Bomb Girls: Season 2, episode 1 “The Quickening” recap
Hello peeps welcome to Season Two of the hit Canadian series Bomb Girls. This is my first go-round trying to recap this series and I’m sure others will do a much better job, but I hope you enjoy it anyway. So let’s get this show on the road shall we? Here we go…
So when we last saw our ladies, the Japanese had just bombed Pearl Harbor, thus causing James (Gladys’ fiancee) to join the Army. Kate returned to her good ole’ bible/daughter thumping Daddy leaving poor Betty heartbroken. Vera worked her way into the office by seducing Mr. Akins. While, Lorna quit her affair with Marco and tried to cover up her pregnancy by sleeping with her passive aggressive and bitter disabled husband Bob.
Season two opens up with Gladys playing poster girl for Witham Foods surrounded by a bunch of bombs. A substantially better looking Vera is drawing stocking seams up her legs (seriously her scars are like non-existant now, but good for her) and my favorite gal Betty getting ready for work giving a quick kiss to her pin up of Kate. Back at Casa de Witham, Rollie Witham is still taking advantage of his daughter this time by using her in his ad campaigns much to Gladys’ chagrin.
On to VicMu (oh how I’ve missed you!). Lorna is busy inspecting the girls before they hit the factory floor while Betty and Gladys talk about her parents and James’ letters. Lorna then announces that there are guests from China and America coming for a visit to the factory. She pulls Betty aside where our favorite blonde assures her that she will make sure that her crew will be in line but unfortunately, Lorna has to discuss other matters with her. Good ole’ Vernon has written a letter to Mr. Akins demanding Betty be sacked for attempting to seduce his daughter Marion. Betty lies (not very convincingly) about not knowing anything and thankfully she’s talking to Lorna who of course knows she’s lying through her teeth, but doesn’t really care because she’d trade 10,000 Kate Andrews for one more Betty McRae.
Next scene is Akins taking the Chinese visitors around the floor where Betty and Gladys explain the bomb making process to them. Meanwhile, Lorna looks on and gets an unpleasant visit from Marco who snides her for disobeying the rules about a pregnant woman working the floor and then chastises her again for refusing to admit that the baby is his (nice to know you haven’t changed Marco). Up in the office Jesse Owens a.k.a. Carol gets Akins attention. It’s an urgent call from the Air Force. Before we know it, air raid sirens are going off and the factory is being evacuated. In the tunnels, Gladys gets pally with one of the American interpreters, Marco and Lorna share a glance, when suddenly a loud bang scares the crowd. But it’s just the train (loaded with tons of explosives) moves away from the station. (I forgot to mention during this whole bit, we get our first introduction to Ivan and for those of you that saw the S2 promo know that this is the guy that our girl Betty is going to get VERY pally with.) The entire scene is packed with intense emotion. Some of the girls are praying and the look of fear crosses everyone’s face as you hear the engine of a plane getting closer and closer then zoom past. The phone rings and it was just a false alarm. Lorna instructs everyone to return to their jobs. Back in the office, the Chinese visitors meet with Akins. Carol is about to serve them tea when Vera tries to help, but Carol tells her that her looks may blow this deal for the factory and we get a sad reminder that this is a show set in the 1940’s with all it’s wonderful gender politics.
Meanwhile in the canteen, Betty and Gladys are on a tea break. Gladys’ comments on Betty looking shaken up, but Betty insists she just tired. Apparently she’s been taking long walks at night. Gladys assumes that Betty’s been out looking for Kate, but she says no (again unconvincingly). Gladys say that she worries about Kate too, but their conversation is interrupted by one of the other workers that noticed Betty and Ivan getting chummy in the tunnels earlier and demands to know if Betts is going to make a move on Ivan. Gladys, knowing full well that Betty has very little interest in the opposite sex, chimes in and says that there’s no way that she’s interested. But because this is the 1940’s and having only just been confronted with Vernon’s letter earlier and the prospect of other’s thinking her a “deviant freak,” Betty embraces the time-honored tradition of closeted-lesbians everywhere and says hell yes she’s interested in Ivan. In the meantime I just shake my head and giggle at the idea of Betty ever being seriously interested in a man (good Lord I hope I am not wrong about this). Anyway, as the ladies walk past Lorna she overhears one of them talking about the rumor of Gladys being pregnant and how she probably went to Chestnut Street to take care of it. You can practically see the lightbulb go on over Lorna’s head with a thought bubble saying “Oooo a backalley abortion? Now there’s a solution!”
