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+.


And people knocked the show when it first came out, now look where they are. Don't say you not gonna watch what you haven't seen yet. The new season is gonna be wonderful.


Well that is not exactly true about being on a post for 6 yrs or more. Maybe you all have never been stationed on Fort Bragg. My husband has been in division(82nd) for 9 years. Most of everyone in that unit has been there just as long, a couple longer. They have been deployed, one or 2 have been to Korea, Germany, but come right back to Bragg. Same Brigade, just different Battalions. But still on the same post for years.


I have been a huge Army Wives fan since its premiere. I've seen every episode at least three times. A few months ago the writers of Army Wives visited Joint Base Lewis-McChord, my home, asking for real army wives to make suggestions about possible stories for the show. Our FRG was so excited for the premiere, in hopes our post would be mentioned, but after seeing it and the new cast promo we've completely cancelled our weekly Army Wives Sunday night parties. This show used to be so good, WHAT HAPPENED? When an entire FRG decides to never again watch a show about the life of an army wife, you know there's a problem...


I will not be watching Army Wives anymore cuz I can't stand any of the new actors/actresses!.


It has been stated in other articles that the producers did try to help Kim Delaney but she didn't show up for work at times or cooperate. Why should everyone else lose their jobs because she can't get herself together? How is that fair? You can't say it is going to be terrible or that those characters are awful until you watch a few episodes and give it a chance. Only then will I make an objective decision about Army Wives. And I agree with the couple of people here who have said that in real life, families are not kept on a base for over 6 years together. That is unrealistic.


Thias will definitely be the last season. Show will not last without Kim. She was the main character. Bringing in Brooke Shields and Ashanti sounds like a mess. The new characters do look trashy. Producers should have helped Kim get the help she needed. Very pathetic for show to end like this.


I can't believe they kept the same people as long as they did to be honest. As a Marine veteran and a Navy wife, 3 years is the longest we've ever been in one place and only because hubby was on a ship (Norfolk anyone). I'm going to miss the old wives (killed off CJ... just wrong IMO) but a fact of military life is the moving (PCS'ing), which the show kinda slacked off on for more then 6 years (counting the time jumps). When the show started everyone from the original tribe but Roxy had been there for a while already... someone has to leave sometime, the base has to get new troops eventually (especially since they are now a joint base) and that means new families.


Love Army Wives..have watched every season and every episode...Very disappointed about the change of losing Claudia Joy. The group keeps breaking up little by little. I understand change has to come but it's hard to change your favorites of whom you've built the show around. I'm not sure if I will follow Army Wives much longer.


The original group were terriffic....claudie joy leaving does change the story line. I want be watching it anymore ... it want be the same.....if she does have a problem with drinking. Then I wish her all the best in getting help.she is not the first actor or actress to have a problem and she want be the last.she is a good actress... army wives want be the same .sorry to see her go .


To everyone who says they won't watch anymore because of all of the new characters... to see the same people on a base for 6 years, is really unrealistic in the military. As a kid with an Army NCO for a dad, and real-life Army wife for a mom, we moved every 3 years. Your friends were always PCS'ing (the military term for moving to a new base), and you had to learn to adapt to new faces and new locations all of the time. So in the spirit of adaptation, I'll give the newbies a chance, who knows, they may be great additions, like Jackie and Gloria turned out to be. See that I said additions, not replacements, because you can never replace a great friend.

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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.