Season 2 of Army Wives ended Sunday — with less of a bang than a whimper.
The spoilers promised cliffhangers, so I expected something really intense after the explosion that ended Season 1. In fact, the previews set us up to think that someone died (I predicted Jeremy). Instead, every character got a mini-cliffhanger, but nothing was compelling enough to make me anxious to see Season 3.
The bar fight
Roxy gets word that Betty has died of cancer, which brings about a reconciliation of sorts with her mom, Marda. Then Betty’s nephew Collin brings Betty’s ashes to Roxy because she was the closest person to Betty.
As Betty’s only living relative, Collin inherited half of the bar. Trevor is excited at first that Roxy might have a co-manager, because Trevor wants to have a baby since he’s not going to Iraq for a while. What else does he have to do?
However, we soon learn that Collin is going to court to contest Roxy’s half-ownership. Didn’t Roxy and Betty sign legal documents when Betty gave Roxy half the bar? I thought so. But I guess that would be far too simple.
The Belgian waffle
The big news the past few episodes has been that Michael was offered a huge promotion — Deputy Commander of Operations for NATO — in Brussels. Of course, he accepted. As apparently happens in such situations, the transition process began immediately and so, this week, C.J. breaks the news to the tribe that she will be leaving in a matter of days. Although Claudia Joy tries to be strong and rational, her friends are stunned. Especially Denise.
C.J. is not prepared, however, for how difficult it is to pack up Amanda’s room. She breaks down as she looks at her daughter’s things, but can’t bring herself to let the moving people help.
I appreciate how this scene was written, since I’ve been unconvinced that C.J. could work through her grief as quickly as the show indicated. Fortunately, Denise gets over her sadness enough to show up for C.J. Together, they pack Amanda’s things. Aw.
Pamela takes her feelings about the Holdens’ departure on the air when a caller asks her about starting a career. Pamela tells the woman that marrying into the Army means giving up her choice to have a career, since her husband could be transferred at any time. I thought Pam stayed pretty rational, but her listeners didn’t. Caller after caller told her that she should be ashamed of herself.
The next day, Evan intercepts Pamela as she is about to go on the air to tell her the show has been canceled. Her replacement: Evan’s wife, Jennifer. Nepotism much?
Meanwhile, Michael breaks the news to Joan that he’s leaving.
Joan obviously expected to be named commander of Ft. Marshall. Instead, the assignment goes to an outsider, General Rutledge. The general is an old friend of Evan’s and gives the second-in-command position to Col. Conner. But that’s not the end of bad news for Joan. She is being deployed to Iraq.
The end of the innocence
Remember Denise’s paraplegic patient, Mac? Mac’s back, and Denise’s rack ends up in the sack with Mac. Frak!
On the other side of the world, Frank has a friend, too. Fellow officer Jordanna (Kelly Hu), whom Frank initially rebuffed, came on strong last episode. This week, Frank apparently does some, um, coming on strong of his own.
Unfortunately for Frank, Jeremy stops by for a visit just in time to see Jordanna leaving his dad’s trailer after a strategy session so intense that she’s straightening her clothing as she exits. Frank sees his son just as Jeremy turns away. I’m guessing that if Jeremy is going to be wounded or killed, it’s happening just about now.
The big finish
The tribe meets for a last drink at Betty’s.
Each wife reminisces about the past year and C.J. makes love eyes at Denise.
Then the Holdens are ready to go. But where’s Emmalin? Oh, did I forget to mention that she has a new boyfriend who’s stationed at Ft. Marshall? She and Logan have decided, as young and dumb lovers often do, to run away from the possibility of separation. As the tribe frantically searches for Emma, she and Logan head for parts unknown.
I haven’t exactly been subtle about my disappointment with Army Wives this season. The show was one of my favorite surprises last year – and I expected the show to keep getting better. But, after a pretty strong start, Army Wives settled firmly into mediocrity. The writing is heavy-handed. The characters are inconsistent. Worst of all, the subtext between Denise and C.J. has all but vanished. I’m not sure I’ll even bother to watch next season.
What would make Army Wives worth watching again? You tell me. If you’re a fan of the show and have been disappointed in Season 2, what would restore your love of the series? If you still love Army Wives, tell me what I’m missing. What makes you care about these characters? What are you hoping to see in Season 3? Besides C.J. and Denise in love, of course.