Bomb Girls – 2.03 – The Enemy Within

Everyone on the party bus!

Everyone on the party bus!

Previously on Bomb Girls: way back in season one, Kate struck up a friendship with a club singer named Leon. Lorna lost the baby and reconciled with her husband and I guess we’re supposed to be happy about it. Marco’s dad is in an internment camp.

At VicMu, Betty, Vera, and Gladys have built their own party bus and are rolling through the gates handing out recruitment leaflets and chanting “Do your best and join the rest! Women to the factories, men to the front! Don’t be Hitler’s helper!” Well it’s no “I see London, I see France” but I guess all the ditty writers are overseas. Gladys jogs up to Marco and offers him a flyer, but he’s cranky because the recruitment office won’t take him and blows her off. Gladys is SHOCKED, absolutely SHOCKED that his father’s been interned, and immediately starts cooking up a plan to get him released. And as we all know, Gladys’s plans never backfire on her.

Ruh-roh.

Ruh-roh.

At Casa Corbett, Lorna’s packing up a picnic basket for an after-work seminar at the factory intended to teach the workers how to cook with limited rations. This week they’re leaning to make ground cow tongue! Mmm, that tastes like patriotism. Bob, sitting at the kitchen table painting toy soldiers, grumps that he doesn’t know what the world’s come to when you have to TEACH women how to work in the kitchen. Bob, believe me when I say from the bottom of my heart, cram it.

Also, it’s apparently been two months since the untimely demise of Baby Corbetti. Damn, show; if you keep going at this rate, you’re going to run out of war to cover.

At the factory, Kate comes stumbling into work late, having spent the previous night partying hard down at the Jewel Box, celebrating the Maple Leafs’ victory over the . . . uh . . . I gotta be honest with you guys, I know nothing about hockey history. All you really need to know is that the Leafs haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1967, so Leafs fans all across Canada were presumably watching this episode and crying into their Molson’s.

Lorna isn’t terribly fussed about the Stanley Cup, though- she’s more concerned about the fact that Kate can barely hold a teaspoon steady, and tells Betty to keep Kate off the production line until she gets her shit together. Probably a good plan- we all know what happens when Kate’s upset. (Metaphorically, not literally. Although can you imagine how great it would be if Kate could literally vapourize people she was mad at? Vernon would have been nothing but a smoking hole in the pavement.)

YOU WOULDN'T LIKE ME WHEN I'M ANGRY

YOU WOULDN’T LIKE ME WHEN I’M ANGRY

Down in the storeroom, Kate is busy hocking back some Jack Daniels, when an old friend arrives. It’s Leon! Oh thank god, I thought it might have been Exhaust Pipe from last season. Leon’s here to offer her condolences on her mother’s death (her father’s remains unremarked-upon, which is probably for the best) and tries to cajole her into singing “Lonesome Valley” with her again, but no dice. Singing Kate was the old Kate. New Kate does not sing. She waits.

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And drinks.

At the cooking seminar, Lorna attempts to demonstrate the benefits of grinding up cow tongue to make meatloaf, with less than positive results.

No commet.

No commet.

No one really wants to eat at what looks like Sweeney Todd’s Ration Restaurant, and so everyone takes off after about five minutes. Mr Aikens isn’t too impressed either, and suggests that Lorna teach tap dance instead. Yeah, let’s defeat Germany by engaging in a dance-off! Winner gets to go on American Idol!

In a cut that I’m sure was intentional, we see Gladys and her dad hanging out at a fancy restaurant eating meat that does not look anything like ground tongue. Gladys, being Gladys, is expounding passionately on the plight of interned Italians, and there comes a bit of dialogue that’s so on-the-nose that I have to quote it directly:

Gladys: The Italians are bering targeted!
Rollie: No they’re not! We’ve interned the Germans, Japanese, Ukranians . . .

Haaaaa.

Gladys wants her dad to put in a call to his brother who works in the Ministry of Defence (of course he does) to request a hearing for Mr. Moretti. Rollie doesn’t want to, but Gladys makes Bambi eyes at him, and he caves on the condition that she come to her mother’s birthday dinner.

At the bar, Betty, Ivan, Kate, and Ivan’s buddy Buster are hanging out listening to the hockey game on the radio. The Leafs win, and Betty and Ivan jump up and down hugging while Kate awkwardly high-fives her date. Because, we we’ve established, Kate is even worse at pretending to be straight than Betty “Backpat” McRae.

This is what you do with boys, right?

This is what you do with boys, right?

Ivan decides that now is the time for victory makeouts, so Betty awkwardly tries to brush him off. Ivan turns on the sad puppy face and asks if he’s ever gonna get any. Ha. Um. Well. Betty makes an awkward joke about Hitler and the Maple Leafs and this whole scene is so teeth-itchingly uncomfortable, I have to skip ahead.

