Previously on Bomb Girls: Kate and Betty hashed out the big gay elephant in the room (or didn’t), Betty finally got laid, being an Italian immigrant in WWII Canada sucks, and James finally went to the great big claphouse in the sky. Literally.
Gladys and her parents travel down to Massachusetts for James’s funeral- or his sort of honorary funeral, I guess, since I don’t imagine they had much of a body left after the bombs hit. Gladys, wearing her finest black pancake hat for the occasion, offers condolences to James’s mother, who only snipes that if James hadn’t signed up to impress his fiancé, maybe he’d still be alive. Uh, maybe he’d be alive if the Germans hadn’t dropped those bombs, Mrs. Dunn. Ever think of that?
Lorna and Bob (well, Lorna) are trying to get a phone installed in their house, but the city denied their request. Bob doesn’t really care (“newfangled luxury! Harrumph, kids these days, etc”) because he’s too busy listening to the radio and wondering if the war is about to end now that Canadian troops have landed at . . . Dieppe. Oh noooooooo. Also, their son Stanley (not Eugene, the one who was having a PTSD breakdown when last we saw him) is probably landing there with his unit.
Betty and Kate are harvesting a victory garden, having apparently settled- or ignored- their fight from the last episode. Betty looks very fetching in that kerchief, by the way.
Another one of the factory girls, Pearl, arrives with a wireless radio, and when Kate realizes the time, and dashes off to meet Ivan. He “likes her looking like a farmer’s daughter,” apparently. Ivan, please buy a blowup doll and dress it like Heidi so we can all be over this shit.
Apparently we’re now several months past James’s death, because Carol is sufficiently worried to actually descend to the factory floor and ask Betty and Kate to go visit their old friend. See, Gladys doesn’t leave the house or do anything except spend time with her mother, and I think we can all agree that Adele is not the best influence on this situation one could hope for. “You’re such a good team!” Carol gushes at Kate and Betty. Ha. Ha ha ha.
In the VicMu office, some guy shows up to install another telephone, and Lorna pounces on her chance. Would he like to visit her house, maybe? Stay for dinner? She makes steak! Damn Lorna, you got moves. The telephone guy thinks so too, because he agrees to stop by.
Meanwhile, Mr. Aikens is up in Vera’s business because the army is sending some soldiers to the factory to . . . I don’t know, do soldier stuff. Vera’s more concerned about a disparity in the financial records- it seems the blue shift has been ordering more TNT than they need, but the spare supplies are missing. “Hmm” says Mr. Aikens.
Marco, Leon, and Kate’s ex Buster are working in the basement when Mr. Aikens comes stomping down to tell them that a secretary noticed the missing TNT, so they better explain themselves. Marco suspiciously asks which secretary called this to attention, but Mr. Aikens tells him to mind his own beeswax. Nice going, Mr. Aikens. Did you really think it wouldn’t occur to anyone to ask who told? Anyway, his suspicions are on Marco and Leon (of course they are) but they both deny knowing anything, and without evidence, there’s nothing for Mr. Aikens to do but stomp off.
Betty and Kate are preparing to take their victory garden food to Gladys’s house as a hostess gift- Carol’s throwing a tea party, which will in no way end in hair-pulling and/or raised voices- when an unexpected visitor shows up at the boarding house.
Betty can barely contain her excitement at the fact that she’s about to get laid again, while Kate is more reserved, probably because she’s trying to stomp down on her latent lesbianism as hard as possible. Betty promptly ditches the tea to hang out with Teresa- wise decision, Betty- and when Kate reminds her that they promised, she just repeats what Kate said earlier about hanging out with Ivan. Ouch. Guess they haven’t really resolved that fight.
Carol greets Kate and Vera with what Vera accurately describes as “a military strategy-“ no talking about the factory, no mentioning the military, and for the love of God, don’t mention James. Gladys and her mother come wandering out onto the lawn Gladys is dressed in black and looking thoroughly mopey, and Adele has clearly been hitting the rum. Carol desperately tries to steer the conversation towards the local theatre scene and fashion magazines, but Gladys is still moping and Adele goes on a drunken rant about Gladys not forgiving herself and turning into a mini-me and wanders off. Gladys explains that her mom’s been kind of off (read: drunk) since Gladys’s older brother died- oh hey, callback! They haven’t mentioned him since the pilot!- and wanders off as well.
