine or ten months, Sherloque's computer program finally translates the "time language" in Nora's journal. He then reads through her entries (not cool!), and we catch a quick glimpse at a few of the pages. I screen-capped the shots so you can read a few of the items in her journal (you'll have to click on the images to read them).

As Sherloque says, most of this first page is made up of "banalities." Things like how much Nora's parents love each other and the fact that she's sad she'll have to return to the future once Cicada's defeated. 

Note the very bottom where she mentions how hard it is to stop running at Mach 2. While that might sound like an impressive speed, it's really not. Mach 2 is approximately 1,500 mph (it varies due to temperature and air density). That... doesn't seem fast enough to cause her to run backward in time, as we've seen her do on numerous occasions. In fact we have planes that can go far faster than that, at 2,200 mph, and as far as I know they don't end up in the past!

In this screen, Nora recounts the time Iris dove off the roof of a skyscraper to save Barry, as we saw back in All Doll'd Up

There's a lot to unpack in her next paragraph, in which she says, "I had Chipotle for the first time today!!! Man, that's some good shrap. I wish it was still around in 2049— curse you, 2023 Chicken Plague! Fast food here is so different. It's fascinating to me that Subway sells sandwiches here. After they embraced their whole 'yoga mat chemical' thing and became a yoga empire, the sandwich artists all lost their jobs."

Enjoy chicken while you can, folks! Apparently just four short years from now they'll become extinct. Or at least be extremely rare! The Subway comment is a reference to a 2014 article that claimed their bread contained a chemical that was also found in yoga mats. Yum!

Nora goes on to say: "Gonna miss a lot of things when I go back to 2049. Obviously Mom and Dad and Team Flash, but also the clunky old phones— they're still in their 'app phase' here in 2019 (in a post dated 2018— whoops!). Wish I could stay to see what it was like when Qix were introduced (Hey, it already was! The videogame came out in 1981!). I'm gonna miss all the old cars too, especially the Teslas. And the old TV shows. It's so funny, they all think Game Of Thrones ended in 2019 (Com-O-Dee!). What else— cheap Jitters coffee, OG STAR Labs, Cisco's Playstation 4 (he's going to have a blast with immersive gaming)... I think I'll miss board game nights the most. Playing old school board games with Mom & Dad... Board games don't really exist in 2049 (another plague, perhaps?). Playing games with Mom & Dad doesn't exist then either."

OK, these are all fun little bits, but they point out something that the show's writers don't seem to understand about Nora— she didn't come here from the far distant future. She's from the year 2049! That's only thirty short years from now!

Over and over they have her mention things like taking quantum physics in grade school, implying that in her time the curriculum has progressed to an impossibly advanced state. Yeah, I don't think so. Maybe this would make sense if she was from the year 3000, but there's no way in hell things will change that radically in the next three decades.

Nothing much of note in this next screen, but I'm including it just to be a completest.

On this last screen Nora mentions Spencer Young, aka Spyn, who popped up back in News Flash. Note that this entry is dated May 31, 2018. That particular episode first aired on October 30, 2018. That's a pretty major discrepancy, which is odd, as The Flash generally operates more or less in real time.

Despite a few flubs, I'm very impressed that someone on the production staff actually spent the time to come up with all these entries. Especially when you consider the fact that they zoomed by too fast to be readable! Well, unreadable to everyone except to assholes like myself, who comb through episodes frame by frame.

Well done, guys!

• Cisco gets an alert that someone's stolen something from STAR Labs' Starchives— the secret warehouse where Team Flash stores all their old gear.

I love how he just casually mentions the Starchives as if it's been around forever. This is actually a huge retcon, as facility's never appeared on the show before, and this is the first time any character's even uttered the name.

Among the items we see in the Starchives: One of Barry's previous Flash suits, the goofy-looking helmet he wore back in the pilot, a B.O.O.T. (a metahuman immobilization device Cisco invented), the Speed Force Bazooka and of course the Time Sphere.

