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As this episode of Army Wives gets underway, Joan is on the verge of dying, Claudia Joy may be getting raped, Pamela is being harassed by a stalker, Denise and Frank are staring at a divorce, Trevor's on drugs and just wrecked his car and Lord only knows what will happen next.
But by the end of "Payback," however, most of those situations are at least sort of cleaned up, leaving things slightly more optimistic going forward.
Let's start with Michael, who arrives at home after Claudia Joy hits Paolo in the head with a champagne bottle to stop his attempted rape.
Claudia Joy, Paolo, and everybody but Michael want to brush the attack under the rug for the sake of the San Pasquale lease deal. Paolo claims the added concern of avoiding his country’s embarrassment, something he should have though of before he sexually attacked another person.
Michael’s opinion from the get-go is “No way!” when it comes to pretending the sordid incident never happened. Claudia Joy tells him right afterwards that duty is supposed to come before personal feelings in the military.
Unfortunately for Michael, the Pentagon decides to release Paolo with no significant consequences, partly because he has diplomatic immunity.
Worse, Paolo requests Michael’s presence at the signing of the deal, and the Pentagon orders Michael to attend, despite his initial refusal.
Claudia Joy (Kim Delaney) helps her husband realize that Paolo craves power, the very thing they can deny him by not letting him alter their lives.
Nevertheless, Michael, who was starting to question whether he had it in him, stopped by Paolo’s hotel to deliver a nice punch to the face.
Meanwhile, Pamela is increasingly determined not to let her stalker harm her or her children. As a result, she goes on the offensive, packing a loaded gun, monitoring her home closely, and taking her kids everywhere.
She suffers one lapse and breaks down when Stalker Tim calls her radio show and indirectly threatens her children — he responds to her revelation that she’ll shoot him herself by saying she can’t protect her kids all the time.
Pamela recognizes Tim’s voice and several warning signs when he approaches her at Betty’s Bar & Grill later and claims his name is Dean Armstrong.
The clues? A rose tattoo on his right wrist; an obvious disdain for his wife, who he says is serving in Iraq; and a generally creepy demeanor.
After quietly asking Roxy to phone the cops, Pamela (Brigid Brannagh) calls the man Tim as he leaves to see if he reacts. He does, and the stalker gets what’s been coming to him when Pamela delivers a swift kick to the crotch.
She then restrains him outside the bar. Way to go, Pamela!
Trevor, who tells Roxy after the car accident that he’s done with the pills, busts open the kitchen sink’s drain after she leaves to retrieve the drugs he disposed in front of her. That didn't exactly work, but he did manage to get his hands on some Vicodin later. This guy's a serious mess.
Joan hemorrhages again and requires life-saving surgery. She needs blood and Trevor is a match, but Roland refuses to let him donate because of the drug issue, a judgment call that’s hard not to understand.
After Joan recovers, Roland apologizes for being so harsh.
Later, it's Finn and T.J.’s admission that they don’t like when Trevor yells at their mother that gives him a wake-up call to seek help.
Newly accepting of the fact that she's changed, Denise gives Frank a proper goodbye before he returns to Iraq but later admitting to Claudia Joy she’s happy he and his judging are gone.
She rents an expensive vacation home for some R&R and invites her girls up to recharge along with her, ending the Army Wives week on what is thankfully a lighter, more positive note.