Army Wives Season 4 Finale

***NO SPOILERS***

The Season 4 Finale of Lifetime’s Army Wives will air on Sunday, August 22, 2010, at 10:00pm ET/PT.  Lifetime kindly sent me a screener and fans of the show are not going to want to miss this season finale.

This is a NO SPOILER post and I request that you keep the comments spoiler-free as well.  I’ll put up another post on August 22 where everyone can add their thoughts and also another on August 23 where I will give my synopsis of the finale!

From the website:

In the episode entitled “Forward March,” while Emmalin (Katelyn Pippy) prepares to graduate from high school, Claudia Joy (Kim Delaney) receives potentially devastating news. Pamela (Brigid Brannagh) gets an unexpected phone call which leads her to question her future and Denise (Catherine Bell) experiences a life changing event.

We are at an interesting point in our military cultural history.  People are very curious about military families because of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan but there are many people who do not personally know anyone currently serving.  Army Wives satisfies a societal need to be part in some way of the sacrifice of our troops while also giving us military spouses some validation that are stories are heard.

The fact that it is a nighttime drama (read: soap opera) does not change the reality of the emotions.

When I was a classroom teacher, Boston Public was popular.  People would ask, “teaching isn’t really like that, is it?”  And as with Army Wives, the answer is, “well, it is and it isn’t.”  Most of the things that happen in the show happen at some point to someone, somewhere.  The conflation of the stories–the idea that all of these crazy things happen to the same small group of people on one post, all in the same year–is what makes it exciting viewing.

Let’s be honest, a show about my real life as a military spouse probably would have generated about 15 minutes of good television.  Plus there is no way I would look that glamorous, even while crying.

But the tension, the worry, the joys…those are all 100% real.

And this finale has it all. Although I might quibble with some of the details of official processes, the depiction of the emotional geography of military family crises is spot-on.

There’s the quick spread of any news or rumor, the just being there for one another, the mistake of trying to tell someone how to feel about their own crisis, the urge to keep going with routine, the expectations placed on military spouses (or the ones we believe are placed on us). the need to be strong for others, and navigating the complicated relationships between different levels of tragedy and individuals’ reactions.

What “got me” the most about this episode was that tense feeling of waiting.  It is that feeling you live with every day when your spouse is deployed–especially the days when you know they are out “under the wire”.  Casualty notification (which includes severe injuries as well) only occurs during a specific daytime window.  So, there’s that tense feeling of dread every night after the window ends until the morning when you wake (assuming you could sleep).  You just pray you are woken by your alarm clock and not a knock on the door.

And the other big emotional moment for me centers around missing your soldier during the big moments in your children’s lives and the possibility they may miss them all.  Even just typing that I am crying again.  It is easier to be strong when it is just you–but explaining absence, loss and danger to your children just does not seem fair sometimes.

The finale delivers big on an emotional resolution to all that tension–but I can’t tell you whether there were tears of joy or sadness in my eyes because that would be a huge spoiler.

I did smile a lot at memories of my active-duty Army wife friendships.  There’s definitely a warm feeling seeing military spouses come together to support one another.  It is a camaraderie tinged with the knowledge that your friend’s tragedy could just as easily be yours.

There is also an “on-trend” nod to some ideas you may be familiar with if you follow PTSD-treatment therapies in the news.

That’s about all I can say without ruining the surprises in store…you will just have to watch!

What are you expecting or hoping to see in the finale? What questions do you have?

REMINDER: Please keep discussion on this post spoiler-free even after the episode airs!

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