By the way, I can't look at the word "Starchives" without wanting to pronounce it "Star Chives."

• To be honest it's been so long since the Time Sphere first appeared that I forgot all about it. Just to refresh your memory: Back in the Season 1 finale Fast Enough, Eobard Thawne forced Cisco to build the Sphere so he could get back to his own time. 

Thing is, I'm pretty sure Barry destroyed the Sphere before Thawne could use it, so I don't know where the hell this particular one came from. Maybe Cisco rebuilt it when we weren't looking?

• Apparently The Flash subscribes to the Frequency model of time travel causality. 

At one point Cisco and Sherloque find a Time Sphere in the woods, while Iris and Ralph find another in storage. On a hunch, Cisco has Iris make a scratch on the Sphere in front of her. The mark instantly appears on Cisco's version. This proves that the two Spheres are actually the same one, but from different time periods. The one in the warehouse is from the present, while the one in the woods came from the future.

Wait, what? That doesn't make any sense. If Iris scratches the Sphere in 2019, then it'll be there in whatever year it is when Grace steals the thing in the future. The scratch can't magically appear a couple of decades later. That's not how causality works!

I know it's an exercise in futility to try and make sense of the science on this show, but this was an exceptionally silly scene. 

Also, when Cisco tells Iris to make a mark on the present Sphere, he tells her to commence "Operation: Shazam." I guess he picked that name because the mark she makes looks like an "S" for no good reason. And more importantly, because DC's new Shazam movie premieres a couple weeks from this episode's air date.

• Grace steals a file from the CCPD archives. Later on Barry, Nora and Joe investigate the theft. Unfortunately the filing system isn't digitized, so there's no way to tell which folder Grace took. Joe tells Barry, "The only way to figure out what's missing is to see what's still here."

Eh... I guess that's true. But in order for that to work, they'd still need to know everything that was stored in the filing system! You can't tell what's missing from a place if you don't know what was inside it to begin with.

Maybe if the files were stored chronologically, Barry might be able to see that the folders went from May to July of 2018, and realize that Grace took the June one. Maybe.

Time Bomb contains a whopper of a plot hole, one that can't be easily explained away or ignored. In fact this one's so massive that it completely torpedoes the entire episode. 

See, Future Grace steals a Time Sphere so she can travel back to the present day and murder Vickie Bolen, the woman she believes murdered her parents. But... if she can time travel, why didn't she go back just a bit further and prevent her parents from being killed in the first place? WHOOPS!!!

If she'd done that then she likely wouldn't have been with her Uncle Orlin when DeVoe's satellite exploded. Neither of them would have gotten dark matter powers, and neither would have become Cicada.

Not saving her parents is such a glaringly gargantuan plot hole that there's no way to resolve it. Did she not know how to pilot the Time Sphere, so she couldn't travel to the day her parents died? Does the Time Sphere have a range, and can only go back so fat? Did it run out of fuel before it got to their death day? Did the writers not have an answer for this, and hoped we wouldn't notice it?

• Grace hides Orlin in a remote cabin that looks remarkably like the one from the Evil Dead movies.

• Vickie's daughter Alice has her birthday party at Crash Crawly's Fun Center. Turns out that's a real place in Coquitlam, which is just outside Vancouver!

• April's soccer team is called the Central City Lightning Strikers. I assume that's a reference to the Flash, and the ever-present Speed Force lightning that surrounds him whenever he runs?

• Hey, look! Nora's been possessed by Mallus! Somebody call the Legends Of Tomorrow, stat!

I get that this psychic connection between Nora and Grace was set up in Memorabilia, but I dunno... it still feels like the writers pulled it out of their collective asses this week for storytelling convenience.

• I loved the part where Barry & Nora suited up to rescue the kids at the party, and Alice thought her mom hired Flash and XS cosplayers! And to top it all off, Barry played along, pompously stating, "Yes, I am the Flash!"

