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Why is this man smiling? 

Find out under the cut.




















































All pictures from a picpams by totallybalanced</lj>and tasteofblame.
 


RECAP: This is one of the most touching interview opens in the series. The man at the end, who breaks down in tears, is one of the characters that figures prominently in this episode. Those who have gotten to the end know who he is, but I’m not saying because I think it’s more powerful to find out who everybody is at the end, as God and Spanks intended. But it’s even more moving when you do know. One of the many reasons this series is so great on rewatch.

January 2, 1945. We are in the Ardennes Forest, Belgium and also inside Lipton’s head. There are worse places you could be than inside Lipton’s head.

Buck is reading a map laid out on Malarkey’s back. Lipton, Guarnere, Muck and Penkala are listening in. Buck is planning a patrol for 2nd platoon. He’s in pretty good spirits. It’s E Company’s job, at present, to clear the Bois Jacques, the woods near Foy. After they clear the woods, they will help retake Foy from the Germans. So far, the woods-clearing has been pretty uneventful.

Some of the boys encounter a German officer on horseback. Hoobler steps into his path and tells him to halt. The officer wheels his horse around and gallops away. Hoobler aims and fires: once, twice, three times and finally hits him in the head. Hoobler takes a luger from the dead officer. This makes him pretty happy (Hoobler, not the dead guy) as he’s been talking about acquiring one since Normandy.

Lipton is helping Shifty dig his foxhole when Hoob comes around to show off his prize and to liken the German to a sack of potatoes.

Hoobler: “Outstanding accuracy on my part, if I do say so myself.”
Lipton: “Which you do.”
Hoobler: “Which I do. Hell, Shifty, I think maybe I coulda even given you a run for your money, right?”
Shifty: “No, no, I’m not a good shot. Now, Dad, he was an excellent shot, excellent. I declare he could take the wings off a fly.”

Really nice job on that line by Peter Youngblood Hills. It always strikes me as absolutely effortless and perfect.

Hoobler moves on to another hole as Lip says, “You’re a good shot, Hoob. Glad you’re on our side.”

Buck can’t find Dike. He wants to make sure they know what casualties have been sustained. Lipton tells him there were two recently wounded.

They hear a shot. Men hit the foxholes, scanning the forest, guns ready. The men in the foxhole with Shifty ask him whether there’s anything out there. He takes a beat and says “No.” I think this is a really nice little character point – that they rely on Shifty for that sort of thing.

Hashey yells, “It’s Hoob! He’s been shot!” Men help Hoobler. Buck is yelling, “Goddamn it! Goddamn it!” Gene arrives and tries to find the bullet as the other men keep Hoobler warm and talking. Gene pulls the bullet, but it’s too late. Hoobler is dead of German karma.

Lipton reports to Winters, who’s in the tent with Nixon. Nixon mensches that, if the bullet severed the main artery in Hoobler’s leg, there was nothing they could have done to save him.

Winters: “Lip? Where’s Dike?”
Lipton: “Did you want him sir?”
Winters: “I would have expected to get this kind of news from him.”
Lipton: “Well, I was there sir. I figured it might as well be me.”

Winters looks at Nixon. Winters looks COOOOLD. That is the coldest looking person I’ve ever seen in my life. Nix, on the other hand, looks like he has some body heat to spare. I’m just sayin’.

But after Bastogne, isn’t it so nice to see the boys in wool overcoats? Did you notice that? Most of them have nice thick coats and scarves, which makes me happy.

Lip’s VoiceOver worries about Dike. “He wasn’t a bad leader because he made bad decisions; he was a bad leader because he made no decisions.”

Dike is addressing some of his officers. The camera pans around the group.
“Now Battalion S3 is planning a move, so I will probably be called away regularly. Are there any questions?”
Buck: “Yeah. What’s the formation you want us to go for?”
Dike: “As per usual, but I’ll clarify that with you at a later time, Lieutenant Compton.” Wow.

Oh but HI Jamie Bamber!! Folks, that’s Lieutenant Jack Foley. Feast your eyes while you can.

Guarnere, Malarkey, Muck and Penkala are sitting in and around a foxhole. Guarnere is describing, with plodding sarcasm, the certainty that Easy will draw the worst part of the assault on Foy. “We gotta do all this with a CO who’s got his head so far up his fucking ass that lump in his throat is his goddamn nose!” The boys laugh. Lipton walks up. Muck admits that they’re “singing Dike’s praises.”

Lipton sits down. “Well I’ll tell ya. I wouldn’t wanna be a replacement officer coming in here. Getting thrown in with a group of guys who’ve been together for, what, two years? Been in combat together since Normandy. You’re supposed to just show up and lead them? How’s a guy do that? How could anyone really hope to gain the respect of the toughest, most professional, most dedicated sons of bitches in the entire ETO. If you ask me a guy’d have to march off to Berlin and come back with Hitler’s moustache or something. (Guarnere laughs.) Anyway, listen. You guys don’t worry about Dike. We all do our jobs, everything will be fine.” Lipton walks away.

Guarnere: “See ya sarge!”
Lipton: “Yeah boy!”

What’s Awesome About Lipton, Part Infinity: He lays everything down so gently. It’s a Wahlberg thing. It’s their secret weapon. Lipton’s got a backbone of steel, but there’s never a harsh edge or a twitch to anything. Unless he’s yelling an order, everything is sweet, casual, conversational and worth listening to. You can see why this character is supposed to instill such comfort and confidence in the men --- making them strong from within if they can’t be led well from above. They feel good around him. Lipton puts the Easy in Easy Company.

Lipton’s VO: “I don’t know if I believed any of that. But as Company First Sergeant it was my job. Not to protect Dike, but to protect the integrity of the company.”

Winters is still shivering in his tent. I’d like to slap Nixon right now. “You know what Dike’s problem is don’t you? He’s another one of those arrogant rich jerks from Yale.” Ooh, snarky, I like it. Nixon laughs. He can bite me. Look at Dick getting hypothermia over there! Some boyfriend.

Winters says he has no options for replacing Dike, even if he were allowed to. Shames is a hot-head; Peacock tries hard but he’s no good. Buck’s the only good choice, but Winters wants to keep one experienced platoon leader.

Buck is nervous. He’s going from hole to hole, telling the men not to do anything “crazy.” Babe says Buck reminds him of a guy back home named Crazy Joe McCluskey. “He’s all wound up like a spring.” Guarnere disagrees, but he protests a little too strenuously. Guarnere has been treating Buck, his superior, with kid gloves all through Bastogne, so he doesn’t fool me.

Buck tells Muck and Penkala and Luz about the No Craziness policy. They humor him too.

Lipton’s in his hole, looking at Hoobler’s luger, when Dike comes up and makes small talk. We learn that Lipton’s dad died when he was ten and that he and his brother helped his mom run a boarding house in Huntington, West Virginia. Dike doesn’t know Huntington, but he knows that dead fathers are sad. Dike asks Lipton how he became a paratrooper. Lip says he read an article in Life magazine. “They said if you wanted to make it as a paratrooper, you had to be the best. I wanted to fight with the best, sir.” He says that with an absolutely straight face. Good boy. Lipton asks Dike where he’s from, but turns to find him gone again. Lip chuckles wryly to himself.

A messenger from Division drives up in a jeep with a note for Nixon. He calls down into Nixon’s foxhole. “Captain Nixon, sir!” The blanket flies off Nixon’s head “What?”

Look at you and your grumpy face! Have I mentioned how much I love the way Nixon wakes up? Nix takes the note, then peers up at the kid. “Alright,” he dismisses him dismissively. That is so Nixon. Right in the sweet spot, Ron Livingston. I guess maybe I love you and Nix again.

