Bomb Girls 201 Recap: I Heard You Like Beards

Gladys and Betty do more cutesy bestie stuff together, like raise money for the Red Cross. They probably got assigned to do their Key Club project together or something, and they want to get enough volunteer hours for the class pizza party.

i heard if you raised enough money they might bring hoobastank for an assembly

i heard if we raise enough money they might bring hoobastank for the assembly

Over on the wrong side of the tracks, Lorna and Vera are about to check out the services available on Chestnut Street. Seems like a pretty rough place where men like to build fires in oil drums and then stand around them ominously. Maybe they are going to make a zippole in that fire, but probably not.

i really hope they invent mace soon this is kind of a pain

i really hope they invent mace soon this is kind of a pain

At the Jewel Box, Gladys is trying really super hard to be a good ally by making sure Betty knows this is a safe space for her to come out. Unfortunately, Betty is not budging on this hetero malarkey as her stubbornness is one of her more endearing traits.

PEENSPACESTATIONMEDALRLYTHO

In all seriousness, they are about to have one of the more tragic scenes I’ve seen on the show. Gladys asks Betty if her heart is really in it, and Betty snaps.

This is what girls do – they date boys. And they don’t get arrested, and they keep their jobs, and they don’t have the whole bloody world thinking they’re deviant freaks.

Betty, I never –

No, you didn’t. So don’t go telling me where my goddamned heart is.

Betty grabs Ivan when he returns and tells him to take her home, where we all know what’s about to happen. Scenes like this are why this show is important and really smacks me in the heart. Because we’ve all been in Betty’s shoes before – we’ve all struggled to fit a role that pinched our sides or felt like an oversized mask, but we did it because we felt we had to in order to survive, or because society expected it of us, or because we thought any other way was shameful and wrong. And we forced ourselves to keep playing the role, even when it started to really hurt.

Back on the wrong side of the tracks, Lorna and Vera are talking to the home abortion instructor about options. Lorna is obviously not going to come out and talk about Marco, so she pretends that she’s here for a young girl at the factory. Vera, being continually the wisest one on this goddamned show, is onto her shit. She tells her how it’s a homebrewed tea that makes you feel unpleasant, but you have to do it because girl power.

i'm not saying that you're absolute shit at subtlety but i'd grade that attempt as an f

i’m not saying that you’re absolute shit at subtlety but i’d grade that attempt as an f

At the boarding house, Betty has taken Ivan up to her room, where she is attempting to down as much alcohol in the shortest amount of time that she possibly can. Then she engages in the most awkward and forced attempt at sex I’ve ever seen, which is both hilarious and heart-breaking.

TITSIKEA

Luckily Ivan is a decent guy who tells her that he doesn’t want to rush into things, especially if it’s her first time and she’s too drunk to remember. The wounded puppy face she makes continues to slay me. You know none of this is the way she wanted things to go, and you know exactly who she wishes was there right now.

you don't even have a soft butt like she did

i’m sorry ivan but you don’t even have a soft butt like she does

The next morning, Gladys is nursing her hangover at the family mansion and trying to get her folks to let her throw a party for the Red Cross. She’s got to be super sneaky so they don’t see her rolling in the kegs this afternoon. They tell her they’ll allow it on the condition that she doesn’t attend as a factory worker, but as the Witham heir she is. Gladys acts sulky, but you know she’s busting out the fur for this one.

omg mom plz tell me you realize how vaginal all your flower arrangements

omg mom plz tell me you realize how vaginal all your flower arrangements are

Gladys invites the factory ladies to her shindig, and they are skeptical until she says there will be free champagne, confirming my suspicions that they all secretly went to my college. When they show up, they are blown away by how fancy it all is, and Vera tells off that other bitch secretary who wants them to come through the back door. I love Vera.

PWNED

PWNED

Betty is trying to flag down a cab so she can get to the hottest party of the semester. Out of nowhere, she hears a familiar voice singing and goes all wet noodle. Who could it possibly be? Obviously it’s her dream girl and lady love, and obviously I jumped off my couch.

SOFTBUTTFAMULANKEYSMASHHATESUDEADBONER

But the extreme thrill of seeing Kate is quickly overturned by the concern that she has been totes brainwashed by her creepy evangelical doomsday dad. Her dad spots Betty and calls her a demon, and Betty tells him she has a boyfriend now so he is totally wrong about her being gayer than gaysville. We know, honey. We’ve all had fake boyfriends to get our girlfriend’s evil dad off our tail, we know how that goes.

Betty wants Kate to leave with her, but Kate tells her to go before her father hurts Betty, or worse, hurts Kate. That’s the ticket that gets Betty to go and she takes our bleeding hearts with her. This is what I looked like during this scene:

Crying Sad Puppy

At the Witham Party House, Gladys shows up in a super nice dress even though all the other factory workers are dressed like, hm, factory workers. Gladys is like DON’T HATE ME and goes to hang out with her new crush Kai who totally got his older brother to buy beer for all of them. Then she realizes her parents have done the equivalent of hanging a blown-up version of her awkward Confirmation photoshoot on the living room wall.

