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DanaK

S01.E13: "Help/Komak"

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Al and Vanessa team up to convince Riley to accept the help and benefits he earned for his military service so he can be in good health and embrace the next chapter in his life with his family, on the first season finale of UNITED STATES OF AL

 

Edited by DanaK

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Ugh, Hazel and Riley broke my heart tonight.

Hazel asking her grandpa such a sad question, and then Riley in the kitchen, in the dark, all alone, 😭💔😭

Edited by Izzy85
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Riley wants Vanessa back! Can’t wait to see how this plays out next season!

They really didn’t give Lizzie many storylines at all this season, other than losing her late fiancé’s dog tags and now she gets hit on and hammered and has to get Al to pick up her and Riley from the VFW bar…and

Spoiler

pukes in Al’s car

but maybe a blessing in disguise as it seems to get Riley’s act together. I hope to see more character development from Lizzie next season. She’s still grieving the loss of her fiancé. I agree I felt bad for Hazel this episode but she seemed to take it in stride.

Edited by nelroy78
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Man, Art and Al get pretty intense and no nonsense pretty fast when they're genuinely angry, don't they? Art's reaction when Riley showed up at the tent...dang. He's absolutely right to be upset, of course, and I'm glad he called Riley out for his behavior that night, just...lesson learned, do not get on his bad side.

Fortunately, it's to Riley's credit that he realizes how badly he screwed up. That scene of him in the kitchen was indeed heartbreaking, and I do sympathize with his reasons for resisting help (especially since, as he mentioned, the system can be so messy as it is, to where even those who do ask for help can still run into problems). I would imagine it's a safe bet he's not the only veteran to feel that way, either, so I'm glad that this show addressed that struggle. 

But I'm also glad that he did ultimately decide to finally get the help he needs at the end, both for his sake and the sake of his loved ones. I hope we get to see that aspect of things play out more next season, it'd be a great aspect of Riley to explore and it'd be another opportunity to touch on the issues involved in regards to getting help (I like that both Riley and Al were struggling with some effects from their time overseas, too, and that Riley does have someone who understands on some level what he's struggling with). Whether this'll help him in regards to Vanessa someday, who knows, but even if they just get back to being on more friendly terms, that'll be worth it. 

I felt for Hazel, too, and how she was both disappointed and worried about her dad. I'm glad Art took over spending time with her and tried to keep her distracted and made sure she still had fun. I also liked Lizzie hanging out with her, too (and I agree with @nelroy78 about wanting more storylines for her next season). Al going to the bar and pointedly reminding Riley that Hazel was waiting for him was good, too. 

Also, speaking of the bar, nice to see Holly again :)! I like the way she manages to hold down the fort and keep an eye on everyone. I hope she continues to pop up from time to time next season, too. 

This show was a rather pleasant surprise-lots of really sweet and touching moments throughout this season. On to season 2, then :)!

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This show is one subtle PSA and I am here for it. We need this sort of show in our lives right now. This is reality for so many people. Riley knowing how badly he screwed up "yes sir" and his kitchen breakdown were utterly heartbreaking. He knows he needs help and I 100% understand why he feels the way he does. I'm so glad he went to get the other binder and that we learned his resistance to help is what broke them up. Not infidelity. Good for Vanessa for taking that line of get help or don't come back, knowing he may not come back.

I knew Al would not fuck around when he had to go pick up Riley and Lizzie at the bar but I love his calm yet angry/disappointed demeanor and standing by his friend. I hope we get to see more Lizzie and learn more about her and her struggles next season. She is dealing with shit too and it was easy to see how that 1 shot went downhill immediately. 

I am really looking forward to season 2.

 

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This is the first episode I thoroughly liked Hazel! Her attitude toward the camping was fun, and her maturity about her dad was impressive.

I also like that they had Al and Art get angry. There are so few examples of healthy, proportionate anger floating around the media; I like seeing how both guys managed to do what needed doing, be firm, be loving, and not abandon either component.

 

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It was hard to watch because we all know someone who won't seek help even though help and/or money is right there. You just want to shake them but they need to fight their own demons. Vanessa was right to protect herself and Hazel by walking away until he can be the husband and father they deserve.

This show is turning out better than the promos which just looked silly. The last time I experienced that was the premier of the Big Bang Theory.

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After a few more light hearted episodes, we got hit right in the gut in time for the season finale. Hazel asking if her dad loves her was just such a heartbreaker, as was Riley finally crying in the kitchen. He knows how badly he screwed up, especially in the face of Art and Al's quiet anger and Riley's sadness. You know that Al is upset when he has absolutely nothing to say, I really like how he handled things with Riley when he picked him up at the bar. He was angry at Riley for screwing up while also reminding him that he was still going to be there for him. I can understand why Riley doesn't want to get help, that he thinks other vets need the help more than he does, but I am really glad that he finally decided to go to the VA, as he very clearly needs help. Both for the physical issues and the feelings crap. When he ignores his problems he isn't just hurting himself, he's hurting everyone who loves him who have to watch him be in pain. 

I am really glad I decided to give this show a shot, its a million times better than the commercials made it look. They do a great job at taking the issues it brings up seriously while also having a lot of heart and laughs, I am thrilled that there is going to be another season. 

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2 minutes ago, tennisgurl said:

You know that Al is upset when he has absolutely nothing to say,

Oh, I like that observation. Very true. His silence in the car spoke volumes. Almost as though he figured if he let Riley talk long enough, then Riley would start to hear himself and realize how his attempts to explain and defend himself sounded. Sometimes that's the best way to go when you can't seem to get through to someone. 

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This show kept getting better as the season went on and has so much potential for the second season.  I hope they rethink the silly music at the scene changes and the laugh track.  The audience doesn't need any cues. The actors and writers are doing a good job. 

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I only just watched the season finale in preparation for the season premiere this week. I knew it would be a gut wrencher and it was.

That scene of Al and Riley in the car was powerful. I work for an organization that trains service dogs for disabled veterans, and I've had conversations with so many of the veterans that go like that: they believe they shouldn't be getting a dog because someone else needs it more, or they resisted getting help from the VA for the same reason.

I'm pretty sure the series has an unbroken record for making me tear up at least once every episode (and I'm already a wreck at the previews for season 2).

(And to take a break for completely shallow reasons, but dayum, Parker Young keeps getting finer and finer. More walking around in boxers and a tight tank tee, please.)

Edited by SmithW6079
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11 minutes ago, SmithW6079 said:

(And to take a break for completely shallow reasons, but dayum, Parker Young keeps getting finer and finer. More walking around in boxers and a tight tank tee, please.)

Hee, ain't nothing wrong with watching TV for shallow reasons :D. I freely admit that a big reason I decided to check out this show in the first place was 'cause I saw an ad for it on TV and thought, "Wow, that guy playing Al is kinda cute." :p. 

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