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S02.E06: Veterans Day/Roz-e Sarbaz

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Riley struggles with his disability rating as he prepares to meet up with some military buddies for Veterans Day. Also, with Art's help, Lizzie finally opens a box of her fiancé's belongings, on the CBS Original series UNITED STATES OF AL, Thursday, Nov. 11 (8:31-9:01 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+.

 

 

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"I'm running away from home."

"Bye-bye!" 

LOL. I love how Hazel can simultaneously bring out Al's protective godfather side and his big kid side all at the same time :p. Also, her little flirty back and forth with Nate is cute and I'd be interested to see more of that over time :). 

Really good moment with Riley and Todd at the bar there. I don't blame Riley for being a little hesitant to talk about his disability rating at first, knowing his pride and all, but I appreciate him being honest about it in order to help Todd through his struggles. I also really liked the moment at the beginning, with Al being supportive of Riley, too, and reminding him that numbers aren't all that matters when it comes to these sorts of things. I presume there's opportunities for those numbers to change, too, so if that's the case, then hopefully Riley can see some progress on that front down the line, as he continues to work through his issues. 

The food crawl was fun, It was nice to see Riley getting out and having a bit of fun with his friends :).

Also liked Art and Lizzie's talk about Michael and grief. Art's not wrong in his description of how messy and complicated it can be. That ending was really sweet, too, with the song on the jukebox. I hope we continue to learn more here and there about Lizzie's time with Michael when possible, it's interesting learning about this part of her life. And it was neat to see Art all dressed up in his uniform :). 

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I forget, why are Riley and his buddies no longer in the Marines? It doesn't seem like they just opted not to re-enlist. Were all 3 medically discharged? I'm assuming Riley was? The one that was living in grandma's basement and working at Staples seemed like he didn't want to not be in the Marines. I don't know too much about the ins and outs of leaving the military beyond not re-enlisting, true retirement and breaking a law and getting court-martialed. 

The whole episode was sweet. I loved Lizzie and the Michael box and Lizzie and dad bonding over the loss of their loves. Hazel "flirting" with the son was cute. Al being over-protective of his goddaughter. All of it was well done. 

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39 minutes ago, joanne3482 said:

I loved Lizzie and the Michael box and Lizzie and dad bonding over the loss of their loves

I was thinking about this recently - it was stated in the first season that Lizzie and Riley's mom has been gone about 12 years. They've not said how old those two are on the show, but since Al's in his late 20s, I'm guessing they're both somewhere within that age range, too, perhaps a year or two older at most. 

So if that's the case, then that means they would've lost their mom when they were in their late teens/early 20s. Which would definitely explain some of the stuff they've dealt with over the years, too, with the partying and drinking and so forth - losing a parent is rough at any age, but that's pretty young to lose your mom. 

And then we add Lizzie losing her fiancé on top of that and yeah, no wonder she hit a rough patch there for a time. 

Edited by Annber03
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It's fun seeing Al being overprotective when it comes to Hazel and boys. As far as he is concerned, she has the potential to rule the world and he will not let her throw away her future on a boy that isn't right for her/from a good family/someone who will apperciate her and treat well. It's amusing that Riley was so focused on his own issues and concerns, he barely blinked or didn't believe it when Al told him his daughter was in love. I am looking forward to seeing Riley in overprotetive Dad mode. If she's in middle school, that means dances will soon be part of her life. 

As much as Riley's friends tease each other, they can be serious when it's important and do want to help each other. Art was great helping Lizzie through a difficult day. Even though she thought she wanted to be alone, she realized it was better having someone there who understood her pain and what she was going through. Art is a fantastic father. 

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9 minutes ago, Sarah 103 said:

It's amusing that Riley was so focused on his own issues and concerns, he barely blinked or didn't believe it when Al told him his daughter was in love.

I thought I saw a little smirk from Riley, knowing that Al was being Al, while Hazel and Nate were just being [adorable] American kids. I'm normally not a fan of teenage dating becuase it always brings angst but I'd love to see more of Hazel and Nate together.

 

11 minutes ago, Sarah 103 said:

Art is a fantastic father. 

Word! I love him so much. He is chill, supportative, open minded, and grumpy dad. Perfect.

1 hour ago, joanne3482 said:

I forget, why are Riley and his buddies no longer in the Marines? It doesn't seem like they just opted not to re-enlist. Were all 3 medically discharged? I'm assuming Riley was? The one that was living in grandma's basement and working at Staples seemed like he didn't want to not be in the Marines.

