Love’s Limits Are Tested in Bomb Girls 1×05: J Talks Hope and Heartbreak in “Armistice”

“Armistice”, the penultimate episode of Bomb Girls, is a riveting hour of TV.  The stakes are certainly raised this week as we begin to see how far characters will go for love, whether it’s love of country, love of others, love of self, or love of good old-fashioned jazz.  Relationships are tested to their limits, and the varying results are devastating, encouraging, and everything in between.

Our well-to-do heroine Gladys runs into a spot of trouble when her fiancé James discovers that she accepted an airman’s proposal of marriage before he shipped off to war.  James is livid, and I must admit he has a good reason.  This in no way excuses him for having had a full-blown affair with Hazel, but the guy has a right to be a little miffed that his fiancée promised herself to someone else.  The airing of their past transgressions threatens to break up their engagement, but also causes both of them to think long and hard about their feelings for each other.  Yes, they’ve both made some sizable mistakes, but they sincerely love each other and this becomes clear as the episode progresses.  Thus ensues James and Gladys’s sexy time, the remedy for all their ills!  And I must say it was pretty funny to see their somewhat smug “we just got it on” faces as they snuggled in the car.

James and Gladys ended the episode on a light and hopeful note, but the rest of “Armistice” was quite dark as the implications of people’s actions become clear.  Lorna initially wants to pursue her affair with Marco, and has some fiery shouting matches with her husband Bob.  The scene where Lorna, wielding an iron, confronts Bob about his experiences in the First World War showcases the power and dynamic chemistry of Meg Tilly and Peter Outerbridge.  However, Lorna begins to recognize Bob’s efforts when he comes to hear her speech, an act that convinces her to break things off with Marco.  When she refers in her speech to sacrifices that need to be made for the greater good, it’s clear she’s talking not only about the war effort, but also her commitment to Bob.  She is not willing to abandon her love of Bob and their dependence on each other as a married couple for a reckless flirtation with Marco.

While this is a downer for Marco, the real heartbreak of the episode takes place in the hospital with Vera and Archie.  This entire storyline has developed in a way that I definitely did not foresee from the first episode.  I was not a fan of Archie at all in the beginning, but the development of his friendship with Vera in the hospital made me appreciate and respect both characters as the series wore on.  Because of the rapport between them – one that is based on mutual understanding and affection – we know that Vera would never give up her plans of suicide for anyone other than Archie.  She sees the pain he is in and, knowing he will never recover, helps him end his life with all the love she possesses.  And here credit has to be given to the actors Anastasia Phillips and Billy MacLellan for their nuanced and moving performances in this episode.

So now I’ve covered just about everyone except for…Betty and Kate!  Their storyline is usually my favourite part of Bomb Girls, and “Armistice” gave us a lot to talk about on that front.  I really loved seeing Kate come into her own a bit in this episode; she stands up for herself and her passion for music, and also stands up to Betty (which might be a first for her).  For Kate, love of singing gives her the chutzpah to follow her dreams and put herself out there.  She is adorably nervous when she first takes the stage to sing with Leon’s band, but sounds wonderful belting out jazz tunes with the best of them.  Betty’s look of longing and love as she watches Kate perform pulled on this viewer’s heartstrings, and Kate’s behaviour during the song made me think the two of them may have a future together after all.

I’ve vacillated so much in my predictions for Betty and Kate’s relationship.  Of course I am wholeheartedly rooting for it, and in the first few episodes I thought there was a possibility of romance blossoming between them.  Then as the series progressed, Kate’s actions started to make me wonder whether the feelings of more-than-just-friendship were one-sided on Betty’s part.  Now I just don’t know.  Betty is obviously head-over-heels for Kate and is getting steadily more open about it.  When the two of them stumble back into the rooming-house, more than a little tipsy after a night out at Leon’s bar, Betty is pretty clear about wanting to spend more alone time with Kate.  At which point we may or may not have been yelling at Betty (via the TV) to just grab Kate and give her a smooch.  We wish she’d gone for it!

The promo for next week’s finale made me hope that Kate will reciprocate Betty’s love…but I still doubt it.  I say that because to me Kate is very naïve in everything she does: she thinks of Betty as her best friend and pursues Leon simply because she wants to improve her singing.  Sexuality in either relationship doesn’t seem to be on her radar at all; she just takes them at face value, innocently unaware of any deeper implications.  She has a vague idea that she’ll eventually get a husband who will support her, but, at least until this episode, her dreams didn’t extend much beyond that.  Now, in breaking out of her shell a bit, she may be starting to realize that there is more to life than just settling for the norm.  So perhaps there’s hope for her and Betty yet.  Only time (and the finale) will tell.

Other things:

  • I love how Betty teases Gladys about Louis the airman, she has some quality quips and one-liners that thoroughly scandalize Kate (who is pretty funny in her wide-eyed reactions)
  • Kate scatting in her room is too cute!
  • So glad that Lorna got a bit swankified this episode.  She looked beautiful in her fancy dress.
  • Though it’s not a show with many guys, those who are on Bomb Girls are certainly easy on the eyes!  Marco, James, Archie, and Bob all had some great dramatic moments to sink their teeth into this week.

What are your thoughts on “Armistice”?  And what about the season finale next week?  Do you think there’s hope for Betty and Kate?  Will Lorna stay true to Bob?  And what will happen to Vera once she’s discharged from the hospital?  We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!


4 thoughts on “Love’s Limits Are Tested in Bomb Girls 1×05: J Talks Hope and Heartbreak in “Armistice”

  1. Glad to see mention of Betty’s scandalous comments and the others (especially Kate) reacting to them.

    This would make a great BG’s drinking game: take a swig whenever any of the characters says “Betty!” in that shocked tone.

    In a more serious vein, I’ve wondered about Betty’s frequent risque comments about sex and men. Is she trying to fit in with the girls as best she can, is it being raised with those three or four brothers that makes her more casual about this stuff, or is it just Betty and her sense of humor?

    • Haha, we’ll have to remember the “scandalous Betty” drinking game for next season!

      Betty definitely projects an air of worldliness and experience, and not just about risque things. She knows how to handle the factory men when they get out of hand, she’s a great worker, she’s saving money to support herself, and yes she is aware of the more salacious side of things. But it takes us back to that question we were discussing after the finale. I wonder how much of her knowledge is observational vs experiential. Backstory, please! Plus I think you’re right about the brothers – that alone would make a lot of subjects fair game that may not have been considered particularly “ladylike” at the time.

      And is there a hint of bravado involved? After all, Kate’s innocence makes her the perfect audience for those kind of jokes; Betty is pretty much guaranteed a good and scandalized reaction, which might be half her fun. She can even get a rise out of Gladys a lot of the time, and I think she kind of likes being the one who people think of as worldly.

  2. All you said is very true concerning all de characters, most especially kate. I like de way u are putting it cause it makes it even more intruiging and exciting to watch de next episode.

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