Bomb Girls – The Final Episode…

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I’ve written about Bomb Girls since it started.

Sue and I have interviewed Meg Tilly, Jodi Balfour, Charlotte Hegele, Ali Liebert, Michael Seater, Janis Lundman, Adrienne Mitchell, and Michael MacLennan.

I’ve let these people and their creations into my life, and if I’m completely honest, into my heart. We’ve only spoken to them briefly, shared short moments of time over the past year and half, but our shared love for the Bomb Girls series has made them, to my thinking, more than acquaintances, more than people Sue and I have talked to, I consider them friends.

BOMB GIRLS Nov 2012 001And I don’t want to say goodbye to them, or the world they’ve created. And to be clear I can and do separate the art and the artist, even when they are woven together as intrinsically as those involved with this show are. No one else could play any of these characters. No one. Each one of the amazing actors on this series breathed a unique and individual life into every one of these incredible creations.

So I don’t think I’ll watch the season/series finale yet.

I prefer to know that I will always have one more episode of Bomb Girls to watch.

Now should Global renew the series, always an 11th hour possibility, or give us a television movie to wrap things up properly, then yes I may very well finish it.

But for now.

BOMB GIRLS Nov 2012 004No Sale.

Sorry.

Instead, I’d rather think about what the past year and a half has given Sue and I in relation to Bomb Girls.

Our first interviews with all of them… Jodi Balfour’s (Gladys Witham) crisp and lovely accent over my computer speakers as we conducted a Skype interview with her, I’ll always remember and smile at her perfect elocution of the words ‘literature’ and ‘Timothy.’ Jodi is brilliant. And of course she made me blush.

Something everyone of the Girls did.

Ali Liebert (Betty McRae) in our first interview blatantly accused me of being an easy blusher, but perhaps I just liked the attention from these wonderful, and stunning women. Honestly, just talking with her on the phone, I knew she would be one of the coolest people ever you could meet in person (I was later proved right on this count).

charlotte1And Charlotte Hegele (Kate Andrews). Charlotte will always hold a special place in my heart and Sue’s. She was the first Bomb Girl cast member we met in person; agreeing to meet us at a Starbucks. She walked in, and I swear she could have stepped out of a 1940s film. You think she’s amazing on the screen, wait until you see her in person.

Bless her heart, she even came out to chat with Sue and I while she had a cold. She was undeniably nervous about meeting us, but most people were when we first started out, no one knew who we were. But Charlotte warmed up to us by interview’s end, and it was a fantastic evening.

Then, Sue and I decided to take a chance, we contacted Shaw (who did amazing work to connect us, and give us some wonderful keepsakes) and wondered if there was any possible way Meg Tilly (Lorna Corbett) would have time for a phone interview with us as we closed in on the season finale of season 1.

And she said YES! Apparently she’d seen what we had been doing with the other girls, had read the reviews, and realized that both Sue and I had a genuine passion for the show. So she agreed.

stuffThrough the entire interview, Sue and I kept gesturing at the phone speaker and mouthing the words, “Oh my god, we’re talking to Meg Tilly!”

Amazing.

We chatted with Janis and Adrienne from Back Alley films… they helped create the series and produced, wrote and directed for it as well.

An unlikely source put us in touch with the other series creator, Michael MacLennan… My sister, best-selling author, Tanis Rideout (Above All Things) knew him, and passed on part of an email he’d written once he learned she and I were related.

He readily agreed to meet up with us for a chat.

You see how it was so easy for us to start thinking of these people as friends?

Sue and I waited with bated breath for the announcement of filming for Season 2, because we had started pestering them about a set visit the moment we heard they’d been given a second season.

aliThe day finally came (wouldn’t you know it, they were filming the season 2 finale… so I have seen part of it!), and Sue and I lost ourselves on the sets, chatting to people, hugging Charlotte (who was playing a difficult scene that day), meeting Ali in person (SO COOL!), interviewing them both as well as Micheal Seater (Ivan Buchinsky). We got to say hi to Adrienne and Janis, meet so many amazing people, and wander the Vic Mu bomb floor, the canteen, the Moretti kitchen, hang out in Bob and Lorna’s house, see Betty’s bedroom…

For Sue and I that was one of THE most amazing days, and admittedly we have had a number of them since this blog has started, but that one will always be so important to both of us I think.

This was not just Canadian television, this was brilliant drama, perfectly sculpted, raising the bar for primetime dramas not just here at home, but all over the planet!

So, you’ll forgive me please if I don’t want to quite let it go yet, that even if I did watch it, I would be in no condition to share my thoughts on it. I’m a sensitive guy, fine. Whatever. The point is, this show spoke to me, as it spoke to millions of others, giving us flawed but strong characters that we were happy to have in our living room week after week.

BOMB GIRLS Nov 2012 028And now, they’re leaving.

Far, far too soon.

To be clear, it’s not like I haven’t tried to watch the episode, I’ve actually started it no less than 3 times, but everytime the voice and graphic says ‘Previously on Bomb Girls,’ I just have a flood of denial, turn it off, and have to leave the room.

So I’m sorry if I let you down by not writing about the final episode of the series, I know a number of fans, and even those on the show have read what I have had to say about it.

But I’m going to be selfish about this.

I’m not watching it (yet).

To know as the episode ticks by that each scene may be the last time I get to see a character, leaving them in a war that we know will last for another 4 to 5 years yet? Not to mention what happens to them all after the war?

It would feel like I’m abandoning them when they may need me most. (Yes, I know it’s just a TV show, but I become highly attached to the shows I do watch, if this post didn’t clue you into that).