Nixon collects himself and goes to find Winters who is SHAVING AGAIN! <3 Nixon says that one officer per regiment from the Bastogne campaign is being plucked for a 30-day furlough to the states, selling war bonds. He says it’s him what’s been plucked. And he says it like it’s going to help Winters.

I remember, as a first-timer, the tiny scream of terror in my heart, thinking this was actually RL’s his last scene in the series. Hold on, it doesn’t last long.

Winters: “How in the world does your leaving help me?” Well asked! I’m pretty sure it doesn’t help us much either!
Nixon: “It doesn’t; I’m not going. (Yay!) I’ve already seen the states. I grew up there; that’s why I came to Europe. I just wish they’d told me there was a war on.”

Heh. It’s cute because it’s so lame! Aw, he wants to stay! Big wet kisses for Nix.

Nixon does suggest that getting rid of one of the lieutenants might not be the worst thing, that being the upside to which he alluded before. Winters brightens and chooses Peacock.

The men gather around Peacock and say how happy they are. “I’m really glad that you’re going home.” “Best news I’ve heard in weeks.” Peacock, who is irony-impaired, smiles and smiles. They whisper a hip-hip-hooray to send him off.

Cameras crews film the men. Sink is in Winters’ tent. “If they come by here, y’all remember to smile for the camera. Got to keep morale up for them folks back home.”
Winters: “Why?”
Sink: “Damned if I know.”
Nix briefs Sink. He says that, in Foy, they’re facing at least one company from the 10th Panzergrenadiers (tank infantry). At least one 88 and at least three Tigers.

Toye is on camera: “How do I feel about being rescued by Patton? Well, I’d feel pretty peachy about it, except for one thing. We didn’t need to be fucking rescued by Patton.”

Winters pulls Toye aside and assures him that he’s definitely not in trouble for that remark, but wonders why Toye busted out of the aid station after only three days. Toye says he wants to stay and Winters lets him. Everybody’s glad to have him back, Guarnere most of all. Lipton smiles.

Webb, a replacement, asks about Joe Toye’s “injury” and is informed that he is a dumbass and Joe is “wounded”. Muck gives Webb a macabre little tour of everybody’s damage, ending with the parade of private parts: Popeye’s ass, Buck’s ass and Lipton’s balls.

Guarnere: “How are those nuts, Sarge?”
Lipton smiles some more: “Doin’ fine, Bill. Nice of you to ask.”

I think I want to hug Lipton starting now, and forever.

January 3. Most of E Company is headed back to their old position in the woods overlooking Foy. A few Easy men remain behind attached to D Company, in the Bois Jacques, to hold the line.

As Easy moves out, they make a few cracks about Speirs and cigarettes to the men staying behind, manning a machine gun in a foxhole. Replacement Webb wonders what they’re talking about; Christenson and Perconte explain. Perconte says Speirs shot one of his own men for being drunk. And the POW story is now at 20 or 30.

Holy crap, he’s stealthy.
Speirs: “Christenson. I got the name right, didn’t I? Christenson?"
(Speirs, man, I feel ya.)

Speirs tells Christenson they might want to reinforce their cover. They tell Speirs that Dike said not to bother.

I’m sorry, boys, but I feel a little natural selection coming on. Cause, here’s Speirs telling you what to do and who said what? Fine. By all means, don’t reinforce your cover.

Speirs prepares to leave. “Oh, anyone care for a smoke?” Heh. I really dig him right now. Webb shakes his head so hard his helmet rattles.

Most of Easy arrive at their old position near Foy. There are signs of tree bursts and artillery fire everywhere. This means the German artillery have that area targeted, which sucks, because Easy must stay here and hold this ground until the assault on Foy. Being the kind who generally live to reproduce, these men immediately reinforce their cover.

Artillery fire. Lipton and Buck yell at everybody to find a hole. Buck runs through the barrage, yelling at the men to take cover. Babe jumps into a foxhole and a tree falls on top of it. As Toye runs for cover, he gets hit.

Lipton’s finding the whole thing beautiful. As he peers out of a half-dug foxhole, he remembers the Fourth of July back home. “What I saw that day was the most awesome and terrifying display of firepower I’d ever seen in my whole life. Of course I wouldn’t have been laughing if I had known what happened to Joe Toye.”

The shelling stops. Guarnere and Malarkey poke their noses out. Lipton comes out but tells the others to stay in their foxholes. They think the Germans will pause shelling to lure them into the open again and then launch another barrage.

Toye is alone. Most of his leg is lying a few feet away from him. He sees it and starts to freak. He half-talks, half-yells “I gotta get up! I gotta get up! I need my helmet!”

In their foxhole, Guarnere and Malarkey hear Joe. Guarnere goes to find him. Buck and Lipton are yelling at everyone to stay down.

Guarnere finds Toye and starts to drag him to shelter. Meanwhile, Lipton and others rescue Babe from under the tree.

Another barrage starts. Buck is in a foxhole, and sees Guarnere dragging Toye. Buck runs to help, but before he can get to them, they’re hit. They both go down.

The shelling stops again. Dike creeps up to Lipton’s foxhole. “First Sergeant Lipton? You get things organized here. I’m going to go for help.” Luz hears this. “What the fuck!”

Buck gets to Guarnere and Toye, both lying on the ground unconscious. Toye’s leg is missing. Guarnere’s leg is mangled. Buck tries to yell, but he can’t get it out. “mm...mmm…Medic!!!” He takes off his helmet, shock on his face. The helmet slips from his hand.

Roe and Malarkey find Guarnere and Toye and start to work. Lipton comes up.
Toye: “What’s a guy gotta do to get killed around here?”
Guarnere: “Hey Lip? They got old Guarnere this time.”
Roe tells Guarnere he’s going first.
“Hey Joe, I told ya I’d beat you back to the states!”

Everybody say bye to Guarnere and Toye! I’m going to miss them.

Lipton goes to find Buck. Lip tries to talk to him. Buck turns away. We cut to Buck lying on a cot at the aid station.

Lipton’s VO: “On the report it said Compton was being taken off the line because of a bad case of trench foot. It didn’t say anything about him losing his friends. Buck was a great combat leader. He was wounded in Normandy and again in Holland. He received the Silver Star for his part in taking out those German guns on D-Day. He took everything the krauts could throw at him, time and again. I guess he just couldn’t take seeking his friends Toye and Guarnere torn up like that. No one ever thought less of him for it.”

Malarkey visits Buck at the aid station and reads him a letter from home. Buck lies facing away from him. When Malarkey gets to the part about how proud Buck’s family is of him, Buck reaches out and stops Malarkey from reading. Malarkey puts the letter in Buck’s pocket. And stays. <3

I love that tiny detail. Buck doesn’t want to talk, doesn’t want to listen to that letter, but Malarkey doesn’t get up and leave. And it’s only at the edge of the frame that you can see this. After he puts the letter in Buck’s pocket, all you can see of Malarkey are his hands. His hands come together and just stay there.

Easy has cleared the woods east of Foy. They have cleared the woods west of Foy.

Luz is entertaining Muck and Penkala with his Dike impression. Lipton comes by and takes Luz aside.
Lipton: “Two things. First, great impression of Dike. Second, don’t do it anymore. Especially about what he said to me. It doesn’t do any body any good.” Luz understands and they share a laugh. No hard feelings. How do you have hard feelings with Lipton?

Another artillery barrage. Luz is above ground, trying to find a hole. He crawls toward Muck and Penkala, who are yelling at him to hurry and get in with them. They take a direct hit and their foxhole explodes. Luz is stunned, and starts crawling in the other direction. Lipton pulls him into his hole.