It’s quittin’ time and Gladys finishes up a phone call with the Red Cross about helping raise money for prisoners of war. She catches sight of Betty and asks if she wants to help her by hitting up some of the patrons at the local dance hall, The Jewel Box. Betty agrees because she’s going to be there anyway. Seems our little firecracker is wasting no time in affirming her heterosexuality to the gossip mill that is VicMu and has already lined up a date with Ivan. Gladys asks if it’s a holding hands and kissing sort of date and Betty says yup. But wants to makes sure Gladys sticks around in case she needs a quick getaway. Honestly if this scene was with any two other actresses than Ali Liebert and Jodi Balfour, I’d probably be spitting bullets but the look on Jodi’s face is priceless. Again insert a thought bubble and it would read: “Bitch please, who you kiddin.”
Over at the happiest place on Earth, otherwise known as the Corbett residence, Bob is giving lessons on how to be an insensitive jackass when their daughter exclaims how excited she is that she may actually be able to get into med school. But little storm cloud Bob has to crap all over it by saying the only reason she has a possibility is because all the men are at war. Yup, you’re a charmer Bob. But the real reason he’s being a jackass is because he knows Lorna’s pregnant and that there is no way it’s his. Lorna denies it, but Bob clearly doesn’t believe her.
Flash to The Jewel Box and it’s one of my favorite tunes from the 40’s. Boogie Woogie Buggle Boy. Sadly the singer is not as vivacious as The Andrew Sisters or as entertaining as Bette Midler, but the crowd is jitterbugging away. Meanwhile Ivan and Betty are bonding over hockey. Clue one that you are talking to a lesbian Ivan: she likes sports. Clue two: she’s swigging beer and belched. Seriously watching the start of this date was like watching two dudes at a sports bar.
Back at Lorna’s, Vera makes a surprise visit asking for her old job back on the line. Clearly Carol’s jabs about her looks got to her. (Sometimes I just want to hug Vera so badly!) Lorna, being Lorna props Vera up telling her how valuable she is, but then shifts the conversation over to what she overheard at tea. Lorna wants to check out this Chestnut Street business for herself saying that there is another girl in the same predicament. Vera wants to go with her because it’s not exactly the safest of areas.
At The Jewel Box, Betty and Gladys are on stage asking for donations to the Red Cross and the crowd graciously starts filling their buckets.
Over on Chestnut Street, Vera knocks on a door and is greeted by a little girl. A woman quickly comes to the door and tells Lorna and Vera to come inside.
Well it seems that all those donations didn’t amount to much. Disappointed the girls huff back to their booth where Ivan offers to buy them a drink. He heads to the bar and Betty says that she’s actually having a good time. Gladys knows she’s full of it and calls her on it. (I officially love Gladys Witham) Betty, even though she knows it’s crap rebuts and a part of me cried knowing that this mindset of fear and self-loathing kept and continues to keep people from being who they really are : “This is what girls do. They date boys. And they don’t get arrested, and they keep their jobs, and they don’t they have the whole bloody world thinking they are deviant freaks!” (and at this moment I just wanted to hand Ali Liebert an Oscar cause she killed it) Gladys knows she’s crossed a line, but Betty won’t even let her finish her next sentence. Ivan arrives with their drinks but instead of sticking around Betty knocks back her drink and practically drags Ivan out the door as she leaves. Gladys is crestfallen until the handsome interpreter whose name I forgot to mention I think is Kai Lo (?) magically appears and she’s nothing but smiles again as he asks her to dance.
