Inside the Rachamps church, a choir sings gentle hymns to soothe Easy's demolished spirit. Donnie tells us that it was their first night indoors in a month. Liebgott, Randleman, and Talbert stare morosely into the distance, seated in pews and letting the idyllic, peaceful setting wash over them. The room is cast in an orange glow. "It was heaven," Donnie shares, adding that the men had been told they'd go to Mourmelon soon for relaxation and recuperation. "Of course, in the morning, we found out Mourmelon would wait," because Hitler had attacked toward Alsace and Easy would be deployed to Haganau to hold part of that line. "We didn't know it yet," Donnie says. "That night, we were okay."
Panning across the tired faces, we see Luz slumped against the pew, dirty and hollow and inert. Roe's stony façade is in place, and Perconte is stretched out next to him on his good cheek. Donnie, curled up in his seat with a journal, gives us the final devastating tally: of 121 men and twenty-four replacements; Easy exited Belgium with a total of sixty-three men, less than half the initial number. We then see a batch of familiar faces sitting in the pews, men we know have left Easy one way or another during the company's catastrophic month fighting for Bastogne and Foy. One by one, Donnie identifies them and recounts their circumstances; one by one, they fade away. This is incredibly cheesy and anvil-tastic, but with all the familiar faces in there, it manages to be incredibly moving as well. "Our month in Belgium cost us one good officer, Buck Compton, and one bad one, Norman Dike," Donnie says. "But we gained a good one in the end, so I guess we came out ahead." The camera stops on Lt. Speirs, who catches Donnie's eye.
After some light banter, Speirs cocks his head and says, "You wanna ask me, don't you?" Donnie is confused, so Speirs elaborates that he thinks Donnie wants confirmation of all the wild rumors. Shaking his head, he marvels that the grapevine invariably delivers gossip that claims to come straight from someone who saw the event in question unfold, but no first-hand sources ever appear. He references Tercius from ancient Rome, and how centurions probably yakked all day about how Tercius lopped off the heads of Carthaginian prisoners, blah intellect blah snore obscure reference. Donnie suggests that perhaps Tercius never denied it, which only set the embers aflame; Speirs counters that by noting that there's an advantage to being perceived as the evilest bastard in the entire army. But there, in the Church, so unfazed by his heroism, Speirs radiates good. And good looks. I knew Dike couldn't last because he wasn't gorgeous enough to be in Easy. Donnie softly assures Speirs that the men don't care about stories, instead caring most about finally regaining a strong, respectable leader. "From what I've heard, they always had one," Speirs replies. He lists the feats of one mystery man who held Easy together, proved dependable, led them through Bois Jacques, boosted morale, and gave the men invaluable direction and focus. Donnie furrows his brow in endearing modesty. Speirs calls him on it. "Hell, it was you, First Sergeant," he grins. "Ever since Winters made battalion, you've been the leader of Easy Company." Donnie can't speak, fighting hard to hold an impassive expression but clearly elated at being perceived that way by men he believes are the finest soldiers in the army. As he leaves, Speirs tosses off the final tidbit that Winters put in for a battlefield commission that would kick Donnie up from NCO status straight to lieutenant. Sink approved it. "Congratulations, Lieutenant," Speirs says softly, leaving. One thing is clear: HBO has got to make a Band of Brothers calendar for all the shameless oglers out there who, like me, got hooked on this eye candy.