Luz: “Muck and Penkala! Muck and Penkala got hit!” As the shelling stops, a dud falls just in front of them. Luz and Lipton let out a big breath. Luz lights a cigarette. Lip takes it. “I thought you didn’t smoke.” Lipton: “I don’t.”

Say bye to Muck and Penkala too. From a certain perspective, this is the very worst episode, huh?

Lipton’s VO tells us that Malarkey’s best friends in the company had been Compton, Muck and Penkala. Lipton checks on him. He remembers that Malarkey wanted a luger to take back to his brother. Lipton gives him Hoobler’s luger, which makes Malark happy for a minute. Lip offers him a chance to go back to Battalion for a few days, but Malarkey declines. He does agree to go back to the aid station to say goodbye to Buck.

At the aid station, Buck is about to leave. He salutes Malarkey awesomely and gets in the jeep.

Back on the line, Lipton is worried about morale, so he walks around and talks to the men.

Surprise, surprise: Easy will lead assault on Foy. Lipton goes to Winters. They share surprise that Lip is smoking now.

Lipton: “The men are good, sir, they’re prepared. ….I have every confidence in the men sir.” There is a long pause. *pets him*

“But on the other hand I have no confidence in our CO, sir. Lieutenant Dike is an empty uniform, Captain. He’s just…he’s not there, sir.”

Winters: “Well he’s going to be there tomorrow.”
Lipton: “Yes, sir, I understand he will be there physically, but tomorrow’s going to be the real deal. And he’s going to have to lead those men, and he’s going to have to make decisions, and I’ve got to tell you sir, I think he’s going to get a lot of Easy men killed.”
Winters says gently, “Thank you, Sergeant. That will be all.”

Lipton VO says he knew that there was nothing Winters could do.

Ok, here we go. Fucking Foy. Much of this is excruciating to watch. And you only watch this two ways. The first way is that you don’t know what’s going to happen, so you watch. The second way is that you do know what’s going to happen, but you know that if you get through it, some awesome stuff happens at the end. It’s still hard, though.

Winters gives Dike his orders, using a map. “You got about an eighth of a mile of open field to cross, before we get down here into Foy. There’s little cover, so you gotta move quickly. I set up two sections of light machine guns at either end, here, they’ll give you covering fire. Third Battalion will come in from the east, led by I Company, that’s should cause distraction. D Company will be in reserve, but we shouldn’t need them, the point is you gotta move in there fast. Get in there before they can bring their mortars and artillery down on you. Clear? I’m relying on you. Get it done.”

Dike yawns.

Damn it, I don’t want to watch this again. But I’m going straight through. Unlike some people.

Men start running across the field. German snipers and other riflemen open fire on the advancing troops. Some of them fall right away. German artillery open up on the men. Lieutenant Foley, leading 1st Platoon, holds up for a sec to clear a shack where three Germans are hiding.

Lipton is yelling at everyone to keep moving. Dike stops. “Where the hell is First Platoon? Hold up!”

Lip yells “Keep moving!” Dike is yelling at everyone to hold. Lipton gets Dike’s order and tells 2nd Platoon to hold up. They’re completely in the open. Lipton yells, “Find some cover!”

Dike orders Luz to get Foley on the radio. “Foley you get back here where I can see you goddamn it!” Foley leaves his men where they are and runs to Dike’s position.

From the trees, Winters is yelling, “Go forward!!”

Dike orders the men to fall back. Lots of artillery. Dike and some of the men have taken cover behind a haystack.

Winters wants Dike on the radio. Lipton is yelling at him to take the men forward. Foley is asking for an order.

Dike yells at Foley, “Take your men in a flanking mission around the village!” Foley is incredulous and argues the point, but then sets off. He gets to Martin, who takes it like a man, and moves his squad laterally, around the village. They get pinned down by a sniper from a building in Foy. Perconte is shot. In the ass, of course.

Lipton locates the sniper and they try to take him out. Bullets and mortars flying. More men are hit. Lip yells, “Sir, we are sitting ducks here! We have to keep moving!” Dude, if you can get Lip to make that really mad face at you, you are doing something wrong.

Winters can’t take it anymore. He runs forward with the impulse to take command. Sink stops him. “Captain Winters! You’re the battalion commander, now get back here!”

Winters walks back, fury on his face.
Sink: “Dick I understand your attachment to Easy Company, but…”
Winters charges past Sink without a look or a word. “Speirs get yourself over here!” Speirs lopes over awesomely. “Get out there and relieve Dike and take that attack on in!”

Ok, you can breathe again. Pause the DVD and get some popcorn. This is fun.

Speirs runs toward Dike’s position. A blast in his path slows him down not at all; he leaps through a cloud of snow without breaking his stride.

Speirs tells a shaking lump of Dike that he’s taking over. Lipton gives Speirs the situation: sniper in that building, 1st Platoon is spread out and taking fire from the sniper, 2nd is here.

Speirs gives orders, smooth and fast: “Ok, I want mortars and grenades on that building until it’s gone. When it’s gone, I want First to go straight in, forget going around. Everybody else follow me.”

Mortars. The sniper position is all blown up and everyone charges into Foy as tanks blast away at them.

Lipton and Speirs take cover at the corner of a building, from where they see a lot of armored infantry waiting in the center of town. Lip gets hit in the face. Damn it that’s the second time! Stop hitting him in the face!!

Sorry.

Easy is supposed to hook up with I Company, who attacked from the other side of the town. Lipton tells Speirs he’s afraid that if Easy doesn’t connect with them, I Company will pull back.

Spiers: “That’s right. Wait here.”

Speirs runs straight into the German tanks and infantry. Lipton is stunned for a second, then starts firing to cover him.

Lipton VO: “At first the Germans didn’t shoot at him. I think they couldn’t quite believe what they were seeing. But that wasn’t the astounding thing. The astounding thing was that after he hooked up with I Company…he came back.”

Lip watches as Speirs runs back. Look at that. Speirs running, hard and straight, fires burning behind him. Lipton slowly starting to grin. What is better than that smile on Lipton’s face? What would you not do to make Lipton smile like that? I just…that’s one of my top five shots of the whole series.

Lip VO says they took over 100 German prisoners. Men are singing songs for cameras. A shot. Somebody’s down, then another. There’s another German sniper.

Lipton and Shifty take cover behind the corner of a building. Lipton pokes his head out and makes the sniper.

“Second floor. Building on the right. Don’t miss, Shifty.” He takes a deep breath and runs. He draws the sniper’s fire.

Lipton runs low across the street. The sniper fires at Lip and misses. As he gets ready to shoot again, Shifty takes aim and fires one shot. The sniper is down. Men cheer. Lipton collapses against a building; his face is really bleeding now. He waves that he’s ok.

Bull carries Perconte through the street like he’s about four. Seriously, look at the size differential. Bull stops to let Perconte chat. Perconte asks Lipton, “Is it true about Dike? Thank God for small mercies, huh?” Speirs is now commanding Easy.

After taking two more towns (bloody hell!) the boys spend the night in a church. The nuns direct a choir of girls, who sing for the men.

Lipton makes a roster. They came into Bastogne with 145; they’re going out with 63. As the camera pans across pews of men, the casualties fade and disappear. Hoobler, Toye, Guarnere, Muck, Penkala, Compton, Dike, and others we don’t know.

Holy mother of god, Speirs has his helmet off. Spanks does love me after all.

Lip gives Speirs his list. Speirs notices Lipton checking him out. “You want to ask me, don’t you?”

