That night at the Jewel Box, Kate is up on stage singing her heart out (remember when Kate was missing and Betty roamed the streets searching for her every single night? Just saying). And Vera starts telling Marco about how she’s aching for some action. Because, much like Gladys—though far less ostentatiously—Vera is a woman who thrives on challenges. So she just casually lets it drop that maybe she will enlist in the army, and I swear to god, right then and there I screamed at my computer “ARE YOU GOING TO KILL VERA, YOU FUCKING MORONS?”
After her number, Kate sidles up to the bar and orders a white wine (which feels really anachronistic to me) and Head Spy Davis hits on her like crazy. She flirts with him right back, though this may only be because he is the last man in Toronto who doesn’t think she’s in girlfriends with Betty McRae.
While Kate coquettes, Gladys grills Vera about Betty’s whereabouts. Vera admits that Kate has been checking in regularly to ask about Kate, and has been in hiding at Toronto’s only underground ladies’ boxing club.
Upon spying Gladys in the audience, Betty takes a hard sock to the chin and loses the bout. And who knew anything could hurt as bad as seeing Betty defeated?
Afterwards, Gladys and Betts catch up in the locker room, and confirm that they have the best chemistry of any two characters on this show. They rise so far above the writing, squeezing meaning out of every word, silence, and gesture. And the editing rises up to meet them: when Gladys asks Betty about prison, the camera just flashes to a brief shot of her bruised and broken hand, and lets that moment and Betty’s strained smile be the eloquent, heartbreaking answer.
Gladys: I can’t believe you lost that fight, Betty. You successfully beat a Nazi in a cage match one time, remember?
Betty: Oh, I lost on purpose. That’s my new job.
Gladys: But that is like…the exact opposite of everything you stand for.
Betty: Well this is the new me, Princess: just getting beat up for money and neglecting my hair care until my outsides finally match how my insides feel.
Gladys: Sweetie, why don’t you come back to the factory with me?
Betty: You mean the place where everyone thinks I’m a murderous deviant freak? Even I don’t want to get beat up that bad.
But if anyone knows how entice our girl back to Vic Mu, it’s Gladys. Betty asks “Did Kate send you?” with this desperate mix of hope and terror, and Gladys replies “Actually, Kate thinks you hate her.” And we all know that Betty McRae could never in a million years let Kate Andrews walk around thinking that.