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RECAP: Bomb Girls 2×08 “Fifth Column”

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Oh Bomb Girls, how I love thee.

After the too-soon end of Being Erica, I wasn’t sure I could love another Canadian drama so soon. While CBC’s Being Erica will forever hold a place in my heart as one of the most endearing and original Canadian dramas, Global’s Bomb Girls sucked me right in the first time I watched it. The second season has showed no sign of letting up on the awesome, and its recent return from hiatus has been a port in the from from the miserable Canadian spring weather we’ve been having.

In “Fifth Column” the women from Victory Munitions are dealing with a potential saboteur! At the same time that they are going to see the movie Saboteur! How timely! Gladys is approached by a red headed woman in the bathroom of the Jewel Box, who innocently asks for a mint and then not-so-innocently asks a lot of questions about VicMu. When she returns to describe her encounter to her friends, Gladys receives a drink from a mysterious man (played by the ever gorgeous and talented Tahmoh Penikett).

That mysterious man turns out to be Clifford, the new head of security at VicMu, which Gladys discovers when she sees the mysterious woman on the factory floor and reports it. A search uncovers the fact that the woman has no employment record at the factory, no one has ever heard of her. When Gladys tries to point her out, the woman has mysteriously disappeared. Later, at the urging of her friends, Gladys goes on a date with the man. They discuss whether or not they could take orders for the greater good, even if it meant dying. On the ride home, it is revealed that the mysterious woman was planted there to test the discretion of the woman, and Clifford asks Gladys to work them. She must simply make the other women at VicMu forget about the red headed woman, and then await further orders.

Meanwhile, Betty is enjoying her new found love with Theresa, but in her excitement and passion fails to maintain the boundaries and secrecy that Theresa needs to keep her job and maintain her safety. The women run into some lewd men who call them nasty names and surround them. Betty throws a punch and the women run off, but Theresa warns Betty that she must be more discreet. The women run into the same men the next night, but this time the men escalate their attack. Physically attacking Betty, they attempt to drag her into a car. Vera and Gladys get help from some soldiers, and the women return to their home to help clean Betty up.

The next day at the factory, other women are looking at Betty and talking about her injuries. She becomes angry, but also worried that Lorna will think poorly of her, and she seems worried about her job security. Once on the floor, Lorna approaches Betty and makes a speech about how terrible it is that women who are working hard for their country are subject to such violence. Lorna tells Betty that she hopes she gave it to the men as hard as she got it.

Two smaller B plots that ran throughout the episode involved Lorna attempting to get closer to her daughter, and Kate helping an injured soldier deal with the loss of his voice. Lorna goes to the hospital along with other women from the factory under the guise of helping the soldiers, but her she wants to be close to her daughter. Unfortunately, Lorna cannot move past her daughter;s Indian beau, and her meddling causes stress between the two women. Kate struggles to help a soldier, who is unable to speak and refuses to remove or engage with anyone. She sits by his bedside and talks to him, but it is only the sound of her singing that elicits any reaction from him. After hearing her sing, the soldier takes her hand and sheds a tear. The next day, the soldier’s wife comes to take him home.

My favourite part of this episode was watching Betty come to terms with negotiating her passion with the reality of living as a lesbian in the 40s. I suspect that Betty will continue to push boundaries with Theresa, and get her heart broken. I think the show is doing a really great job of depicting the struggle of being queer during the time period, especially given the lack of language at the time to discuss the issues. I particular like the way they have demonstrated the importance of career for these women, so that their queer identities become entangled with their working identities. It is through the freedom of being able to provide for themselves that these women have been able to etch out a life that allows them to live as they would like.

Favourite moments:

  • The awkward moment when Lorna tries to give her daughter a teddy bear at work.
  • Watching Betty punch that douchebag guy in the face.
  • Tahmoh Penikett. Enough said.

What do you think readers? What is Gladys getting herself into? Can Lorna repair her relationship with her daughter? Is heartbreak in the cards for Betty? Sound off in the comments!

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About Alicia

TV addict. Activist. Burlesque Dancer. Political Economy MA. Queer Theorist. Feminist. Cat Lady.

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