Speirs, when you look like that, I’m guessing lots of people want to ask you lots of things. Could you be more specific? (See, the boys are warming up and so am I.)

Lipton: “Ask you what, sir?”
Speirs: “You want to know if they’re true or not. The stories about me. You ever notice with stories like that, everyone says they heard it from someone who was there? Then when you ask that person, they say they heard it from someone who was there. It’s nothing new, really. I’ll bet if you went back 2000 years you’d hear a couple of centurions standing around yacking about how Terseus lopped off the heads of some Carthaginian prisoners.”
Lipton: “Well. Maybe they kept talking about it because they never heard Terseus deny it.”
Speirs: “Maybe that’s because Terseus knew there was some value in his men thinking he was the meanest toughest son of a bitch in the whole Roman legion.”

Wait, who’s Terseus and who’s the prisoner again? Much as I’m enjoying this role play idea, Lip and I are getting confused.

Speirs starts to walk away. Lipton goes to his strength: “Sir? These men aren’t really concerned about the stories. They’re just glad to have you as our CO. They’re happy to have a good leader again.”

Damn, Speirs is pretty. Look at the mouth on him.

Speirs: “Well, from what I’ve heard, they’ve always had one. I’ve been told there’s always been one man they could count on. Led them into the Bois Jacques; held them together when they had the crap shelled out of them in the woods. Every day kept their spirits up; kept the men focused; gave them direction. All the things that a good combat leader does.”

I like this conversation for many reasons, not the least of which is Speirs’ characterization. He’ll talk to you, but he’s not really up for chatting; you have to poke him a little. Even then, he’s not fully engaged. He’s just talking to you in passing. On his way somewhere. But I think Lipton has actually earned a little more from him. Lipton really is a wonder and Speirs knows it, so here’s what he gets, and it’s sweet.

“You don’t have any idea who I’m talking about, do you? Hell, it was you First Sergeant. Ever since Winters made Battalion, you’ve been the leader of Easy Company.”

He walks away a step and then turns back.

“Oh, and you’re not going to be First Sergeant much longer, First Sergeant. Winters put in for a battlefield commission and Sink approved on your behalf. You should get the official nod in a few days.” He smiles! “Congratulations, Lieutenant.”

Crying. Seen it five times; cried five times.

Trucks take Easy away. Luz thanks First Battalion, walking beside the trucks, for using Easy foxholes as toilets. Lipton is a smoker now. He has another cigarette.
 


Poll #1311396 Breaking Point

In my head, this is what happens next:

Hoobler puts the safety on and stows the luger in his bag.
2(9.1%)
Nixon opens his overcoat and invites Winters in.
2(9.1%)
Toye says, “You’re right, Captain. I could use another few days at the aid station.”
0(0.0%)
Nixon holds up the letter from Divison and tells Dick, “I just can’t quit you.”
2(9.1%)
The men congratulate Dike on his 30-day furlough to the states.
0(0.0%)
Muck and Penkala rush out of their foxhole to help Luz.
4(18.2%)
Speirs tells Lipton that his promotion is waiting for him in a little candlelit corner behind the sacristy.
3(13.6%)

Worst facial hair in Belgium:

Guarnere.
6(35.3%)
Hoobler.
4(23.5%)
Muck.
2(11.8%)
Malarkey.
3(17.6%)

Worst WTF Moment:

Hoobler dies of hubris.
1(4.8%)
Toye cures half of his trench foot problem.
1(4.8%)
Guarnere’s leg gets blown up in sympathy.
2(9.5%)
Dike tells Lipton he’s going for help.
0(0.0%)
Muck and Penkala.
3(14.3%)
Buck is too sad to fight.
1(4.8%)
Dike is the most pathetic asshole ever.
2(9.5%)
Easy has to take two more towns?
1(4.8%)

Best OMG Moment:

Speirs runs back.
22(100.0%)

Second-Best OMG Moment:

Guarnere tries to save Toye.
4(19.0%)
Winters ignores Sink completely as he focuses his righteous fury on getting Speirs’ ass in gear.
4(19.0%)
Speirs bursts through a cloud to save the day.
2(9.5%)
Lipton and Shifty take out the sniper.
1(4.8%)
Speirs is Easy’s new CO!
1(4.8%)
Lip is promoted to Lieutenant!
0(0.0%)

Best Bromantic Moment:

The boys welcome Toye back to the company.
1(4.3%)
Guarnere asks after Lipton’s package.
1(4.3%)
Nixon wants to stay!
3(13.0%)
Lipton shuts down the snarking about Dike.
0(0.0%)
Lipton comforts and encourages the men.
0(0.0%)
Guarnere and Toye joke as if their legs weren’t just blown off.
0(0.0%)
Malarkey visits Buck.
0(0.0%)
Lipton gives Malarkey Hoobler’s luger.
1(4.3%)
Lipton summons all his courage and reports on Dike to Winters.
1(4.3%)
Bull carries Perconte’s wounded ass to safety.
2(8.7%)
Speirs speaks poetically of Lipton’s awesomeness. And then smiles.
4(17.4%)

 

Comments

( 38 comments — Leave a comment )
tomfoolery815
Dec. 8th, 2008 07:24 am (UTC)
Lipton’s got a backbone of steel, but there’s never a harsh edge or a twitch to anything. ... Lipton puts the Easy in Easy Company.
Yes, yes and yes. That was such a fantastic moment, and DW executes beautifully. Takes their contempt for Dike, which he completely understands but cannot fully acknowledge, and flips it, making them feel good about themselves. That's a leader right there.

Get it done.”
Dike yawns.
Damn it, I don’t want to watch this again.

Really? I found the shelling that killed Muck and Penkala and maimed Toye and Guarnere much harder to watch. (I'm sure you did, too. Just comparing notes.) Because with the rewatch of the assault on Foy, you know how it ends and the worst of it -- the killing of the men we know; R.I.P. Ken Webb, but they didn't feature you -- is over, IMO.

And the assault on Foy contains the most heroic thing I've ever seen on film. So there's that. :-)

Speirs runs toward Dike’s position. A blast in his path slows him down not at all; he leaps through a cloud of snow without breaking his stride.
Nice metaphorical entrance, right? I so want to believe it actually happened that way. Then, paralyzed by the absence of leadership, Easy immediately resumes being a well-oiled machine the moment Speirs takes over.

He smiles! “Congratulations, Lieutenant.” Crying. Seen it five times; cried five times.
Aww. See, that one merely warmed my heart. I kept it together with all the deaths in this one, because I knew they were coming.

But when Speirs sprints through Foy? That brought tears to my eyes today. I know we all have baseline agreement on how profoundly moving this series is. It's just interesting to see what affects who the most. :-)

Oh but HI Jamie Bamber!! Folks, that’s Lieutenant Jack Foley. Feast your eyes while you can.
Oh, and I didn't recognize JB via his face, but his American accent when Foley's demanding an answer from Dike. I've heard that accent a bit the last couple years, you know? :-)

All right, I'm going to stop before I really get rolling. Another beautiful recap, Mary. Not that I expected anything less. :-)


Edited at 2008-12-08 04:17 pm (UTC)
tomfoolery815
Dec. 8th, 2008 07:33 am (UTC)
I lied. One more.

After he puts the letter in Buck’s pocket, all you can see of Malarkey are his hands. His hands come together and just stay there.
I made note of that, too. Such a wonderful choice by the ... director? DP? By whomever.

Because there's Buck, heartbroken. And there's Malarkey, right by his side. The moment is about Buck, but it's a little bit about Buck's men, too.
aunt_deen
Dec. 8th, 2008 10:03 am (UTC)
Oh, this is a hard episode to watch but it's still one of my very favorites.