Inside, there’s an even more unpleasant surprise waiting for Gladys: one of James’s army buddies is here from Massachusettes, with a message from Mrs. Dunn: hand over James’s car. Gladys is at the end of her admittedly short rope, and screams at him to get the fuck out of her house. Kate and Vera, witnessing this, decides that there’s only one way to cheer her up: they’re going barhopping!
At Marco’s place, one of his Italian buddies- possibly the one who sold him the illegal fireworks, I’m not sure- stops by to say hello to Mrs. Moretti, and Marco pulls him aside to ask if he’s been fencing TNT to his mafia buddies, because of course he’s in the mafia. He insists he knows nothing, but promises to keep an ear out, and Mrs. Moretti hands him a giant . . . something to take home to his momma.
(The joke is that it looks like a penis. It’s okay, it’s a really terrible joke.)
Betty and Teresa are chilling out in Betty’s room, eating strawberries and sharing thinly-veilled sexual metaphors. Betty complains that her walls are thin and her neighbours are nosy, but that doesn’t stop her from tackling Teresa on to the bed and making out with her. I’m glad someone’s getting some.
Gladys, Kate, Vera, and- ugh- Ivan are hanging out at the Jewel Box, while Kate encourages Gladys to start drinking and dating away her problems. It’s worked so well for her! Vera counsels her to let go of her guilt over cheating on James. Falling out of love happens, she points out, and it’s not why James died. Vera needs to set up a Lucy Ven Pelt-style advice booth.
Ivan takes “Katie” (????) out on the dance floor and starts asking nosy questions about her family. Kate brushes him off by saying that her mom died of TB and her dad had “a bad fall.” Ah yes. Never forget:
Ivan keeps pushing, and eventually she admits that she still has two younger brothers who live up in North Bay. Ivan promptly decides that she needs to invite them down to Toronto, and they can all play happy family together, apparently not noticing how she winces at the suggestion. Then again, this dude had sex with a lesbian without realizing that she wasn’t into him; gauging other peoples’ feelings is really not his strong suit.
By now it’s become pretty obvious that the Dieppe raid was not actually all that much of a success, and Lorna and Bob are sitting in the kitchen listening to the list of casualties. (Side note: I’d be really interested to know if these are actually casualty lists from 1942.) Hearing one of Stanley’s schoolmates and fellow soldiers on the wounded list confirms to Bob that his regiment was probably in the thick of it. And they still haven’t heard from him.
Vera tells Gladys all about the case of the missing TNT and how Marco’s really pissed at her for what he sees as ratting him out. Gladys, slightly tipsy and never one to back down from a confrontation, drags Vera over to the bar where Marco is so that she can hash it out with him. Marco doesn’t want to hear it, and then his maybe-mafia buddy shows up and starts hitting on Vera and it all goes sliding downhill.
Betty comes striding into work the next morning as a dozen trumpet players begin “I Just Had Sex” to usher her in. Everyone is dressed to the nines and all aflutter because they heard that SOLDIERS are gonna come and help out at the factory. And so they are, but . . . not quite the type they were expecting.
Teresa introduces herself as “Teresa Hill” to Lorna, crushing every fanon theory about her surname being Bond. Lorna hands them off to Betty, who says she’ll “show them where to change.” Yeah, I bet you will.
Vera gets a heavy breathing phone call telling her that a truck with stolen supplies will be leaving the factory at two that afternoon, while Carol comes down to the floor to inform Lorna that Bob is on the phone for her. Lorna grabs the phone, and it’s not as bad as it could be, but it’s still pretty bad: Stanley’s been listed as missing in action. Betty sidles in while she’s talking, and offers an awkward side hug when she hangs up.
Back at the House of Drinky Mourning, Gladys calls James’s soldier back to apologize for yelling at him and give him the keys. He accepts both graciously, and tells her how James used to gush about her “spunk” in working at the bomb factory. Gladys asks how he manages to keep going when he deals with his comrades dying day in and day out, and he advises her to “find her horizon.” That’s enough for her.