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Bomb Girls S02E11 – Kings and Pawns

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At this point, I am so glad I am a week behind on catching up on Bomb Girls, because currently, I am not ready to watch the final episode and say goodbye to the girls until who knows when. So knowing that I currently have one more episode to get through delights me to no end, because I know it will wreck me.

Heck this episode did that. Any time Betty (Ali Liebert) got misty-eyed in this episode I just about lost it. Because I want all of our girls to be happy, I know that we’re leaving them soon, and I need to know that they’ll be ok.

To clarify, I know they are fictional characters, but I am that attached to them!

aliSeeing Betty deal with the loss of Theresa (Rachel Wilson), when the lovely soldier gets posted to Newfoundland following a submarine attack. That hurt. Her passion, her sheer ecstasy at being able to be who she is with Theresa is ripped away from her, and it spills out and causes problems at Vic Mu just as she’s put in charge of the line.

But it also spoke to what this episode had at its core this week, passions and deceptions.

Passions seem to rule the day in this episode, Lorna (Meg Tilly) flirts dangerously with trouble again, not intentionally by any stretch of the imagination, she simply finds a delight in dancing and that delight begins to spill over into the potential for another extra-marital affair. With a well-timed postcard from Bob (Peter Outerbridge) and subtle warnings from Reggie (Jasmine Richards), she is able to pull herself back.

Kate (Charlotte Hegele) is practicing some deception as the passion between her and Ivan (Michael Seater) comes to a head with an official announcement in the paper of their engagement, and she’s had to construct an entirely fake family life for herself, one you know and I know will come tumbling down soon enough.

charlotteGladys (Jodi Balfour) so passionate and ready to help in the war effort any way she cans is asked by Clifford (Tahmoh Penikett) to investigate Marco (Antonio Cupo) and practices deceit by using her to betray her friends. I have never trusted this character, and if he’s on ‘our’ side, he still strikes me as just wrong.

And then there is poor Marco and Vera (Anastasia Phillips), they are so good for each other, there is passion there, and the potential for real love, but Vera is beginning to suspect thanks to Gladys, that Marco is keeping secrets from her and he may well be on his way to trouble.

She’s right of course, after his mother’s ousting from a Witham Foods grocers he gets involved in an assault and robbery, and his less than reputable friend Frank (Pascal Petardi) is slowly indoctrinating him into a fascist group.

Our hearts follow their passions, but oft-times they will play deceit as well as love, hurting us as much as the ones we long not to, and there is going to be some serious heartbreak coming our way in the final episode…

But please, I’m not ready for it.

I don’t want to say goodbye yet.

I don’t want to leave Vic Mu, nor leave those wonderfully strong and beautiful women, characters and actors. Characters who I’ve welcomed into my life week after week, and actors and creators who have welcomed Sue and I into theirs.

Don’t make me say it yet….

Ali, Jodi, Charlotte, Meg, Michael S., Michael M., Peter, Anastasia, Antonio, Jasmine, Gabe, Natasha, Janis, Adrienne, Richard, Tahmoh I can’t begin to thank you enough for what you have not only given me, but Canadian television and by extension the world. You have crafted something to be celebrated, and loved, and you will forgive me if I don’t make my farewells to you or your creations yet.

Love you all.

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Bomb Girls Letter

aliWhen we heard Bomb Girls was in jeopardy, both Sue and I, and countless fans all over the world rallied to their defense, to battle our own war, dreaming that we too could do our part!
Petitions have sprung up everywhere, asking for signatures, impassioned pleas to those that could give us more of this beautifully Canadian show, that has resonated with people around the world.
I rallied off a volley of my own with the following letter, please, tell the folks we want more! They have since agreed to a two-hour movie to tie up loose ends, but the war has barely begun for our characters, and what happens to them after the war, with the seeds now sown for women’s rights and equal pay…
Good Morning!
It is of paramount importance that you continue to fund and produce Bomb Girls, not only does it illuminate a part of our incredibly important past, which not as many of us know about as we should, it continues to present women in strong roles.
Despite the fact we are now living in the 21st century, strong women characters aren’t as prevalent in modern media as they should be, and this show does that on a week to week basis while exploring themes and ideas that continue to be relevant in today’s society, but able to be viewed through a historical context.
We at The Mind Reels have had a very happy relationship with the producing and creative sides of Bomb Girls (http://themindreels.com/category/bomb-girls-2/) , and know from personal interaction that there are more stories to tell in this inherently Canadian piece of programming.
This is a show that should not be on the verge of cancellation but seen as an ambassador not just for our television properties but for our nation.
It has shown our faults, our uniqueness and our wonderful drive.
I urge to do your part to make sure that you see that the show is continued, there are more stories to tell, and we are only just beginning.
Do your part, and keep it on the air!
Kindly,
Timothy D. Rideout
The Mind Reels

Bomb Girls – Don’t Let Go

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On every occasion, Tim does the heartfelt and wonderfully-worded write-ups to each of our our beloved Bomb Girls episodes.  So close to the end, now, I feel it is only proper that he should also do the final two posts of the series.  However, upon learning yesterday that our girls will not see a Season 3, I’ve found I can’t sit quietly by and let my own love for the show and the people who created it for us go unspoken.  or…unwritten, as it were.  I know I won’t be able to capture everything I want to put into words with this one post – which will likely mean that I’ll write another later on – but it is my intention to at least give voice to my passion for the series, and pray that all of our communal efforts don’t go completely unnoticed.

