Bomb Girls: Episode 5 – Armistice

In watching this episode of Bomb Girls, I was thinking perhaps a sub-title was needed under this week’s title – this is the price we pay. I’m not talking in terms of comeuppance or karma, I’m referring simply to what we pay in lives and emotions, in response to war.

And this week, they pull out all the stops to make us realize what it’s costing our characters.

Kate (Charlotte Hegele) makes out the best, finding the strength and belief to follow a dream, even if she should fall upon her face, and she doesn’t. She convinces Leon to let her sing with the band. She belts out a tune, and truly realizes that this is who she is. Watching Charlotte bring Kate to life on that dive’s stage is magical, watching as she gets over her nerves to just enjoying the moment she’s in, all under Betty’s watching and adoring eyes.

I love the look on Betty’s face as she watches Kate sing, the pride and love you can see there. I so don’t want her to get hurt.

Betty (Ali Liebert) tries to spend time this episode with Kate and doesn’t get the alone time that you can see on her face that she wants, just the two of them, going out together, to share a drink. Kate, as a good friend would, agrees that next time it will just be them, and then wonders if she can sing with the band. The way Betty’s face falls for just a moment, you know how she feels, cause we’ve all been there – the object of our affections just doesn’t look at us the way we look at them. But, that is the price we pay. Ali brings it to the surface with restrained pain, and it hurts my heart.

Vera (Anastasia Phillips) and Archie (Billy MacLellan) are both still in the hospital, as Vera continues to save up her sleeping pills, 40 pills for 40 winks all the way down…

But her own plans stumble as Archie falls prey to sepsis. He urges Vera to realize she has a choice about living or dying, but he doesn’t.

And Vera makes her choice…

Gladys (Jodi Balfour) has problems of her own, James (Sebastian Pigott) has discovered the letters her soldier has written to her, and this throws a huge spanner in the works for the two of them. All while trying to get the rations contract from the Army, despite the fact that they have issues with spoilage. War profiteers, it’s hard to like her family, happily it’s not required. Gladys brings them to task on it, by serving the very rations they want to send to the troops as an Armistice lunch for the family… BRILLIANT! I do love how Jodi portrays Gladys’ idealism, and the honest belief that she can make the world better, that she can do some good. Even if the cost is her personal life… but for now, it seems she and James have resolved their issues, and are presenting a united front again. He also endorses her continuing to write letters to her soldier, knowing that we all need something to hold onto during times of war, and it’s the soldier’s thought that maybe there is someone back home thinking of him that allows him to carry on…

Which brings us to Lorna (Meg Tilly) after last week’s dalliance with Marco, she seems like a new woman, and the two of them try to steal moments where they can. It comes to a temporary halt though with the arrival of a military telegram. This sends Lorna into a spiral of worry, as she waits to open the telegram until Bob (Peter Outerbridge) comes home.

Unfortunately when he does, he reeks of booze, and a bottle has become a bit of a permanent addition to his presence.

This causes an enormous row… Lorna is furious that Bob has never opened up to her about his experiences of the war, which he insists he’s protecting her from. She also wishes he would let go of his own anger and bitterness to be proud of his sons, as one of them, Stanley, has been awarded a citation as the contents of the telegram reveal.

It’s painfully uncomfortable to watch the two of them fight, because you feel as if you’re intruding on them as opposed to watch a scene. That is due to the spectacular writing and the phenomenal performances of both actors.

And with all arguments, it makes it harder on you when you not only understand both sides of the argument, but you don’t disagree with either side as well. The war was a terrible experience, and Bob is trying to protect Lorna from that, but the price he pays for loving her so much, for saving her from those horrors may be that he loses her.

Lorna, adversely, loves Bob, and wishes he would share it with her, because I think she knows instinctively that if he shares it, it won’t lessen his experience, but it would be a burden they could bear together.

I think she gets part of that across to him after Mr. Akins (Richard Fitzpatrick) asks her to give the Armistice speech this year. Bob, and her daughter both show up at the factory to hear it, catching Lorna completely by surprise.

From that moment on, the rest of the episode saw plenty of tear-spilling on my part.

Lorna gives a beautiful speech about what Bob fought for in World War One, what all the soldiers fought for, in that war, and this one.  Meg brings such a raw honesty to that speech that as soon as she started talking about Bob my eyes welled right up.

This series cannot end in one more episode. Yes, there is one more episode in the season, but they have to come back. These characters and just as importantly, if not more so, these stories, need to be told.

Or who knows the price we will have to pay should history repeat itself?

Bomb Girls final episode of the season airs next Wednesday, catch up online at Global’s website!

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