The latest episode of Lifetime’s Army Wives, entitled “Casualties” aired on April 15th 2012, to both the delight and horror of Army Wives fans.
Let me bring you up to speed on the season so far; Chase and Pamela are no longer in the picture, which as far as we know is permanent, after moving to California, Claudia Joy (Kim Delaney) is staying with her parents while undergoing dialysis treatment due to a complication of her diabetes, and Frank (Terry Serpico), Trevor (Drew Fuller) and the newly introduced Hector (Joseph Julian Soria) have been deployed to Africa to evacuate American nationals from a small country engulfed in tribal wars. Meanwhile back at home Joan (Wendy Davis) and Roland(Sterling K. Brown) are dealing with their son David’s HIV and it’s social implications, Roxy (Sally Pressman) is the head of an FRG, and Denise (Catherine Bell) is keeping a pretty low profile so far.
Alright, now on to the good stuff… This week’s episode of Army Wives certainly didn’t fail to impress and as usual it was full of tear jerking moments. Roland and Charlie, a new addition to the cast played by Ryan Michelle Bath, are forced to deal with the sensitive issue of rapid deployment with their youth group. These scenes are particularly poignant and will hit home for anyone who has experienced this type of situation for themselves. It is during these already emotionally charged moments when Charlie reveals to Roland that she too has a soldier in Africa; a female Captain in intelligence.
Meanwhile, Roxy faces the challenges of being an FRG leader to a group of wives whose husbands have been involved in the rapid deployment. In this episode Roxy really steps up to the task of remaining calm in the face of uncertainty, and although she leans on Denise occasionally, she is truly blossoming into a strong Army wife.
Stepping into the role of new wife in town is Alyssa Diaz as Gloria, Hector’s wife who is blissfully ignorant of all things military. Gloria has some truly cute moments in “Casualties” particularly when she asks Roxy why Hector’s not answering his cell phone in Africa.
“Casualties” sees a relatively quiet time for Denise and the Burton clan, while Claudia Joy is absent all together. It creates an interesting, if not always fan pleasing, dynamic within the episode to shine the spotlight on certain characters so heavily while leaving others in the background in what was once such a typical ensemble situation.
Things couldn’t be less quiet though for the troops deployed in Africa, which include Trevor, Frank, Hector and Tanya (Erin Krakow). Tanya butts heads with the new combat doctor and later turns him down for a cup of coffee citing being asked that by a soldier before. Frank takes charge in that alpha male way he is prone to, and Trevor steps into a strong leadership role, sending troops into a dangerous evacuation situation.
Also revealed in Africa, moments before the episode’s conclusion, is that Charlie’s secret girlfriend is none other than Captain Galassini, played by Kellie Martin. “Casualties” ends on not one but two heart wrenching cliff-hangers: Roxy finds Min-Ji’s (Hana Moon) garage overcome with fumes, presumably with Min-Ji inside, and Galassini puts herself in harms way as a negotiator between heavily armed and dangerous tribal soldiers.
The next episode entitled “Non-Combatants” will, according to Lifetime’s episode details, see a memorial service, trouble in Africa and more medical woes for Claudia Joy.
One can only presume that Min-Ji will be the one honored, as she likely committed suicide in “Casualties”, but I would also wager that one of the supporting characters will not return safely from Africa.
“Non-Combatants” airs on Lifetime on Sunday, April 22nd at P.M.