• Time Bomb, er, I mean Vickie, has the exact same powers as Gambit in the X-Men comics. Namely the ability to charge up the molecules in an object so it becomes, well, a time bomb!

• While waiting around for Cicada 2.0 to show up, Nora and Barry have the following conversation about secrecy:

Nora: "You were wrong, you know."

Barry: "About what?"
Nora: "About Vickie not wanting to tell her family about her abilities.It's her choice not to tell them."
Barry: "Look, keeping a secret like that from her family is It's dangerous. I mean, they might get hurt or worse."
Nora: "She's just trying to protect them."
Barry: "I get that, I do, but I... I used to think that keeping secrets from people for their own good was a noble decision, that it would protect them. But when you do that, you just rob those people from making their own decisions."

Obviously Nora's trying to justify her major secret here. But Barry's little speech... WOW! Did he reeeeeeally just lecture his daughter on the morality of keeping secrets? Barry "Secret Keeping" Allen? Jesus Christ! Withholding info from loved ones is practically his secondary superpower, right after superspeed! He's literally the last person on Earth who should be schooling her on this topic!

Actually the whole goddamned cast has been pretty adept at it over the seasons!

• By the way, how come it never occurs to Team Flash to offer the meta cure to Vickie? Her family doesn't seem too keen on the fact that she's secretly a "superpowered freak." Heck, Vickie herself seems to hate her powers as well. Seems like the cure would solve everyone's problems!

• As Sherloque rummages through the Starchives, he runs across a wheelchair and a pair of glasses that belonged to Harrison Wells, aka Eobard Thawne. 

In order to figure out what kind of man Thawne was (will be?), Sherloque sits in the chair, cleans off the glasses and puts 'em on. Naturally, this makes him look exactly like Wells.

I gotta admit, it gave me chills to see Old School Wells again! OK, so it wasn't actually Wells, but pretty darned close.

• And now we come to the stupidest and most ridiculous scene of this week's episode... possibly of the entire season! Maybe even the whole series!

Team Flash stands outside Young Grace's hospital room, where they have the following preposterous conversation:

Joe: "I can't believe that little girl in there grows up to be a time-traveling serial killer."

Cecile: "Why can't we just wake her up right now?" 
Barry: "We tried before. It didn't work.
Joe: "What about the meta cure y'all cooked up?"
Barry: "We'd need Grace's consent. Besides, Caitlin says that her condition is too fragile to even try."
Joe: "And I'm assuming that destroying the time-traveling hamster ball, that messes up the timeline?"
Barry: "Yeah, it would probably just make things even worse."

Jesus wept! 

There's so much outrageous stupidity to unpack in this short little scene. I actually groaned out loud as I watched it for the first time! Let's sift through all the idiocy, shall we?

First up is Joe's perfectly logical and rational notion to give Young Grace the meta cure. That would handily solve all their problems, as then she'd never turn into Cicada 2.0 when she grew up. Barry's quick to poo-poo this notion though, saying they'd need the unconscious girl's consent to administer the cure.

Holy Crap On A Cracker!

Besides being the all-time lamest excuse I've ever heard offered up in a TV series, it's completely inaccurate. Young Grace is ten years old! That means she's a minor! She couldn't give her consent even if she wasn't in a coma! 

You know who could offer consent? Her Uncle Orlin! Who's still alive at this point in the episode! In fact he last week he even said he wanted to give her the cure, before Cicada 2.0 showed up and ruined everything.

Heck, I'd argue that Team Flash wouldn't even need Orlin's consent. Barry and Joe are cops, and Cecile's the DA. ANY of them could probably authorize consent in the interest of public safety!

It's patently obvious here that the writers realized this was ANOTHER fatal flaw in their script, and couldn't figure out an adequate solution. So they offered up a laughably half-assed one instead!

Secondly, Barry says that even if they had consent, Young Grace's condition is too fragile to risk giving her the cure. 

Wha....??? She wasn't too sickly last week, when Orlin said he wanted to test the cure on himself before giving it to her. If she was too weak to take it then, surely Caitlin would have spoken up and said so. This excuse isn't just lame, it's a retcon as well!