Gladys shows up at Marco’s place to break the good news about the hearing, but Marco isn’t nearly as pleased as she is, because the internment camp is a day’s drive away, he has no car, and his dad has no lawyer. But . . . Gladys has a car, no? They can go on a roadtrip! Gladys isn’t so sure, but who can resist Mama Moretti’s face? Or her spaghetti sauce?

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The next morning at the boardinghouse, Betty is performing the time-honoured friend duty of scraping Kate’s hungover carcass off the couch. Apparently she didn’t make it to the bed the night before. Oof. Kate goes on the defensive about “having a good time,” but eventually coughs up the fact that she’s drinking to “forget things I don’t want to remember.” Huh. She and Bob could start a Terrible Coping Mechanisms Club. Betty recognizes a losing battle when she sees one, and sends Kate off to the bathroom to wash her face. Would you two just get married already?

At the factory, Vera is clipping on earrings in the office when Lorna stops by to chastise her for skipping out on the cooking seminar. Vera tells her what the rest of us already know- that nobody wants to learn how to grind cow tongue, and in the midst of a war, people want something to take their mind off rations and bombs. In fact, she’s giving a makeup seminar to that end that very afternoon! The look Lorna gives her could peel wallpaper.

I will end you.

I will end you.

Gladys, Marco, and Marco’s mom are roadtripping up to Petawawa (the internment camp,) but Mama Moretti insists that they stop for lunch and pasta before they move on. There’s probably something important happening in this scene, but all it does is remind me that it’s April on the show and January where I am.

The view from my TV.

The view from my TV.

The view from my window.

The view from my window.

Bob- remember him? Yeah, me too. Sigh- is at the job office hoping to pick up something to do since he’s bored with sitting around at home all day and he’s run out of lead to make toy soldiers with. Well, if it gets him out of the house (and Lorna’s hair) I guess. The job . . . secretary . . . whatever it is this guy does asks what Bob’s last job was, and Bob clarifies that he hasn’t had a job since the start of the war. The first war. Uhh. On the one hand, yeah, it probably wasn’t easy for disabled people to find work in those years. On the other, this just makes Bob throwing Lorna out of “his” house last week all the more egregious. Tell me again how much you contribute to the rent, Bob?

At VicMu, Leon stops Betty on her way out to ask her about Kate. Leon, like anyone with eyes, can see that something isn’t right with her, and he wants to know if Betty will bring Kate to his church on Sunday. Betty will do no such thing, because she’s handling Kate’s budding alcoholism and massive PTSD just FINE, you hear? Well that was productive.

Gladys and the Morettis are still booking it through the countryside, though the editors presumably cut the 99 Bottles of Beer On The Wall singalong. They pull up to the internment camp, and the guards aren’t impressed at all when Gladys tries to flash her uncle’s credentials in order to get in. They let her through, though, because her father the inventor of toaster strudel would be very unhappy to hear about her getting turned away. “It’s like we’re not even in Canada anymore,” Gladys says, outraged. Oh Gladys. You naive sophisticated newborn baby. You are still in Canada. That’s the problem.

At the seminar, Vera is showing the factory girls how to put makeup on on a budget, namely by putting lemon juice in your cold cream and Vaseline to your lipstick. Uh . . . if it works for you. Vera clearly has a future as an Avon Lady though, and Lorna doesn’t seem to mind being her model. It helps that Meg Tilly is gorgeous.

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Marco’s dad is brought into the meeting room internment camp and goes to hug his wife, and I may have teared up a bit, okay? I’M NOT MADE OF STONE. The camp guard effectively destroys any sense of happiness, though, by insisting that they can’t touch or speak in any language other than English. Well that’s conducive to them actually having a conversation. Jackass. So of course they can barely talk, and things get really awkward when Chiro (I think that’s his name? I don’t have subtitles, so correct me if I’m wrong) asks after the family business, which failed after he was sent to the camp, so Giuletta and Gladys go to sit in the waiting room while Marco talks with his dad about the upcoming hearing. Chiro is offended at the idea that he decry Mussolini when he’s brought jobs and food to so many Italians [insert joke about train schedules here] and when Marco realized they’re being eavesdropped on, all hell breaks loose. The guards knock Marco down with a baton and drag him off, Chiro starts hailing Il Duce (awkward) and when Gladys protests, she and Giuletta get tossed in a cell for the evening as well. See? No downside to this plan at all!

Lorna gets home after the makeup seminar and finds a headachey Bob grumping about the fact that no one at the scrap metal yard would hire him. Lorna suggests that he buy the newsstand that just went up for sale, but Bob is OFFENDED at the idea of being “a cripple on a street corner.” Well don’t complain about not being able to find work and then turn it down when it’s offered, Bob. That may be my arts degree speaking, though.

Betty and Ivan have gone parking by the waterfront, and with the Maple Leafs game over, the talk turns to sex. Ughhh. I don’t want to recap this scene in detail except to say that they end up horitonzal and I am so, so glad that they cut away after that point.