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It seems silly now, looking back.  When I first started seeing commercials for Bomb Girls, I was intrigued by its premise, and I was excited that Meg Tilly was involved.  I also wanted to support Ms Brittany Allen, because she also stars in Dead Before Dawn 3D – the latest film from our good friends, Tim Doiron and April Mullen.  But the point is, I settled in to watch that first night with very little going on in terms of expectation.  So I was mildly surprised to find myself immersed so completely in a different time, with characters who were so beautiful and so fully realized that, by the time Vera got hooked, so was I.  My hand was over my mouth in horror, my eyes much wider than usual, and I knew from that moment that I wasn’t going anywhere.  These were my girls, and I loved them already.

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Flashforward to the end of season 1 – and I was walking around with a sick knot in my stomach leading into the finale.  We hadn’t heard yet whether there would be a second season, or not, and I could not breathe.  I couldn’t fathom a world without these amazing women, and I didn’t know how I was even going to watch the season finale without knowing that there would be more the following year.  Luckily, I didn’t have to.  Word of a double-sized season two spread like wildfire, and I smiled and wept my way through the finale, as proud of those girls as if they’d been my own family.  Because that’s how they feel – like family.

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Tim and I were blessed enough to have been able to interview Charlotte in person (poor girl was running a fever and sinking into her mug of hot tea that night, but what a trooper for coming out, anyway), as well as Jodi and Ali over the phone.  But when we got to speak with Meg via phone, as well, just in time for the finale – well it was more than a dream come true.  Like everything about this show, it was more than either of us could have ever hoped for, and I went home that night feeling like I’d actually gotten to know myself a little better, just through listening to Meg’s thoughts on a number of issues.  Incredible lady, that one.

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So the end of season 1 was pretty victorious, all in all, and we settled in to wait patiently for season two’s inevitable return to VicMu. I’m not going to go into everything that happened in the meantime – suffice it to say, Tim and I both grew even closer to not only the show and its characters, but also to the amazing folks behind the scenes (and in front of the cameras) who bring the world to life for us each and every week.  I’m even following the Ajax Bomb Girls on Facebook.  It’s all just a part of me now.

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Which is why I can’t quietly just say goodbye.  I couldn’t even sleep last night.  I feel like I’d be letting my girls down – not because the show hasn’t been renewed, but because I haven’t done all I could to hold onto it.  Because I haven’t fought for it.  Because I haven’t said the words, “Don’t let go.”

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So here’s us, crying out on Twitter and on Facebook and anywhere and everywhere – all around the world, asking for someone, somewhere, to help us hold on.  Bring back another season.  Bring back a shorter season.  Bring a miniseries.  Put it on Netflix.  Embark on a Kickstarter campaign.  Something.  Anything.  Just please don’t let go.  Not of them.  And not of us.

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I’ve known fan outcry to work in the past, and already we’re at least getting a two-hour movie to close off the series.  Which is fantastic, but I still feel like it’s not really enough.  The war is not even over yet, let alone all of the upheaval that comes when the men return and the women are told to go back home.  What will become of Betty’s dream of owning a home?  Will Gladys continue to run her own affairs after the war?  Will Kate marry Ivan and break Betty’s heart all the more?  Will Vera and Marco stop pushing one another away and start making pretty babies already?  Will Lorna and Bob’s boys make it home safe, and will they enjoy their happily ever after as a married couple (omgIwassohappytoseeBoblastnight)?  Will our ladies remain close to one another, or drift away into separate lives when all is said and done?  Will WE ever see them again – see ourselves in their stories again?  Please – don’t let go.

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There is a site that’s holding everything together in one place, to make it easier to find, and to keep us all connected.  Please go sign up and then sign any and every petition you can find (so far I’ve signed this one and this one).  Contact Global at the links below and let them know you need more Bomb Girls in your diet. Be repetitive.  Be persistent.  Be polite.  Be courteous.  And be strong.  Because that’s how they would do it.  Spread the love.

And don’t let go.

Save Bomb Girls

Bomb Girls S02E06 – Where There’s Smoke

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I’d like to say that I didn’t post my Bomb Girls review yesterday because I was still wrecked by the episode, but life got in the way, and I didn’t have a chance to post it until now. That being said, it’s an incredibly strong episode to leave us begging for more as there’s now a break until the end of March.

eugeneMichael MacLennan pens the mid-season finale from a story by Debi Drennan and Maureen Jennings, and this time around, it seems that everyone is reaching a breaking point. As such, it’s an incredible powerful episode, as those characters we hold dear to our hearts struggle on the home front to survive the Second World War.

Set against the backdrop of a bond drive and radio broadcast from Victory Munitions, this episode needed a warning beforehand that tissues would be required.

There’s Betty (Ali Liebert), oh how I adore you.

Sigh.

She has a tough time of it this week, as she and Kate (Charlotte Hegele) argue about Kate’s blossoming romance with Ivan (Michael Seater) as well as Betty’s feelings for her. It’s tough watching Kate deny her own feelings for Betty. It pushes Kate to her breaking point, and she walks away from Betty, and it looks like an end to their friendship, not to mention anything else.  Leon (Jim Codrington) counsels Kate, suggesting that perhaps if she can’t love Betty as she wants, love her as she can.

aliBetty meets an officer, Theresa (Rachel Wilson), who is working the bond drive, and there’s something to their relationship right from the off, so much so that Ali brings Theresa home from the Jewel Box. They have a wonderfully tender scene, as Theresa convinces Betty she’s waited long enough. They spend a night together, and we learn that it’s Betty’s first time, at least the first time that it was caring, and loving and made her feel safe. Poor Betty. Pushed away from the woman she loves, she deserves some happiness as well as tenderness, and it brought me to tears seeing that she finally gets it.