I don't think they've told us yet. 

I'm so glad Riley opened up to his friend about his disability rating, and seeing a therapist. Art and Lizzie were perfect, and the ending was just what it needed to be. I wish this show was an hour but I know the impact would be lost.

And on an unrelated note, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I'm so glad that we all love this show and aren't hate watching. I can snark with the best of them but it's so nice to discuss a show that everyone is loving.

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6 minutes ago, theredhead77 said:

And on an unrelated note, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I'm so glad that we all love this show and aren't hate watching. I can snark with the best of them but it's so nice to discuss a show that everyone is loving.

Hear, hear :). I think it helps that this show is full of characters who are just so genuinely nice and handle their issues in a mature, honest way, and who we can relate to and sympathize with and care about. Hard to really snark on a show like that :D. 

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21 minutes ago, Annber03 said:

Hear, hear :). I think it helps that this show is full of characters who are just so genuinely nice and handle their issues in a mature, honest way, and who we can relate to and sympathize with and care about. Hard to really snark on a show like that :D. 

I was just telling my friend yesterday that this is one of the reasons why I watch this show. It's nice to have characters you can appreciate and root for.

"Nate and Hazel. Sitting in a tree..." Wait, too soon?

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I'm not being snarky, I'm genuinely confused. Is this messing with time? Al thanks Todd for helping get his sister out of Afghanistan but then Todd said he'd been discharged for 6 months. And why hasn't Al's college class started yet?

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Awww Al was trying so hard to play over protective Uncle Al but he just ended up being a big lovable dork getting sucked into Super Mario Brothers AKA Visiting the In-Laws. I also loved Riley's bemused reaction to the mutual crush between Hazel and Riley's buddies son, they were quite cute, I hope he shows up again. 

Another really good episode, I always love how they can move so easily between funny and cute and tragic and sincere. It was fun watching Riley taking advantage of the many veterans day specials with his buddies, but then things got real when he realized how much his friend was struggling and he shared his disability rating with him, as much as it hurt his pride. That is a big step for Riley considering how long it took him to even go to the VA and how hard he took his numbers, but it was the right thing to do for his friend. I also loved how supportive Al was when Riley was upset about his numbers, reminding him that numbers don't tell his entire story, and then later when his friends were making jokes about accepting money from the VA. So Riley and the bartender huh? I always like her and they have good chemistry, I like it.

Glad that they dealt with Lizzie and her feelings about her deceased fiancé, Art is such a good dad. He gave her space but stuck around because he knew that she would want to talk when she was ready, and then gave her some good advice. Grief really is a weird thing, sometimes you don't feel anything when your "supposed" to feel it but then it just hits you out of nowhere. 

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1 hour ago, Grizzly said:

I'm not being snarky, I'm genuinely confused. Is this messing with time? Al thanks Todd for helping get his sister out of Afghanistan but then Todd said he'd been discharged for 6 months. And why hasn't Al's college class started yet?

Maybe he's going to start in January? 

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2 hours ago, Grizzly said:

I'm not being snarky, I'm genuinely confused. Is this messing with time? Al thanks Todd for helping get his sister out of Afghanistan but then Todd said he'd been discharged for 6 months. And why hasn't Al's college class started yet?

The timeline did seem off.

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3 hours ago, Grizzly said:

I'm not being snarky, I'm genuinely confused. Is this messing with time? Al thanks Todd for helping get his sister out of Afghanistan but then Todd said he'd been discharged for 6 months. And why hasn't Al's college class started yet?

Todd knew a guy who was still in Afghanistan who was guarding the airport gate.  Riley called Todd to get the phone number of the Marine at the gate.  I think the guard's name was Kimble - I remember Al's sister yelling it to get his attention.  Anyway, I assumed that Todd was in the US and Riley was using him as a friend of a friend to try to get a contact name at the airport.  Remember how he wanted to know if the Marines' uniforms were green or tan so he'd know who to contact?

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Not being snarky, because I agree with several of the posters above, but something I just noticed this episode and it’s bugging me. Al’s phone (mounted on the wall in the kitchen, because of course) is right next to the microwave. Like, where you couldn’t fully open the microwave door because of it. Has it always been there??

