Bomb Girls 201 Recap: I Heard You Like Beards

If you’ve never seen Bomb Girls, please run, don’t walk, to your nearest torrent and get yourself the first season as soon as is humanly possible. If your television interests are as lesbian-thirsty as mine are, then consider this the tower of Gatorade in the middle of the Sahara.

I have a lot of feelings about this show, and most of them have to do with the fact that I want to share it with everyone I meet. I think that historical dramas that offer queer perspectives are really invaluable to our community. We have been struggling and surviving since the dawn of time, and since so many of us were erased from the history books or not allowed to give our accounts, it’s extra important that we still have access to those legacies, even the fictionalized versions. My goal is to get every single one of you to watch this show if you don’t already, and to get you super psyched so I won’t feel like I’m the only one vomiting all these gay feelings every week.

Also there is not nearly enough Bomb Girls fanfiction and you need to fill that void for me.

Here’s your first season refresher.

early stage 1 pre-lez

am i poor yet is this what being poor is like

GLADYS is totes rich and has the face of a hottie and the fur collection of Cruella de Vil. She works at the munitions factory because despite her family’s 1940s equivalent of a toaster strudel fortune, she wants to do what common people do. She is not a lesbian *yet*, but she only seems to hang out with lesbians.

Gladys’ parents are not down with her blue collar period, and this drops a bomb (HAHA) on the family dynamic. Her fiancé is pretty laid back about the whole thing, but also he contracts herpes from a lady who isn’t Gladys. Gladys calls it evensies because she once cheated on him, and they say sorry and decide to peacefully stay together. It’s the most Canadian thing that’s ever happened.

see how i'm deftly inserting this rod into this canister are you not turned on

see how i’m deftly inserting this rod into this canister are you not turned on

BETTY is flawless dyke swagger in a pantsuit. She likes likes girls and has been keeping it a quiet secret because it is the 1940s. She has never met a pair of trousers she doesn’t like. She is one of the more incredible queer characters to show up in media and I will have fisticuffs with anyone who wants to argue that with me.

dyke smirk realness

you see this smirk? i call this smirk the panty dropper

She falls pretty darn hopelessly for KATE, whose real name is Marian and who works at the factory after escaping her super religious abusive father. He dragged her sick mom and siblings around so they could sing hymns outdoors while he yelled at people about hellfire. Kate is actually a Disney princess come to life because of her super sweet demeanor, giant dewy eyes, and the fact that she constantly sings.

Betty reveals her feelings to Kate and they FUCKING KISS and Betty says I LOVE YOU but then Kate’s father returns to literally punch Betty in the face and take his daughter back. If you didn’t cry at this, you’re either dead or made from Canadian stone.

ASDFGHJKJHGFDSQ12345TY7HUIJNKML

ASDFGHJKJHGFDSQ12345TY7HUIJNKML

The girls are all overseen by LORNA who leads a pretty joyless existence until she started getting to it with the hot young Italian stallion MARCO. You go, Lorna.

i haven't smiled in six years it sounds painful

hasn’t smiled in six years

Turns out Marco totally gets her pregnant. This would be less of a problem if Lorna wasn’t married to an equally joyless dude who will not take well to raising the little plate of spaghetti.

so miserable lol txt it

so miserable lol txt it

Now everyone is back for the second season to deal with the hot lesbian mess they left behind, plus the whole war thing. Take it away, my beautiful ladies.

CLIQUETYDOODA

Bam! Season 2 has begun. This episode is called “The Quickening”, maybe for how quickly time has flown by since the end of last season. Kidding! It felt like forever and I wanted to die.

you know i'm still not gay because i'm surrounded by these phallic symbols

you can tell i’m still not gay because i’m surrounded by these phallic symbols

Gladys is doing a photoshoot in her living room because, you know, fancy people. Who even knows why they do the things they do? Good to see she remains completely precious this season. I want her to be gay, but I also see her as that one straight friend we all have who is totally gorgeous and whose boyfriend we have sworn to forever hate.

my neck my back

lick my neck my back

Vera’s looking all fine, and her scars have healed at a rate that makes me wonder if we are supposed to think a lot of time has passed or that medical technology was a whole lot better in the forties than we have been led to believe. I’m gonna go with the latter, since I believe pretty much anything I see on TV! Remember when the hooks that hook into the bomb things accidentally hooked into her head? You got this, Vera!

