“Army Wives” mini-cap: touched by an angel

Seriously – an angel? Who are you, Army Wives, and what have you done with my show? Maybe I expect too much. I mean, sure, losing a daughter will lead to a crisis of faith. But from Katherine Fugate, I expect something more compelling than an angel who tells Claudia Joy that it was just Amanda’s time and C.J. shouldn’t blame God and all you need is love. Sigh.

But let’s look at this week’s episode, “The Messenger,” and then I’d like to hear what you think of the show’s direction.

The good news about the angel, whom we meet right away outside the church that Claudia Joy can’t bring herself to enter, is that he’s a lot more appealing than Earl, the Bubba angel in Saving Grace.

C.J. is, of course, still grieving and having a hard time getting back into her routine. As she tells Mr. Angel, she has to be strong for everyone else, when what she really wants is to be left alone. As a result, she’s not intimate with Michael or involved with Emmalin. Michael attempts to normalize Emmalin’s life by teaching her to drive a stick. (I never realized how gross that sounds until just now.) But since that rite is traditionally passed from mother to daughter in their family, the driving session doesn’t go well. And Emmalin realizes as she sits behind the wheel that she blames the Army for Amanda’s death and just doesn’t feel safe anymore.

Meanwhile, Betty the bar owner has moved in with Roxy and is not exactly a gracious house guest. She complains about everything, dislikes the kids and generally is a big ol’ grumpy head. We eventually learn that her cancer has progressed and she has to start chemo. I wouldn’t be surprised if we have to watch her die a painful and dramatic death – that’s kind of how the show is going these days. But we do see Roxy at her best, calling Betty on her stuff yet also going with her to chemo. I know some people get annoyed with Roxy, but I kinda like her.

The good news is that we got to see Denise a lot, even though she was flirting with her patient Mac instead of C.J. It was kind of confusing for the patient to be named Mac since Catherine Bell played Mac on Jag, but actually, this was the best part of the episode, IMO. The flirting was innocent and led to an easy kind of back and forth between patient and nurse. As Mac talked about his life back home and how he’d miss riding his bike, Denise, in turn, opened up about feeling less strong and independent as she was in her bike-riding youth. I have a feeling we’re going to see some of Denise’s rebel emerge in the next few weeks, thanks in part to Mac’s going away present. I also have a feeling Frank’s not going to like it one bit.

Near the end, once Mr. Angel gets Claudia Joy to release some of her anger, she and Michael have a stick session of their own (sorry) and she reconnects with Emmalin via an emotional first driving lesson. The dialog about learning to trust and mother/daughter tradition and moving forward was cheesy, but I got weepy so I guess it worked.

What did you think about this episode? With its theme of transition, I’m hoping that it marks a transition away from melodrama. However, previews indicate *spoiler* that Trevor will be injured and Denise will toy with having an affair (with a man, unfortunately), so the potential for heavy-handed writing remains.

So, what shall we do with Army Wives? Are you still watching? Do you want these mini-caps to continue? I won’t stop watching, simply because seeing Catherine Bell flash that seductive smile is worth an hour of my time. If you want recaps, you got ‘em. But if you’ve lost interest, we’ll fill the space with something you want to read. If you’re an Army Wives fan, even if you don’t usually comment, it’s time to de-lurk. Speak now or forever, oh, you know.

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