“Army Wives” mini-cap: The never-ending season

This week’s Army Wives seemed to wrap up most of the season’s storylines and ended on a positive note. In fact, it was the ideal season finale. Too bad we have four more episodes to go.

Last week, we left Joan fighting off death, Trevor fighting off addiction, Pamela fighting off harassment, Claudia Joy fighting off rape and Denise fighting off the urge to give up men permanently. OK, I made that last one up, but the writers have given us so little nuance lately that I have no choice but to create my own subtext.

World, meet Sarah Elizabeth Burton

As expected, Joan is OK, as is the baby. Wait! She’s bleeding! Again! She needs surgery! But she’s O Negative! We’re short of O Neg! We need to find a donor! STAT!

This would be the perfect time for HBO to do one of its faux commercials for synthetic blood. Instead, Roxy rushes to get Trevor, who just happens to be O Negative. He rushes to the hospital to offer his pain-pill-infused blood. Of course, Roland refuses the offer quite loudly and publicly. Trevor is humiliated, which seems to be the only reason for this crisis.

Joan gets the blood she needs and comes through the surgery just fine. In fact, she seems to be more coherent than usual and does not insist on naming the baby Enid. Instead, her name is Sarah Elizabeth and she is a beauty. The tribe gathers round for a collective, “Aw.”

Despite what you may read elsewhere, Joan did not, repeat, did not, name her baby after a certain AfterEllen.com editor. Joan and said editor have never been more than mere acquaintances.

Trevor, meet the future

Trevor comes home, but he’s not in good shape. He’s sworn off the pain medication and goes into withdrawal. Roxy tries to make him go to rehab; he says no, no, no. But kicking the pills is not as easy as he expects, and when he visits Joan in the hospital, the temptation of the drug cart is a little too hard to resist. Before Trevor takes a stolen Vicodin, he has yet another wake-up call, this one in the form of Finn and T.J., who tell him they want to be just like him except “cranky times” when he yells at Mommy. Ouch.

Personally, I’d have crumpled into a mass of quivering flesh at the sight of those little faces. Trevor, however, just decides to pass on the drugs. That lets us all be happy when he receives the Silver Star for his heroism.

I appreciate Trevor’s sentiment in giving the medal to Dalton’s family, but it didn’t quite ring true. Wouldn’t his friend be awarded a posthumous Purple Heart? Seems to me Trevor would be more interested in being a part of that ceremony than giving away his own medal. Perhaps one of our readers with military knowledge can provide some insight here.

Stalker Tim, meet the pavement

Pamela gets another scare when Tim calls in to her talk show and threatens her, while the producer idly watches and listens. Huh? Wouldn’t he screen calls in light of recent events? Wouldn’t the radio station at least be trying to figure out where the call is coming from? Wouldn’t you think that I’d quit expecting this show to be at all realistic?

After all the hype, however, this storyline is resolved with a quick kick to the groin. Tim approaches Pamela at Betty’s and identifies himself as Dean, a fan of the show. For a stalker, Tim sure is clueless about his victim. Pam immediately knows he’s the villain and tells Roxy to call the cops while she proceeds to take him down.

I hate to be picky here, but one of the basic rules of storytelling is to introduce something to the story only if it has a purpose. In fact, Andy Asensio at zap2it.com reminded me that the rule is called “Chekhov’s Gun.” To quote Mr. C. himself, “One must not put a loaded rifle on stage if no one is thinking of firing it.” Either this storyline is not over, or the writers don’t realize that the rule applies to a handgun as well as a rifle.

Diplomatic immunity, meet Michael’s fist

Sure enough, Claudia Joy’s champagne-bottle-to-the-head move on Paulo stopped him cold. She knows that he won’t be punished and wants to just pretend the whole thing never happened. Besides, she is fine. FINE.

Can we just pause here and ask TPTB over at Army Wives what they have against the lovely and talented Claudia Joy Holden? One daughter got blown to bits by a bomber, the other has been arrested for shoplifting and conned by a handsome drug dealer, her parents are broke and on the brink of divorce, thanks to her dad’s gambling problem, and now a friend of 20 years tried to rape her.

Over at the Standing By blog for real-life Army wives, speculation is that more happened with Paulo than C.J. admits and she will end up pregnant, wondering whether the dad is Paulo or Michael. Unfortunately, that’s exactly the kind of storyline the current crop of writers seems to like best. Prove us wrong, Army Wives writers. Please.

Paulo’s massive head wound apparently did little to knock sense into him and he happily accepts the appreciation of the U.S. government for facilitating the lease with his country.

Michael, however, wants to express his sentiment more personally and sends Paulo on his way with a smack in the mouth. Normally, I would not condone such violence. I’m sure Michael wouldn’t either. But nothing about this storyline is normal.

Raccoons, meet naked Denise

No, I’m not making this one up. Denise and Frank share a difficult and tender goodbye as Frank returns to Iraq, but Denise is a bit relieved that he’s gone. She decides to give herself a break and rents a lake house. Naturally, she invites the wives to join her and giddily admits that the previous night she skinny-dipped under the stars while the raccoons happily watched. Do I even need to tell you how much I envy those little furry-tailed bandits?

The episode closes on an optimistic note, with the wives together, sharing pitchers of Mojitos and toasting their friendship. Let’s hope the next round of stories keeps that friendship front and center. That, after all, is why we watch.

So, what’s next for our Army Wives? Do you think C.J. is pregnant? Will Roland become a stay-at-home Dad? Can we hope to get a raccoon’s-eye view of the lovely Denise?

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