As the folks at Vic Mu plan their bond drive, Mr. Aikens (Richard Fitzpatrick) asks Vera (Anastasia Phillips) to come up with something spectacular for the night. Vera in turn goes to Marco (Antonion Cupo) for aid. He procures some fireworks, for the evening, and it seems as the night progresses, that there may be something there. They happily come through the episode relatively unscathed.

gladysLorna Corbett (Meg Tilly), Bob (Peter Outerbridge), Gladys (Jodi Balfour) and Eugene (Brett Dier) break the remaining pieces of our hearts, as Eugene begins to fall apart. He is suffering from visions, blows up at Lorna when he learns she is so worried about him that she’s gone to his superiors about the possibility of having him discharged. In a wonderful pair of moments, as Bob and Lorna talk at the news stand (which seems to be doing alright), there’s a tenderness returning to their relationship, and it’s good to see. Lorna asks Bob to talk to Gene, to try to connect, not only as father and son, but as fellow soldiers.

When Eugene arrives, Bob shakes his hand, but as they sit, he doesn’t let it go, he holds it as he shares one of his most horrific memories of the Great War. He tries to get Eugene to open up and share the experiences that seem to be ruining him.

Eugene denies it, proclaiming him an ace and a war hero, and walk away.

Gladys, regretting the assignation she had with him, but still caring for him, attempts to talk to him as well, when he comes to see her at the hotel.

geneIt seems though, that Gladys’ father (James McGowan) has been footing the bill for her room, and not her fiancée James (Sebastian Pigott), and he’s stopped paying. As she packs to leave, Eugene shows up, she denies him, but still tries to help him.

Their story comes to its climax at the factory during the fireworks display. Eugene find his way to the roof, the fireworks blurring in his mind to become flak rising up to hit his plane.

It’s up to Lorna to talk him down, and in the end, despite the fact that she knows, and we know, that it’s not the best thing for him to do, she agrees that he can go back, because that’s what he thinks he needs.

She’s losing her son whether she wants to or not. The choice is taken away from her. Both she and Eugene have reached their breaking points…

lornaBut the worst of it is yet to come in the final few moments of the episode, just when you think you’ve made it through mostly unscathed…

Lorna comes to visit Gladys, as she’s working with some eggs in her new place, the girls’ home, to thank her for her help with Eugene, and much more troubling… to deliver a telegram from the War Office.

She can’t read it.

We don’t want her to read it.

We don’t want her to hear it.

We don’t want to hear it.

eggsBut Lorna pushes Gladys right to the edge, and in the most heartbreaking scene in an episode packed with them… Lorna informs Gladys that James was killed in action.

Watching it settle on Gladys, Jodi does an amazing piece of work here, she’s not denying it, but she tries to find something else to occupy her mind with, to keep it at arm’s length while she tries to process it, but it’s too much, Gladys breaks, and Lorna holds her as she falls apart.

What a brilliant piece of mid-season work. We’re left to try to nurse our broken and bleeding hearts for the next few weeks until the series resumes on March 25 on Global.

Enough time to patch up my heart before they come back? I guess we’ll see…

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Bomb Girls S02E01 – The Quickening

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Bomb Girls is back, and seeing it after having spent time on the set just makes me smile all the more, and despite the fact that I know that they were sets, the series somehow seems increasingly real to me now, perhaps because I have walked through those places we see in this episode.

At the season opener’s center, this episode finds all of our girls being something they’re not, forcing themselves, or being forced into shapes and people that they are not at their hearts. Gladys (Jodi Balfour) is being photographed for her family’s canned good line, and while she’s in her coveralls she’s not who she is, but a glamorized version of herself, which she no longer identifies with.

Lorna (Meg Tilly) is struggling with her developing pregnancy, and is lying to everyone that she’s not in a family way, she’s just gained some weight, lying to both her husband Bob (Peter Outerbridge) and the baby’s father Marco (Antonio Cupo).

bettycapBetty (Ali Liebert - I love her in that cap), to protect herself is denying her heart, and is chasing series new comer, Ivan (Michael Seater).

Kate (Charlotte Hegele), when we see her, breaks my heart, because, thanks to her father and his beliefs, she is trying to follow his dogma.

Vera (Anastasia Phillips) is working in the office, but that’s not who she is either, she’s a floor girl, and that is something she goes to see Lorna about.

The season opener was penned by Michael MacLennan and Adrienne Mitchell, and they make an effort to spend time with each and every character, reintroducing us to those wonderful ladies, and welcoming us back to Victory Munitions.

Gladys is doing the Witham photo campaign, and Betty makes her first big denial… to Lorna, who has a letter accusing her of deviant behavior and improper advances on another woman. We don’t need to know who wrote the letter to know in our hearts who sent it.

But Lorna accepts Betty’s denial, and lets her and Gladys guide a delegation of Chinese and American representatives around the factory floor, giving them a run down on the operation. It also serves as an exposition to bring new comers up to speed on the series. Amongst the reps is Ki Lo (Terry Chen - Battlestar Galactica, Continuum), who forms a fast and easy friendship with Gladys.

