Bomb Girls – 2.08 – Fifth Column


Previously on Bomb Girls: Betty got a girlfriend, Gladys lost a fiance, and Lorna’s daughter Sheila got a job at the hospital.

Warning: this episode contains a fairly graphic scene of gay-bashing.

It’s girl’s night out at the Jewel Box, and Betty’s dragged Gladys out onto the dance floor to . . . hand jive? I think they’re hand jiving.

Kate's going to be mad when they win the dance competition without her.

Kate’s going to be mad when they win the dance competition without her.

Gladys doesn’t feel too much like dancing, so she begs off to go sit at the bar, and Betty drags Teresa onto the dance floor with her. They get a bit handsy, and Teresa warns Betty that they’re in public, but Betty ain’t care. Meanwhile, Gladys and Kate commiserate over being sad and dateless- Ivan’s working extra shifts at the factory.  A looker at the bar orders a champagne cocktail for Gladys, but she doesn’t feel like drinking, so she passes the glass off to Kate and heads off to the ladies’ room to keep moping.

In the powder room, Gladys gets accosted by a lady who looks vaguely like Cynthia Nixon, who pumps her with questions about her job. Oh, she works at VicMu? That’s so cool! So how many bombs do they make on average? Where do they get sent? Does she know a lot about the shipment sites? She’s just asking for a friend, y’know. Gladys’s spidey sense is tingling

Sheila drops in to her mom’s kitchen to grab breakfast before she runs back out to residence. Sheila’s lipstick-wearing, skirt-flapping ways are not lost on Lorna, who decides that she might want to keep a closer eye on her little girl. And wouldn’t you know it, the hospital is looking for volunteers!

Vera and Gladys meet up at VicMu to squee about the new Hitchcock movie, “Saboteur.” Nazi spies in a factory! Vera gossips that a Nazi spy ring got broken up in New York a few months ago, and the wheels in Gladys’s head start turning again. And we all know Gladys is no stranger to spying.

In the change room, Lorna gives everyone a speech about how many wounded soldiers are pouring into the hospital after Dieppe, and how much they’d love visitors, HEM HEM. The normally dutiful Betty isn’t going though, because she and Teresa have a dinner date before they go see the movie with Vera and Gladys. Lorna gives her a patented Disappointed Mom look before moving on to Kate, who’s happy to volunteer. Also in Lorna’s line of sight is Reggie, who’s having some problems with her new landlady- she wants to run Reggie out of the house so she can get “some high-class white girl” in instead. Lorna is concerned, but Reggie just waves her off and suggests that she get out of the house and have some fun for a change. Lorna’s like kid, I am almost fifty years old and have three grown children. I do not have time for your youthful shenanigans.

Out on the factory floor, an eagle-eyed Gladys spots the redheaded maybe-spy from the Jewel Box, and- being Gladys- immediately charges over to confront her. The woman, though, claims to have never met her before in her life, introducing herself as Margie Lewis from Bathurst. Gladys narrows her eyes and skips off to the front office to warn Mr. Aikens that there’s a spy in their midst.

Your name is Pussy Galore, you say?

Your name is Pussy Galore, you say?

Mr. Aikens calls in the new head of security, who turns out to be the handsome stranger from the bar. (Tahmoh Penniket, affecting a slightly silly British accent.) He raises his perfectly manicured eyebrows at Gladys’s story, and when she can’t find the woman on the factory floor, he pats her on the head and sends her back to work. You fool! Don’t turn down advice from VicMu’s amateur detective squad!

Sheila greets Lorna, Kate, and the other VicMu volunteers at the hospital, only to be promptly embarassed by her mother, who brought Sheila’s stuffed sock monkey from home. Sheila grabs Lorna and practically shoves her into one of the hospital rooms so she doesn’t embarass her in fromt of hot Dr. Patel.