Lastly, Joe suggests destroying the Time Sphere in the present, so Older Grace can't steal it in the future. Again, a perfectly sane and reasonable idea. Once again, Barry instantly nixes this notion, claiming it'd "probably" make things worse. Not definitely. Probably.

Well, that's that then! If Barry says it "probably" won't work, there's no point in even trying!

• For a group that's so obsessed with consent, Team Flash doesn't seem to have any trouble violating their little code.

Sherloque translates Nora's journal and reads through her entries— without her consent!

Later on in the hospital, Cecile uses her telepathy to sense the intense hatred in Young Grace's mind— without her consent!

At the end of the episode, Nora acts nervous and fidgety. Cecile gives her a scan and says, "You want to tell us something." Without her consent!

Why, it's almost like they have a moral code until it gets in the way of the plot!

• Late in the episode, Cicada 2.0 hurls her dark matter dagger at Vickie. Nora speeds Vickie through Central City, and the dagger follows closely behind. Cisco (along with Ralph, for some reason) breaches ahead of Nora and Vickie, and opens a portal to get them to safety. The dagger then gets stuck in a brick wall.

Orlin and Grace then have a very long heartfelt talk, in which he tries to convince her to let go of her anger. Note that his speech goes on for at least a minute.

Meanwhile, Cisco and Ralph stand stock still, staring at the dagger stuck in the wall. At no point do either of them even make an attempt at destroying or capturing it. OK, so there's not much a stretchy superhero like Ralph could do, but Cisco could breach the goddamned thing into space or to a dead Earth. Something, anything besides standing slack-jawed as they wait for it to fly away again!

• I'll give the writers credit where it's due— I never in a million years did I think it possible to redeem Orlin Dwyer after all he's done. But seeing the look of anguish in his eyes as his beloved Grace betrayed him was incredibly moving. I actually felt bad for the guy!

That said, I felt Orlin's redemption happened wayyyyyyy too quickly. All season long he's been chewing the scenery as he growled his lines, vowing to kill every meta on Earth. Then suddenly this week he's back to being Good Ol' Uncle Orlin, who only wants what's best for Grace.

As I said, I don't mind his redemption, but I just didn't buy it happening so fast. We needed at least one more episode for his change to be believable.

Now that I think about it, maybe my theory was right! Back in Memorabilia, I posited that Young Grace, who's mind was filled with nothing but hatred, might have been controlling her Uncle Orlin and using him as a tool to wipe out all metas and avenge her parents' death. I said this would explain his cartoonish, over the top behavior.

But then last week Cicada 2.0 appeared, and it looked like my theory was just so much hogwash. But in this episode, it's starting to look like I may have been right after all. Maybe Grace was controlling, or at least influencing Orlin. That would explain his redemption, and why he suddenly started talking like a normal human being again the minute their psychic link was severed!

• You know, it's really too bad Orlin wasn't stabbed ten feet outside a hospital, so that Barry could have zoomed him in to the ER where the doctors could have possibly saved his life. What's that? Oh, he was stabbed ten feet outside a hospital? My bad. I'm sure there was a perfectly good reason why Barry didn't lift a finger to even attempt to save him. Maybe he forgot he has superspeed again.

• I was actually kind of sorry to see Orlin go this week. And right when he was finally starting to become an interesting character instead of a growling, one-note villain.

It's entirely possible they may end up resurrecting him in the season finale. If Team Flash would stop being idiots for five seconds, they could give the meta cure to Young Grace (coma or not). That would change her entire timeline, as she'd never become Cicada 2.0, thus preventing Orlin's murder. 

I have no idea if this is where they're going or not, but it would be a nice way for Orlin and Grace to live happily ever after.

• As I mentioned in the intro, Caitlin's AWOL for the majority of this episode. She finally shows up at the very end to deliver a line or two of expository technobabble. 