As the tour continues, the tension is immediately ratcheted up to show us the reality of the dangers of war, even here on the home front, as the air raid siren goes off, forcing the factory floor to clear, and take cover in the tunnels. This provides us with our first look at new series regular, Michael Seater as Ivan, who throws a protective arm around Betty. An arm that gives Betty an opportunity to hide herself in plain sight, by staking a public claim on him.

small_Season-2-CastGladys knows that isn’t who Betty is, but doesn’t say anything about it, nor does she judge her, despite the fact that everyone else around them would be happy to. I love Gladys for that.

Gladys, Betty and Ivan go to The Jewel Box, the gorgeous art deco club. Betty and Ivan are there on a date, and he learns that she’s a hard drinker, and that she’s a hockey fan as they discuss the Leafs chances for the Cup. While they are there, the two ladies, decide to try to raise money for the Red Cross to help the P.O.W.s. Gladys also learns during a dance with Lo, that the Japanese were exceptionally brutal in their treatment of the Chinese, whom they have already been at war with for 10 years already. This reinforces Gladys desire, her NEED to do something, to do her part, anything she can do to end the war that much quicker.

She turns to her parents and persuades them to hold a fundraiser for the Red Cross.

Betty’s heart isn’t in it, according to Gladys, but Betty takes Ivan back to the boarding house, and after a few stiff drinks, tries to bed him. Ivan slows her down, and tells her that they should wait and make it special.

While Gladys is trying to get her fundraiser off the ground, Lorna hears rumors of a house on Chestnut Street, in a less than desirable part of town, that can help take care of unwanted pregnancies. With Vera in tow, they go to the house, and Vera begins to suspect that it’s Lorna who is the pregnant one, not some faceless girl on the line.

In the scene that was obviously designed to break my heart, Betty comes across Kate singing in the snow. All well and good, until Kate starts preaching about sin, and darkness, urged on by her father, who upon seeing Betty threatens her, and summons the police. Betty runs at Kate’s insistence, and we’re left wondering exactly how does Kate feel now…

bgbedBetty races to ask Gladys for help, but she’s in the middle of the fundraiser, which her parents are perverting and using as an opportunity to launch their new ad campaign, featuring photos of their daughter on the product, as well as trying to get a contract from the Red Cross.

Gladys uses her moment in the spotlight to hang her family on the hook for a $3000 donation, it’s also a moment that helps to define who she is, and begins to decide which world she wants to be a part of, her parents’ or her co-workers.

Lorna returns to Chestnut Street and gets the mixture for her tea, but stops to see Marco on the way home, and as the Jill Barber track, One More Time swells, the two fall into a kiss and embrace. Neither of which will help Lorna with her decision…

Betty races back to save Kate, and a confrontation ensues with Kate’s father, who has been keeping secrets from her. A chase, a scuffle, and something terrible happens, causing Kate and Betty to flee back to the rooming house.

As the episode closes, we see the four leads begin to take on their personas, trying to fit back into who they actually are… Lorna stares at the tea mixture on the table top as she feels the baby kick for the first time, and our trio are sprawled on Betty’s bed, staring at the ceiling and sharing a cigarette.

Welcome back Girls, we’ve missed you…
Bomb Girls airs Wednesdays on Global!

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On the Set – Bomb Girls

onsetIf the fire of excitement were to be transmuted into light, then Sue and I would be as stars in the firmament, turning night into day…

We’d been invited for a visit to the Bomb Girls set, and Sue and I were over the moon!

Bomb Girls burst on the scene in January of this year, and with its six episode season, held us and the rest of Canada enraptured as it shone a loving light on part of our history that we should know better and treasure.

In a reflection of our own spirits the sun had painted the city with broad brushes of golden light, filled with the hopes and possibilities of the day…

What would we see? Who would we meet? What Season 2 secrets would we learn?

We found our way across the sprawling metropolis we call home, and prepared ourselves to step back in time, to see familiar faces and places, and see the art of creation that brought this world to life on our television screens.

We are met by the Unit Publicist, Bev Warren, an engaging and joyful soul, who, though she must be undeniably and constantly busy, made us feel perfectly at home, and made sure our needs were attended to.

We are led on a whirlwind tour through the world of Bomb Girls, the production offices and craft services lines where we get to say hi to familiar faces and names, Janis Lundman, Adrienne Mitchell, Michael MacLennan, and Harry the dog.

We move around a corner, and seemingly step out onto a street, lined with bits of trash, and find ourselves standing outside The Jewel Box, a lovely art-deco club, that I could have spent days in, and can’t wait to see come to life on the big screen. It’s lush, beautiful, and I could imagine myself wandering about it in spats, my tie knotted with a double windsor, and my fedora sitting jauntily on my head.

The level of detail is stunning, holding up to the closest examination, surely the camera wouldn’t see all of this, and that’s the moment I knew that the people behind the scenes truly love the show as much as the viewers and the fans. They want to make the world a complete reality, there are photographs in Marco’s mother’s apartment that we may never see on-screen, with little notations on them in Italian!

But nothing, nothing could prepare Sue and I for what came next, after we stepped around the walls of the ladies powder room in The Jewel Box, we passed through a door, and stopped, gob-smacked.

We were here.

The heart of the show…

Sue Maynard and Timothy D. Rideout were standing on the factory floor of Victory Munitions.

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We both stood stunned with huge goofy grins on our faces.

We came to our senses, and our cameras came to life. We snapped pic after pic, once again marvelling at the details, examining the posters that warned about wasting time, and matches, and advised to do our part. Bev obliged us, by snapping pics of us on the line, positions B5 & 6 respectively.

