Previously on Bomb Girls: Lorna’s still carrying little Baby Mario, Gladys had a spat with her parents (again) and Betty and Kate committed some involuntary manslaughter. You know, like you do.
This week, we open on . . . wait, am I on the right channel? Is this a perfume commercial?
No, I’m watching the right show- Kate’s just having another nightmare about her horrible, horrible father. In which she wears a wedding dress and is running to the sound of bells. Paging Dr. Freud!
She wakes up back in Betty’s room, and immediately wakes up her friend because what if he’s not actually dead? What if he got up and walked away and is even now stalking the city waiting for a moment to strike? What they’re actually on The Walking Dead? Betty agrees to return to the scene of the crime to check things out (ohh, baaaaaaaaaaad idea) but before they can get dressed and go, Gladys comes bursting in handing out Valentines to everyone and excitedly announcing that she and her parents are never ever ever getting back together, so she’s decided to stay in the rooming house! Betty and Kate look about as excited by this as you would be when your hard-partying friend shows up to crash on your couch.
While Gladys makes herself unpopular by hogging the hot water, Lorna’s at the factory being handed a factory worker’s newborn baby. While Edith coos over how great Lorna looks with a kid (ha) Lorna stews anxiously over the factory’s daycare facilities, and Carol shows up with Gladys’s four boxes full of clothes. Carol deserves a medal for this, she really does. Gladys inquires anxiously about how much trouble she’s in, but Carol says that Mrs. Witham just shrugged the disappearing act off by saying that Gladys would be back home as soon as she was faced with a world devoid of room service and free laundry. Well she’s got a point.
In the canteen at lunch- oh god.
Marco and some of the other male factory workers have decided to spice up Valentine’s day a bit by cosplaying as Chippendale dancers and handing out candygrams. Four for you Gladys Witham! You go Gladys Witham! And none for Ivan Buchinski, bye. Vera, meanwhile, has no time for Valentines, because she’s too busy reading in the newspaper how the Allies are totally going to hang on to Singapore. Um. Yeah.
Marco sidles up to Lorna, offering her a Valentine from a “secret admirer.” Marco, you goober. He also wants to know if she’s busy tonight, and yes, she is. Telling her husband about the whole “carrying another man’s child,” deal, MARCO. Marco thinks her inability to abort is a sign that God wants them to be together, but Lorna brushes him off. It would be easier to feel sad about this scene if my eyes didn’t keep going back to Marco’s toga.
Ivan wants to take Betty out for the evening, but she’s hesitant to leave Kate on her own. Well, no problem! He has a buddy who’d be happy to take her out! Betty’s pretty meh on the whole idea, but Kate- who’s loudly insisting at every opportunity that everything’s FINE, TOTALLY FINE- is all for it. Right after they go check on her father’s body. You sure about that whole “fine” thing, Kate?
They head back to the Fire Escape O’ Doom And Surprisingly Deadly Heights, but when Kate yanks the tarp away, zoinks! Pastor Deadly’s body seems to have vanished into thin air. Betty insists that they go to the police, but Kate is just as insistent on not telling anyone what happened. Betty reluctantly agrees.
Gladys and Vera chill out at the factory as their shift ends, chatting about their plans for the evening. Neither has a guy to take them out for Valentine’s, so Gladys suggests they go bowling, rather than looking like a “patriotute.” No, it’s a real word. I was surprised too. Apparently there were girls back in the day who hung out waiting for soldiers on leave to wine and dine them. Doesn’t sound like a bad way to get a meal, but it looks like patriotuting isn’t in Gladys’s future, because James is waiting for her with a bouquet of roses, which she happily accepts. Vera looks on sadly. A million Vera/Gladys unrequited love fanfics spontaneously spring into being, right . . . now.
Down at the Jewel Box that night, Betty and Kate are on their double date, and Kate is even worse at faking heterosexuality than Betty is. Her date can’t get more than three words out of her, but she is happy to hear that Betty remembers her favourite drink. The two exchange a look, and while I know homosexuality wasn’t all that widely known in the 1940s, I can’t believe that Ivan and his buddy are completely blind to the massive eyesex happening right in front of them.
Kate’s happiness is short-lived, though, because she sees- or thinks she sees- Pastor Deadly making his way through the club. Turns out it’s just some guy in a bowler hat, but Kate’s badly rattled, and Betty notices. She makes her excuses to a disappointed Ivan and his plus one, and they make their escape. Ivan and his buddy gaze sadly at each other. You know boys, you do still technically have a date . . .
