Band of Brothers
Bastogne

Episode Report Card
admin: B | 4 USERS: A+
YOU GRADE IT
Bastogne

They must be expecting new viewers this week, because we get a "previously on" segment. We're reminded that Winters is now XO of 2nd battalion, and that his first replacement as Easy commander got shot. His second replacement, Lt. Dike, is widely regarded as the type to hide in his foxhole. Finally, the 101st got sent to Bastogne in Belgium, ordered to dig in and protect the city, thus blocking some thruways that the Germans consider valuable. The division heads to the front lines with insufficient ammunition, barely any cold-weather clothes, few rations, and no idea what hell lies in store.

Vet-tacular. We learn that, despite a major supply shortage, Easy soldiers trusted the higher-ups to deliver whatever they needed. So the company dug in along a line of trees, but couldn't mask the location from the Germans, who "gave [them] a shellacking," one man remembers with a shake of his head. On the most dire days, Easy had one round of ammo per soldier. "There was this fog" that complicated the process of resupplying the front lines from the air. "Every time they tried, they missed us and dropped to the Germans," one man says with a chuckle. I suppose, in retrospect, that would be funny. Another groovy old man shares the story of a comrade whose arm got sheared off below the elbow by a piece of flying shrapnel, and that as he was treated, he demanded that someone recover his wristwatch from the severed limb. A fourth man credits his continuing existence to the savvy of a medic who stuck him with a morphine syrette at just the right spot. Finally, the last man comments that every time he climbs into bed on a cold night, he turns to his wife and says, "I'm glad I'm not in Bastogne." These clips are my favorite part of the show because of priceless, colorful details like that.

Boots crunch across tightly packed snow. A medic kneels, touches the ground, and draws away his hand with a gasp. He's cut himself on the coil of wire lying there, and takes a second to squeeze the cut and let crimson blood color his finger so that we know this actor will bleed for work. Unless that's an uncanny special effect, the man really did pierce his own skin. Then he wipes away the evidence and peers around him, surrounded by nothingness.

The medic is Eugene Roe, a serious-looking man of average height and sharp features. He appears to be lost, darting through endless snow and trees and fog, and finding nothing. Suddenly, he spots a dead body, and freezes in his tracks. Panning across the landscape, we see a horde of other corpses, most of them dead from the cold and all of them in enemy uniforms. Catching his gasp in his throat, Roe surveys the pile of bodies and realizes his battalion most certainly is not located at the second star on the right and straight on until morning; horribly misdirected, he backs away frantically.

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Band of Brothers

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