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Featured TV on DVD Review: Army Wives: Season Six, Volume Two

December 15th, 2012

Army Wives: Season Six, Volume Two - Buy from Amazon

I've reviewed almost all of Army Wives (part one of season six didn't arrive due to an e-mail glitch) and for the most part I've been very happy with the show's quality. There were a lot of changes in the early part of season six, not all of which were positive ones, but is the overall quality still high enough to be worth checking out? Or is the show rapidly running out of steam?

The Show

There were a number of changes from season five to season six, including the addition of Hector and Gloria Cruz, as a soldier and his wife. In the first part, the pair have trouble adapting to the strain a military marriage has on any couple. Jackie Clarke, an old friend of Denise's, arrives on base and that messes with the group's chemistry. (Claudia Joy becomes jealous.) Pamela Moran (Brigid Brannagh) has been reduced to a recurring role, while Kellie Martin joins the show in a guest role. Those are some pretty big cast changes, but the returning cast members also dealt with major changes. Trevor LeBlanc was promoted, which means Roxy is now the wife of an officer, and that means she has more responsibility. She is also pregnant, with twins. Joan and Roland adopted a son, David, at the end of last season, but David's birth father, Marcus shows up in season six. Finally, Claudia Joy is suffering through kidney failure and Denise is a potential donor.

At the beginning of the second volume, Claudia Joy and Denise undergo the surgery, which doesn't go entirely smoothly. They decide to recuperate together at a beach house, but that also doesn't go entirely smoothly. That's an understatement that continues for a few episodes. Likewise, Joan and Roland are dealing with Marcus wanting to be a bigger part of David's life, and David wanting this as well. However, due to Marcus's past, Joan is unwilling to let that happen. Hector's and Gloria's relationship struggles, because he doesn't want her working at the Hump Bar. There's also a medical complication with Roxy's pregnancy. That's a lot happening in one episode, but it doesn't add up to a compelling story. Unfortunately, most of these storylines continue for the next several episodes, dragging them down as well.

Anna Chlumsky has a guest spot in Tough Love. She plays a wife of a soldier, Lt. Cody Anderson, who was badly burned by an IED and his PTSD is killing their relationship. It also brings home the dangers of war, which affects everyone. I like Anna Chlumsky, so seeing her is a highlight, but while this part of the episode was good, it is not a good episode overall. Battle Scars continues the Cody storyline, which is good. It also focuses on the marriage troubles of Hector and Gloria, which is not good. These two characters are just not working in my opinion. Pamela Moran (Brigid Brannagh) shows up in Hello Stranger, but like Tough Love, it is a welcome guest shot boosting an otherwise weak episode. For instance, we learn more about Jackie Clarke's relationship with her daughter, Sophie (Skyler Day). Since Jackie isn't clicking with me as a character, I'm not particularly interested in her dysfunctional relationship with her daughter. On the plus side, TJ and David get caught with a girlie magazine and Roland's reaction is fun. Baby Steps is a better episode, for the most part. Nicole and Charlie are getting married, which is a major development, considering when Army Wives started, Don't Ask, Don't Tell was still the law. This relationship is better than any of the other new relationships introduced this season. On the other hand, the episode ends with a lame, "five months later". It's like the writers knew they had written themselves into a corner and didn't know how else to get out.

Disc two begins with Centennial, which is sadly an even weaker episode than average, and the show has not been good this season. I'm not going to go into details, because we are entering major spoiler territory, but there's a strong, "Been there, done that" vibe to this episode. It tries to be emotional, but because it is something we've seen before, it isn't as effective and comes across as emotionally manipulative. The War at Home and Handicap are no better. Things do start to improve during Domestic Maneuvers, while the season ends with Onward, which is the best episode of the season. Unfortunately, it is a case of too little, too late. There were too many changes, too many new characters added, too many old characters written out, too many relationships that were not compelling, there were too many problems to overcome.

The Extras

Extras on disc one include some deleted scenes, while disc two has more deleted scenes and outtakes.

The Verdict

Army Wives dealt with too many changes during the sixth season and not enough of them were changes for the better. The best new relationship was one that was mostly ignored during the final ten episodes of the season. Additionally, there were not enough extras on Season Six, Volume Two. After a bit of a delay, the show was renewed for a seventh season, but unless there's a major improvement, it will be its last.

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Filed under: Video Review, Catherine Bell, Anna Chlumsky, Kim Delaney, Drew Fuller, Larry Gilliard, Jr., Kellie Martin, Kelli Williams, Alyssa Diaz, Ryan Michelle Bathe