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On 11/12/2021 at 11:37 AM, joanne3482 said:

I forget, why are Riley and his buddies no longer in the Marines? It doesn't seem like they just opted not to re-enlist. Were all 3 medically discharged? I'm assuming Riley was? The one that was living in grandma's basement and working at Staples seemed like he didn't want to not be in the Marines. I don't know too much about the ins and outs of leaving the military beyond not re-enlisting, true retirement and breaking a law and getting court-martialed. 

It is quite possible they decided not to re-enlist when their terms of service were up. I've met plenty of veterans who served for quite a length of time but decided not to re-enlist, even though they might have had a decade or more of service. Sometimes it was because they got tired of the grind of military life or sometimes they wanted to try new things. Sometimes, even though they left voluntarily, they still express the desire that they had stayed in. 

If the three men were medically retired, they would have gone through a medical review board to determine the extend of their disability. This is separate from VA disability. This is from Military.com: 

Military Disability Retirement

Given that Riley went to the VA for his disability rating, I believe that all three of the men left the Marines voluntarily. Riley may have been feeling the health effects from his service and decided not to re-enlist, although he would have denied feeling disabled in any way. Todd might be the same way too.

This episode also really made me feel for Lizzie again. As Michael's fiancée, not his wife, she's not entitled to any sort of survivor benefits or anything that might have come from his service. She kind of exists in a nether region. Her grief is real, but who knows what services she can reach out to.

Art was spot on with his take on grief and how it can come back roaring when you least expect it. I still cry about loved ones I've lost, even though in some instances, it's been decades. 

Damn but I love this show.

Edited by SmithW6079
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1 hour ago, SmithW6079 said:

Given that Riley went to the VA for his disability rating, I believe that all three of the men left the Marines voluntarily. Riley may have been feeling the health effects from his service and decided not to re-enlist, although he would have denied feeling disabled in any way. Todd might be the same way too.

Continuing my ignorance of the military. Are they eligible for VA benefits because they were in combat? My dad did just 1 round of service in the army but didn't reenroll, but it was during peace time and he wasn't eligible for anything after he left the military while Riley seems to still be eligible for military benefits. I think that's why I'm a bit confused. 

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4 hours ago, SmithW6079 said:

This episode also really made me feel for Lizzie again. As Michael's fiancée, not his wife, she's not entitled to any sort of survivor benefits or anything that might have come from his service. She kind of exists in a nether region. Her grief is real, but who knows what services she can reach out to.

Oh, god, I hadn't even really considered that, but you're right. Oof. That would be rough. I imagine there are groups for spouses who've lost their loved ones overseas...but are there ones for fiancées? Do any groups for spouses reach out to and welcome those who were engaged? I would like to think they would, but I can also see where fiancées would get overlooked in that regard, too. 

I really hope we do get to explore more of Lizzie's life with Michael and her attempts to move on, because there's a lot of good stories they could tell there. I remember in the first season, they had a flashback showing her, Michael, Riley, and Vanessa all out together sharing drinks, and she didn't have the highlights in her hair then, or any of the other flashier elements of her style. It had me wondering if that was an element of her personality that came out more after his death. I can see her throwing herself a lot more into her artwork and whatnot as a distraction, a way to let out her emotions about everything. 

It'd also be neat if she could turn her love of art  into something bigger, too, if that's what she's interested in. Maybe having a few pieces at some local gallery or something, that'd be cool. 

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Art was spot on with his take on grief and how it can come back roaring when you least expect it. I still cry about loved ones I've lost, even though in some instances, it's been decades. 

Same. I also appreciate how he let her know it was okay to be sad and cry if need be. HIs thing about crying in the car was more just acknowledging the need for some private time to let your emotions out than anything else, not that it was shameful to cry in and of itself. 

On 11/12/2021 at 11:49 AM, theredhead77 said:

I thought I saw a little smirk from Riley, knowing that Al was being Al, while Hazel and Nate were just being [adorable] American kids. I'm normally not a fan of teenage dating becuase it always brings angst but I'd love to see more of Hazel and Nate together.

I found it interesting how chill Riley seemed about Hazel and Nate, yet when he introduced Todd and Lizzie, his protective brother side came out and he was like, "Stay away from her." Some of that, I think, was due to him just knowing Todd as he does, and thinking he might not be a great fit for Lizzie, but still, the difference in his attitude between the two situations amused me anyway. 

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