Shifty: “No, no, I’m not a good shot. Now, Dad, he was an excellent shot, excellent. I declare he could take the wings off a fly.”

I loved that line, too, ss well as the bit later when Shifty took out the sniper. There's a great line in the book when Lipton and Popeye looked at the window where the sniper had just been and Popeye said, "You know, it just doesn't pay to be shooting at Shifty when he's got a rifle."

Haw.

The men in the foxhole with Shifty ask him whether there’s anything out there. He takes a beat and says “No.” I think this is a really nice little character point – that they rely on Shifty for that sort of thing.

And then there's another bit, back in Bastogne where Shifty approached Lipton about a tree that hadn't been there the day before. When he finally found the spot Shifty meant, Lipton was doubtful, as it was right on the German line in a small copse of other trees and Lip couldn't see anything unusual about it. Shifty insisted it hadn't been there before. They continued to watch and detected German artillery set up behind the fortified tree cover. They brought in their own artillery and shelled the bejeezus out of that position. "It all happened, Lipton summed up, "because Shifty saw a tree almost a mile away that hadn't been there the day before."

I wonder how many mountain men ended up in places like Bastogne and were invaluable for this sort of thing.

The men gather around Peacock and say how happy they are. “I’m really glad that you’re going home.” “Best news I’ve heard in weeks.” Peacock, who is irony-impaired, smiles and smiles. They whisper a hip-hip-hooray to send him off.

The way the book put it was that Peacock was "cordially disliked" by the rest of Easy Company. As you say, he tried hard but he was just not cut out to be a military leader. The way Ambrose tells it, he just had his head so far buried in the army manual that he couldn't see the reality all around him. He had no imagination and no capacity for independent thought. So yes, he got sent home and all the men gathered around and told him how happy they were that he was going and he just blushed at the praise.

Poor schmuck.

Malarkey visits Buck at the aid station and reads him a letter from home. Buck lies facing away from him. When Malarkey gets to the part about how proud Buck’s family is of him, Buck reaches out and stops Malarkey from reading. Malarkey puts the letter in Buck’s pocket. And stays. <3

I swear, the very first time I saw this I had a powerful urge to just crawl into that cot with Compton (almost completely platonically) and wrap my arms around him. The way he reaches back and puts his hand over that letter just breaks my heart.

I have lots more to say about this (haven't even gotten to Spiers yet!) but it will have to wait until I get to school.
aunt_deen
Dec. 8th, 2008 01:10 pm (UTC)
Okay, quiet classroom and I had my whole commute to think about what to say next.

Spiers ROCKS my world. He really does. Sure, he's got a tinge of the psychopath about him, but there are worse things.

I know what you mean, mary about the initial assault on Foy being so hard to watch. Even the very first time I saw it I was so uneasy watching it start. Dike seems to be moving along okay, although he looks terribly awkward running with that short stride holding his (as yet unfired, I'm sure) weapon in his hands. And then he just ... stops. He goddamn STOPS. Right out in the open. You'd think self-preservation alone (which he seems to possess in spades) would at least lead him to find some cover right away. Instead he just spins around this way and that in the middle of the fucking field because he can't see Foley.

A lot of the emotion of this scene is provided by Winters who is just freaking right the fuck out back at the tree line, screaming at Dike to keep moving forward, yelling at his radio guy to connect him to Dike, bellowing, "Will you MOVE!!!, and watching in helpless horror as Easy men drop like flies.

I just LOVED the part when he unslings his weapon from his shoulder and then charges out to take command himself. If this story were fiction, that is surely how it would go. But when Sink barks at him to get his ass back to his job he does because he knows he shouldn't abandon control of the battallion to rescue Easy. It is beyond fantastic then, how he just bombs right past Sink's lecture without even acknowledging him and yells for Spiers.

And then, Spiers.

Spiers is the one character in the whole series who just works that helmet like nobody's business. Every other guy is made more generic by the helmet, more difficult to distinguish from his comrades. He wears it fairly low, so that it covers his eyes and that really works for his character. The bottom of his face is so still and calm and the eyes, where one automatically looks for emotion and feeling, are hidden. He's more machine than man as he sprints calmly out onto that field, relieves Dike (who already relieved himself about five minutes ago I'm guessing, in every sense of the word) gets the sitch from Lipton and issues two or three crisp orders in about six seconds and just like that, Easy is moving again.

You are so right, tom, that with a good leader in charge of things (or perhaps just without a bad leader fucking things up) Easy slides immediately back into the efficient teamwork that has been their hallmark since Toccoa.

Okay, I'm starting to feel like I'm doing my own recap here so I'll shut up now.

But one last thing. Did anyone else find it odd that Hoob died because once you sever the main artery in the leg you're a goner, and then Toye had his leg severed completely mid-thigh (I'm assuming that main artery was somewhere in that mangled mess) and he lived to tell the tale? Anyone have any medical knowledge here? Because I don't get that.

Edited at 2008-12-08 01:12 pm (UTC)
tomfoolery815
Dec. 8th, 2008 03:33 pm (UTC)
I had my whole commute to think about what to say next.
I read your posts before taking the youngest to school. I spent the whole drive, there and back, thinking about what I wanted to say. :-)
tomfoolery815
Dec. 8th, 2008 03:24 pm (UTC)
Deen, I wondered about the Hoob/Toye leg wound difference, too. The damage to Toye's leg somehow smashed the artery closed? I have no clue.

(or perhaps just without a bad leader fucking things up)
Could be that, too. They knew what needed to be done. They only needed a leader to tell them the equivalent, for these men in this place, the equivalent of "left" or "right." Enter Speirs.

The way he reaches back and puts his hand over that letter just breaks my heart.
Neal McDonough is giving a master's class in these scenes. Consider everything he does without a word of dialogue, without even a sound.

-- Drops his rifle, takes off his helmet, lets it drop.

-- Lip kneels in front of Buck, who turns away because he doesn't want Lip to see his face. (That's yet another in an unending series of brotherly-love moments for Lip, of course.)

-- When the camera is on NM's left, and there's that tight shot of his face. Those ice-blue eyes are moist, and looking at something a million miles away.

-- And my God, the body language when Malarkey is reading the letter! Buck hides his face from one of his brothers -- again -- but this time he goes practically into the fetal position.

-- Then, when Malarkey leaves the line (more on that later) to say goodbye to Buck, Buck salutes Malarkey. The officer saluting the enlisted man first.

Devastating.
foofighter0234
Dec. 19th, 2008 05:14 am (UTC)
Deen, I wondered about the Hoob/Toye leg wound difference, too. The damage to Toye's leg somehow smashed the artery closed? I have no clue.

Tom, it was so cold there that the cold helped clot the blood and keep Toye's wound closed so he didn't bleed out.

/medical nerd
tomfoolery815
Dec. 8th, 2008 03:32 pm (UTC)
I wonder how many mountain men ended up in places like Bastogne and were invaluable for this sort of thing.
Good question! :-) Mary is so right about the effortless way Shifty talks about his dad being an excellent, excellent shot.

"It all happened, Lipton summed up, "because Shifty saw a tree almost a mile away that hadn't been there the day before."
To borrow some TWW chess-speak, not only does Shifty see the whole board, his board is exponentially larger than yours or mine could ever be.

I love the way they photographed Shifty taking out the sniper in Foy. Practically a Shifty POV shot: You see the German sniper, from a great distance, distracted by Lip moving to the German's left. And that's all Shifty needs.