Marco is rolling a car up to the VicMu gates when Vera arrives, flanked by . . . uh, security guards? I guess. Anyway, they poke around in the car and find the missing TNT, and Marco gets hauled off for questioning. Vera remains perturbed.
The wait for Stanley is getting on Lorna’s last nerve, and when the phone rings, she picks it up and yells at her neighbour to “stop calling so bloody early!” before slamming the reciever. (This is back when a single phone line belonged to an entire neighbourhood.) She and Bob actually have a kind of sweet talk about how stressed and miserable the war- the first one as well as the current one- has made them, and the strain it’s put on their relationship. Is it weird that I’m kind of pulling for these crazy kids to make it?
It seems to be the time for sweet conversations, as Gladys says goodbye to her mom before heading off to work. Adele wants to know if she’s sure this is a good idea- what will distracting her with work fix? Gladys says that maybe if they talked about their problems “it might finally get better.” They smile at each other, and Gladys tells her mom to try and get some fresh air, though you know Adele’s going to be rummaging through the liquor cabinet as soon as Gladys is out the front door.
At VicMu, Ivan pretend-flies a toy plane over to Kate, explaining that he made them for her brothers “Seymour and Gabriel.” Kate smiles awkwardly and promises to send them up to North Bay, and Ivan looks blissfully unaware that she’s going to do no such thing. Across the room, Betty and Teresa are having a slightly more productive conversation, which basically boils down to the fact that they’re taking advantage of Teresa’s temporary placement at VicMu to “make hay while the sun shines.” Gay, gay hay.
Gladys, who’s at the factory to get her job back, bumps into Vera at the coffee table. Vera’s still suspicious about this whole “myserious anonymous phone call” thing, but since they already arrested the suspicious foreigner, no one’s going to listen to her concerns. Gladys, perking up at the chance to do some girl detective work, points out that Marco’s job isn’t actually to leave the plant, so whoever does is probably the mole. And who leaves the plant? Kate’s ex, Buster.
Lorna and Bob are sitting at home when the phone rings, and upon answering, Bob bursts into tears and has to hand the phone to Lorna. Stanley’s on the other end of the line, safe and sound. He landed in the water during the Dieppe raid, and was missing until someone fished him out, but he isn’t wounded. He can’t say the same for a lot of his unit, though- they were crushed in the raid. Overcome with relief, Lorna cries. Bob cries. I cry. Everyone’s crying!
Gladys and Vera arrive at the depot just as Buster is loading spare tires into a truck. They point him out to the security guard, and demand that he search the spare tires. Buster protests- what? They’re probably on their period or something, they don’t know what they’re talking about- but the guard cuts open a tire to reveal the missing TNT. And he would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids!
Vera heads over to Marco’s house to give him- slightly worse for wear after being “interrogated” about the missing materials- the good news. Marco thanks her by laying one on her, but they both freak out and swear not to mention it again. Ever again. Nuh-uh.
Bob takes Lorna out for a fancy dinner to celebrate the good news about Stanley, and to give her some news: he’s heading out to his brother’s farm to help sort the harvest. Lorna protests that he doesn’t need to do that, but he assures her that he does- he wants to start building life of his own again, so that he and Lorna can start to really work together as a team. Aww.
At the factory, Leon’s getting promoted into Buster’s place since he is currently away at prison. And he’s not the only one- Mr. Aikens, addressing Vera as “young lady,” tells her that she’s getting a raise thanks to her her detective work with the missing TNT. Carol smiles and congratulates her- “you need that extra dollar much more than I do.” Vera ain’t bothered.
Carol, Vera, Kate, and Betty gather at the victory garden, waiting for Gladys. When she drives up, she does it in James’s car, with his army buddy in the passenger seat and a tree in the back. She’s decided she wants to honour James’s memory by making something grow instead of cutting it down, and I may have cried a little, okay? I’M NOT MADE OF STONE. The girls lift it out of the car together, and, in a “flag raising at Iwo Jima” pose, plant the tree together.