Army Wives Review: Ode to Claudia Joy

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Throughout a less-than admirable Army Wives Season 6, many of us wondered what would happen to Claudia Joy Holden. We found out in "Ashes to Ashes," as Michael received news his beloved wife had died in her sleep while on tour with the First Lady in Germany.

It was a perfect decision for Michael to drive to to Denise's house to talk about Claudia Joy before he broke about her death. It was right that the two people who loved her more than anyone discussed it first. Michael was at Denise's side when he made the call to Emmalin. After the death of her sister and one of her best friends, Denise's son, Jeremy, breaking the news about her mother had to be one of the most difficult calls he ever had to make.

Army Wives Season 7 Premiere Pic

So each character talked with the next to pass on the news of Claudia Joy's death. The first flashback to Claudia Joy (and Kim Delaney who played her) was Roland remembering the day of his daughter's birth, Claudia Joy at their side.

Amazingly, it wasn't until Kelli Williams - as Jackie Clarke - appeared that I felt tears. Until that moment, none of the characters seemed genuinely affected by the death, as if it was difficult to pretend it was unexpected given Kim Delaney's rumored behavior that brought her character's demise about. Jackie, who had the most difficult relationship with Claudia Joy on the show when she moved to Fort Marshall, seemed to find the greatest loss in their friend's death.

I didn't take the time to think that Denise's breaking point would come upon hearing Frank's voice. It will be their relationship that will be the driving force on Army Wives now that Claudia Joy is gone. They will be the couple the younger group looks up to, and they've made so much headway in recent seasons that it's greatly deserved.

It was so weird when Frank called Michael, because despite their friendship and the nature of the call, Frank called him "sir" while sending him well wishes. I suppose one will never truly understand the military unless they are a part of it.

In the obligatory salute to fans past, Roxy and Pamela returned to Fort Marshall at the news of her death and amidst everything else, made promises to keep in contact with each other, come what may. Although we'll likely never see their friendship continue, we can take heart in knowing it will never die.

There would be no funeral for Claudia Joy, but a simple celebration of her life with her closest friends in attendance. Michael, Emmalin, Denise, Roland, Pamela and Roxy. At the start of Army Wives Season 7, the core who kept the show afloat for the first five seasons were together again.

As I watched the episode, I kept thinking about all tragedy they had been through, and how hopeful Claudia Joy remained throughout it all. She finished her degree and passed the bar, but never got to really practice law. She and Denise both lost grown children, and held each other up. Their friendship hit so many road bumps, but they saved each others' lives more than once - quite literally.

The hour ended with the aforementioned friends reminiscing about Claudia Joy, how they met and what she meant to them, wondering how they would get through tomorrow. But tomorrow won't come until next week.

Considering the weight of the episode and the reveal of the death of a major character, there wasn't a lot to ruminate upon. I'm not sure it was meant to be more than a knee-jerk reaction to Claudia Joy's loss. When something like this happens, it's not time to introduce side stories or new characters, rather a time to remember and embrace what was. In this case, we're not only remembering a character, but what made Army Wives so successful. A grateful nod to the original cast before reaching out to a new audience with new relationships and the stories that will surround them.

Given the ambiguity of the situation, it was the right decision to kill off Claudia Joy. As we play out the end of an era next week, I'm getting excited to usher in the new as new faces will emerge and their stories will be told.


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (153 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


i lived to catch army wives every week and i hate to see it end but as we all know what we want does not matter , wish they had not killed off claudia joy for her and denise made the show as far as i was each cast came in they would enchance the show except for the new cast i was trying to get use to them ,,,i love denise i catch her in other shows jag for one


Please, please at least try to bring back the original cast. I have loved this show since the very first episode and recommended it to many of my friends. No longer. I've watched this season and each episode is as boring as the last.
I miss my old Army Wives. I suppose all good things must come to and end. This one certainly has. I repeat, Please. Please, at least try to reassemble the original cast!!!


You should do something before is too late. Many of my friends are not watching, and for the first time, I did not watch two weeks in a row, yes, I can't believe it, now it seems like Roland and family are also leaving the show. Ahhh and Michael, seems like too soon is falling for Young. We are not ready to see him with another woman please. Not yet.


I can't remember when I stopped watching - maybe it was that one season finale that was so much a series finale. I just couldn't get back into the series, then they added so many new characters and now killing off Claudia Joy, they chose to kill off a lot of their support too. With many others, I too am forever done with Army Wives.


ugh i hate the fake plastic new characters..not like real women at all !!! YUCK Done with this show


I can't believe that you have hardly any of the original cast.It Sucks.Ive tried to watch but it's a whole different show.what a same.It took me a while to be come interested in the first place.Big Time Bummer!!!!!


that was unfair for this show to ax the character of Claudia Joy. how could they? very disappointed.


I love this show...this is what happens. I am a n Army wife and you meet amazing friends and then you get orders try to stay in touch....but really by moving the characters it makes it real to the people who live it...Thank you, I love this show and will continue to watch it!


OMG, Ladies, get over it, that's what the military is all about. You meet new friends and you lose friends. That's the real deal. If you want the characters to stay together forever -- watch the young and the restless, they been on over 30 years w/the same restless folks.


Oh u guys just suck....she was the best on the show...not going to be the same and I don't think ill be watching anymoreunless you find away to bring them all back together....grrrrrrrrr

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Army Wives Season 7 Episode 1 Quotes

Michael: She's gone.
Denise: What?
Michael: Claudia Joy. She's gone.

Claudia Joy was his anchor, and I can't imagine a world without Claudia Joy in it.