We wouldn’t be drawn away, we wanted to see every corner, every detail, the foreman’s office hung over us, the bombs were laid out on racks and in boxes, blueprints were sprawled on tables, work tools… All of it looking like it could spring to life at any moment, just waiting for the next shift to show up.

At this point, I’m already willing to call the day a success. I could have gone home happy at that point, but there was more to come…

We stepped through the home of Marco’s mother, small, cozy, and oh, the detail…

But then, Bev stepped through a door, turned around and called out, “It’s Bob and Lorna’s house, come on in!” We were in the Corbett home, it’s fully furnished, it even has a backyard… It struck me once again, that all of the things we see on the screen as we watch this show… I honestly thought that some of the places were actual locations,  but here they all were, steps away from one another… here was the ladies change room, Bob’s wheelchair, and if the factory is the heart of the show, then perhaps the next sets seen were the soul… here was Kate’s bedroom, and the rooming house.

025There is a loud buzz, as rolling starts, and we hear snippets of dialogue as we stalk along the set, somewhere, close by, Ali Liebert is bringing Betty McRae to life. Cut is called, and as Sue and I waited at video village, where the director and his team watch the monitors, Bev speaks to one of the Production Assistants.

Moments later, Bev returned, with the stunning Ali Liebert in tow. With a big hello, she greeted us, thanking us for our articles, and was happy finally to put faces to voices, as we’d only chatted on the phone before. I can also say this without any bias at all, she is as stunning and amazing in real life as she appears to be on the screen. I can’t rave enough about her, she’s charming, gracious, and now has a larger part in our hearts.  (Edit:  Best.  Handshake.  Ever.   – Sue)

We wander back the way we came, trading small talk, and laughing until we found ourselves on the canteen set…

A perfect place for an interview.

We settle in and chat for a bit (it’ll be posted in our podcast feed in due time, don’t worry), and Ali makes us feel right at home.

Eventually, of course, she has to return to set, and we watch her go, content, delighted, and wondering how this day could possibly get any better!

We wandered back to the craft services table, and dig in to lunch, there are tons to eat, and a lot of variety to choose from. We chat happily with Bev, telling her the story of how The Mind Reels came about, our early successes with Jeremy LaLonde and Lost Girl, which led us to our podcast interviews with the Bomb Girls team.

After lunch, we wander back towards video village, to watch the screens as Charlotte Hegele and Michael Seater share a scene as Kate and a new character this season Ivan. We’re sworn to secrecy about what happened, which we will happily keep, but the first thing I said as soon as cut was called was… “Kate, what did you do?!”

It’s a tough, emotionally wracked scene, so Sue and I agreed to wait until it was done before even attempting to chat with Charlotte or Michael, both of whom want to stay in the moment. It’s something both Sue and I understand, once you’re in that zone, whether it’s acting or writing, you hate being pulled out of it, and then trying to find your way back.

In the interim, Bev suggested we take a look at the exteriors, and see if there’s anything we recognize…

We head outside, and there are instantly half a dozen things we know intimately. There’s the ramp, tower, and entrance, there’s the smoking area, and there… there was the gate with the Victory Munitions sign hanging over it.

Once again, we are stunned. We were there.

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Tucked away behind the building is what is referred to as Base Camp. Here are the trailers, where the cast can step away for a little privacy and relax. And would you believe it, there’s a craft services truck here, that when we stepped inside smelled so good, and we were welcomed with open arms again (everyone was so friendly!!).

We pause for a cuppa, and are joined by a guest cast member who is playing a police inspector in this episode (which is almost at the end of the season, and I’ve already said too much!). We chat about his work on Flashpoint, where Bev also worked, and then, Sue and I are left stunned again, as Charlotte Hegele, the only cast member we interviewed in person comes over to give us a brief hello, and big hugs.

Charlotte is a class act, and is so open and honest one can’t help but have your heart touched by her. I think Sue and I both have a special place in our hearts for her, because she was the one we’d met in the first round of interviews.

She slipped back inside, and we followed, after I had finished my cuppa, and took up position at Video Village again, Ali joins us, settling into a seat behind the director to watch her friends and cast mates go through this tough scene yet again.

As I watched the scene spring to life again, from another camera angle, I smiled as I came to a realization – I was watching a new episode of Bomb Girls.

The first one in ten months.

When I shared that with Sue, I think we were both incredibly giddy. We have a quick chat with Peter Webster, who wanders around with a giant toolbox, that when opened reveals threads, needles, thimbles, all the things he would need to fix a bra or make a quilt!

When they finish the scene, Bev leads us back towards the canteen set as shooting moves to Bettys bedroom. We see a scene being blocked out with Kate and Betty (sigh) and we’re led away before I can become too distracted.

Once settled back on the benches of the canteen set we are joined promptly by series newcomer Michael Seater.

Michael is a lot of fun, and seems completely at home in period costume, he laughs with us, as we run him through our usual rote of questions, putting him at his ease as he slowly realizes, we aren’t your usual interview, we’re all about having a chat.

After we finished up with that interview, Sue and I are left to our own devices for a little while on the canteen set, and we have a great time. We know that set now. I can’t wait to see it on the screen again, because we know it so well, we spent time behind the counter, at the piano, played with the cards and the checkers, examined all the posters, handled the props, leafed through the music sheets (all period by the way).

Amazing.

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It’s not long after that, that Bev returns to the canteen, and brings Charlotte with her, who is outfitted in Kate’s jimjams.

She’s stolen time from her lunch to chat with us, something for which Sue and I were so grateful. Charlotte was feeling much better than when we chatted last time at a Starbucks, and there’s a lot of play and laughs as we chat.