At the Corbett house, Lorna attempts to butter Bob up with his favourite cake before breaking the news about the Kinda Maybe Sorta Other Guy’s Baby. She tries to keep up the charade of it coming from that one time they had sex, but Bob’s no fool. He slams his hand down on the table and starts yelling about all the times HE could have been out having extramarital sex, ever think of that Lorna? And then he throws her out of “his house.” Oh, really Bob? YOUR house? The one Lorna’s been paying for and cleaning and cooking and keeping for the past twenty years? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Dick.
Meanwhile, at the House of Less Marital But Much More Congenial Relations, James and Gladys pop some champagne after a round of getting, um, “reaccquainted.” Gladys, adorable little homocidal maniac that she is, grabs James gun and starts playing with it, explaining to him how the gun actually goes off. James was not actually aware of any of this, and also just about flunked out of officer’s training. Whoops. Is the army sure they want James and not Gladys?
At the boardinghouse, Kate and Betty are getting ready for bed with some truly hilarious 1940s hair curlers and moisturizer. Betty offers to loan Kate some money so that she can have her old room back, but Kate declines the offer- she’s got money stashed in the family carivan that she can use. She appreciates the offer, though. Kate and Betty are just about to share a Moment, but the ambience is wrecked when a tipsy Gladys and James come stumbling in looking for Gladys’s jacket. James, charmer that he is, scoffs at the idea of Gladys living at the boardinghouse, but Gladys just giggles and hangs off his arm. Kate and Betty both look deeply confused at this display of enthusiastic heterosexuality.
Lorna, who has nowhere to go, wanders the streets looking like Little Orphan Annie until she finally walks back to the factory and spends the night on a bench in the changeroom. I hope Bob’s wheelchair falls down the stairs. In the morning, she wakes up to find Marco in the men’s room, and explains to him that she got kicked out, but she’s still not moving in with him and playing happy family- she’s going up north, to a home for “girls in trouble” and giving the baby up for adoption. She hasn’t got any other choice.
James and Gladys spend the night camping out on the lakeshore, where Gladys is awoken at five in the morning by the sound of a drunk James trying to shoot at targets. James is a weepy drunk, it seems, and sobs out the whole story- he’s a failure at being an officer, he’s a lousy shot, and he’s expected to lead an entire team of soldiers when he doesn’t know jack shit about strategy. Gladys, still dealing with the idea that the armed forces are not actually a lean, mean, Hun-fighting machine, can’t really say anything to that, though she does have to disentangle James’s arms from around her legs so she can go to work.
Kate heads back to the trailer and starts grabbing her things off the shelves, but gets interrupted by yet another bowler-hatted shadow passing by the window. If she gets spooked by every bowler hat, she is in for a rough decade. But it turns out that she’s probably right to be wary of this one, because it belongs to a detective who’s out investigating her father’s death. He compliments her on being the daughter of “a good man of the Lord-” Kate, to her credit, does not laugh in his face the way I probably would have- and asks to bring her down to the station so she can identify her father’s body. She reluctantly agrees.
At the police station, our fears about a Pastor Deadly reappearance are finally put to rest, literally. Kate gives a positive identification and asks to leave, but the detective isn’t done yet. He wants to know why she didn’t call in asking about her father’s disappearance, where he’d been going that night, and what the family’s financial situation was. Kate, awesomely, isn’t having any of that and coldly informs the detective that she’s just lost her father and would like to see a more respectful demeanour, sir. He lets her go, but not until she feeds him a story about the blonde woman he’d been arguing with on the night of his death being a Mrs “Smith” who was angry he hadn’t cures her shingles. “Smith?” “It might’ve been Smythe.” Smooth, Kate.
At the factory, the defeat at Singapore is being announced over the radio when Gladys walks in. Carol, Vera, and the other office girls are shocked, but Gladys isn’t- having seen firsthand how badly prepared the officers are, it’s no wonder they can’t hold the front lines. Mr. Aikens puts the news over the loudspeaker, and the stress of the defeat, plus being thrown out and spending her night on the bench is too much for Lorna, who starts to bleed and nearly collapses. Gladys grabs her and helps her discreetly into the changeroom.
