Bomb Girls 203 Recap: Beards Are For Shaving

Marco and Gladys play hooky to go deal with their similar Daddy Issues. Vera has been acquiring lots of love tokens and can I just say GET IT GIRL. Lorna is disappointed in Vera’s lack of enthusiasm for the Beef Tongue Badge, and Vera says she would rather earn a Pretty Pretty Princess Badge. Vera is my femme inspiration.



Gladys and Casa Marco stop to picnic because apparently Italians cannot go twenty minutes without ingesting pasta or they will implode. As someone who has dated Italians, I can confirm this.

i'm sorry gladys is there an environment that you don't look fucking perfect in i'm just checking

author’s note: i’m sorry gladys is there an environment that you don’t look fucking perfect in

Bob is trying to get a job, but they have a strict Anti-Grumpy Policy. I didn’t know Canada was ever this unfriendly ever, guys!


Leon runs into Betty at Ye Olde Smoking Poste and tells her that Kate’s been a little too thirsty lately if you know what I mean. He suggests church, which is often to lesbians what buckets of water were to the Wicked Witch of the West. Betty says she’d rather have sex with a dude and blows him off. Ha…ha.

just spell the alphabet out seriously she'll love it

just spell the alphabet out seriously she’ll love it

Gladys and Casa Marco show up to the internment camp, all ready to get dressed up for the big dance and spring Marco’s dad. The guard says he has no idea who they are or what they’re doing there, and Gladys says she doesn’t think her father, the inventor of Toaster Strudel, would be too pleased to hear about this.

i drove all the way in gucci heels you piece of shit

i drove all the way here in gucci heels you piece of shit

Casa Marco is finally reunited. Marco tries to talk his dad into cooperating but he is not willing to work with people who have such strong feelings against linguine. Ugh, I miss the fetus pastry jokes, guys. There is only so much I can do with pasta.

son is that a cannoli in your pocket or

son is that a cannoli in your pocket or

Since this week’s episode is all about makeovers, Vera gives Brownie Troop Leader Lorna a complete makeover. Then they go to Friendly’s for ice cream and have a sleepover while they cuddle puppies. Because that’s what Brownie troops did, right? Right?

and it won't rub off on either pair of lips

and it won’t rub off on either pair of lips

At first Lorna is like no way, but then she looks in the mirror at home and is like yes way. It’s really adorable, I’m sorry.

totally taking selfies later and uploading them to my self care tumblr

totally taking selfies later and uploading them to my self care tumblr

Marco’s talk with his father isn’t going super swell because a) his father refuses to cooperate and b) his father doesn’t even think he is gonna look good in his homecoming dress. Then he salutes Mussolini which is kind of a big no, and they detain them both. Gladys sort of wishes she were back at the lesbian commune right now, eating organic snacks with her lesbian friends and swapping stories about menstruation.



Vera picks up a new soldier because this is her new hobby, this picking up soldiers and getting awesome presents from them thing. Again, continued YOU GO GIRL.

damn girl you look perkier than this nipple hat i'm wearing

damn girl you look perkier than this nipple hat i’m wearing

Down at Outdoor Sex Lookout, Betty and Ivan are listening to the big game while Ivan tries to get his big game on. Eeeerrrggghhh. At first, Betty seems her usual reluctant self, and I really need Ali Liebert to stop making these faces so I will stop crying hysterically. Ivan brings Hitler up one more time, and Betty finally gives in, just as the announcer yells HE SHOOTS HE SCORES.



For those of you who don’t speak hockey, Ivan put his kielbasa in Betty’s haggis after fondling her neeps and tatties.



I want to be serious for a hot second, because while these recaps are usually a non-stop party of lesbian sex jokes, there are important things happening in this show that deserve a serious discussion. I usually rant and rave about how mainstream media forces lesbian roles to require certain tropes, mainly that lesbian characters often sleep with men because it will make them remain “appealing” to the male population that watches television, that it allows for the commodification of female bodies, that no matter their sexuality they must always remain sexually available to male eyes. And I’m sure there are some people who reacted negatively to this scene. We remember the Betty of last season who spent so much time building the confidence to be true to her feelings, who seemed to know herself well enough that she was dyke-nodding the other queermos in the bar, and owning her love for Kate. I think we even felt her more at the beginning of this season, but we have to remember a few key things: Betty’s entire life was at stake. An accusation of lesbianism was one that could ruin a life and livelihood. Being called a deviant was no passing insult. And this was not the age of It Gets Better and a community that encouraged coming out of the closet. This was a time when homosexuality was dangerous. Assigning anger to Betty because she slept with a man is holding her to standards that were not available in her time. This is not the efforts of the media behind Bomb Girls to make Betty a more attractive character. This is the reality of the time. This is a thing that happened, and happened often. And it should make us sad and angry, but we should also understand that circumstances were different and we are incredibly lucky even for the small progresses we’ve made.

