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 will NOT be watching Army wives anymore since killing off Claudia Joy, she was one of the main people that made that show, you always have to screw a good thing up, shame on you, NO LONGER WATCHING ARMY WIVES


I'm not an army wife but I've been a
fan of the show since day one. But after seeing Claudia
Joy leaving the show I won't be watching. I have cried
Many times with the original characters the new
Characters won't be able to live up to the show.
Very disappointed !!!!!


I don't know if I can keep watching the show. You had Pamel ,Roxy, Claudia Joy leave.A lot of us don't like change.I really don't want to watch this show. You need to bring them back.


I love the show been watching it from day one. I feel like im part of the family It's just so emotional, and to lose Claudia Joy just took me to another place but imma give this cast a chance but I don't think they stand a chance with the original cast,Claudia Joy,Denise,Roland,Roxy, and Pamela!!


I hate that CJ is gone. After the last show of her death, I'm tuning out! She and Michael were the rock of the show. This show wasn't like the other shows on TV. I guess now it will be.


Very disappointed to lose Claudia Joy, but under the circumstances understandable. From the previews it seems to be an unappealing cast. The original cast projected strength, character and class even when faced with ugly real life issues. Obviously it is fictional, but that's why we watch. I don't want to watch a show with a bunch of hysterical loser women. I'll give it a couple of episodes, but. . .


It's terribly disappointing to see Claudia Joy killed off. And yes, I understand Kim Delaney has personal issues to tend to and dismissing her was probably good for her. However, I don't think she should have been killed off. I think there was a number of things they could have done - even if they DID transfer them, they could have just shown Michael at work, etc. Or, the smartest thing to do would have been end it last season. I don't have a problem with new wives coming in, it's the quality of wives they are bringing in. It looks like we're going from a classy show to "Real Housewives of Ft Marshall" from the previews, and that's not what I'm interested in. I miss the old Army Wives. I always thought that Michael & Claudia Joy showed a rare, beautiful marriage - one that had fidelity, trust, respect. Sure they disagreed and had arguments, but they always were there for each other. And THAT is rare, especially on television today. It makes me sad that was the couple you chose to destroy. I'll tune in Sunday to see the final Farewell to Claudia Joy, but then I'm done.


I was also disappointed by the loss of Claudia Joe but now knowing why I understand and hope she goes on and does what she needs to do to help herself and knowing this I think that Army Wives has such great writers for this show and that these new characters will make this show great.


I have watched Army Wives since it began. Being the wife of a Navy Veteran, I can really relate to this show. The long deployments, the long and hard separations, and most of all, the friendships that the dependent spouses make are like no other. You feel a true deep bond that will stay with you the rest of your life. Loosing Claudia Joy is a big lose for the show. I loved her character and will miss her, but I will continue to watch the show. It is a show that shows the hardships of military life, but it also shows the deep caring and bond that the military family has. Like I said before, I will miss Claudia Joys character, but I also like the other characters who will continue to make the show great.


Hello all - I'm really sorry you're feeling the pain of losing Claudia Joy so quickly after losing Pamela last year, and then Roxy moving away. But remember, these are actors who want to try new things. Army Wives has to make decisions to bring in new blood to fill the void. I think the new casting decisions were really smart. A lot of young, talented actors will be joining, as well as Ms. Brooke Shields. They'll be able to hold their own and I think we'll love them just as we did our former friends. Give yourself time to adjust before turning the channel. You owe it to the writers that got you this far. It's been hard, but I'm going to trust them. Fingers crossed!

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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.