OH MY GLOB WHY ARE MY MOM AND DAD SO LUMPING LAME

OH MY GLOB WHY ARE MY MOM AND DAD SO LUMPIN LAME

NOT EVEN MY BEST ANGLE OH MY GLOB CAN'T YOU DO ANYTHING LUMPIN RIGHT DAD

NOT EVEN MY BEST ANGLE OH MY GLOB CAN’T YOU DO ANYTHING LUMPIN RIGHT DAD

Gladys realizes her dad is a skeezeball and is using the fundraiser as a way to start his new ad campaign and maybe get the Red Cross to buy his canned goods. Because that’s what their fortune is based off of, remember. Canned goods. Anyway he’s all like CAPITALISM WHATEVER and tells her to go give the speech or he’ll cut her allowance. And she’s saving up for the Lip Smackers gift set!

YOU'RE THE WORST I'M GOING TO MY ROOM AND I'M NOT COMING DOWN FOR SUPPER

I’M GOING TO MY ROOM TO LISTEN TO AVRIL LAVIGNE AND I’M NOT EVER LEAVING EVER

Back on the wrong side of the tracks, the homeopathic medicine liberal lady who is probably a lesbian, let’s face it, is telling Lorna that she needs to drink this tea soon because she doesn’t have a lot of time left before the baby starts moving around and kicking and stuff. Lorna asks if other ladies use this treatment often, and the woman basically tells her that she’s not the only whore in Babylon.

it's the 1940s and society fears women's bodies so yeah business is booming

it’s the 1940s and society fears women’s bodies so yeah business is booming

Betty is late to the party and besides telling that bitch secretary to “shove it, powder puff” she runs up to Gladys and tells her that she’s found Kate and they need to spring her outta jail something fierce. Gladys is hosting the party of the year and is playing the role of Lindsay Lohan in Mean Girls when she throws a rager instead of going to the art show, and Betty tells her she wants her pink shirt back and runs off to get Kate on her own. Oh, Betty.

gettin real tired of ur bullshit witham

you are now an obstacle between me and soft butts and for that i must destroy you

Gladys’ parents are making her give this speech, but Kai tells her that she needs to follow her heart and chase her dreams, etc. So instead of giving the speech her dad wrote, she talks about how amazing the factory girls are and then makes her dad pay three thousand dollars to the Red Cross. Kai gives her the approving smile and you know that’s gonna happen at some point.

still hate u tho mom and dad

still hate u tho mom and dad

Looks like Kate and her dad found some of the fire drums on the wrong side of the tracks, because they’re hanging out by one. Kate accuses her father of not letting her see her mother or siblings at the sanitorium. Dad’s all like oh she’s fine definitely not dead, definitely not thrown in a ditch somewhere. Betty runs up to save her like the white knight dyke she is, but Kate’s like, I got this.

remember when bette went apeshit on that government panel? that's fucking nothin

remember when bette went apeshit on that government panel? that’s fucking nothin son

Kate confronts her father about the letter, about lying to her to keep her loyal to him, and it’s the most awesome thing in the world. Kate someone who was formerly characterized by her innocence, her timid demeanor, is not giving her abuser the time of day. The next best thing would be for them to accidentally kill him, and oh, wouldn’t you know?

NAPNOT

 

Betty insists they do this properly because they owe him at least a decent ending, but Kate says nope, leave the bitch, and covers him with a tarp and walks away. Kate, this new badass side of you is way too awesome.

Meanwhile at Joyless Junction, Lorna comes home to drink the tea when BAM! The little fettucini starts kicking. She pushes the teabag onto the floor in a gesture we are meant to interpret as a signal that she is going to cook the fettucini to full term.

sounds like there's a frank sinatra tape down in there

why does it sound like there’s a frank sinatra tape playing in there

Gladys shows up at Betty’s room to apologize for not helping her earlier, and promises they’ll look for Kate ASAP. Betty nods to where Kate is standing behind the door, and they bond. There is a distinct air in this room of Something Lesbian Just Took Place. Gladys gives her gay best friend a look and it’s adorable.

BRO COMPLICATED

They all share a cigarette and listen to Billie Holiday and it’s all way too much for me. Look at this look. Look at it.

Picture 227

What will happen on next week’s episode? Will Betty and Kate do some processing? Will Gladys get grounded and banned from prom? How is Lorna’s biscotti coming along? Until next time, gals.

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Full-time writer, part-time lover, freelancing in fancy cheese and cider.

Kate has written 131 articles for us.

79 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

    • 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

  6. 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?

  7. As soon as I saw the headline I went straight to watch the show! Looooved this and can’t wait for more! You guys, we’re going to learn about so many different Italian food names.

  8. OMG what rock have I been living under?!!? This looks so totally relevant to my interests. But, um, I have a question? I checked isohunt and pirate bay and I can’t seem to find good torrents for season one. Can anyone guide me to greener pastures? Pwease?

  9. 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.

  10. 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)

  11. Just watched the first episode, season 1. I’m really liking the concept but the acting was pretty stilted and the writing pretty cliché… I’m assuming this gets better? Not ready to give up yet…

  12. 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.

  13. 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!!

    • 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

  14. 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. 😀

  15. 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.)

      • 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.

    • 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.

  16. “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!

    • My friend is Chinese American and she often jokes that she is illiterate because her parents never taught her or her siblings Chinese! So he really may not know the meaning of his name, or even how to write it in Chinese 😉

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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”…

  20. 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!

  21. 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.

  22. 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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