Man, there are about a million things to talk about in this episode, aren't there?
marymary
Dec. 8th, 2008 06:24 pm (UTC)
Really? I found the shelling that killed Muck and Penkala and maimed Toye and Guarnere much harder to watch. (I'm sure you did, too. Just comparing notes.)

No, I find Foy much harder to watch, up to the part where Speirs takes over. Maybe it's because it's so useless. What I mean is that Toye/Guarnere/Muck/Penkala were doing exactly what they were supposed to do, yet they were hit.

That's terrible, but it doesn't get me crazy like men being ordered to kneel in the snow in full view of a sniper. I care about all of them, so that feels like torture a little bit. And it feels like it lasts forever! Plus, anything that makes Winters and Lipton yell like crazed maniacs makes me mad too. :-)

The officer saluting the enlisted man first.

Yes, good catch, Tom. I thought that was nice. It also makes sense for Buck, who was supposed to be closer to his men than most officers.

He's more machine than man as he sprints calmly out onto that field

Yeah, you know, I think Matthew Settle does such a fantastic job as Speirs. The character is supposed to be this legendary fighting machine, but Settle doesn't resort to any sterotypical behaviors. He doesn't bark orders. He doesn't set his jaw and look into the sky with the steely determination of a born warrior. /flowery war shit

He's just very businesslike. He does sprint, and as you say he sprints calmly. And he talks calmly and quietly, and with a soft voice. MS is brilliant for getting that right. It must have been so tempting to make him bigger than life, but MS really settles (heh. I swear that is exactly the word that came to me...) into it and makes it more believable. You get that he's remarkable because he's not reacting to the danger like others are. He stands out because he's calm.

One tiny thing I noticed this time was when Lipton gets dinged in the face again, just inside Foy. Speirs is crouching next to him, but he doesn't really show much interest. He sort of waits a second for Lipton to get over it and then asks him what he sees of the enemy. That is just right.

Nice stuff about Shifty and the tree, aunt_deen. It shows the care they took with each of these characters that that anecdote totally fits the Shifty we know.


Edited at 2008-12-08 06:33 pm (UTC)
marymary
Dec. 8th, 2008 06:35 pm (UTC)
Easy immediately resumes being a well-oiled machine the moment Speirs takes over.

Right, Tom. And I like the moment, just after Speirs gives his orders and runs toward Foy, where Luz (? I think it's Luz!) taps Lipton and they share a quick smile.

*points* Luz can't believe I wasn't sure it was him.
tomfoolery815
Dec. 8th, 2008 07:08 pm (UTC)
*points* Luz can't believe I wasn't sure it was him.
Luz would never, ever talk to you that way. :-)

What I mean is that Toye/Guarnere/Muck/Penkala were doing exactly what they were supposed to do, yet they were hit. That's terrible, but it doesn't get me crazy like men being ordered to kneel in the snow in full view of a sniper. I care about all of them, so that feels like torture a little bit.
OK, sure. Death due to stupidity, rather than duty. I can certainly see that.

Every American who died is an American who fought for us, of course. Who gave the last full measure of devotion.

Plus, anything that makes Winters and Lipton yell like crazed maniacs makes me mad too. :-)
I can certainly see that as well. :-)

He's just very businesslike. He does sprint, and as you say he sprints calmly.
Absolutely. On the rewatch, you're able to know the awe-inspiring (and, for some of us, tear-inducing) heroism is about to begin and pick up more details. His body language is so matter-of-fact. "Job to do, doing it." Winters barks for him, and Speirs trots over. And I don't mean that he does so with a lack of urgency. Look at him. He's trotting.

Spiers is the one character in the whole series who just works that helmet like nobody's business.
He really does, Deen. Wears it low. Apparently, that calls more attention to his mouth. ;-)

Matthew Settle is fantastic here. A masterfully understated portrayal.

(He got some back-page props in the new EW for his recent work on Gossip Girl.)
aunt_deen
Dec. 8th, 2008 08:43 pm (UTC)
I like the moment, just after Speirs gives his orders and runs toward Foy, where Luz (? I think it's Luz!) taps Lipton and they share a quick smile.

I missed that! Must rewatch tonight because that's a moment I want to see.

And I love the icon. *steals it* It shall shortly be an magnet.

Apparently, that calls more attention to his mouth.

Anything that causes attention to be drawn to Matthew Settle's mouth is a Good Thing.

Two more things to mention.

I really wish there had been one more scene with Dike after Spiers took over. I wanted to see him walk back to the tree line and look Winters and Sink in the eye. There wouldn't have even needed to be any dialogue. But I would have loved to see the scene.

Secondly, you want to know the moment aunt_deen lost it? Take a look at the very first picture up top. That's the moment when I was in tears. Something about an old man crying and trying not to just makes my heart hurt. And it's compounded by the fact that that guy looks like he could be a member of my own family. (Back me up on this, mary.) He reminds me a smidge of my dad, actually. The hair is in the right style, although Dad's was thinner. There are the glasses, although Dad's had heavier frames. The mouth and chin are similar. And the nose is spot on. Right generation, too. And the thought of my dad crying just makes me lose it.



Edited at 2008-12-08 09:06 pm (UTC)
marymary
Dec. 8th, 2008 09:55 pm (UTC)
That's by totallybalanced. Love it.

Oh and Yes about Dad.
aunt_deen
Dec. 9th, 2008 12:41 am (UTC)
Dad would have loved this series, wouldn't he? Reason #42,393 why I wish he were still around.
aunt_deen
Dec. 9th, 2008 12:39 am (UTC)
Okay, going through the recap again, this is what I remember from the book. And mind you, I'm not really mentioning the big plot stuff too much. These are just the little details and lines of dialogue that were right out of the book, right from the accounts of the men who were there.

Hoobler moves on to another hole as Lip says, “You’re a good shot, Hoob. Glad you’re on our side.”

True. Plus (*sniff*) the details of how he died.

Winters says he has no options for replacing Dike, even if he were allowed to. Shames is a hot-head; Peacock tries hard but he’s no good. Buck’s the only good choice, but Winters wants to keep one experienced platoon leader.

True. Plus the stuff about people being a little worried about Buck at this point.

Winters: “How in the world does your leaving help me?”
Nixon: “It doesn’t; I’m not going. I’ve already seen the states. I grew up there; that’s why I came to Europe. I just wish they’d told me there was a war on.”


True! This is exactly what Nixon said! This one makes me happy.

Roe and Malarkey find Guarnere and Toye and start to work. Lipton comes up.
Toye: “What’s a guy gotta do to get killed around here?”
Guarnere: “Hey Lip? They got old Guarnere this time.”
Roe tells Guarnere he’s going first.
“Hey Joe, I told ya I’d beat you back to the states!”


True! Toye and Guarnere were especially good friends and used to kid each other about which one would get back to the States first. And yes, when Roe was patching him up, Toye accepted a cigarette from Malarkey and shakily wondered what a guy had to do to get killed.

Remember how it was Toye who ended up cozy with TWO different grenades in those trenches in Normandy? The guy was either cursed or blessed, not sure which.

As the shelling stops, a dud falls just in front of them. Luz and Lipton let out a big breath. Luz lights a cigarette. Lip takes it. “I thought you didn’t smoke.” Lipton: “I don’t.”

Yup. Lipton didn't become a smoker until that dud hit his foxhole.

Spiers: “That’s right. Wait here.”

Speirs runs straight into the German tanks and infantry. Lipton is stunned for a second, then starts firing to cover him.

Lipton VO: “At first the Germans didn’t shoot at him. I think they couldn’t quite believe what they were seeing. But that wasn’t the astounding thing. The astounding thing was that after he hooked up with I Company…he came back.”