slayedoh my god no i can't

Betty gets her dyke swag on and then gives her good luck charm a kiss. If you’re wondering how I looked during this scene, I’ve done an accurate recreation:

butch tears

Back at the factory, it’s good to see that impending motherhood hasn’t given Lorna a lighter and happier outlook on life. She’s inspecting fingernails like they’re defendants at the Nuremberg Trials. Keep smiling, sunshine!

did none of you read the effing dykes about fake nails?

come on ladies am i really the only one who read the effing dykes post about fake nails

I’m trying not to make insensitive jokes about the locker room being Betty’s favorite place in the factory, but it’s my favorite place in the factory, so whatever. She and Gladys seem to be tighter than ever, and they dish about how much Gladys misses her soldier boytoy. Betty’s all like “whatever, princess,” because it’s totally normal to give our straight friends semi-flirtatious nicknames, right? I’m not the only one who does that, right?

i'm femme flagging my openness towards any and all sex acts

i’m femme flagging my openness to any and all queer sex acts

Lorna says there’s a delegation from China and the U.S. visiting today, so the girls need to be on their best behavior and not pull each other’s hair or make out in the break room.

Lorna pulls Betts aside and tells her that a man has sent a letter to their supervisor accusing her of making advances towards a girl named Marian. Betty’s face while reading the words “deviant freak” is pretty heartbreaking, but she tells Lorna it’s a pile of bologna and nothing to worry about.

i am 100% sure i did not have frequent and overwhelming desires to fingerblast the aforementioned i am totally sure of this

i am 100% sure i did not have frequent and overwhelming desires to fingerblast the aforementioned

The Chinese-American delegation is here, and Betty and Gladys get to show them around. Betty just talks about how fucking dangerous their job is and makes a lot of tough guy faces at the men. I love her so much that it makes my heart hurt. Gladys talks about her fiancé and then accidentally dredges up some stuff about how all the lady factory workers in China were killed by bombs. Awkward.

i'm a rich white cis straight girl how can you possible hold me accountable for my world views

i’m a white cis straight girl how can you possibly hold me accountable for my world views

Suddenly an alarm goes off and everyone needs to evacuate stat. It turns out that there’s an unidentified plane in the “no fly” zone headed straight for the plant and the trains full of explosives. When the two meet, it will be a disaster of epic proportions. It’s pretty much the literal representation of what happens when two of your exes start dating.

Down in the tunnels, everyone is getting cozy. In near death situations, like right around closing time at the lesbian bar, desperate times call for desperate couplings. Gladys continues to reveal the fact that she is doesn’t get out a lot. If she had a tumblr, social justice culture would have smashed her into oblivion by now and made at least a few burn blogs. Luckily, the Chinese-American officer who earlier helped place her foot directly into her mouth continues to be a sassypants.

I’m afraid I don’t know your name.

It’s Kai Lo.

Kai Lo? What does that mean?

I don’t know. What does Witham mean?

I like this guy.

lady your ignorance is staggering and it's really making me want to kiss the privilege right outta you

lady your ignorance is staggering and it’s really making me wanna kiss the privilege right outta you

As the situation gets more dire, Ivan the new guy goes for the ol’ awkward arm squeezing with Betty. Funny how much he reminds me of my high school boyfriend.

i herd u like beards

i herd u like beards

The coast gets cleared and everyone goes back to normal, or at least the version of normal where handling extremely dangerous explosives is just a thing that you do for an hourly wage. Upstairs in the offices, Vera is getting major shit for her scars because the other secretaries are super bitches. I look forward to the episode when Vera goes apeshit and slaps the dumb outta them. I expect Betty to back her up with that mean gay right hook of hers.

don't make me remind you of my stint on bad girls club

don’t make me remind you of my stint on bad girls club

Down at the canteen, Gladys asks Betty if she’s still looking for Kate (who, reminder, is also Marion) at night. Of course she’s still looking for Kate – she doesn’t do anything with her life except build weapons and stalk the dark streets like the little gay Batman she is. But Betty’s already had one confrontation today about her “deviant freak” behavior and knows what’s at stake, so she pulls a Me At Age 16 and decides to give this whole hetero business a try.

In an irony that I hope was entirely intentional on casting’s part, the second most dykey person at the factory asks Betty if she and Ivan are a thing because of how arm-squeezy they were getting down in the tunnels. Gladys says Betty is “not that kind of girl” aka she is too gay to function, but Betty says she calls dibs on Ivan, whatever. She does this through a lot of dykey swaggering and slamming her spoon down to stake her claim. It’s so adorable how hard she’s trying and so adorable how dykey she remains that my heart just about bursts. Gladys believes none of this bullshit but quietly supports Betty no matter what because she just read a zine on how to be a good ally.

