Monday, August 10, 2009

'Army Wives' Monday: M.I.A.

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

Frank got promoted, while Michael gave Denise the stink-eye. Joan punished Roland because she's angry that she's deploying. Roxy helped out an idol.

Frank Got Promoted

Frank and Denise's story this week was told through two lens. One was happy and giddy, where Frank was promoted to lieutenant colonel, which meant he got to stay on post -- instead of returning to Iraq -- where he could continue enjoying a second honeymoon with his wife Denise, whom he'd welcomed back into the Sherwood house in the previous episode. (Their lovey-doveyness isn't getting old. At all.)

The other was a negative one, a continuing, smoldering stink-eye given to Denise whom the pigheaded Michael Holden still can't forgive for having had a fling with a former patient while she and Frank were separated. What business is this of Michael's? Frank has forgiven his wife and they've come back from the brink of divorce, so why can't Michael forgive her too? Either there's some backstory there to which we're not yet privy, or he's just being a jerk. It was bad enough that Claudia Joy had been an ice queen to Denise for several episodes, freezing out her so-called friend when she needed her. It took Roland to talk some sense into the Army wives for them to finally realize that they were being intolerant and abandoning their friend.

Michael, however, was never party to Roland's lecture. So when Claudia Joy invited Frank and Denise over for dinner to celebrate Frank's promotion, Michael gave Denise bad attitude, which he could barely contain when he was alone with her at the dinner table and couldn't bring himself to look her in the eyes. It was a pleasure to watch Claudia Joy later call BS on Michael's behavior. "What she did violated everything I believe in," he argued. After acknowledging that Michael's got a very specific, by-the-books manner by which he lives his own life, Claudia Joy asked, "What about compassion? Where does that fit into your equation?"

Joan Punished Roland

I really like Roland. His season one fling aside, since then, he's been a stellar husband. In this episode he continued trying to be kind and patient when Joan was becoming bereft over the fact that she was going to miss so much of her baby's "firsts" while she's on deployment. To help ease her sadness, Roland went out and bought Sarah Elizabeth a bumble bee costume and declared that it was Halloween (it wasn't) and said Joan could celebrate the baby's first Halloween together. He told her he planned to also have a baby's first Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas holiday before Joan left. Instead of appreciation, his gesture was met with fury and Joan stormed away.

Later, when Joan gave him a hard time after he decided to feed Sarah Elizabeth solid baby food without talking to her first, Roland lashed out at Joan with some straight talk: "Reality check, Joan. It was your choice to deploy. And you made that choice without consulting me. So where do you get off acting like it's a big surprise that you're gonna miss some milestones? You act as if you're the only one who's going to be affected by this. But you know somethin' sweetheart? Sarah Elizabeth is going to miss her mother and I'm going to miss my wife. So if you want to play the martyr go do it someplace else, we're really not interested."

And while I was supremely annoyed with Michael's behavior toward Denise, he did provide excellent counsel and insight to Joan, as he sympathized and recalled his own difficulties when he deployed during Claudia Joy's first pregnancy and missed his daughter's birth and milestones. Watching Roland and Joan prepare, logistically, mentally and emotionally for her deployment has been a storyline which has held my interest, much more than anything the writers have given, say, the Moran or LeBlanc families this season.

Roxy Helped Out an Idol

Despite the fact that the Stella Raye story was a mechanism to provide extra face time for special guest star Shelby Lynne, it also provided viewers with another glimpse into Roxy's backstory as a formerly abused wife. When Roxy took in Stella (fed her, housed her) I figured that this was just something that this Roxy did -- like the way she gave Viola a job -- helping people who needed it. (That only applies to people though. If you're a dog named Lucky, forget it.) But it wasn't until the conclusion of the Stella storyline when we learned that Roxy had a special attachment to the down-on-her-luck singer because, years ago, she'd released a song about having the strength to stand up against abuse which gave Roxy the courage to do so herself.

Speaking of guest stars . . . when we got to the previews for next week's episode, I was thrilled to see that Kelly Bishop (i.e. -- Emily Gilmore from the Gilmore Girls) will appear in the next Army Wives. Can't wait.

Image credit: Lifetime.

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