Recap: “Bomb Girls: Facing the Enemy”

Over at Spy Camp, Clifford is suspiciously sifting through some documents late at night, and I am like “YES. CLIFFORD IS A DOUBLE-AGENT.  HIS ACCENT HIS FINALLY BEEN WRITTEN IN AS A PLOT TWIST.”  So he goes to meet up with Gladys and I think he will be exposed, but instead he is shot dead by the actual double-agent. I would have preferred him to suffer more as he has caused me to suffer, but either way he is off the show now so, hooray!

bombgirls6OH GOOD, YOU’RE GONE.

In the wake of Clifford’s murder, Gladys volunteers to return to Vic Mu and find out if someone there is sabotaging the Submarine Detectors, with her cover story being that she was kicked out of WAC for insubordination.

When she returns to Vic Mu, work in the factory immediately shuts down and she is mobbed by her old friends. Everyone is happy to see her except Lorna, who had hoped that she might finally have gotten rid of the only serious threat to her dominance and her sons once and for all. She even offers to put in a good word with her cousin to get Gladys back in the CWAC and safely away from Eugene.  But the first thing Gladys says to Kate is “have you heard from Betty?” Kate shakes her head and smiles, all the while emoting sadness through her eyes, and tells Gladys that Betts has been out of prison for two months, but has been incommunicado. Kate speculates that “she must hate me” because people always go to prison for people they hate.  I am in prison right now for my mortal enemy, so TAKE THAT, CHARITY FROM SIXTH GRADE.

Over on the Super-Secret Green Line, Mrs. Buchinsky teaches Gladys in the ways of the Submarine Detector, and Gladys gets to work on quality control.  She pretty much immediately spots a girl break her little rubber hose and then try and tie it back together like nothing has happened, but when she goes to correct her, Buchinsky swoops down.

Helen: Look here Princess, the green shift may be in the basement, and our bandanas may not be doing anyone’s complexions any favors, but we stick together.  Even if one of us commits a mistake that may cost countless lives.  Isn’t that right, girls?

Green Shift: (In terrifying unison.) YES MA’AM.


Feeling awfully alone, Gladys petitions Berman to bring a new deputy to green shift “Someone I can trust, who isn’t afraid to ruffle some feathers: Betty McRae.”  And you know how in Harry Potter phoenix song gives you strength to fight and live?  That is what the sound of that name does to me.

That night at the Jewel Box, Kate is up on stage singing her heart out (remember when Kate was missing and Betty roamed the streets searching for her every single night?  Just saying).  And Vera starts telling Marco about how she’s aching for some action.  Because, much like Gladys—though far less ostentatiously—Vera is a woman who thrives on challenges.  So she just casually lets it drop that maybe she will enlist in the army, and I swear to god, right then and there I screamed at my computer “ARE YOU GOING TO KILL VERA, YOU FUCKING MORONS?”

After her number, Kate sidles up to the bar and orders a white wine (which feels really anachronistic to me) and Head Spy Davis hits on her like crazy. She flirts with him right back, though this may only be because he is the last man in Toronto who doesn’t think she’s in girlfriends with Betty McRae.

While Kate coquettes, Gladys grills Vera about Betty’s whereabouts. Vera admits that Kate has been checking in regularly to ask about Kate, and has been in hiding at Toronto’s only underground ladies’ boxing club.


Upon spying Gladys in the audience, Betty takes a hard sock to the chin and loses the bout. And who knew anything could hurt as bad as seeing Betty defeated?

Afterwards, Gladys and Betts catch up in the locker room, and confirm that they have the best chemistry of any two characters on this show.  They rise so far above the writing, squeezing meaning out of every word, silence, and gesture. And the editing rises up to meet them: when Gladys asks Betty about prison, the camera just flashes to a brief shot of her bruised and broken hand, and lets that moment and Betty’s strained smile be the eloquent, heartbreaking answer.


Gladys: I can’t believe you lost that fight, Betty. You successfully beat a Nazi in a cage match one time, remember?

Betty: Oh, I lost on purpose. That’s my new job.

Gladys: But that is like…the exact opposite of everything you stand for.

Betty: Well this is the new me, Princess: just getting beat up for money and neglecting my hair care until my outsides finally match how my insides feel.

Gladys: Sweetie, why don’t you come back to the factory with me?

Betty: You mean the place where everyone thinks I’m a murderous deviant freak? Even I don’t want to get beat up that bad.

But if anyone knows how entice our girl back to Vic Mu, it’s Gladys.  Betty asks “Did Kate send you?” with this desperate mix of hope and terror, and Gladys replies “Actually, Kate thinks you hate her.”  And we all know that Betty McRae could never in a million years let Kate Andrews walk around thinking that.

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