SOFTBALLGOLFMANPARTS

Throwaway Character Dykey McDykerston jokes to her friend that she heard Gladys had been “up the stump” and “took a trip down to Chestnut Street,” which apparently is 1940s talk for she had an abortion. Lorna overhears this and logs this stump talk away as she is starting to get a little desperate about the pignolo growing inside of her.

Meanwhile, Gladys is wearing this get-up because she’s really precious that way. I still don’t know how she manages to maintain so many lesbian friends and wear so much fur, as you’d imagine this would interfere with their militant veganism.

it may be furry up here but i promise it's bald as an eagle down there

it may be furry up here but i promise it’s bald as an eagle down there

Once Betty joins her, it becomes apparent that the costuming department had a surplus of purple felt this season. Somehow this translates to the two of them looking like a crime-solving team or a pair of super siblings. They are such besties now, I love it.

i told you that on wednesdays we wear the robin hood hats, not the newsie-fucked-a-baseball-player hat

the adventures of robin clitoral hood and her sidekick dyke scowl

Gladys wants Betty to come to the Jewel Box and help her raise money for the Red Cross, but Betty says she’ll be there anyway because she’s got a date with a man. Gladys’ response: “A holding hands and kissing date?” Because Gladys knows that Betty just wants to touch soft butts and put her lips on another girl’s lips.

Meanwhile at Joyless Junction, Lorna’s daughter Sheila says she might go to medical school. Bob says the only reason she got in is because there aren’t dudes around anymore to take her place. Not only is Bob a dickhole, but he calls Lorna out on the bombolone situation. Any possibility of positivity is officially sucked from this scene as if through a gigantic bendy straw. We could not exit this situation faster.

just because i'm in a wheelchair doesn't mean we're gonna sing and dance our way through issues this isn't fucking glee

just because i’m in a wheelchair doesn’t mean we’re gonna sing and dance our way through issues this isn’t fucking glee ok

At the Jewel Box, people are doing the 1940s equivalent of twerking and really getting down hard. Betty and Ivan’s date seems to be going well as they are bonding over hockey and beer. Betty burps and they salute it. I can’t make this shit up. This scene finally reveals a flaw of Betty’s, though, as she turns out to be a Maple Leafs fan. Don’t worry, Betts. We’ll work on that.

As much as I’d typically be averse to anything involving my favorite queer characters and heterosexuality, I actually really like this Ivan guy and kind of hope they become buds once they get over the fact that he is Betty’s thick and tangled beard. They could have bro nights where they watch the game and share a couple of brewskis, and then talk about the girls they dig and be mutually respectful. I’m into it.

you're the first girl that ever wanted to start the date off by arm wrestling

you’re the first girl that ever wanted to start the date off by arm wrestling

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Hard-lovin' butch made of tears, sweat, and spit, in that order. Professional lonesome polecat. Kate is living proof that you can take the hillperson out of the mountains, but she's still probably going to run back to the mountains anyway. Kate prefers the trashy to the classy, and the tender to everything else. Full-time writer, part-time lover. Heart got so big and soggy that she had to cut off all her sleeves.

Kate has written 124 articles for us.

78 Comments

  1. Thumb up 0

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    Also…

    Will no one note the six degrees of seperation with the Life with Derek cameos by Michael Seater as the Beard and George Venturi as a crazy Dad?

    Note that the same thing happened in Degrassi too, but not important right now.

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    Ill just leave it here, since Kate is one of the coolest girls on AS ;))

    Dear Autostraddle and everyone else reading this.

    I just want to say thank you. Thank you for making me accept my self. Accept my self when no one else did. Two years ago I sat by my self in my bedroom in my hometown in Norway – Probably the smallest town on earth. In this town everyone knows everyone, and the towns way is the only right way. Feelings suppressed deep in my heart were kept there for the life of me. Even being a town in an as liberal country as Norway, my town is nothing like that. And for me to be accepted, I had to act the way everyone else wanted me to act. I had to act straight. And if someone ever mentioned the word gay, or as my parents, their friends and their friends would say; being unhappy, it was seen as something completely wrong – As a particular way of living JUST because you hadn’t found real love. But I could never accept this.

