Monday, August 3, 2009

'Army Wives' Monday: Coming Home

*Warning: Spoilers ahead from the recent episode of Army Wives*

Denise and Frank moved to the next level. Roxy's son Finn got tested for a learning disability. Emmalin and her father patched up their differences, for now.
Denise and Frank Moved to Next Level

This was, in my opinion, the best part of the whole episode -- which, by the way, I liked a heck of a lot better than last week's which felt very much like a filler episode, a placeholder in between plot points. I really liked what the writers have done with the Denise and Frank story this season, having their reunion unfold tentatively, gradually, in a realistic fashion. When they decided to remain married but that they'd live separately and commence dating again, that's what they did, date. They didn't hop back into bed. Denise didn't immediately move in. They had plenty of moments of shy awkwardness and chaste goodnight kisses curbside and sometimes you weren't sure if they were going to really make it.

But you could just see that things were going to shift during this episode when Denise saw Frank warily eyeing her motorcycle. She sold it the next day because, although she said she adored her bike, she said, "I love Frank more." When Frank learned she'd sold it, the two had one of the more honest discussions they'd had since their break-up about the different outlooks they'd developed on the world over the past two decades, ending when Denise called Frank "old fashioned." To have Frank pick Denise up on a new motorcycle he'd spontaneously purchased and say, "Hey baby, you wanna go for a ride," was quite an unexpected turn. That moment led to a beautiful scene where the two walked alongside the glistening water, then to a sweet love scene the type of which you don't normally see for a couple that's been married for 20 years. (I was a big fan of the Ray la Montagne song, "Let it be Me" that provided the accompanying romantic soundtrack for the amorous moments.)

The golden glow given off by their reunion was broken shortly after Frank carried Denise over the threshold in honor of her return to their home and the telephone rang. Going off of the serious look on Frank's face, the first thought that crossed my mind was that Frank was being told that something bad had happened to their son Jeremy. Instead, it was a call bearing the news that Frank was, sadly, being shipped back to Iraq.

Finn Got Tested

From the way the previews for this episode went, I had figured we'd be learning that Finn had some type of insurmountable learning disability. Learning that the little guy is brilliant and wasn't completely finishing his assignments in school because he was "bored out of his mind," was a huge surprise, particularly given the story Roxy told about her learning disability. Now Roxy and Trevor will have to search for a way -- scholarship one would hope -- to get Finn into a private school which'll provide him the intellectual stimulation he requires. All good and happy news for the LeBlanc family for a change.

One gripe though: I thought Finn's teacher was a nincompoop. What kind of grade school teacher would tell a parent that her child needs to be tested because he either has ADD or is 'just a bit slow?"

Emmalin and Her Dad Patched Things Up

So Haneen went to live in safety with her aunt and uncle in Turkey. She bid her goodbyes to each member of the Holden family during the episode and eventually departed into the waiting arms of her relatives at the airport. With her went an interesting storyline which, I think, had more life in it and was cut too short.

With Claudia Joy busy escorting Haneen overseas, Michael was left at home with a recalcitrant Emmalin who, after an argument with him about baking, finally let him know why she'd been angry with him so much as of late. She said she thought Michael was disappointed that the smarter, more responsible, better behaved and favorite daughter had died and that she was a poor substitute for Amanda. Michael's poignant response to her -- his story about the day she was born and held her for the first time, followed by how he's recognized how deeply unhappy she'd been recently and that he'd felt like a failure for not being able to ease her emotional pain -- was the best scene the writers have given to Michael in quite some time. It was lovely to see the ice begin to thaw in that house for a change.

What were your thoughts -- pro or con -- about the latest Army Wives installment? Did the Frank/Denise reunion satisfy you? Finn's status as a boy genius surprise you? Michael and Emmalin's reconciliation bring a tear to your eyes?

Image credit: Lifetime.

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