This episode was disappointing. It was too similar to the basic Lifetime movie where a woman is abused by a loved one.
The show begins with Denise and a fellow medic responding to the home of Marisol, the same woman who helped Denise and Roxy during the dropped birthday cake fiasco. Denise’s co-worker tells Denise he remembers going out to the house before. Once they enter, they find Marisol there with her husband. She is bleeding from a gash on the back of her head and she has a split lip.
Later, we are given a scene of the abuser’s crazy behavior. He brings flowers to his wife as penance. She mentions going to see someone about their problems. He reacts by going into a rage and slapping her across the face. The picture fades to black as he’s yelling at her and preparing to strike her again.
The next day, Marisol shows up at Denise’s house in tears. C.J. and Denise counsel her as if they’re licensed to do that sort of thing. I know their heart is in the right place, but the entire episode was like a public service announcement to abused women everywhere. C.J. and Denise constantly remind Marisol that it’s not her fault (which it obviously isn’t) and they say everything a person should say to convince an abused woman to press charges against the scummy person who beats them. And yet, I was unmoved. I wanted them to do or say something that was unexpected. I hate when I can tell what a character will say before they even open their mouth, which is a problem that I have with Army Wives. It’s too predictable and comforting.
At the hospital, Marisol’s husband shows up and begs her to take him back. When she doesn’t, he responds like a true psychopath. He yells at her, telling her she’s nothing. In a cliched response, she screams at him, “I’m not nothing!” I laughed out loud at that line. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for empowering women and securing their safety and self-worth, but don’t give me a cliched plot and an ending that’s too perfectly wrapped up.
Wynonna Judd and Five for Fighting both made a cameo appearance. Turns out that there’s a concert at Fort Marshall, and they supply the entertainment. There’s a lame moment where Wynonna meets some star-struck soldiers. As Wynonna sings an inspirational song, the camera cuts to Pam, C.J., Denise, Roxy and Marisol walking tall and proud. It was self important and not inspiring. Overall, I give the show props for attempting to instill confidence in abused women.
One thing that bugs me about this show is that the good guy always wins, which isn’t what generally happens in real life. Examples of this would be that Denise never really had to deal with Jeremy’s anger problems. I don’t think he ever saw a therapist about the fact that he beat his own mother. The beatings just magically stopped after Frank threw Jeremy out. Denise no longer has to fear Jeremy when she sees him and he never seems as if he will relapse either. How convenient. And now they’re trying to make us like Jeremy! To me, what Jeremy did to his mother was just as bad as what Marisol’s husband did to her. So can I excuse Jeremy? No, and it bugs me that the writers seem to expect me to.
Another example of things ending too perfectly would be the situation with Joan’s eyesight. Joan goes to war and almost loses an eye, but of course she recovers full sight. Ta-da. The good guy never really loses anything. Message to the writers of Army Wives: Sometimes characters need to lose, and they need to lose BIG.