    I was searching the Internet one day, and I came across you’re site. Autostraddle.com. I think I read almost every article on your site. I felt as if I knew exactly who all of you where at the end. Riese with you ironic and hilarious sense of humor. Alex with the funniest dance moves I have ever seen. And Laneia who just.. I don’t know.. loves everybody. You, and everyone else on autostraddle.com have taught me something very important; that it isn’t wrong to be gay. That there is no exact way of living, thinking or breathing that is particularly gay, on not gay for that matter. Well, with the exception of breathing thru your nose that is (I hear). Anyhow. I’ve spent days scrolling thru your site. Beautiful written word like tolerance, love and equality has reminded me again and again how natural and ok my life choice is. I’m nothing unfitting or special. I’m one of a kind. But not the only one of a kind. I’m one in a million of beautiful women who have made a choice based on those feelings inside of each and everyone of us. Those warm and natural feelings of love for that special someone, and in my case for the most heartwarming girl in the world, who after months of just thinking about it, I got to know here in the capital Oslo, after I got away from that ridiculous town up north.

    So thank you. You rock!

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      I agree, but I also kinda like it that way? Yes, it was a bit rushed, but honestly, I’d probably prefer ‘Betty and Kate, sharing this horrible secret, do some soul-searching together’ to ‘Betty and Kate separately worry about their various issues from last season’ as I am an entirely superficial person and just want them to have lots of scenes together. Preferably scenes with lots of feelings. And maybe making out. But not quite yet!

      So, yes, maybe they could have played it out over a few episodes, given it more build-up, and maybe that would have been a better story. I certainly would have preferred to see Kate leaving her father of her own volition, because Kate/empowerment is the ship I want the most and I’m really not liking the Betty-as-hero/Kate-as-damsel-in-distress thing that’s going on with a lot of the fandom. I want Kate to be a wonderful, talented, and quietly badass queer girl that knows exactly what she wants and how to get it. And while I wasn’t too happy with the ‘Betty rescues Kate’ scenario the show seemed to set up, I have enough faith in this show that I believe Kate will (after a lot of soul-searching) get to that place of empowerment, knowing who exactly she is and that whoever she is, she’s fucking incredible/powerful/owning it. and also that the next time the two of them kiss, it’ll be Kate initiating.

      Wow, I don’t think I’ve stanned this hard for a character since Adelle DeWitt. FEELINGS ABOUND. also charlotte hegele is really fucking cute so that maybe has a lot to do with it.

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    OMGOMGOMGOG.
    *ahem*
    Thank-you, this is beautiful, I really am loving this show and am glad someone else does too, and has great pics and wordpics to go with it. :) It’s fun to read.

    Also, When I went to post, I was second, now I’m about 7th. Yay!

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    anywhere non-torrenty that I can get the first season? hulu failed me yet again and the one site I found flashed me a “wrong country” sign bc apparently this is the one show not allowed in the us.

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    I love this show! I’m so glad you guys are recapping it. I love Betty, I just can’t ship her with Kate, yet. Kate seems so damn straight to me. It seems like guaranteed heart-break, fundamental daddy and upbringing aside.

    And I love all of the other characters on this show and their friendships. Why can’t TV like this be made in the US?

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    My first thought when Ivan showed up was that maybe he needs a beard too. I mean, I’d prefer them all to be out and happy, but this is the 40′s. Also, he was so supportive of her wanting to own a house, and her love for hockey and beer, I mean, surely he has some sort of a clue? At least as a feminist type person?

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    Was anyone else happy to see evangelical Christianity depicted as religious abuse on Bomb Girls? I know religion isn’t inherently an abusive force, but it has played out that way in my life. Where I’m from religion, and specifically evangelical Christianity, is the norm. Anyone who believes differently is thought to be immoral. Religion’s potential to be used as a destructive force is never examined. So it was nice to see the religious person=good person association challenged on the show.

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    this recap was amazing, +1 to all the reaction gifs and a+ on the captioning

    I’ve thought of little else but this show for several days now so I’m glad this turned up. (Also I totally reread all the fanfiction that there is earlier today at work so I support your campaign to produce new content)

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    Love bomb girls. Finally something queer that I could marathon watch with my mom. BTW she pointed out this fact about lorna: Meg Tilly… She is the younger sister of actress and poker player JENNIFER TILLY.

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    Yay!
    Another queer TV programme and I haven’t seen the first season either!

