Props to Deborah. If you haven't read her latest West Wing recap, you should -- she's insanely intelligent.
V-E-T-S, Vets, Vets, Vets! This week, the theme is leadership. One man quite astutely points out that if you're a leader, you lead the way. And on tough and easy assignments alike. "A leader has to understand the people that are under him," posits another man. "Understand their needs, their desires, how they think a little bit." The third veteran recalls that "he" always made the right decisions along the way, and was one of the best soldiers around. The final man marvels that "he" survived. The "he" in question, I believe, is Winters, but the name is never uttered.
Pant-o-vision. Running. Blurry ground. Light glints off a bayonet. This soldier, it seems, is fleeing from the Blair Witch. He stops when he comes upon the Blair Nazi, and shoots the unarmed man at close range.
Oct. 17, 1944. Schoonderlogt, Holland. Captain Winters stands near a window, morosely looking outside, breathing deeply. "Lew?" he calls to a room behind him. "Wake up, they want us back at Regiment." There's no motion in the backfield, so Winters wheels around and charges into Nixon's sleeping chamber -- basically, a bed with a curtain drawn around it. Nixon lies sprawled atop his sheets, boxers twisted up around the end zone. Winters rewards his pal's refusal to wake up by grabbing an nearby pitcher and dumping it all over the bed. Nixon screams, then stops and sniffs the air. "Goddammit, that's my own piss, for chrissake!" Yeah! College rules! Nixon, pissed, on so very many levels, throws a urine-soaked pillow at the laughing Winters.
Ostensibly after a long shower, Nixon sits in a moving Jeep and blathers in Winters's direction. "We're the only unit in the group that has the Germans on the German side of the Rhine," he shouts over the din of the motor. "If we had taken Antwerp, [although] I'm not saying that would've been easy, we'd be over the river, well-supplied, and have the Krauts on their heels." He jokes that all he needs now is to get Ike on the phone. That, and to potty-train. The Jeep stops. Winters cracks that he's been hanging on Nixon's every word, then jumps out with his pal and heads inside HQ.
Apparently, Col. Sink is on some kind of rampage, but no one explains why he's so cheesed. He introduces Nixon and 1st Lt. "Moose" Heyliger to a British officer, Col. Dobie of the country's 1st Airborne. We're reminded just how decimated that airborne division was during the badly botched Market-Garden offensive: of slightly more than 10,000 men, 8,000 were killed or captured. Dobie is tasked with rescuing some of the soldiers who were trapped in Arnhem when it fell to the Germans. There's 140 Brits trapped fifty miles north of the Rhine just outside a town held by the enemy. The plan is to meet them at a river bank and ship them back across to the Allied side. Someone orders Heyliger to assemble an Easy Company team to handle the operation, aided by six boats supplied by Canadian engineers. "The rendezvous point is isolated and doable," Dobie says. "I swam it myself last night." Way to go, big man. But did you swim it uphill both ways in a snowstorm? Winters is watching this happen, anxious to jump into the discussion but biting his tongue. We're not told why. At 0030, apparently, the Brits will signal a "V" for victory with a handheld red torch, which Dobie smarmily translates as "flashlight" for the dense, dirty Americans with their decaf coffee and their inefficient vocabulary. Col. Strayer christens the mission Operation Pegasus, ordering 2nd battalion to step up and achieve the objective. Like they've ever needed to be told.