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September 4, 2015

'Army Wives' Season 5, Episode 4 Recap

by Allison Waldman, posted Mar 28th 2011 5:10AM
lifetime_army_wives_bridges_2011['Army Wives' - 'On Behalf of a Grateful Nation']

It didn't take the first half-hour for the revelation, but 'Army Wives' held back until the end of the opening. Despite the dramatic drag-out, which I griped about last week, the loss of one of the characters on the battlefield was still heart-wrenching.

'Army Wives' didn't avoid the reality of the situation. We saw that terrible moment when two uniformed soldiers delivered the message that no Army spouse, parent or partner wants to hear. There is no easy way to deal with that kind of loss. As a viewer, it was emotional to learn who'd died and my eyes filled with tears.

It didn't matter that I had correctly predicted last week that Jeremy was the most likely character to die in battle. He was too happy and excited about his future. He was saying how great things were going. The set-up was there.

And yet, I was still moved by the realization that Denise and Frank's son had been killed. It seemed even sadder because Jeremy had been such a screwed-up kid when the series began.

In the first season, Jeremy was an abuser ... and Denise was his victim. It had taken time and joining the Army to straighten him out. Yes, he'd had the post traumatic, near-suicidal reaction to cheating death in Iraq, but Jeremy had righted his ship. And Roland had helped him after Iraq, which we recalled when Dr. Burton cried about his patient who perished in combat.

Jeremy's death touched many characters, but Denise and Frank the most. Seeing them in bed together, looking at photos of their child for the funeral program, was really touching. Terry Serpico, who plays Frank as the ultimate hard-nosed Marine soldier, fought to keep from breaking down and showed how Frank was literally torn apart by his child's death. He kept his chin high, but he was devastated.

Roxy was also deeply affected. Even before she learned that Trevor had been Jeremy's commander on the mission, Roxy felt that death was creeping closer to her family. It could have been Trevor who died, and that frightened her.

I loved the way Lucky was drawn into the story. Before Roxy shared the news about Jeremy with T.J. and Finn, she was alone with the dog. You could see how she was remembering that Lucky had been Jeremy's dog. That he had saved Lucky in Iraq and then allowed the LeBlanc boys adopt him as a pet.

And it was also a good touch to see T.J. stepping up for Roxy. He's been so troubled of late, but his wanting to go to the funeral with her was a sign that he cares.

The only note that failed to ring true for me was Tanya's reaction. She was angry, and she seemed to suggest that Jeremy had deceived her into thinking that everything was going to be all right. Perhaps it was how she needed to react to deal with the pain of losing him. It just seemed inappropriate to me.

On the other end of the spectrum, Emmalin's tribute to Jeremy at the funeral, referring to him as a brother, was beautiful. It wasn't too much or too little. It was spot-on. There was no need for other tributes after hers.

Finally, it looks like Denise's reaction may come in stages. This was stage one: Shock. That would explain why Catherine Bell played her as being so shell-shocked by the news. Yes, she shed tears, but she was also disconnected and confused.

Her inability to get through the meeting with the Army rep about Jeremy's estate was an example of her acting very un-Denise-like. Time will tell where she's going and how (or if) she'll survive this tragedy.

'Army Wives' airs Sundays, 9PM ET on Lifetime.

Watch the full episode here:

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I also cried through about half of this episode. And I'm a 71 year old man, and was in the Army!!
The show was Very well done. I think "Tonya" did exactly what most fiances would have done. She was in shock!!

April 19 2011 at 12:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I also cried the whole hour watching Army Wives. It was a great episode and so true to life. I am just sad that Jeremy won't be able to enjoy married life and have children.

March 29 2011 at 6:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I cried the whole hour watching Army Wives. When they gave the flag to Denise I just hit the floor. I couldn't believe Jeremy was gone. My best friend husband just retired from the Navy so I called her and we cried together for the whole hour.

Great episode, Army Wives writers and producers outdid themselves.

March 29 2011 at 3:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My husband works as a Notification/Casualty Assistance Officer. Unfortunately he makes that walk to the family to notify them of the loss of a loved one. He proceeds to walk them thru every stage from receiving the remains of the fallen soldier, planning the services and assuring they receive the benefits they are entitiled to. Army Wives did an excellent job in showing the dignity and honor every fallen soldier is given. I cried thru the episode as well, and I have attended more funerals for fallen soldiers I have never met, and cry at each one. I attend the services to support my husband as well as the families. God Bless every military person serving our country!

March 28 2011 at 9:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to sjtrini5's comment

God bless your husband for doing that job. It takes a special kind of person to do that work - to be strong enough that he can be practical in front of a devastated family. I can imagine there are a lot of people who wonder how he could ask all those questions and ask them to do all that paperwork when they're just trying to deal with their loss.

March 29 2011 at 12:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Army Wives was so sad last night, I cried

March 28 2011 at 5:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Army Wives was so sad last night, I cried

March 28 2011 at 5:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tommy Young

A very emotional episode. As a 20 year plus veteran of the Air Force it brought back memories of friends of mine who perished in the first gulf war and concern about friends of mine who are serving in combat now

March 28 2011 at 3:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Observation, the way the "bride-to-be" was treated, is pretty much how it is. Unless you are "on the DD 193" (Notification Paperwork) you are "no body."

When I was on active duty in the Air Force I worked with more than one fiancee that had "no support" when death came. And then when my first husband was dying (1989), his parents were there for each other, but until my family arrived, I was BY MYSELF.

I kept crying for the character, and for all those that "weren't quite all the way there" when death came.

March 28 2011 at 1:39 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Robbie Culley-Duncan

One of the saddest and best episodes I have seen, I ended up watching it twice. One of the great shows on tv.

March 28 2011 at 1:04 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Truly excellent episode, with truly gripping emotional scenes -- including those in-theater -- that didn't at come across as contrived. Knowing the episode was coming up, I originally thought the person dying was going to be Chase (until a TV columnist accidentally pulled a spoiler in his Saturday review). But, story-wise, Jeremy was clearly the most appropriate choice. The episode did a fantastic job of showing how his passing touched all the main characters in a way that Chase's wouldn't. I also disagree with the reviewer's assessment of Tanya's reaction. Remember last season: When Jeremy first asked her out, she originally turned him down, fearing this exact result. Anger is a very legitimate human reaction to being proven "right" in the most horrible of circumstances.

Anyway, looking forward to seeing how the ripple effects of this awful event play out over the rest of the season.

March 28 2011 at 12:41 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Rob's comment

This, exactly. Besides, anger is a very natural response to this type of tragedy.

March 28 2011 at 7:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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