That evening, Winters once again stares at the water with Nixon by his side. "He knows we lost a man?" Winters asks. Nixon says that "he" does know, but "he" also sees a successful patrol that picked up two prisoners eager to spill their guts. Winters wonders what they talked about. "Supply trouble...Hitler's favorite color...None of it gets us across the river," Nixon sighs, both men overcome by the futility of the patrols and the bullheadedness of upper management. Nixon confides that he thinks Col. Sink -- our mystery "he" -- is frankly just bragging about Easy's excellence, showing off. "You gave him a successful patrol, now he wants two," Nixon concludes. Winters laughs in disbelief at the relativity of the term "successful."
Stealthily, Speirs approaches and informs Winters that the men are gathered and ready for a briefing. "Same roster as last night," Speirs says. "Well, mostly." Shouldn't someone mention that Cobb is stinking drunk and clearly unable to participate? Shouldn't they trade him for two third-round draft picks next year? Just then, Col. Sink approaches and drawls, "Damn fine job on a tough mission last night, and I wish you good luck tonight because I'll be expecting more of the same." Winters musters all his strength and resists the urge to throw a huge tantrum and yank on Sink's mustache. Sink wants the men to know how proud he is, and totters off for a drink. Winters decides he'll brief the men himself.
Martin calls the men to attention as Winters, Speirs, and Nixon enter. "At ease," Winters says calmly. Winters moves to the head of the table and compliments the men on their mission the previous night, adding Col. Sink's praise to the pile. The men hang their heads when Winters confirms Sink's order for another patrol. "Any moment now, the outpost we hit last night will go up in flames," Winters says. "This means we have to venture farther into town." Speirs passes him a map, which they unroll and spread out on the table. Winters explains where the enemy is moving and which house will be the new target; he adds that all boats were recovered and will be reused, setting off an hour later from the same place. "That clear?" he asks, raising an eyebrow. Everyone nods. "Good, because I want you all to get a full night's sleep tonight," Winters informs them, the merest hint of a smile on his face. "Which means in the morning, you will report to me that you made it across the river...but were unable to secure any live prisoners." Hanks is intrigued, and the rest of the men's hangdog expressions lighten into relief and amazement. Winters tries to act matter-of-fact, but he's clearly enjoying this. "Look sharp for tomorrow," he adds in a whisper. "We're moving off the line." With that, he leaves. "Did I fucking hear that right?" the men whisper to each other, praising Winters and shaking each others' hands. Hanks nods, certain he's learned an important lesson about leadership that he'll forget the second he's safely behind a desk.