For God's sake, TRUE! He ran right through the German line and then BACK again! Nobody who saw it could fucking believe it but they all saw it.


Seriously. Spanks barely needed to tweak this story because it's as compelling as any fiction out there.

ETA: Sorry about all the edits. I can't spell today. Or, you know, make sense a lot of the time.

Edited at 2008-12-09 12:45 am (UTC)
marymary
Dec. 9th, 2008 01:00 am (UTC)
Thanks, aunt_deen. The other relevant thing I remember is that the book says that Hoobler was the only one of them who seemed to actually enjoy the war. He liked fighting and killing the enemy. That sort of fits with his generally upbeat manner and his delight in killing that German officer and claiming the luger.
aunt_deen
Dec. 9th, 2008 02:09 am (UTC)
(I watched this episode a week and a half ago and I've been dying to talk about it ever since. Go ahead, just try to shut me up.)

The scene when they're in the church is so beautiful. And after watching Bastogne I was gratified to see Eugene Roe, sitting peacefully in the warm candlelight (protectively close to the wounded Perconte, of course) and listening to the girls sing sweetly. It's just possible he needed that more than any of them.
foofighter0234
Dec. 19th, 2008 05:19 am (UTC)
The scene when they're in the church is so beautiful. And after watching Bastogne I was gratified to see Eugene Roe, sitting peacefully in the warm candlelight (protectively close to the wounded Perconte, of course) and listening to the girls sing sweetly. It's just possible he needed that more than any of them.

I just noticed that he's watching over Perco.
tomfoolery815
Dec. 9th, 2008 04:17 am (UTC)
The scene when they're in the church is so beautiful.
It truly is, aunt_deen. Lip's roll call evokes MacArthur's line: "Old soldiers never die. They just fade away."

Eugene Roe, sitting peacefully in the warm candlelight (protectively close to the wounded Perconte, of course)
Of course. Good catch!

and listening to the girls sing sweetly. It's just possible he needed that more than any of them.
It is just possible, isn't it?
tomfoolery815
Dec. 9th, 2008 05:08 am (UTC)
“You don’t have any idea who I’m talking about, do you? Hell, it was you, First Sergeant."
Another awesome moment. Lipton truly has no idea. DW does a nice job of conveying that Lipton is listening intently, but presuming he's talking about one of the other NCOs.

Which is why Lipton is a great leader, IMO: Utter absence of ego. Lip's entirely about the well-being of the men of Easy, and those men know this.

Lip offers him a chance to go back to Battalion for a few days, but Malarkey declines. He does agree to go back to the aid station to say goodbye to Buck.
Scott Grimes' best moment, IMO. Malarkey's on the verge of breaking, so Lipton gives him the Luger. Malarkey's faces brightens for a moment.

Lip knows the best thing for Malarkey, and for the unit, is to get him off the line for a while. When he offers him a few days, there's a catch in SG's voice, and a look on his face, that just kills me. You just know Malarkey wouldn't dare leave the line just because he's emotionally devastated. Not when his buddies are leaving actual pieces of themselves in those woods.

But that, and Toye insisting on going back with "the fellas," is the epitome of esprit de corps to me. My buddies are in harm's way, so that's where I'm going to be, too.
marymary
Dec. 9th, 2008 05:23 am (UTC)
DW does a nice job of conveying that Lipton is listening intently, but presuming he's talking about one of the other NCOs.

Yeah. I get the impression that Lipton thinks of a leader as a whole other kind of person. Someone commanding, like Winters or Speirs or even Nixon. I think the detail of his background helps paint that picture. He says he and his brother helped their mom run a boarding house. That's very humble work for a man of that era. I might be out on a limb, but I'm guessing that Lipton doesn't see himself as a particularly important or impressive person.

Which is why it's so great that Speirs enumerates the qualities of a "good combat leader." Lipton probably needs a little convincing that he's actually that guy. And it's nice that it comes from Speirs, who is the embodiment of balls-out heroism and who is the last person you'd suspect of empty praise.
marymary
Dec. 9th, 2008 05:39 am (UTC)
Another beautiful recap, Mary.

Oh, you know I should have said thanks, Tom, way upthread. I especially appreciate the compliment this week because I've been way under the weather and traveling for work and when I sat down to write this on Saturday, I was bone dry. I had NO game. I wrote a draft and it was so bad and wrong I just had to leave it. It started to speak to me late Saturday; I wrote until three in the morning. And that was after I drank three cosmos at aunt_deen's!

I don't mean to suggest that it's littrature or something, but it has to make me smile or I won't post it.
tomfoolery815
Dec. 9th, 2008 06:30 am (UTC)
I don't mean to suggest that it's littrature or something,
Don't sell it short. You're writing for a specific, unique purpose: Recapping an episode of a miniseries. They're thorough, insightful, hilarious and 100 percent Mary. Which makes them my favorite BofB recaps ever.

but it has to make me smile or I won't post it.
I can absolutely tell you're giving it your best, that you're not settling for an OK recap.

I daresay it's your tribute to Easy Company. :-)

You're welcome. And thank you again. :-)
marymary
Dec. 9th, 2008 03:27 pm (UTC)
Which makes them my favorite BofB recaps ever.

Ha. How many BoB recaps have you read? :-)

But thanks --- didn't mean to solicit all that. :-)
tomfoolery815
Dec. 9th, 2008 03:33 pm (UTC)
Ha. How many BoB recaps have you read? :-)
Yeah, I thought about that after I posted. There are just the two ... I should have said my favorite recaps ever. That's also true. :-)

But thanks --- didn't mean to solicit all that. :-)
You didn't! You were talking about inspiration, and taking pride in your writing. I was responding to that. :-)
tomfoolery815
Dec. 9th, 2008 06:19 am (UTC)
He says he and his brother helped their mom run a boarding house. That's very humble work for a man of that era.
Excellent, excellent point, to paraphrase Shifty. Lipton is a modest man because he comes from truly modest means.

I might be out on a limb, but I'm guessing that Lipton doesn't see himself as a particularly important or impressive person.
You are ensconced in the thick of the tree. :-) Look at how he's helping one guy with his cover, and helping Shifty dig his foxhole. He's not doing these things to ingratiate himself to Shifty, or anybody else. He's doing it because he wants to help. Even though he's a first sergeant.

Lipton probably needs a little convincing that he's actually that guy. And it's nice that it comes from Speirs, who is the embodiment of balls-out heroism and who is the last person you'd suspect of empty praise.
Absolutely true. Handing out compliments is way down Speirs' to-do list. It's probably not on there at all, seeing as it would totally clash with "meanest, toughest son of a bitch."

ETA: I have been trying hard to edit less. :-)

Edited at 2008-12-09 06:46 am (UTC)
aunt_deen
Dec. 9th, 2008 12:35 pm (UTC)
Yes, Lip is the very picture of the guy who's not looking for praise or even acknowledgment. A line from Canterbury Tales springs to mind. "An honest worker, good and true."

I was just having a chat with misterreal and he cleared something up for us. I brought up the issue I mentioned upthread, wondering how a bullet through the main artery in the thigh is certain death for Hoobler, but Joe Toye survived even after having his leg severed completely at mid-thigh.

Turns out misterreal took some first aid courses in the military and could tell me that the main artery is quite high on the thigh, up near the groin. So it was actually intact above the mangled mess that was Toye's leg and Roe was able to patch him up.

And speaking of that whole awful incident, I think the most cringe-worthy visual in the whole damn series for me is seeing Guarnere's leg, not Toye's. They way that exposed muscle kept twitching.

