Donnie arrives and interrupts the laughter. They greet him warmly and crack that they're just sitting there freezing their asses off, singing Dike's praises. Donnie nods understandingly, then perches at the edge of the foxhole. "Well, I'll tell you, I wouldn't want to be a replacement officer coming in here, getting thrown in with a group of guys who've known each other for, what, two years?" he suggests gently, adding that it's hard for anyone to show up and lead a tight-knit group like that. "How could anyone really hope to gain the respect of the toughest, most professional, most dedicated sons-of-bitches in the entire ETO? Huh?" Donnie asks the silent group of men. "If you ask me, a guy'd have to march off to Berlin and come back with Hitler's mustache or something." Gonorrhea chuckles. I'm not sure why Donnie is the man who defends Dike and answers for his whereabouts, other than the fact that he's the company's top NCO. Why wouldn't the commissioned lieutenants, directly below Dike in the chain of command, be responsible for this? Donnie calmly tells the guys not to think twice about Dike, because as long as Easy's stellar sergeants and privates do their jobs, the company will be just fine. Everyone smiles, because he is right and he is friendly and he's going to go bald before his brother Mark does.
Donnie then answers my question, partly. He claims he doesn't know whether he believed the PR he just spewed, but "as company 1st sergeant, it was my job, not to protect Dike but to protect the integrity of the company." I'll buy that.
Winters and Nixon huddle up in their love shack and commence pillow talk. Winters deadpans that Dike's big problem is that he's another arrogant rich jerk from Yale. Nixon laughs, so I take it he is one such jerk and Winters is just yanking his chain with gentle man-love. Winters feels powerless, unable to jettison Dike just because of something so nebulous as a bad feeling. But the bigger problem: "Who would I put in his place?" Winters muses. "Lt. Shames?" We flash to an intense man screaming himself blue, eyes bugging out from the effort. "Both of you little crapheads did not listen to a word I said during that briefing, did you?" his forehead throbs, venom and saliva flying from his rabid mouth. "Shames has seen too many war movies and thinks he has to yell all the time," Winters notes. The Spanks team didn't notice that self-referential humor went out when Scream 3 tanked. Back to Winters, who says that Lt. Peacock -- another platoon leader -- is also a possibility. "Bless him, no one tries harder, but he's not cut out to take men into combat," Winters observes as we see Peacock confusedly staring at a map and trying to determine his platoon's position. We saw his uncertainty in action in "Bastogne," when he took a patrol group on a mission toward the German line and it ended in disaster and the death of replacement Pvt. Julian. Winters can't promote him to CO when Peacock struggles with commanding a platoon. Nixon pipes up that Buck Compton is an obvious choice, what with his swagger and his hotness. Nixon's reasons aren't quite those, but I know they were lingering in the back of his mind. "He's the only real choice," Winters agrees. "Buck's a real combat leader, but you know, I want Easy Company to have at least one experienced platoon leader." Still, he laments, it's a moot point because Dike is there for the duration. "Well, we all know who you'd like to have run Easy, but the trouble is, it's not your job anymore, Dick," Nixon reminds him kindly, massaging his friend's troubled thigh. Well, he might've been. Winters worries silently.