In this week's new episode of Army Wives
, "Who We Are," Major Frank Sherwood (Terry Serpico) learns the truth about his son Jeremy (Richard Bryant) physically abusing Denise (Catherine Bell
) and does not take it well, to put it mildly. Col. Michael Holden (Brian McNamara
) and Claudia Joy (Kim Delaney
) discover that their daughter Amanda (Kim Allen) has been seeing Jeremy and they are not pleased. Pfc. Trevor Leblanc (Drew Fuller
) injures his knee, preventing him from being deployed with his unit, while his wife Roxy (Sally Pressman
) gets a surprise visit from her mom. We do not see much of Roland (Sterling K. Brown
), whose wife entered the 30-day Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) treatment program, or Pamela (Brigid Brannagh
), whose husband is who-knows-where on a Delta Force mission; and what we do see of them is not really worth mentioning much.
I have to start with Roland and Pamela's characters, because how they were (or more aptly, weren't) dealt with in this episode throws up some major red flags for me. The show is Army Wives
and it takes place on an Army post – Fort Marshall. For the realism factor, these Army wives (plus one husband) will have to occasionally say goodbye to their soldiers as they are being deployed. It is important for this show not to lose these characters while their spouses are gone.
With Frank's deployment, Denise's character has been kept interesting by the gripping story of their son Jeremy abusing her. The friendship between her and Claudia Joy has also kept her character necessary and in the forefront. The treatment of Pamela's character suffers by comparison. She and Chase (Jeremy Davidson) had a provoking storyline in the first episodes of the season with the surrogacy and debt issues affecting their marriage, but those issues were resolved before the calling up of his Delta Force unit. In this episode, Pamela is left wading in the shallow end of the plot pool. Yes, the scene with her kids getting into bed with her was poignant, and yes, her scenes with Roxy are fun and show signs of a promising friendship; but everything else was kind of lame and uninteresting. The Marilyn storyline was thin and completely unnecessary, especially since it felt like it had a resolution last week.
As for Roland, the absence of Joan (Wendy Davis
) is not due to deployment, but because she went into a PTSD treatment program. While this was a good move in the continuity department, Roland ended up with nothing to do but skit around the outskirts of everyone else's plotlines. Having Roland intentionally distancing himself from that group of ladies who wanted to support him did not make any logical sense – except to make it seem like the writers didn't know what to do with him either. Hopefully, Joan will return soon, so he'll have something to do.
Outside of those hiccups, the rest of the episode was solid as ever. From the promos, we knew that Jeremy was going to tell his dad about hitting his mom, but they still deftly drew out this confrontation until the second half of the episode. Frank's reaction was extreme: he threw Jeremy out of the house, forbid him from ever coming near Denise again, and told Denise that they no longer have a son. Dude. Denise is crushed, because no matter what he has done, he's still her son. Plus, she felt that she and Jeremy were making progress towards resolving whatever issues he was having. Jeremy takes his father's wrath in stride and, in the brilliant final scene, walks straight into the Army recruiting office.
While helping and supporting their friends, the Holdens have their own tough decision to make. While talking to her younger daughter Emmalin (Caroline Pires), Claudia Joy discovers that Amanda has been going out with Jeremy. She tells Michael, and now their concern for Denise becomes fear for their daughter. Michael has been trying to help Jeremy, but when Jeremy shows up at the Holden house to talk to Amanda before he leaves, Michael refuses to let him see her. He tells Jeremy that to see Amanda again, he will have to earn the Colonel's respect. This had to be one of the things that influenced Jeremy's decision to join the Army.
Roxy and Trevor also had a full episode. Just days before he was set to deploy, Trevor wrenched his knee while trying to avoid stepping on one of the boys. His knee swelled up to the size of a grapefruit, and the doctor indicated that he could be out of commission for as long as six months. Roxy struggles with being supportive of Trevor's disappointment, while being thankful that he has to stay home. In the midst of all this, Roxy's mom Marda (Gigi Rice) shows up without warning and in full trailer trash glory. Roxy practically raised herself due to her mom's drinking problem, but Marda now claims to be six months sober. Roxy doesn't trust her and doesn't want her around, but she softens her harsh judgment when Marda tells her that the real reason she is there is because she lost her house and her salon business. She had nowhere else to go. Roxy agrees to let her stay for a little while.
This episode was not as tight or as consistent as previous episodes. But it still found ways to tell compelling stories that are relatable to both Army and non-Army wives. The key now is for Army Wives
to bring Pamela and Roland's characters back next week in good form, otherwise the audience may lose interest in them.
-Amy J. Johnston, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Photo courtesy of Lifetime)