Vera’s picked up another solider boy, who has an even worse hat that Gladys and Kate’s combined, and takes him back to her place for a little patriotic reinforcement. After they’re done saluting the troops, he offers her a slip, and then lets it slip that he has no plans to ever let himself get deployed overseas, and Vera’s not having any of that. He angrily accuses her of having no more integrity than he does, but she retorts that she’s the one of the two of them who can walk out of that room with her head held high. I’m just surprised she expected any kind of dignity out of a guy dressed like this.

"Hi, I'm Private Boyd, and I'm a member of the Pancake Corps."

“Hi, I’m Private Tam O’Shanter, and I’m a member of the Pancake Corps.”

Gladys and Giuletta get woken up at the internment camp by the guard, who tells them that someone put in a call and they’re being sent home, sans Marco. Gladys angrily demands her phone call, but the guard shuts her up by threatening to intern Giuletta as well. So basically, they went to the camp to pick someone up and ended up leaving someone behind. I’d call this mission a success. Okay, so thr guards let a considerably battered Marco out after “questioning” him, but I’m pretty sure Chiro’s hearing is a fading dream at this point.

At the boardinghouse, Kate is staring at herself in the mirror, wondering if New Kate really suits her. Betty walks in in her lingerie (what? You don’t walk around in your underwear around your best friends?) and tells Kate to put her clothes on and come with her. They’re going to church!

At Leon’s church, Kate looks about as excited to see a crucifix as you’d expect, but them something unexpected happens. Leon’s church is nothing like Pastor Rowley’s- he’s not here to tell them that they’re going to hell. His God doesn’t care if you’re gay, or an adulteress, or threw your father over a fire escape. Leon’s God just wants to love you.

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I kid, but it actually is a genuinely moving scene. And Betty- who hasn’t heard anyone accept her unconditionally for who she is for a long, long time- is moved nearly to tears. Kate can’t handle it, and runs out, but Betty stays in her seat until the benediction is over before going to find her.

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Betty isn’t the only one finding herself, apparently, because we cut to Bob opening the newsstand. Apparently he decided to buy it after all. Sigh. Writers, I know Peter Outerbridge is your highest rated star aside from Meg Tilly, but is anyone really tuning into Bomb Girls to watch Bob’s journey towards running a small business? I don’t think so.

Back at the church, Betty finds Kate sitting on the sidewalk outside and suggests to her that maybe they could come back next Sunday. Kate’s not interested. Betty might have found God, but New Kate doesn’t consider herself a “child of God,” because a real child of God would mourn her father instead of being glad he’s dead. I dunno, I feel like God breathed a sigh of relief over that one. Also, if Kate isn’t a child of God, what is she exactly?

"Vapourize this, motherfucker."

“Vapourize this, motherfucker.”

When Betty arrives back at the boardinghouse, Ivan is there waiting to go out and party. Betty has something to say to him, though. Leon’s sermon left a big impression, and what she got out of it most of all is that she needs to “follow her heart-” and it doesn’t lead to him. Ivan, hurt, storms out. Oh Ivan. It’s not you, it’s your penis.

Gladys meets up with her mom and dad for lunch, because she figures that while they might be pains in the ass, at least they’re not in internment camps. She thanks her dad for calling the camp and making them let her go, but he’s baffled- he didn’t even know she was there. Betting pool on Gladys’s mom being the one to call starts now, by the way.

Lorna is wheeling Bob home from work when they hear a familiar whistling noise and look up. One of their sons, Eugene, is on leave and shows up to greet them with the news that he’s been made a sergeant. Lorna’s ecstatic, and I was afraid for a moment that Bob would be a dick about the whole thing, but he softens up and gives his kid a hug. Aww. I . . . guess.

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  • Amanda

    That picture of your view from your window reminds me of my view from my dorm room window last year. I was right behind the garbage and recycling center. It’s freezing out here to.

  • Katie

    The Leafs win, and Betty and Ivan jump up and down hugging while Kate awkwardly high-fives her date. Because, we we’ve established, Kate is even worse at pretending to be straight than Betty “Backpat” McRae.

    That had me in stitches. I love these recaps!

  • Dawn

    Excellent review as usual.

    I do find it odd that you’re willing to acknowledge Kate’s PTSD and not Bob Corbett’s. He clearly has some PTSD related issues (you know, besides being a grouchy old lump).

    The scene in the car made me personally very uncomfortable. The audience can see how uncomfortable Betty is in the situation, how she’s pushing Ivan’s hands away and whatnot, but he basically pleads and guilts her into it. Ugh. For a “nice” guy, he’s certainly misreading her signals.

    • Dawn- absolutely Bob has PTSD and that affects the way he deals with Lorna and Sheila. The problem is, he the women in his life to act according to his rules and his ideas of how the world should work while offering them no emotional support or putting any effort into his relationship with them. That has nothing to do with his PTSD and everything to do with him being a jerk.