(A brief note before I continue- have any of you ever seen a woman actually allowed to bleed on TV? Generally when I see television run a storyline about miscarriage or getting your period, they’ll show bloodstains on the woman’s clothes or bedsheets. I’ve never seen a show actually show a woman with blood on her legs before.)
In the changeroom, Kate is trying to break the news to Betty that she has to change her name and skip town, again. She’s too much of a risk to Betty here, she explains, and she wants her friend to stay and be happy with Ivan. Ah. Um. Well. Betty tries to say as much- “the thing is-” but before she can, Gladys comes in with a woozy, bleeding Lorna in tow. Lorna insists that she can’t go to the hospital, but she’s bleeding all over the floor, and Kate points out that she could very well hemmorhage to death if she doesn’t see a doctor. Gladys and Betty bundle Lorna into Gladys’s car while Kate stays behind to mop up the blood. She’s getting to be a regular crime scene cleaner.
Gladys helps wheel Lorna into the hospital, where they immediately bump into Sheila, because this just isn’t Lorna’s day. She’s still woozy, rambling anxiously about how she can’t be seen by anyone and how she’s done things she shouldn’t have, so Sheila’s supervisor quickly wheels her into surgery while Gladys stays behind to reassure Sheila.
Out on Patriotute Alley, Vera’s given up on her bowling night, and is on the prowl for some nice Canadian bacon to spend the night with. A soldier names Randall stops by to ask her out, but Vera’s self-esteem problems get the better of her, and she asks why he’d want to take her out when her face looks like ground hamburger. And of course, upon taking a good look at her, Randall only has one question: would she like a steak for dinner?
At the boardinghouse, Betty is recovering from the day she’s had when Ivan shows up, hoping to continue their “date” from the other night. Oh dear. He’s anxious to make sure she likes him, and offers to kiss her “right.” What follows is one of the most awkward onscreen kisses I’ve ever seen that wasn’t being delivered to a mannqeuin or Steve Buscemi. Betty assures him that he did real good, and pats his back awkwardly. That’s what you do when you kiss boys, right?
Over at Randy Randall’s place, Vera sits up in bed and playfully tries his coat and hat on. Randall, already head over heels for her- and really, who wouldn’t be- tells her to check in his pants pocket for a “surprise.” For a second I worried that we were headed for Lewis Pine 2.0, but it’s not that- it’s a pair of silk stockings. He heard the guys saying that that was what women liked, see, and so he figured she might enjoy them. Vera does.
At the hospital, Bob is sitting in the waiting room, waiting on news of Lorna- oh sure, NOW he puts in an appearance- when Edith arrives. She and Bob chat for a few emotionally-charged minutes, and then things go from bad to worse when Marco walks in looking for Lorna, and lets it slip that he went by her house to check on her. Edith excuses herself to head home, and Bob and Marco settle in for the most awkward waiting room talk ever.
Marco attempts to break the silence by assuring Bob that Lorna’s a strong woman, and that’s all the impetus Bob needs to punch Marco in the face and tell him to stay away from “his wife.” Oh, REALLY now? You’re willing to engage in a pissing contest over who has visiting rights to her while she’s in the hospital- thanks in part to YOU- but you’re not willing to let her stay in her own goddamn house? Douche. Bag.
Betty and Ivan are having an awkward tea party when they get a surprise- Kate walks in, shyly wondering if that offer of a room is still on the table. “I was walking around thinking I didn’t have any family left,” she explains, “but then I realized that’s not true.” The family that sleeps together, stays together! Betty pulls Kate into a hug, and Ivan sits at the table seeing his visions of happy sexy times with Betty vanish in a puff of lesbian smoke.
Gladys returns to the hotel room where James is staying, ready to offer words of encouragement before he ships out again. Being brave isn’t about not being scared- it’s about doing what you can, when you can. There’s no way he can really be prepared for going into battle, but he can go knowing that he’s a good person (eh) who’s lived a good life. James accepts this news happily and informs her that he’s paid money so she can live in the hotel instead of the boardinghouse. “Are you telling me what to do?” “You’re damn right I am.” Urk. Gladys seems happy with it though.
At the hospital, Bob is sitting at Lorna’s bedside while Sheila sponges her forehead off. Lorna wakes up and looks anxiously over at her husband, who smiles like he just swallowed a lemon and takes her hand. Aww, they’re a happy family again! Except for the whole adultery thing. And the time Bob told Sheila she wasn’t qualified for medical school. And the time he threw his pregnant wife out of the house at ass-o’clock at night in the middle of February.