Leading up this Season 6 finale, all signs pointed to Army Wives coming to an end.
Last week I not only thought the show was on its last legs, I was looking forward to it. Yet, somehow, "Onward" changed my opinion on both thoughts. Be still your beating hearts, you heard that right. If another season could be done as well as this episode, I would be behind it... let's say, 90%.
So this was a surprising week! I'll give you the full rundown of what changed my views at the end of the review, so let's start with a break down of the basics...
I was shocked that the only thing Charlie thought of as Nicole was getting ready to deploy was "what about adoption?" She then had the nerve to go talk to Denise about asking Frank to change her orders. It seemed to me that she was more interested in having a child than she was in getting married to Nicole.
Luckily, it was also convenient for Penny to need parents to raise a baby she didn't want and for Charlie and Nicole to want a baby. Penny had no problem jumping into bed with a man during a one night stand, but had quite a big problem when it came to her Christian beliefs and allowing her child to be raised by a lesbian couple. Her immediate answer was no.
Enter Hector, who said the first thing I've agreed with since he came onto the show: "You can't judge them. What we did was against the bible!" Of course he had a lot more first hand experience with Nicole Galassini, but he's right. They are good women and would give a baby all the love in the world. It was nice to have a story with a happy ending.
Was it any surprise Kevin was as ornery as ever during his physical therapy? I was happy when he fell on the floor and off of the exercise equipment. I love that he finally got it; what it would take to walk again. He needed to understand it wasn't done with sheer will and anger. It was quite a sight to see the soldiers rally around him when he made his first attempts to stand on his own, especially since I'm sure J.R. Martinez, as Marty, wasn't the only American soldier in that room who had been through it all himself.
Elsewhere, Trevor wanted to deploy with his men rather than report to Fort Lewis, but when the orders came down, they were for him to make the move. That left a lot of others on base who were going to be merging with an air force base, but not until the 1st Brigade deployed to Afghanistan again.
Here is where Army Wives reeled me back in. Its ability to show soldiers deploying, saying goodbye to their families and realistically portraying the pressures and challenges those left behind has always been incredibly keen. The majority of "Onward" was about that future. David was living through the first deployment of his mother, and both he and Joan had to come to terms with it. Charlie watched her wife deploy for the first time as an Army Wife, and one with a child on the way.
The speech Kevin gave, after he successfully stood up in front of the troops to give it, was inspirational. It was beautiful to see everyone standing there, about to leave to serve their country again as their families stood to the side to support their decision to do so. If this were just any series finale, what happened next would not have happened at all.
The plan which held practically half of the cast - including Joan, Frank, Nicole and Hector - experienced some sort of difficulties and we closed out the hour with Michael answering a call to several Oh My Gods. Leaving us forever with a plane going down would be a horrible joke. So maybe this wasn't the end after all. On the other hand, the group hug at the end could have meant it was sort of a Sopranos conclusion.
The lives of soldiers and their families will always be filled with strife, and no matter where Lifetime decides to end the series, that will continue. After all, the hug had all of the main characters past and present. The missing Claudia Joy; Pamela who had moved on; Roxy who was on her way out of town; Denise and Roland. Perhaps the takeaway was to remember those friendships.
What are your thoughts, and would "Onward" work as a series finale or do you demand more? What do you think the odds are for a season seven? For now, thanks for reading along again this season! I've enjoyed your participation in the column very much.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.