One of the best shows on television continues to call it like it is, refusing to pull their punches, making sure that the characters that inhabit this recreation of 1940s Toronto are suitable reflections of real-life. There is no good guy or bad guy, they are all painted in shades of grey, and we learn things this week which allow us to see some characters in new ways…
If last week’s episode was about sacrifice, then this one reveals secrets and truths…
There are two catalysts for this episode, Eugene Corbett’s (Brett Dier) return, seen at the end of last week’s episode, and the news of an escape of Nazi P.O.W.s escaping from a camp in Bowmanville (something else I didn’t know about!), known as Camp 30.
Lorna (Meg Tilly) is going all-out for a celebratory dinner for Eugene, she sees it as a chance to show him off to friends and neighbors, and her boss Harold Aikens (Richard Fitzpatrick). Bob (Peter Outerbridge) is a little unsure of the idea, and is also unhappy how he is being shifted aside, displaced as the ‘man-of-the-house’ by his own son.
Sheila Corbett (Natasha Greenblatt) has a secret of her own when she brings a dinner date, Dr. Patel (Gabe Grey), the same doctor who saw over Lorna during the miscarriage. But it seems Lorna carries a little prejudice herself…
Eugene, I think, may be a little shell-shocked from the things he’s seen and done, but hides it behind the spoiled and stubborn boy he’s always been, at least that’s how Bob has always seen him and finally, Lorna.
Eugene ditches the dinner party, the one his mother has worked so hard to perfect, in the middle of an air raid black-out. And goes to the girl’s house, where he’s been invited by Kate (Charlotte Hegele), who did her best to be flirty with him, when Lorna arranged for him to come and talk at one of the Life Skills talks at the factory.
Neither Gladys (Jodi Balfour) or Betty (Ali Liebert) seem to care too much for him, not liking his drinking, nor his cavalier attitude towards war (which as mentioned, I think is a bit of a shield he’s made for himself to distance and protect himself).
Gladys learns that she can’t stay in touch with James (Sebastian Pigott) who’s on assignment in London, and is never to be found, “sowing his wild oats.” Despite Eugene’s blatant attempts to flirt with her and get her alone all night, much to Kate’s consternation, Gladys won’t betray her trust of James.
Vera (Anastasia Phillips) gets an evening of putting together ditty-bags with some high-society ladies. She comments that it’s not very organized, and lays out a proper assembly line, and while some of the gals take shots at her, some respect what she’s done and says that everything she’s done, and her scar, should be seen as a badge of honour. It’s a great moment for Vera when she sees that not all people look down her, and actually admire what she’s doing.
Kate tries flirting with Eugene, and then when he wants her to join in on a song he’s singing we realize she’s not lying about not being able to sing since her father’s passing. A talk and an invitation from Leon (Jim Codrington) to meet at the church slowly helps Kate find her way back, until she can start to find herself again in song by singing with the church choir.
Betty’s secrets are the biggest reveal of the night, and definitely puts her into a new light, as we now learn that she’s hiding more than her sexuality, she’s hiding her origins, long claiming to be of Scottish descent, we learn the truth when one of the escaped P.O.W.s surfaces in the girls’ home’s basement.
Not only that, we also see her turn around and betray the escaped German prisoner, calling for help as soon as he flees, and then she has to pull Eugene off of him when the Canadian starts leaning into the German and punching him repeatedly. One could argue that she’s showing her loyalty to her country, but part, I think is about protecting herself, possibly denying that part of herself. I don’t blame her, if she revealed it, she’d up in a camp just like Marco’s dad.
It’s another secret she has to keep.
I continue to love this show. It’s amazing, the stories it tells, the characters we love, and the dimensions added to both each week. The show will prove to be a landmark of Canadian television, earning places not only in the hearts of its home nation, but all around the world as it shows us this sadly little known chapter of World War II, and those who fought it on a completely different front. The Girls of Victory Munitions fight on!
Bomb Girls airs Wednesday nights at 8 on Global.