    Now I have something to watch! Rather than just watching repeats of L word and Lip Service!
    Is Lip Service coming back??
    I hope so!!

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      all I can think of now are miniseries (/movies?) based on Sarah Waters novels… most relevant to Bomb Girls of course is The Night Watch. Thanks, BBC!

      oh, and of course, all three episodes of Playboy Club, which honestly was super-queer for such a mainstream show that people all thought was gonna be totes (hetero)sexist

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          the World Unseen is a movie, not a show, but it takes place in 1950s South Africa and has two female characters who fall for each other (and it deals w/ apartheid and sexism, yay). definitely recommend it.

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    So, without any shame at all since I am still technically on winter vacation, I promptly watched all seven of the available episodes.

    This line of yours however, “If you didn’t cry at this, you’re either dead or made from Canadian stone.” has struck a cord. Just last week my girlfriend accused me of being heartless when I didn’t cry at Les Miserables, and now complete strangers are doing it?

    Isn’t it enough that I made cute, pathetic noises when it happened? I frowned severely. Not enough? Well, damn.

    Oh and the scene with Betty pulling off Ivan’s belt? Yep. Mid-scene, I exclaimed, “That’s how I had sex with men too…” MAKE IT QUICK AND GO AWAY.

    I <3 this show and this recap made me giggle. Thanks on both accounts. :D

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    i just bellylaughed through this whole recap which is excellent because i basically cried buckets through the episode itself. oh my god i love this show. especially because cdn teevee is generally terrrrrrrible. (i feel like i could do without the mediocre canadian music though. i see you jill barber.)

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        I think the Italian references in the show are a big deal as they were the enemy in WW2, and Marco’s father is in an internment camp, so Lorna is trangressing another boundary by sleeping with him. He seemed like kind of an ass in the first season, more likeable now.

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      By lame, I mean substitute any other racialized group.
      The title referred to the time in a pregnancy the mother first feels the fetal movement, usually half way through the pregnancy. So Lorna’s left it kind of late (perhaps refers to Kate recognizing her feelings for Betty too?). Chestnut Street actually is a street in Toronto, with a predominantly immigrant (mostly Jewish) population in 1940′s. It’s quite likely it would have been where poorer women went to get abortions.

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    “I’m afraid I don’t know your name.
    It’s Kai Lo.
    Kai Lo? What does that mean?
    I don’t know. What does Witham mean?”

    Great recap! These lines, though, make me think that the show’s writers also don’t get out a lot. In real life the Chinese army officer would know exactly what his name meant because every Chinese name has a meaning, since Chinese names are written with regular characters that have standalone meanings. Take Jeremy Lin’s Chinese name: 林書豪 (Lin Shuhao). 書 (shu) means “book”, and 豪 (hao) means “grand” or “heroic”. Clearly his parents hoped he would become a mighty scholar and not a pro basketball player — ah, the disappointment of not living up to your name!

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    BEST RECAP EVER. Too many things so I just have to love it all.

    I almost enjoyed it more than actually watching the show…which is good because recaps are where I will be getting my BG action until the end of the season.

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    Kate, I’m disappointed in you — you missed Lorna checking whether Betty’s fingernails were short enough after interrogating her about her unnatural activities with women. I fell over on the couch I was laughing so hard.

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    I just watched all seven episodes for the first time ever today and not only did I have ALL OF THE FEELINGS but I am officially desperately in love with Betty and her smirk and the way she purses her mouth when she is lighting a cigarette. Also Betty looks exactly like this one “straight” girl who I hooked up with in the past and now have an overwhelming urge to call and invite over for “drinks”…

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    I just had the priviledge of blessing my eyes with the first season! thirst is quenched! alas kudos to you ms kate for the punch line ‘the adventures of robin clitoral hood and her sidekick dyke scowl’ laughed a little too long when i read that!

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    Great recap! Holy shit, why can’t Lorna smile more often!!!

    Bomb Girls fans who also like books, and typically like WWII/historical fiction that’s not super-hetero, should definitely read “Code Name Verity” by Elizabeth Wein. It’s not overtly queer but super suggestive and totally awesome. Great war-time-friendship spy-suspense mind-fuck-YA fiction.

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    Ok I know this is a late comment but I just watched this episode (ok, this one and the whole first season. In a row.) and I probably shouldn’t care, but guys, the crazy abortion lady is the teacher, Ms Bannet, from Lost & Delirious. Woah.

    Also, I love Betty.

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