Kate gets sent in to pour some water for a soldier in a wheelchair, and tries to make light small chat with him. The soldier starts bending her ear about how all of his friends died bloody and screaming at Dieppe and now he doesn’t have a foot anymore, and why is he still alive, huh? WHY IS HE ALIVE? Kate’s like wow, they did not prepare me for this at volunteer orientation.


Lorna notices Sheila and Ned getting cosy, and grabs Sheila for a little mother-daughter chat. She’s not sure at all that Ned (reminder: her doctor after the miscarriage) is serious about Sheila, and if he is, what then? She spouts off a lot of not-very-thinly-veilled racism about what would happen if Sheila and Ned had children, and what kind of world would THEY live in? Sheila just laughs in her face- she and Ned aren’t getting married. Ned’s already engaged to someone else. Shockingly, this does not make Lorna feel any better.

Vera and Gladys join Betty and Teresa at the movies, and Vera ribs Gladys about the new security guy- isn’t he cuuuuuuuuute? Gladys protests that he must be at least thirty, but Vera says that these days, any dude will do, “as long as he’s got all of his parts and some of his teeth.” Have I mentioned lately that I love Vera?

Lorna, somewhat shaken up after her argument with Sheila, decides to join the girls at the movies, and takes the aisle seat while everyone squirms awkwardly because Work Mom (tm lovecatcadillac @tumblr) crashed their party. As the movie plays, Betty and Teresa adorbly hold hands under cover of darkness, while Vera and Gladys hilarious grab hands as the plot gets tense.

"I know what we're doing with these fingers later. Aw, yeah."

“I know what we’re doing with these fingers later. Aw, yeah.”

At the hospital, Kate tries to make conversation with a soldier in a wheelchair, but he can’t, or won’t, give her any sign of acknowledgement. Undaunted, Kate picks up the newspaper and starts reading aloud to him. Dr. Patel stops by to thank Kate for her help, but Private Brennan hasn’t uttered a word since he got to the hospital, and he’s probably not going to start now.

After the movie ends and the couples go their separate ways, Betty and Teresa stroll arm-in-arm doen a side alley, discussing how “ring-a-ding-ding” Priscilla Lane is. Oh, 1942. They cross the path of a group of drunks, who proposition them, and Betty- never one to back away from a fight- tells them to go fuck themselves. Things get ugly fast when one of the drunks accuses them of being “bulldaggers,” and Teresa has to drag Betty away, shouting at her about how dangerous it is to call attention to themselves before storming off.

At work the next day, the head of security- Clifford Perry- pulls Gladys aside to look at some mug shots. She immediately identified a picture of “Margie,” and he warns her not to discuss this with anyone else, before inviting her to dinner like a smooth BAMF. Gladys is like “. . . maybe.”

Reggie catches up with Lorna in the change room to ask after her fun night out. Lorna inquires after Reggie’s landlady situation, and Reggie rolls her eyes about being able to hear rats scratching around in the walls. Lorna is concerned.

At Gladys and Clifford’s dinner, they share small talk about their respective careers- in Gladys’s case, her training to be a Lady who knows how to make small talk. Clifford tells her she underestimates herself, and Gladys looks intrigued.

At the hospital, Kate keeps on trying to make conversation with Private Brennan, who’s getting letters from the same general area that her family came from. He’s still not talking, so she monologues about all the stuff her family would be doing- gathering around the piano to sing together. “Rough times, but it wasn’t always bad.” He’s still not talking, so she tries a different tack. “I had my voice taken away from me once, too,” she confides. “You can get it back. Someone is waiting for you. Someone needs you. There’ll be better times.” Private Brennan stays blank-faced.

Betty’s moping at the bar when Teresa shows up with a serious look on her face. She tells Betty she knows how she feels- with her first real relationship, everything feels wonderful and exciting and she wants to shout it from the rooftops- but they need to be careful Betty insists that no one will notice two women together, but Teresa contradicts her, and lays down the law: “I won’t risk my career. Even for you.”