*shudder*

Edited at 2008-12-09 12:36 pm (UTC)
misterreal
Dec. 9th, 2008 02:46 pm (UTC)
And people think Misreall is the only purveyor of useless information. Ha! :)
aunt_deen
Dec. 9th, 2008 05:42 pm (UTC)
Useless? I think not. Because now I know I can kill someone by stabbing them through the top of the thigh. You never know when knowledge like that will prove useful.
tomfoolery815
Dec. 9th, 2008 03:22 pm (UTC)
Turns out misterreal took some first aid courses in the military and could tell me that the main artery is quite high on the thigh, up near the groin. So it was actually intact above the mangled mess that was Toye's leg and Roe was able to patch him up.
Well, there you go. Ask a person who knows, right? Thanks, Misterreal.
misreall
Dec. 10th, 2008 04:01 pm (UTC)
Ok, I suck because I haven't been here to comment and I am just jumping down to make a quick comment -

I wonder how many mountain men ended up in places like Bastogne and were invaluable for this sort of thing.
Good question! :-) Mary is so right about the effortless way Shifty talks about his dad being an excellent, excellent shot.


In the book Enemy at the Gate (which was made into a so-so movie) they talk about the Russians using sharpshooters from the Caucaus's as their snipers, some of which became very famous. They also became in field shooting instructers. The movie Enemy at the Gate was about the most famous - Yvgany Zeitsev - and his guerilla unit.

Ok, when work is dead later on I PROMISE to get caught up.
aunt_deen
Dec. 11th, 2008 01:14 pm (UTC)
Okay, it's been two days since I talked BoB. Plenty long enough.

Webb, a replacement, asks about Joe Toye’s “injury” and is informed that he is a dumbass and Joe is “wounded”. Muck gives Webb a macabre little tour of everybody’s damage, ending with the parade of private parts: Popeye’s ass, Buck’s ass and Lipton’s balls.

I really loved this bit. Webb says, "A lotta you guys been injured?" and Martin gives him a gently exasperated look and says, "It's called 'wounded,' Peanut. Injured is what you get from fallin' out of a tree or something."

And then for Muck's cavalcade of wounds. It's a really nice cameraderie scene. Webb is all awestruck and innocent. Muck is so casual, saying, "All the shit flying around, you're bound to get dinged with something." All the guys are listening in amusement. It's like Muck is introducing the guys to the newbie by talking about their wounds. He mentions Luz has never been hit and is a lucky bastard and Luz replies, "Takes one to know one, Skip."

Oh, Muck. *sniff*

I love how Buck hears the whole thing and lifts the back of his coat to point helpfully at his (rather large? I think not) ass. Then, of course, the awesome exchange between Lipton and Guarnere about Lipton's nuts.

I'm also struck by how hot & cold Buck is. There are moments where he seems fine. He's his old self. He playfully thumps Malarkey on the helmet when he's using him as a map table. He's on top of things trying to take care of Hoobler, covering him with his coat and trying to keep him alert and calm. He shares incredulous, frustrated looks with his buddies over Dike's incompetence. He obligingly displays his ass (clothed, unfortunately) when prompted. But then he falters at other moments until he finally falls apart when Toye and Guarnere are wounded. I wonder whether he would have been able to finish out the war, if only he had made it out of the woods okay.
tomfoolery815
Dec. 11th, 2008 02:31 pm (UTC)
And then for Muck's cavalcade of wounds. It's a really nice cameraderie scene.
It is. It transforms the Bois Jacques into the world's most poorly heated, poorly equipped boys' locker room.

I'm also struck by how hot & cold Buck is.
This caught my eye too, aunt_deen. At the beginning of this episode, he's closer to that guy with the 50,000-watt smile we met on the airstrip in England. He's not barking about noise discipline as in the last episode; instead, he's joking with Guarnere that "Even if you're dead, I'll still kill you." But his calm inquiries about Dike are wiped away by Hoobler shooting himself.

I wonder whether he would have been able to finish out the war, if only he had made it out of the woods okay.
Good question. I think if fewer of his friends had gotten killed and/or maimed in the woods, if it had been only replacements getting killed -- given what the RL soldiers said about choosing to not get too friendly with the replacements for the sake of not having that devastation all over again -- he might have been all right. He could have handled having Dike as Easy's C.O.
tomfoolery815
Dec. 11th, 2008 03:54 pm (UTC)
All right, a little bit about Nixon and Winters, since I've only used this icon once.

Nixon collects himself and goes to find Winters who is SHAVING AGAIN! <3
Any man who doesn't grow a beard in the wintertime will tell how rough on your skin shaving in a snowy climate is. And that's when you have a home with heat. It astounds me that Winters wants to shave in the woods of Belgium in January. But then I remember it's Winters, and I'm no longer astounded.

Winters is still shivering in his tent. I’d like to slap Nixon right now.
Heh-heh. :-)

Winters says gently, “Thank you, Sergeant. That will be all.”
That was great. A lesser man could've reamed Lip for talking that way about his C.O., or for going over Dike's head. Winters knows it took all the courage Lip has to come tell him this, and respects that.
tomfoolery815
Dec. 11th, 2008 04:04 pm (UTC)
It's just incredibly haunting to me that Hoobler, after shooting himself, says "Hey Lip, you said I was a great shot, right?" I think he asks Lip this because he senses he's dying, and he wants this affirmation from Lip.

In the book Enemy at the Gate (which was made into a so-so movie) they talk about the Russians using sharpshooters from the Caucaus's as their snipers, some of which became very famous. They also became in field shooting instructers. The movie Enemy at the Gate was about the most famous - Yvgany Zeitsev - and his guerilla unit.
Thanks for sharing that, Misreall! I see we weren't the only ones recruiting country boys to be snipers.

(I saw that movie, and its futile attempts to make Jude Law and Rachel Weisz less beautiful by mussing their hair and putting them in bulky, grimy clothes.)

-- I think it's Muck who says "Don't do anything stupid? Who's he talking to?" You're right Mary, Buck is nervous at that point. His calm seemed to have been restored by the success of Bastogne, but Hoobler's accidental death has shaken it.

Great little moment right before Muck says that: Babe Heffron knows something's wrong with Buck. But there's Guarnere trying to convince Babe, or maybe himself, that Buck is A-OK.
marymary
Dec. 11th, 2008 06:22 pm (UTC)
aunt_deen, I agree about Buck being hot and cold. I don't think it's just before Toye and Guarnere vs. after Toye and Guarnere (I know that's not what you're saying either)...he really does go back and forth between hale and hearty and way too tense. He does seem perfectly fine when he's reading that map and joking about his wound.

But other times, even when he's joking around...he's all conversational when he's telling the men not to do anything crazy, but it's over the top and they can feel it. And I do think he even goes back and forth while tending to Hoobler. That's why I mentioned in the recap that he's yelling "Goddamn it, goddamn it!" At first, he's more freaking out than helping. Then he pulls it together and acts more in control.

...after shooting himself, says "Hey Lip, you said I was a great shot, right?"

Yeah, Tom, I noticed that too. He had been on top of the world, and now he's afraid for his life. It's sweet that he reaches out to Lipton and asks him for a compliment at that moment.
marymary
Dec. 11th, 2008 06:25 pm (UTC)
Oh, hey, I keep forgetting to mention. Matthew Settle is listed on EW's "Must List" this week, for his work on Gossip Girl! Not sure even MS can entice me to watch GG, but maybe I'll Netflix and flip through it someday.
foofighter0234
Dec. 19th, 2008 04:51 am (UTC)
This episode always makes me bawl like a baby. Malarkey...;_; Skip...;_; Penky...;_;
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