Bomb Girls 1×04 “Bringing Up Bombshell” Is that 1940s Feminism in the air?

As usual, I’m pretty much on the same page as J when it comes to our favourite shows on TV. That being said, this review is going to be strongly tied to J’s initial review of Wednesday’s “Bringing Up Bombshell”, if you haven’t already, read it here.

J,  love your analysis of “Bringing Up Bombshell”!  As we’ve discussed, I know we were both pretty much sold from the first episode despite there being a certain degree of clunkiness in the set it. It’s Canadianness without being Canadian in a “Good for a Canadian Show” way was a cherry on top of the excitement about a new period piece about kick-ass ladies in a historical setting. (Note: Dear Readers, if you haven’t already noticed, we’re huge nerds, Canadian + History earns big points over here).

I feel like this was the episode that the first three were really building towards, as a middle episode of a 6-part series that seems appropriate. From the first moments of the series (if not the title), it was obvious that the show was going to be about women finding a certain level of independence in a time of war. How the show was going to deliver the goods was still up in the air. The first three episodes set the stage, and certainly contained some serious action, but “Bringing Up Bombshell” provided the biggest payoff characterwise so far.

Like J says, “Bombshell” was all about crossing lines, expanding comfort zones, and tackling the issues that Bomb Girls has been about from day one. Though “Bombshell” has been the most direct, glaring assault on the double standards that exist(ed) in class, race and gender.

I have a feelings that sweet little Kate is doing to land herself in big trouble. Her naivete and kindness are the qualities that everyone loves in her. But as she pushes for a forbidden friendship with Leon wondering where to find Billy (Holiday), and forms closer bonds with Betty, I foresee a whole lot of heartbreak and a rude awakening coming her way.

If we just pause a moment from the current action I want to mention an earlier prediction I made. When we first met Kate I had assumed that part of the reason her farther was particularly angry, and she was running away because she had been having an illicit affair (and realizing that she was knocked up would of course follow). Now that we know Kate better I’m definitely backtracking on that one, but would still like to know a little more about her life she left back home.

As for Gladys, I’m doing to depart slightly from J’s analysis (which I still wholly agree with). I absolutely admire Gladys for pretty much every darn thing she’s done on this show. I think her story speaks a lot to both class and gender lines. It’s easier for her to make these strides however, as a woman of means she has more freedom (financially and otherwise) to be taking the risks that she has been taking.

If we put Gladys side by side with Betty, we see two women who are different and want something besides the status quo. Betty has far more to lose and just wants to be the same, while Gladys can’t imagine not acting on her impulses and desire for change.

BombGirls_252 GladysGladys has been the clear rebel from the get go. She saw women working on the factory floor and knew that she could be more than an office girl for show. It wasn’t so much a decision to ignore the class boundaries that told her she was too good for that work, it wasn’t even a consideration.

“Bringing up Bombshell” wasn’t even Gladys’ first rebellious night out on the town. Shall we recall a certain evening at the dance hall (and out around back) where drank, danced the night away, and promised to marry a certain handsome young soldier when the war was over. This night was different, it wasn’t just Gladys being herself, it was a conscious decision to rebel from her proscribed life, and her cheating fiance. I agree with J that it was about being seen as less than perfect in her fiance’s eyes, but it was also showing him, and herself that she doesn’t need him. She’s going to do what she pleases, and he better shape up if he plans on keeping up.

Our dear Betty, if being the only woman to wear pants outside of work coveralls on this show wasn’t enough, it seems that she was proud of some of her little differences so long as she could fit in enough not to be noticed. I think the part of the fictional newsreel that stung the most was she felt all her shortcomings (of being a “normal” girl” exposed for all the world to see, and Ali Liebert did a beautiful job of displaying the wide variety of emotions that Betty was attempting mask at the screening. I wonder if this exposure is going to push her to try harder to conform, or help her accept what makes her different. I’m sensing a painful push for the former is in store, if we ever her to the latter.

As for Lorna, she’s having an introspective awakening similar to Betty’s, with different stakes. She’s got a husband, two grown children at war, and she’s already settled into what her expectations are out of life. Marco’s extramarital attentions may be less than proper, but it’s part of Lorna’s self-discovery about who she is, and her worth as a woman outside of wife and mother.

Bomb Girls keeps upping the stakes each week. I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next with our girls at Victory Munitions!

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