by Meredith O’Brien
*Warning: This contains spoilers from the season four premiere of Army Wives .*
When she had her own radio show on the Army post called, “Have At It,” former Boston cop Pamela Moran fielded on-air calls from fellow Army wives about their lives, problems and dreams. During one radio show, Pamela listened impatiently as a caller said she was tired of her career coming in second behind her husband’s, behind the Army. To this, Pamela responded with this:
“You’re an Army wife. I’m an Army wife. That means that you’re always going to play second fiddle career-wise while your spouse is in the military. That is just a fact of life. And yeah, a marriage is a partnership, but in the Army your husband is always going to be the senior partner . . . You married a soldier. And a soldier gets called at a moment’s notice to go off to war and defend our country and we just accept it, move on and quit complaining.”
Even during season one, on Pamela’s very first radio show she told her fellow Army wives to remember, “The Army comes first. We deal with it or we move on.”
But by the time the fourth season of the Lifetime drama Army Wives premiered on Sunday, Pamela -- the mom of two young kids, whose husband Chase serves with an elite special ops unit -- had had enough of Chase choosing work over family. “If you want to be part of this family, you’re going to have to earn it,” she said to him. Apparently it’s easier said than done for every Army spouse to simply swallow the whole “you come behind the Army” line for a long period of time without becoming fed up at some point.
Her frustrations began building during season three. Pamela had to move her family into a new house all on her own and her husband complained about all her choices. When Chase was seriously injured during a secret mission in Iraq -- physically tortured as well – Pamela had to fight to be able to visit him at the on base medical facility. Once the wounded Chase finally came home, he wouldn’t tell her what happened and withdrew, emotionally, from her and the kids, started lying to Pamela regarding his whereabouts. He started blowing off family activities in order to spend time with his buddies from Delta Force, then he signed up for training in Colorado that Pamela had explicitly asked him not to do. Season three ended with Chase walking into their house and finding that his family had packed up and left without telling him where they’d gone.
“I can’t keep doing this, lying to my kids and making excuses for a man who puts his family second, always,” Pamela said to her friend in the season four premiere, asking her pal not to reveal where she’d taken her children. “I’m just tired of it.”
Total 180. The woman who once sat behind the microphone and lectured other wives to suck it up and stop complaining, has finally had enough. In the meantime, Chase told fellow soldier Trevor LeBlanc that he loved being on Delta Force, which made his wife’s ultimatum – that he quit Delta Force when he comes back from his training or lose his marriage – all the more troublesome.
Other women on Army Wives are likewise in a state of flux as the fourth season commences:
The lone female Army officer on the show, Joan Burton -- who left her baby home with her psychiatrist husband Roland when she deployed to Iraq in season three -- was critically injured in an ambush and could lose her vision. A mother of a young soldier, Denise Sherwood, who’s also married to an Army colonel, was in obvious emotional pain because their only child attempted to commit suicide following the combat death of his buddy, for which he blames himself. Oh, and Roxy LeBlanc -- the owner of the Hump Bar, mother of two and wife of a soldier -- is pregnant with baby number three.
“It’s hard to keep your identity here,” Pamela said to Roxy in season one referencing the Army post. And it appears as though season four of Army Wives will explore the issue of an Army spouse’s identity. And more.