Is it possible to live your life to the fullest without creating a possible scandal? That’s part of the premise behind the Reelz show “Bomb Girls,” which followed a group of women who tried to contribute to the war effort in their own way with different results.
“Bomb Girls” followed a group of very different 1940s women who work at a munitions factory while the country was fighting in the war. Lorna Corbett (Meg Tilly) was tasked with keeping an eye on the women who made the bombs to prevent them from making mistakes. She envied them in some ways, which led her to having a brief affair with fellow worker Marco Moretti (Antonio Cupo) that almost cost her everything. Her husband Bob (Peter Outerbridge) struggled to forgive Lorna, but the couple managed to come together after an unexpected accident. She also seemed to resent Gladys Witham (Jodi Balfour) who came from a wealthy family and enjoyed rebelling against her parents. Luckily, Gladys had her fiance James Dunn (Sebastian Pigott) to support her while he was on leave before he went off to fight in the war. She also had the support of her fellow workers/good friends Betty McRae (Ali Liebert) and Kate Andrews (Charlotte Hegele) who were both harboring shocking secrets of their own. Will Gladys and her fellow munition workers be able to keep their jobs while maintaining a healthy social life?
In terms of questions, the show posed a number of them, but the premiere made an effort to not to answer all of them right away. Tilly’s Lorna started the second season off with two secrets that were both resolved a little too neatly by the end of episode two. Tilly had the opportunity to convey Lorna’s pain as she had to make difficult decisions that put her home life in great peril. The new episodes also gave Outerbridge’s usually sullen and well hidden Bob more to do as he tried to forgive his wife’s betrayal. Hopefully, future episodes will help to further explore the strained dynamic between Outerbridge and Tilly’s characters because there was potential to be had in creating a separate story from the munition girls. The show has also excelled in delivered the right mixture of light comedy to help offset the sometimes excessive amounts of high heavy drama. An example of the high drama was the continuing story involving Kate’s painful past with her abusive father. The premiere resolved most of it by allowing Hegel’s usually mousy Kate the opportunity to finally speak her mind without fear of getting punished for it. Sure, the shocking conclusion also brought on a series of new complications that pulled in Liebert’s Betty as well. The new season also seemed to be slowly exploring the complex relationship between Liebert’s Betty and Hegele’s Kate, even though they added a guy into the mix as well.
As for breakout stars, Balfour and Liebert led the pack as their adventurous characters continued to take huge risks. Balfour’s Gladys has evolved from being a mere rich girl thumbing her nose at her family to someone looking to make her own mark in the world. She had given Gladys a newly established sense of maturity that forced her to make smarter decisions. In the premiere, Balfour conveyed Gladys’ evolution as she was forced to play her part at a family charity function, but she got the last laugh in the end. She displayed Gladys’ joy that beat her parents at their own game with a wry smile and a twinkle that allowed her to express her happiness without saying a word. Liebert, on the other hand, had to display Betty’s internal struggle with her identity by exploring her sexuality. She expressed Betty’s confusion and terror that she was afraid of being exposed, but she was less than thrilled about having to pretend to be someone else for appearance’s sake. Liebert had a strong rapport with Hegele that made viewers want to root for them, but at a natural storytelling pace. The show shouldn’t rush Kate and Betty’s relationship too soon, because neither character would be ready for a relationship just yet. Only time will tell how the show will continue to explore, or resolve, that relationship down the line.
“Bomb Girls” premiered on March 27th with back-to-back episodes. It airs on Wednesdays at 9:00 PM on Reelz starting April 3rd.
Verdict: A show that mixed drama and comedy without going too over the top. Tilly also gave a star making performance as well that helped anchor the show in the process.
TV Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)