This is the first time the entire cast has been on the show in the same scene since... well, heck, probably all season. So far this year they've been playing "Alternating Cast Members," as a character will mysteriously vanish for an episode as another takes their place.

• Once the entire Team's gathered together, Caitlin explains Grace's powers:

Caitlin: "Her powers are incredibly dangerous. I ran some tests while I was at the Tannhauser offsite. Her dark matter has some sort of binding quality. It allows her to telekinetically manipulate dark matter within a certain proximity."
Ralph: "Including the dark matter in us?"
Caitlin: "I think so. I think what makes her powers different from Dwyer's is that they came from a wound in her head. That's why she's so much stronger."

Have we seen a hint of any of that yet? So far it looks like Grace's powers are identical to Orlin's. The only difference I noticed so far is that she can pin metas to a wall with a powerful energy blast. Is that what Caitlin means when she mentions telekinesis?

Also, Caitlin thinks Grace's powers are stronger because they come from her head? Not a very scientific hypothesis, Caity!

• At the end of the episode, Sherloque coldly and clinically outs Nora and reveals she's been working with Thawne all along. This scene was the highlight of the entire episode, and saved it from being a complete washout.

As always, Tom Cavanagh was on fire here, as he relentlessly exposed Nora's duplicity to Team Flash.

Jessica Parker Kennedy was no slouch either, as she was obviously torn between pleading for him to stop, and letting herself be exposed.

And Grant Gustin was excellent as always, as the look of heartache and betrayal in Barry's eyes was heart-rending. In fact everyone knocked it out of the park in this scene. Well done, guys!

• After Nora's betrayal is revealed, a furious Barry zooms her into the STAR Labs Secret Super Jail in the blink of an eye, before she can even react. And she's a speedster too!

Gosh, wouldn't it be amazing if Barry thought to do this with EVERY criminal he encounters in Central City? Instead of playing cat & mouse with them for months, he could just zip 'em into jail in a millionth of a second. Problem solved! Unfortunately this completely logical use of his powers apparently never occurs to him.

 This Week's Best Lines:
Nora: "You said manipulating the timeline would stop Cicada. You said you knew what you were doing!"
Thawne: "I know what I said. I was very wrong."
Nora: "What do we do? What do we do now?"
Thawne: "I can't help you anymore, little runner."
Nora: "What? You have to help me."
Thawne: "It's too late."
Nora: "No. There's gotta be something we can do. You you have to help!"
Thawne: "There is only one thing left to do.Tell your father. You tell your father everything."

Sherloque: "All right. Nora West-Allen, let's see what we have here. Boring. Boring. Boring. Banality. Boring. Boring, Come one. I know you're working with someone, but no names. Clever girl.

Cisco: "Are you sure you want to do this? I mean, this is a big deal. Like, 'Not Penny's Boat" kind of big deal."

(Kamilla nods)
Cisco: "Okay. Kamilla Hwang, you and I are officially 'In A Relationship."
Kamilla: "Social media official!"
(Wow, a LOST reference. What is this, 2005?)

Ralph: "Oh, uh, Cisco? I'm supposed to tell you that Barry wanted to talk to you."

(Cisco glares at him)
Ralph: "Probably could've texted that."
Cisco: "Yeah, probably."
(My favorite thing about this scene— if you watch it with closed captioning on, when Ralph realizes he should have texted, the captioning reads, "IRREVERENT PIZZICATO MUSIC." That way even if you're hearing-impaired, you know it's wacky!)

(Ralph gets Kamilla an interview with Iris, hoping to add her to Team Flash)

Ralph: "I Peter Parkered her."
Cisco: "Dibs, sidebar."
Ralph: "Sidebar?"
Cisco: "Sidebar, now! You have, uh, Peter Parkered her?"
Ralph: "Yeah, I mean, Kamilla is a great photographer and I thought she could start taking some pictures for Iris, and then maybe she'd start to come around STAR Labs. I don't know, if we're lucky, get bitten by something radioactive. Become, like, a Spider-Person."
Cisco: "So, while you thought, did it occur to you that no one asked you to do this?"
Ralph: "You don't think she'd make a good Spider-Person?"
Cisco: "You listen to me and you listen good, you turkey on stilts. It is not your job to get my girlfriend on the team!"
(Man, for some reason they are reeeeeally obsessed with Spider-Man in this episode!)

