Army Wives fell off my radar when the main story became as much — if not more — about the men and their wars and how much the women missed them than it was about the wives and how their relationships sustained each other. In other words, Denise and Claudia Joy weren’t having enough alone time to satisfy my subtext needs.
But AfterEllen.com reader Aideen alerted us to a lesbian relationship on the show that could blossom into an interesting storyline. With the help of Twitter buddies @thesunnyg and @super_rocio, I got the background and then snooped around until I found a bit of scoop to add to the mix.
One of the women, Charlie (Boston Legal‘s Ryan Michelle Bathe), came to Army Wives this season when Fort Hope was destroyed by a hurricane and merged with Fort Marshall.
She works with Roland at the Youth Center and, since the two work closely together, viewers suspected that she might cause trouble in the Burton’s marriage. (Since Bathe is married IRL to Sterling K. Brown, who plays Roland, their onscreen chemistry is no surprise.) This week, however, Charlie became emotional during a youth support group session and told Roland that she’s in a relationship with a recently deployed soldier, Nicole.
Nicole (Kellie Martin) Galassini made her first appearance in Episode 7.
She’s a smart, no-nonsense Captain in the Army’s intelligence division and an expert in African geopolitics. In fact, she is the one who proposed the mission to Africa to protect Americans safe during escalating unrest between two warring tribes. At the end of Episode 8, Nicole volunteered to negotiate a standoff with a group of highly armed and very nervous hostiles.
Interestingly, Nicole wants to keep her relationship with Charlie a secret, even though DADT is no longer in effect. This brings up an important issue that we don’t talk about much — that many LGBT soldiers still are not comfortable with being out. Nicole obviously is a highly valued and respected officer, yet she is unsure enough about the reaction of other officers that she stays in the closet.
As the episode ended, my thought was that Nicole probably would be seriously wounded and Charlie would be forced to suffer in silence or out her against her will. Fortunately, prospects look good for a not-so-tragic lesbian storyline for a change.
We discovered a casting side for the role of Lorraine Galassini, Nicole’s mom (Martin’s Life Goes On mom Patti LuPone got the part) that is scheduled later this season. In the scene, Lorraine visits her daughter and “roommate” Charlie — and learns that the two are engaged. Mom’s reaction is not initially positive and we don’t know whether she’ll come around. But we’ll cover this storyline as it progresses.
Who’s watching Army Wives? Were you surprised at the revelation that Charlie and Nicole are in a relationship? How do you think the rest of Fort Marshall will react to the news? Will we be treated to a “welcome home” kiss when Nicole comes home?