When we finish up, we had back to the assembly area as the cast and crew are settling down to their lunches…

And it’s here that we see how close the cast and crew are… After hearing about it all day, Sue and I were present for the grand final of the Bomb Girls ping-pong tournament!

Everyone watched and cheered, and to be included in that little moment, a little look at the inside of the life behind the set was really special.

As they finish their lunches Ali, Charlotte and Michael all give us a quick farewell before heading back to the set, while extras are dressed in the background.

It was here that we had to return to our own world, with a round of thanks, and hugs, we bid goodbye to Bev, and prepared for our journey home.

It was dark when we left, and for a moment I honestly thought it was a dream, it had all seemed to amazing to be true.

We had such a fantastic day, and this has done nothing but build up our love for the show, as well our growing anticipation for its return… January 2nd at 8pm.

Thank you one and all to those amazing folks in front of and behind the camera, you welcomed us, made us feel at home, and for a day, made us part of your family.

It’s a gift that Sue and I will treasure for a long long time.

Thank you.

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Happy 1st Birthday for The Mind Reels!

When I was younger, physically and chronologically, not mentally, I often thought about talking and working with people in the entertainment industry. I also thought about being a starship captain like James T. Kirk or walking with dinosaurs, but hey, one dream at a time.

Growing up, I was not necessarily an outsider, but I was often on the fringes of my school groups, I wasn’t necessarily the ‘weird kid’, I was just interested in different things. They liked the movie where such and such happened. I may have liked the same film, but I was always more interested in how the such and such happened on the big screen, the story behind the story. And that’s what I wanted to do with my life, maybe write, maybe direct, maybe even act!

Life, as it tends to, got in the way, and I found myself manning the counter of two of the bigger names in home video rentals, and watched the transition from VHS to DVD, and DVD to Blu-Ray.

It wasn’t til last year, as my 40th Birthday leaned threateningly over the horizon, that someone dear to my heart (you know who you are) pushed and nudged me, insisting I do something with my love of film, television and pop culture. I toyed with the idea as I crawled into bed that night, and just as I was drifting to sleep, my eyes snapped open, and I turned the lights back on, jotting down a title on the notepad I keep next to my bed. ‘The Mind Reels.’ I liked it. It worked. And it worked on a couple of levels. Brilliant I thought.

The next morning, I ran the idea past one of my best friends, Sue, and convinced her (it didn’t take a lot) to partner up with me on this idea. I sought out the advice of where the best place was to start up a blog, and got some advice on podcasting from my friend Ryan, and boom.

Within 24 hours, The Mind Reels had been created.

And now here we are.

1 year later.

And what a year this has been, this blog and our podcast, has taken off beyond any of the dreams I had for the first year. I’ve met some amazing people, some I’m lucky enough now to call my friends, seen tons of movies and TV. I do need to do a little more in the book department (I’m constantly reading – I just never make a post about them, I’ll see about changing that) and yet for all that we’re constantly expanding.

We’ve covered film festivals (thank you Hot Docs! WorldWide Short Film Festival, Toronto After Dark Summer Nights), we’ve covered conventions (Niagara Fall Comic Con, Wizard World Toronto Comic Con, and Fan Expo!) we’ve been to screenings, set visits (Sex After Kids, Pete Winning & The Pirates) and then, there’s the podcasts!

We’re now featured on the internet channel Smithee.TV and Sue and I are constantly looking at one another with dumbstruck looks on our faces… how did this happen?

Our friend Ryan, whose own website is brilliant, gave me all kinds of advice on podcasts, and then after that very important screening of The Untitled Work of Paul Shepard, which we did to support our love of Lost Girl, and it’s cast members Zoie Palmer and Kris Holden-Ried who were both in it, the world of interviews opened up to us thanks to one man… Jeremy LaLonde.

We took a chance, and contacted him and asked him if there was any conceivable way that he would meet us for an interview.

And he surprised us both when he said yes.

I mean, we were shocked! I mean honestly… who were we? Just a couple of people who were interested in films, admittedly I had written a raving review of Paul Shepard (SUCH A GOOD MOVIE!!!).

But Jeremy, one of the people I know count myself lucky to call a friend, told us that in most cases, interviews would be ours for the asking. You just have to find the right route, the right contacts, and network. This year has seen a lot of that.

And look how it’s paid off for us, what a guest list we’ve had… IN OUR FIRST YEAR!!! Jeremy LaLonde, Beth Beard, Christine Horne, Katie Boland, Anna Silk, Rick Howland, Nadia Bassett, Tanya Lemke, Jodi Anne Balfour, Victor Webster, Ali Liebert, Mary Krohnert, Charlotte Hegele, KC Collins, Natasha Eloi, Emily Schooley, Sandra DaCosta, Devon Bostick, Tim Doiron, April Mullen, Amanda Brugel, Mary Krohnert, Anthony Grani, Kate Hewlett, Tony Amendola, Miracle Laurie, Robert O’Reilly, JG Hertzler, Huse Madhavji, Paul Amos, Stacie Mistysyn, Sean Cisterna, Supinder Wraich, Dan Fox, Jay Ferguson, Lucas Bryant, Casey Hudecki, Nina Conti, Ryan Goldhar, Lance Guest, Catherine Mary Stewart, Sylvia Caminer, Melanie Lentz-Janney, Clay Peterson, Michael Harmon, Michael MacLennan, Adrienne Mitchell, Janis Lundman, Rebecca Sandulak, Tanis Rideout, Simon Racioppa, Tony Todd, Jamie Bamber, Daniska Esterhazy, Bruce Sweeney, Chloe Rose, Seth Cooperman, Ashley Hirt, Rebecca Gibson, Kiowa Gordon and Meg Tilly.

