But those aren’t the only fireworks going on tonight. Up on the Vic Mu roof, Eugene has finally cracked. And we are so attached to the idea of WWII soldiers as the cheerful, unflappable “greatest generation,” that it comes as a genuine shock to see this boy’s frailty and guilt and humanity. Gladys and Lorna finally join forces and coax him off the ledge.
After the excitement ends, Marco and Vera talk (I am really starting to ship them, y’all), and Betty and Teresa cuddle. Betty says she might not have risked this (it was her first time!) had she known she would see Teresa again. To that I say: Betty, this woman is giving you a foot massage, so she is a keeper. Either way, there is so much affectionate touching and kissing that we didn’t even have to launch a year-long campaign to see.
For those of you still keeping score with Kate—and I am one of you—we have two clues in the final scene. Firstly, she says that it was helpful to have the right “folks” (plural) to sing to, and secondly, when she hears Betty and Teresa giggling she makes this face.
But then she smiles, so who even knows.
Finally this week, Gladys has finally moved into the boarding house and is teaching herself how to make eggs, when Lorna comes in with a telegram.
Gladys can’t read it. Lorna gets as far as “regret” before Gladys’ face collapses. She tries to fix the eggs because she is Gladys and if she can fix the eggs then she can fix everything and this doesn’t have to be true. Lorna helps her until finally she begins to cry, and then Lorna holds her.
This scene encapsulates everything I love about this show (sans Betty, obviously). For one thing, it’s about women coming together to pull each other up and support one another, and anyone familiar with the words “Bechdel Test” knows what a rarity that is. But also, this show gets at the even bigger truth of feminism, which is humanism. I have hated James and publicly wished for his demise for many a long month, but when it came, it’s as painful as if I liked him. I started out thinking Eugene was a monster and now I just want him to be OK. And I’m sure that, wherever Kate and Betty are going, it will be handled with the empathy and honesty that continually defines this remarkable piece of television.
I’ll see you all in six weeks, and will think of little else in the meantime.