Back on Chestnut Street, the matron of the house is going over homemade remedies to bring on a miscarriage, but she’s insisting on meeting the pregnant girl as she doesn’t take chances with women’s health. Lorna of course is trying to avoid having to say it’s her with Vera there so they leave. But Vera is no dummy, she knows “the girl” is Lorna. Vera having clearly visited this woman before tells Lorna what to expect. (This was actually a very moving scene. Again great performances by Meg Tilly and Anastasia Phillips.)
At The Jewel Box, Kai and Gladys are slowly gliding around the floor. They talk about dancing, but the conversation quickly shifts to the Japanese POW camps and fear takes over Gladys’ mind as she can only hope that her beloved James doesn’t end up in one.
Now its over to the halls of the rooming house and all it’s fond and heartbreaking memories. Two ladies walk past Betty’s door. Exclaiming that she has a man in her room, then walking off sneering and whispering. Inside, Ivan asks he’s supposed to be in there (and a million lesbians scream ‘no you don’t now get the fuck out!’). Betty knocks back a big glass of whiskey for courage, which Ivan comments about, then goes for it. (I knew this was coming, so I just chuckled at this train wreck.) Betty drags him to the bed, but it turns out that Ivan isn’t a douche bag. He knows they’ve been drinking and doesn’t want to take advantage of her. (I was prepared to dislike him, but so far, dude is scoring points.) He kisses her on the forehead and excuses himself. Betty falls back on the bed knowing she just made a complete ass out of herself.
The next morning Gladys is sharing coffee with her parents discussing her failed fundraising attempts. She convinces them to let her hold a fundraising event and invite all her parents A-list friends knowing that the PR will help promote Witham Foods current marketing campaign. In the VicMu locker room Gladys gets a group of the blue shift girls to come to the party in their coveralls so her parents society friends can see what she and other women like her do to support the war effort. The girls arrive to the Witham Estate and are immediately taken back by the all the glitz and glamour. Carol shows up just in time to be a snobby bitch and sneers at them for not using the back entrance.
Missing from this merry band of blue shift girls is Betty who is running down an alley trying to catch a taxi when she hears a familiar singing voice floating in the air. She stops frozen hoping beyond hope that the voice she hears is real. It is. “Kate.” She whispers and turns to follow the voice. A crowd has gathered around Kate as she sings and Betty is able to keep out of sight, as that oh so familiar smirk turns the corner of her mouth. But as soon as her song is over she begins preaching to the crowd with the same ferocity and cantor as her father. Betty’s face turns from elation to disgust, but she has not gone unseen. Vernon walks up and immediately lays into her. Ignoring his insult, Betty is quick to jump to Kate’s defence and demands to know what he’s done to Kate. “I’ve brought her back to the grace of God.” He replies. “There’s no God here mister.” Betty fires back. Kate asks Betty to leave, but she needs to be heard. She says that what Vernon wrote in his letter wasn’t true and that she has a boyfriend. Kate looks confused and asks what letter, Vernon says nothing, but Betty continues that he’s trying to ruin her, which of course he can’t help be chime in and preach that she was on her way to ruin anyway. Betty tells Vernon to shut up and ends his mini sermon by shoving Betty back from him and his daughter. Betty has certainly toughened up since their last meeting and she threatens to kill him if he touches her again, which he takes seriously and calls for a policeman. Kate pleads for Betty to leave before they both get hurt. With Kate screaming at her to go, Betty turns and runs away.
Back at the Witham Estate, Edith is wondering to Gladys’ whereabouts when she walks down the winding stairway in an elegant evening gown that her mother forced her to wear in exchange for the VicMu girls. Kai Lo enters taken back by the large marketing poster for the recent Witham Foods ad campaign. Once again her parents have taken Gladys’ good intentions and twisted them to serve their own means by making the party ALL about the marketing campaign taking the focus away from the VicMu girls and supporting the war effort.