In other news! Vera’s boyfriend turns out to be a coward and she is “over it” because her body is a temple and not about to be tainted by his bullshit. He tries to slut-shame her but SURPRISE DUDE she is not about to feel ashamed of her body or her sexuality. Ugh, Vera, I love you so much.

did you not notice the "no coward zone" tattooed on my pubic line

did you not notice the “no coward zone” tattooed on my pubic line

Casa Marco is held overnight. Someone makes a mysterious call and frees Marco! Unfortunately he is looking a little overcooked.



Betty finds Kate having a moment with her Perfect Disney Face in the mirror, and realizes something needs to change. Also, are we to assume they are sleeping in the same bed together? WHY ARE YOU DEPRIVING US OF THAT SCREENTIME, BOMB GIRLS?! IMPORTANT THINGS ARE PROBABLY HAPPENING THERE.

i just really don't want you to start one of those jenny season 4 spirals you know what i mean

i just really don’t want you to start one of those jenny season 4 spirals you know what i mean

Bob has got a newsstand to keep his retired grumpy hands busy. Lorna looks so pretty (!!!) and can I just say that if this season is about her becoming like ACTUALLY happy and content in herself and her life, I will be so pleased? Also they HAVE A FAMILY WHISTLE?! My family just kind of yelled each other’s names until one of us felt like responding.

we ran out of hustler this morning but there's still a few playgirls left

we ran out of hustler this morning but there’s still a few playgirls left

Betty takes Kate to Leon’s church, where they have very different reactions to the message of love and acceptance. First of all, Ali Liebert, let me just repeat that you need to stop making these faces or I will not have a goddamned heart left. Kate leaves early because she is used to solving her emotional issues by singing to talking birds and dancing through the forest.



This whole being true to oneself stuff is really striking a chord with Betty, who promptly has The Talk with Ivan.


So Betty shaves her beard. This is much nicer than when I broke up with my high school boyfriend by emailing his mom to tell her that I wouldn’t be coming to his birthday dinner because I didn’t really feel anything for her son.

RIPBEARDLorna and Bob come home only to hear the family whistle (why was the family whistle necessary? how did the family whistle come about? DEDICATE AN EPISODE TO THE FAMILY WHISTLE) and Eugene is home! It’s adorable. This is all adorable. I am again overcome with one million feelings and this show needs to stop tearing out my heart, okay?

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

Kate has written 130 articles for us.


  1. Goddamnit. I need to watch this show both as a Canadian and a queermo. This was hilarious to read, per usual, etc.

    • truth – immediately after the last episode (before this one), I ordered a pair of back seam tights.

  2. “Gladys decides that she is going to make him her pet project because she is the Cher Horowitz of this munitions factory.”

    a dash of helen peabody as well

  3. “This show has taken over my life, okay? I look forward to it all week and then I spend an hour crying and eating my feelings ”

    I am so glad we are in this together. There are only so many times you can refresh Betty/Kate images on Tumblr (while at work).

    Also I HAVE to mention how Betty swaggers off that float and then struts it across the scene in the beginning with Vera and Gladys chatting. Be still my beating lesbian heart!

    • Can I second this? I literally can’t do anything but watch and rewatch and rewatch episodes of this show, read and reread these recaps and look at mcandrews gifs on Tumblr.

  4. Also is this “Eugene is home” plotline prolong the Kate and Betty make out plotline?

    If so I’m going to be annoyed.

  5. I love that you’re doing these recaps! I stated watching because of them.
    Also, just in time to bring it up at work and learn that the lady I serve iced lattes to every morning created the show. She seemed super pleased to hear from a fan, so maybe I should tell her that the lady-queers at Autostraddle enjoy it too. AND USE THAT AS COLLATERAL to not break out hearts with the Kate/Betty plot.

