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).
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.
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…
Betty 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!