(At the Fun Center, Barry & Nora suit up to save Vickie's family from Cicada 2.0)

Alice: "It's the Flash! Mom, you got Flash and XS cosplayers for the party?"
Barry: (deciding to go with it) "Yes, I am the Flash! And I love Soccer, do you guys love soccer?"

Ralph: "Need any help with that, uh..."
Cisco: "Nope. 
Unless you came here to break something, in which case you'd be the perfect candidate."

Ralph: "I deserve that. Never should've interfered with Kamilla. Sometimes, I forget how embarrassing I can be."
Cisco: "I'm not embarrassed by you, and I'm not embarrassed by anyone on Team Flash. You guys are my family. You're not the problem. This is the problem."
(He puts on his Vibe glasses)
Cisco: "This is the problem. Kamilla is blissfully unaware of any of the madness that goes on in STAR Labs, or that we routinely save the city from evil metas."
Ralph: "Or that you have a secret identity and dress up in leather and go all pew-pew!"
Cisco: "Especially the leather."

Cisco: "She and I, we got a good thing. And being with somebody has never felt so so easy. And when I'm with her, for once, I just feel like a normal dude, with a normal life and a social-media-official girlfriend, who happens to be a very talented photographer and not a Spider-Person."

Ralph: "That's amazing, man. It really is. And I promise that I will respect that. But I gotta ask, how long do you think you can keep those two worlds separate?"

Ralph: "Look my mom dated this guy, Craig, and Craig was a tax accountant and a freelance bull rider. Never let one world know about the other, and it just tore him up.

More than those bulls ever did."
Cisco: "Mm. I should definitely be working."
Ralph: "Look, the thing is, I get why you're afraid of losing what you have with Kamilla, but if you keep her out of this world it seems to me that you're always gonna be turning off a part of yourself. That's not right. And if Craig hadn't been crushed to death by that huge filing cabinet I know he'd feel the same way."

Orlin: "Grace! Don't do this. Please. This isn't the way to make the world a better place."

Grace: "You hated them. I heard you."
Orlin: "I was wrong. And that hate turned into something even worse. It was wrong to make you feel that way, Gracie. But you don't have to go down the same path I did. You don't have to hold on to this this anger. Let it go."
Grace: "But my parents."
Orlin: "It was an accident. Let it go. Before it's too late, like it is for me."
Grace: "You're right, Uncle Orlin."
(Grace summons her dark matter dagger, which stabs Orlin in the back)
Barry: "No!"
Grace: "It is too late."

(Team Flash gathers in the Cortex. Nora struggles, wanting to tell them about Thawne, but unable to find the words)

Cecille: "You want to tell us something, don't you?"
Sherloque: "She wants to tell you her secret. Right? She doesn't know where to start. Difficult to know where to begin when your secret threatens everything, everyone around you."
Nora: "Sherloque, stop it."
Sherloque: "Maybe start at the beginning. It's a very good place to start. When you first time-traveled. So careful to leave the lightest footprint. Until you suddenly change course and brazenly interfere with the Thinker satellite as it crashed to Earth. I think to myself, 'Nope, nope. This excessive action doesn't make sense.' Until you understand that it wasn't your idea."
Nora: "Please stop."
Sherloque: "Someone instructed you to do it."
Nora: "Stop."
Sherloque: "Someone whose handwriting is in your journal. Someone who wrote, "The timeline is malleable. Same person who's been directing you all this time, making puppets of all of us as he seeks to alter the timeline to suit his own purpose. Eobard Thawne. The Reverse Flash. Your teacher. Your partner. Your secret."
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