  6. The best part of this recap was EVERY PART.

    I’m so so happy the cannoli jokes have not stopped.

  7. Things I can’t wait for:
    The next Bomb Girls Episode

    Seriously, I laughed so hard! Made my day.

  8. did you know Ali Liebert was on the L word once. for about 10 seconds, singing sir mixalots ‘baby got back’ at karaoke night(S1E02). maybe you already mentioned that somewhere. maybe I’m the only one who finds this quite amusing. but still, It’s like the fucking chart, every lesbian plot-line is connected to the l word by at least one actress involved.

  9. Your recaps make my life, i have been pounding refresh on the homepage since Wednesday, you don’t understand.

    I was happy with how they did the whole Ivan thing, too. It seemed very real and Betty didn’t turn straight afterwards- instead, she actually dumps him. I think her going to church wasn’t just for Kate’s benefit- it mirrored her own internal struggles on trying to live more authentically.

    Also, can I say that I’m glad they are really showing the kinds of internalized privilege Gladys has. She’s all ‘I’m one of YOU guys!’ but she very much isn’t, she wants to be a part of the factory but still expects others to bow to her family name. I’m hoping that this experience with the Italian camp makes her a more interesting character.

  10. I decided to log in with my never used autostaddle account because I was so grateful for this recap. My roommate inspired a panic attack the other day when she was watching bomb girls and she goes, “I think they’re killing the lesbian plotline. It’s okay because Ivan/Betty are still super cute.”

    I don’t think I need to explain my horror to autostraddle bomb girl fans. Further panic ensued when I realized a recap hadn’t been put up yet and I could not confirm/deny my roommate’s ridiculously bad straight girl suspicion.

    Anyway THANK YOU for the recap. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who had to “to take an angry nap because I can’t deal with my emotions.”

    Also the pride float picture killed me.

  11. I love your recaps so much. Thank you for the serious note about queer life in the forties I think the frothing part of the fandom needs it. As for the family whistle, my family has one. It’s mostly used for finding each other in crowds and stores. Man was it ever embarrassing at fourteen.

  12. With no disrespect at all to these marvellous recaps, I for one am relieved that there will be no more cannoli foetus imagery, because I once had a really disturbing dream about this couple that had a baby that was a cabbage. I think it also had some sort of respiratory problems, it was a breathing, wheezing, cabbage. So ever since that, I am easily creeped out by scenarios involving unusual infant substitution, such as the cannoli feotuses, also Little Otik.

    Aside from that, I felt like Gladys’s trouble-making really went up a gear this episode. That mystery call that got Marco out of jail was in fact from me, because I wanted to guarantee Gladys would not learn the error of her ways and will continue to inadvertently sabotage the entire allied operation.

    • Wait. Did this dream come out of this recap? Like you had a dream about a baby cabbage with asthma because Kate posted the picture of baby cannoli? Or these two things were unrelated?

      I had a dream once I gave birth to a full grown daschund dog and kept thinking, ‘what will my girlfriend say?’ which I guess is a valid response to that situation.

      • Oh, I had the cabbage dream when I was a teenager or something. It was just Lorna holding the cannoli baby that stirred up my long-held trauma.

        Giving birth to a whole daschund sounds very ancient mythology-ish, also painful. I think dream you needs to look out for herself a bit more – if I’d just birthed a full-grown dog I don’t think I’d give a shit about what anyone said except my gynecologist.

    • so you are telling me i am not the only one who has dreamed of wheezing vegetables!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Kate, you are a hilarious and brilliant recapper. After reading the first two recaps, I watched every episode to date over the weekend. As a queer and a local, hearing Betty and Gladys talking about riding the streetcar warms my heart. Also, Grumpy Cat is a gem and reminds me a little of Vega’s face.

    The photo with Lorna’s food demo made me think “I wonder if that’s how Bob feels in bed with his wife”, and got grossed out for a second time from it.

    • All the episodes from both seasons are on youtube! (except 201). Just search bomb girls s*e0*
      *insert number here

      Yeah, you need to watch this.

      • Thanks for the suggestion – not owning a TV set I hadn’t even heard of this show before now… but I’m going to start watching it after work tonight. Thanks!

        And thanks, Kate, too, for the recap(s)!