HOLY CRAP!

Thank you, each and every one of you! You have made such a huge impact on myself and Sue, you’ve come on our show, you’ve made us feel like friends and family, and you’ve spread the enjoyment you’ve had with us to others.

And THIS has just been our first year doing interviews and podcasts!

Now we’ve moved into our full studio, soon to be podcasting live and our guest list seems to be growing, and we’ve got so many amazing things in the works, familiar faces and friends will be back, as will new and amazing guests. Who would you like to see come on the show? I have a dream list that I am constantly updating, and I’m really starting to dream big! I’d love to chat with Steven Moffat, or Steven Spielberg! I’d love to kick back and laugh and have a chinwag with Tom Hanks! But you know what?

I wouldn’t change a thing about any of the interviews we’ve had. Every single one of them has been FANTASTIC, and I truly believe that once they realized we weren’t your usual interview, they all had a great time, and just relaxed and opened up.

In fact, that is my favorite moment in each and every interview, the point that I constantly bring up with Sue in our post-interview talk… I love when each and every guest reaches that relaxation point and just chats to us. They openly relax, we’ve got them to relax by talking about something like their favourite movie, and then we’re just chatting and laughing with one another. That is always my favourite part.

Everybody does interviews, we’ve always been more interested in having a conversation.

It’s literally been a whirlwind, and Sue and I are right there in the center of it. It’s been amazing!

And people read our posts, people listen to our interviews!

That still amazes us, and from the bottom of our hearts, I thank each and every one of you. You read what we write, you retweet it, you respond to it, you tweet us your thoughts about what we’ve shared, you’ve helped us chase down interviews, and we’ve been lucky enough to meet some of you in person.

We have been so fortunate with the people who have come to our website.

So, with my eyes a little teary as I write this…

Thank you.

Thank you so much.

And for me personally, Thank you for letting me do what I’ve always wanted to do, and letting me know that I’m not wasting my time with it.

As we move into our second year, I have high hopes, aspirations and dreams for what’s to come for The Mind Reels, and I know it’s not going to be easy, we’re going to have to work at it, to make it be all that it can! To push ourselves, to chase down leads on stories and interviews. It’s really hard work, but it’s paying off, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love it. Because I do.

I’m looking forward to many more birthday celebrations for The Mind Reels, looking back on what we’ve done, and going boldly forward to our next goals, challenges, and oh, all those amazing people we get to meet.

Above All Things – Book Launch

It has been a long week already, and as I write this it’s only Tuesday.
But mark the date, June 19th, because on this date my sister, Tanis Rideout had the official launch of her book Above All Things.

Released through McClelland books here in Canada (check your local Amazon or book store) it looks to be a bril read and a lot of friends, industry professionals and family, including our parents, her awesome husband Simon Racioppa, and his family came out to show their support for what is being hailed as a strong new Canadian voice.

I got to chat with some wonderful people and see some familiar faces.
I had a quick chat with songstress Jill Barber as well as former guest and all around good guy Michael MacLennan of Bomb Girls fame.

They had nothing but great things to say about my sister and she and Jill had an interesting collaboration for Above All Things, listen to our podcast this weekend for more on that!

The Dora Keogh played host, and Jill brought her guitar! It was a fun affair in spite of the stifling humidity that seems to be hanging over the city.

Of you’re looking for something to read, and want to try out a new author, then I suggest you check out my sister’s book, available now!!

Here’s the book’s description…

“The Paris Wife meets Into Thin Air in this breathtaking debut novel of obsession and divided loyalties, which brilliantly weaves together the harrowing story of George Mallory’s ill-fated 1924 attempt to be the first man to conquer Mount Everest, with that of a single day in the life of his wife as she waits at home in England for news of his return.

A captivating blend of historical fact and imaginative fiction, Above All Things moves seamlessly back and forth between the epic story of Mallory’s legendary final expedition and a heartbreaking account of a day in the life of Ruth Mallory. Through George’s perspective, and that of the newest member of the climbing team, Sandy Irvine, we get an astonishing picture of the terrible risks taken by the men on the treacherous terrain of the Himalaya. But it is through Ruth’s eyes that a complex portrait of a marriage emerges, one forged on the eve of the First World War, shadowed by its losses, and haunted by the ever-present possibility that George might not come home.

Drawing on years of research, this powerful and beautifully written novel is a timeless story of desire, redemption, and the lengths we are willing to go for honour, glory, and love.”

Back Alley Films

We love Bomb Girls here at The Mind Reels, and we’ve been very lucky to interview a number of the creative folks who have been involved with it, Jodi Balfour, Ali Liebert, Charlotte Hegele, Meg Tilly, and Michael MacLennan. Now we can add two more wonderful people to that roster – co-creator/co-show runner/producer of the series Adrienne Mitchell, as well as a director of two of the episodes (1 & 2) and series producer Janis Lundman, who together form Back Alley Films, which has also brought us Drop The Beat and Durham County.

We put the Skype conference call to work, so there may be a bit of a scratch to the sound, but it’s well worth listening to, and it’s wonderful to hear the passion that exists for this show both in front of and behind the camera.

And if you missed the first run of the series, or just want to revisit it, Showcase is going to be airing it again starting May 29th at 6pm!

But until then, listen to our chat with the wonderful minds at Back Alley Films.