At the Corbett residence—which apparently is a 24-hour bone-fest now that Sheila has married Dr. Patel—Lorna gets a call from her WAC cousin, who informs her that Gladys Witham was never kicked out for insubordination because she was never in the corps in the first place. Which means we have another botched Lorna Corbett investigation to look forward to.
And at Villa Moretti, Marco’s papa finally comes home from the internment camp, which for some reason makes Vera feel very alienated. (Hint: the reason is there is too much plot and not enough time).
But fuck all that, because it’s time for McAndrews to reunite. Betty walks in through Kate’s door, her face as fragile and love-lit as stained glass.
Betty: So, apparently you think I nailed myself to a cross for you because I hate you?
Kate: I never asked you to take the fall for me, you know.
Betty: (A silence filled with the thousand terrible things that happened to her in prison, a silence worse and more painful than any words.) You wouldn’t have made it in there. It would have destroyed you. (Like it destroyed her.)
But you’re not destroyed, Betty. Even your hair is perfect now that you have a reason to fix it again. Kate eagerly invites Betty to come back to the boarding house, but Betty wisely declines. And here is a thing: before a big life trauma, it’s easy to think of your heart as this invincible dragon that you can send into battle as many times as you want, and it will come out okay. But your heart can get scarred just like any other part of you. Some people, it breaks completely. Some other, braver people, just get wise enough to give themselves a little distance from the thing hurting them. (To be clear, I don’t blame Kate for Betty’s feelings; if anything, she is just the knife and Betty is the one inflicting her own wounds). But these good decisions are made A LOT HARDER when your crush saves all your mementos and then gives them to you in a little box apparently just to make you cry.
Back at the factory, Lorna confronts Gladys about her fake WAC story, and at first it seems like Gladys is just going to tell her the truth, but then she concocts this incredibly emotionally manipulative story about how she left Vic Mu because she had a miscarriage just like Lorna. And I know I sorted Gladys as a Ravenclaw a long time ago, but I take it back. Girl is a Slytherin.
Anyway, during Betty’s first day back on the job, she and Kate have to endure a lot of snarky innuendo, some whispered and some shouted. But once she’s back on the line with a clipboard in hand, Betty looks right at home.
Gladys: So, have you noticed anything suspicious?
Betty: Well Mrs. Buchinsky sure is a bee with an itch but they all seem pretty straight to me.
Gladys: Straight? Betts, that’s not what we’re doing.
Betty: (throws away fifty pages of notes.)
When Betty walks away, Buchinsky sidles up to Gladys and talks some shit about how she doesn’t trust people who “aren’t like us.” Since Glady is only on “us” terms with angels, she just rolls her eyes, but she does take note when Buchinksy mentions that she caught the Jewish Berman eating bacon.
That night, Marco is fretting about why Vera didn’t show up for spaghetti night, when she shows up dressed as a soldier.
And as much as I love Vera and this role-reversal of the soldier and the fiancé, I think Marco could be a lot madder about her enlisting without discussing it with him.
Back at the factory, Gladys spies on Berman breaking into the submarine-detectors after hours, and now suspects him as the saboteur. And even though we all know this is the obligatory mid-plot red herring, Gladys Hiding Behind Things is one of my favorite running jokes of this show, so I’ll allow it.
She reports her suspicion to Head Spy Davis, alleging that Berman and another worker are working together. Davis is like “I can see what Clifford saw in you” and Gladys smiles like that isn’t the most damning condemnation of her spy skills possible.
Next up, we visit Sheila and Ned at the hospital, and as much as I love Sheila and Ned, and lament how underused they were in the show, I think this is wasted time. We are already juggling so many plots that none of them really have time to breathe, so I can live without Lorna’s fear that Bob won’t need her anymore if he learns to walk. I promise that there are enough people in this world with mommy issues that you will always be needed, Lorna.
For the time being, Lorna decides that what she really needs is to foist her good advice on Gladys. She goes to the Hedley with some literature on miscarriages and happens to spy one of Gladys’ stray bullets lying around. She immediately assumes that Gladys is suicidal when really, as we learned from that scene with James, she just likes bullets a lot.
So we all know that the German green shift worker didn’t really sabotage the line, right? I can just skip over the part where Gladys gets her arrested? Except the part where she checks her reflection in the rear view mirror, because it is the best.
So besides Betty’s Feelings, the other most important thing happening here is that Vera is leaving us. And you don’t need a PhD in foreshadowing to know that whenever a character gets a long, bittersweet sendoff, while a melancholy trumpet plays in the background, trouble is in store.
Once Vera departs, Donald-the-attempted-rapist cracks a joke about how Kate should join the CWACs too on account of they are all lesbians. And with that, Betty McRae has had enough. She marches straight up to Donald and slaps him on the face. Guys, she slaps him like five times and it is amazing and you should watch anytime some sexist asshat is giving you grief.
Outside the factory, Vera and Marco embrace and say goodbye. Marco gives Vera his grandmother’s engagement ring and promises to wait for her, and I’m dying, I really am. Because when does this ever happen? When is a woman allowed to follow her convictions and go be a hero while the man she loves stays home and promises to be true? Only here. Only in our little, special show.