Clifford and Gladys leave the restaurant and go out for a drive, and remembering how Gladys’s last drive went,  I’m feeling a bit apprehensive. The car stops on a foggy bridge, and Clifford tells her to get out of the car. Stranger danger! Stranger danger! But Clifford tells her to trust him in the name of the war effort and national security, and Gladys listens.

At the hospital, Kate’s still having no luck getting Brennan to talk to her, so she pulls out the last trick in her bag- she starts to sing “There Is A Balm In Gilead.” Brennan slowly begins to blink, and the other soliders in the hospital room sit up and listen.

Outside the bar, the drunks who accosted Betty and Teresa earlier confront them again, and Betty- again- refuses to back down. In an exceptionally brutal scene, especially for nine o’clock network TV, the drunks punch Betty repeatedly in the face and try to drag her into their car. While Kate’s singing plays over the scene, Vera comes around the corner and intervenes while Teresa pulls a group of soldiers out of the bar to arrest them. Back at the hospital, Private Brennan expresses my feelings on this whole scene as a tear rolls down his cheek. “It’s gonna be okay, Davie,” Kate promises, and wipes his face off.


Teresa and Very take Betty into the coatroom to clean her bruises off, and Vera- BAMF that she is- sponges off Betty’s face and makes her tilt her head back to stop the nosebleed. She asks who those guys were, and Teresa explains they were looking for trouble “and Slugger here couldn’t walk away.” Betty snaps that Teresa thinks the whole thing was her fault, and Vera wisely absents herself to give them some privacy. Teres warns Betty that this is why they need to be careful, and gently kisses her forehead. Betty asks what that was for, and Teresa calls her a hero. “I’m not trying to be a hero,” Betty says, heartbreakingly. “I’m just trying to live my life.”


At the bridge, a lone figure approaches out of the mist, and it’s all so Film Noir I can hardly stand it. It’s Margie! Gladys is outraged, but Clifford explains that Margie is in the Canadian secret service, and was at the plant to test security, and make sure that the factory girls were being discreet. Clifford tells Gladys that she has to be discreet and quiet, and if she wants to help, he’ll call her when he needs her help again. Gladys nods.

Sheila comes storming home the next morning to yell at her mom for interfering in her life. Lorna’s convinced that Ned is taking advantage of her baby girl, but Sheila doesn’t give a fuck, and insists that her mother just try to be happy for her, or else she’ll cut off contact with her mom entirely. Lorna doesn’t understand how Sheila’s changed so much, but Sheila tells her she changed a long time ago- her mom just didn’t notice.

Betty’s still sporting bruises all over her face the next day at work, and getting weird looks from her co-workers because of it. Gladys, Kate, and Vera are all standing with her, but she’s just worried about Lorna looking down on her for getting into a fight. Lorna, though, had had it with these motherfucking hooligans in her motherfucking city. In front of the whole factory, she declares it a disgrace that a decent, hard-working girl can’t walk down the street without being accosted, and hopes that Betty gave as good as she got. And then she leads the whole factory in a slow clap. Four for you, Lorna! You go Lorna!


When Kate arrives at the factory that afternoon, she sees Private Brennan in a wheelchair again, being pushed by his wife. Ned appears to tell her that she’s arrived to take him home, where hopefully the familiar surroundings will help draw him further out of his shell. “Remember Gilead, Davie,” Kate says softly as he passes by.

Lorna takes Reggie back to her house, explaining that she has a bunch of beds free with all the kids away from home and might as well offer a home to someone who needs it. She tells Reggie to take her pick of the boys’ rooms- Sheila might yet come home to make use of hers’.

Vera pesters Gladys for information on her date with Mr. Perry and the mysterious redheaded spy. Gladys learned her lesson on her date, though, and keeps her mouth zipped. “I wonder how many spies there are out there right now,” Vera says. Gladys smiles myseriously.

Next week: Rosie O’Donnell!