  14. The wonderful thing about this show is that – unlike any other show – I wasn’t at all discouraged when Betty started dating Ivan, or even when she slept with him. I wasn’t thinking, “Are they going to turn her straight?” or “Oh, of course the lesbian has to sleep with a man.” The whole time we could tell she was 100% not into him other than to talk about hockey and use him as a beard so that she would be safe. And it was SUCH a great moment when she schooled super-privileged Gladys on why she had to date Ivan. Maybe the straight people watching this learned a lesson, too.

    Plus – I think even in what they decided to show, they did well, because the implication that sex happened was MUCH less explicit than what’s been shown with other couples – for example, no scene afterwards with them half-dressed (let’s be real, if there was it would’ve been pretty depressing, hah) or anything like that. And Betty totally did that “reach for the belt, let’s get this over with” move again.

    • Yes! They didn’t actually make us watch a Betty/Ivan sex scene. It was all implied and thank Jesus for that.

  15. I’m not sure which I enjoy more, the show or the recaps? Luckily, I don’t have to choose.

    I especially liked the discussion of Betty and Ivan in relation to the hardships faced by “deviant” women in this time period. And even though we still do have a ways to go, references such as this make me even more grateful for all those who have fought and continue to fight for our rights.

    • i try so hard to be neutral in these recaps but it is becoming very difficult to hide the fact i am a big ol’ habs fan from a big ol’ quebecois family of habs fans

      i don’t want to talk about last night’s game but whatever GO HABS GO

      also really hoping someday there are some quebecois on this show but nbd i will still love bomb girls regardless

  16. Oh them feels. Those feels that are followed by hilarious recaps, lesbian jomes and grumpy cat. Thanks for this, Kate.

  17. One of the best part of my week? Those recaps. I loved them more than the show itself.
    So much so that I decided to open an autostraddle account after lurking for two years. Yes that’s right, I’m going to stop being shy about leaving comments on my favourite website.
    Also, beef tongue? It’s delicious. Really. I was quite taken aback by everybody’s digusted reaction to Lorna’s recipe because, um, girls, this is war, there are going to be restrictions. Also Europeans at the time would have been ECSTATIC for any kind of meat.
    I find it odd that there’s no mention AT ALL of Quebec or quebequois on the show. French-speaking Canadians apparently don’t exist (maybe that’s a common thing in English-speaking shows in Canada I don’t know).

    • I don’t find it odd that there is no mention of Quebec, because:

      1) Toronto (where this show is set) is a very Anglophone part of Canada.

      2) Correct me if I am wrong here, but there has been no mention of any other province (or territory) on the show yet.

      To me, it doesn’t feel like a topic which has been avoided, only a plot line which hasn’t come up yet. As a Montrealer, I would love a plot involving a French lady or three…

      GO HABS GO!

      • You’re right but I meant “no mention of Quebec” as in: someone could have a French-sounding last name, or somebody mentioning in passing that their mom/dad/fiancé speaks French or maybe even mentioning Quebec reluctance to enter the war. I don’t know, something. But maybe it will be addressed.


    No seriously it is.

  19. Thank you for recapping Bomb Girls and alerting me to it’s existence. Unfortunately, as I didn’t grow up during the war, I didn’t ration episodes and am now experiencing the hard tug of no-new-Betty-facial-expressions-for-days withdrawals. I don’t know how you survived between seasons Kate.

  20. Damn you Kate, and damn you bomb girls: I was supposed to be going to sleep at a reasonable hour in order to start big DIY kitchen floor project on day off tomorrow. Instead I watched 9 episodes of Bomb Girls in a row. As in all of them. And now there are no more episodes to watch (until whenever it airs this week), which should be a good thing, because sleep, but isn’t, because no more Bomb Girls to watch right now.
    So yeah.
    And as I always claimed being from Montana made me practically Canadian, especially where hockey loyalties were concerned, the Maple Leafs’ side story made me very happy too:)

  21. Am finally all caught up from the first to the latest episode, and oh wow. New favourite show!

    Going from memory if I had to pick one scene as my favourite of everything so far, it was how Betty stiffened up when Ivan kissed her.

    Can’t wait for the next one…

  22. I’m late to reading this one, but I had to catch up. Mad appreciation for, “I can already boil an egg AKA My sexual techniques have been known to prematurely induce ovulation.” I read this in the office and had to muffle my laughter with my jacket.

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