Meanwhile, Lorna is being examined by abortionist and gets her tea.
Betty shows up to the party and immediately gets accosted by Carol, but Betty, having none of it, replies, “Shove it powder puff!” Leaving Carol with her with her mouth agape as she walks past. Betty’s on a mission, she needs Gladys. She hopes that she will be able to talk some sense into Kate, but Gladys can’t leave. Betty begs for her help knowing they don’t have much time before Kate is long gone again, but again Gladys needs to stay and says the last thing Betty wants to hear. Betty takes one look at the giant ad campaign poster of Gladys, gets the wrong impression and leaves feeling rejected, helpless and abandoned by her friend.
Next, Lorna pays a visit to Marco and tells him that she can’t keep the baby. He doesn’t understand why she’s there then if it’s her decision. He walks up to her, they kiss and dance together in his kitchen. (I go back and forth between wanting them together and not).
Back at the party people are having fun taking snaps with the VicMu girls like they’re costumed characters at Disneyland. Gladys works out that the only reason that her parents agreed on the party is so they could pitch to the Red Cross to let Witham Foods be their supplier. It’s time for Gladys to give a speech that her father gave her, but I’m paying very little attention because I’m expecting at any moment for Bo to walk in with the Charufe’s charred skull in her hand. I know wrong show but that’s what happens when you use the same location to shoot in. There is bound to be some crossover. Anyway, Gladys says fuck all to Rollie’s speech and uses her own voice. She tells the crowd how much money they’ve raised and that $3,000 of it has come from Witham Foods, but not letting her parents have the last word, she specifically states that the funds will be used for medical supplies not the food that was to be provide by the new lucrative contract with Witham’s. (That Gladys is a smart one)
Over at a trashcan fire in an alley, Vernon is complementing Kate for standing up to Betty. (And I check my pulse because in my life I never thought I’d hear him actually pay his daughter a comment.) Looks like Kate’s Mom is in a sanatorium trying to recover her strength and her brothers are with her aunt so it’s just the two of them. As Vernon heads off to get some more firewood, Betty shows up and once again pleads to let her help Kate. But before she answers Vernon comes barreling towards them. Kate starts putting two and two together about her mother, but it turns out that it’s worse than she thought. Her mother isn’t sick. She’s been dead for months and Vernon lied to her to just to get her to leave. Kate finally stands up to her father and they start to row. Betty jumps in trying to get Vernon to come after her, which he does. He chases Betty up a metal stairway with Kate yelling at her father’s heels to stop. Kate tries to pull her father off Betty but to no avail, finally gaining some leverage they both manage to push Vernon away and accidentally, over the railing. Betty rushes to Vernon’s side, but Kate tells her to stop, he’s dead. Betty wants to go to the police saying that it’s the right thing and that they owe him that, but Kate’s heart has been hardened. She says that they don’t owe him a thing, grabs a blanket covers him up and the two girls flee the scene.
Next, we see Lorna sitting alone in her kitchen contemplating her choices, when she feels the baby move.
Back at the rooming house Gladys walks down the hallway and hesitantly knocks on Betty’s door. Gladys peeks her head in to find Betty sitting on the bed. She apologizes and agrees to help her find Kate. Betty turns her head as Gladys fully opens the door to see Kate standing there. She hugs her friend, unaware of the awkward tension in the room. As both girls are still shaken by what they have just done.
Billie Holiday plays in the background as we shift to Marco drinking away his sorrows in his kitchen, to Lorna who pushes the tea bag off her table into the trash and finally to the three girls lying on Betty’s bed sharing a cigarette contemplating what their future holds. The end.
So what did you think of the season two premiere?
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- wicked-witch-of-the-midwest said: The name of Bob and Lorna’s daughter is Sheila though, not Beth.
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