First Recon, Bravo Company gets ready for their mission: a Humvee road trip up into Afghanistan. Normally at this point you'd get to know the people, but there's a problem with Marines in how they all look the same, so instead you get to know what they look like in their underwear.
These guys are likeâ€¦ You know how male cheerleaders are so interested in not being gay that it's like they went through gay and came out the other side? They don't think about the elephant so hard that it's like they are creating the elephant with their buck-naked mind powers. While running around totally bored in their underwear, the Marines: talk about how gay everything is, blow up an espresso machine, worry intensely about J. Lo, and fight unendingly about what hats to wear and whether their mustache hairs are regulation. Needless to say, this comes with a lot of talk about how they're not gay in any way, some justified bitching about their retarded superiors, and yet more running around in their underwear.
The men finally stop acting like heathens (relatively) upon the arrival of Evan Wright, the Rolling Stone reporter who will write the article that spawns the book that becomes a seven-hour long movie that we're watching. Because they're all aware that they are in the gayest movie of all time, they congratulate each other overmuch on how excited they are to be in the presence of a former Hustler writer. Evan seems to be absolutely thrilled by every ridiculous fact of Marine life, but to be fair, so are they. It's like watching a class of ten-year-old boys on a field trip to the fire station, only they actually get to drive the truck and use the hose.
Still not going anywhere, the Marines make fun of Evan for awhile, get him to start chewing tobacco, talk about the astounding hotness of Rudy Reyes and how it has not quite turned them gay yet, run around in their underwear some more, make some gay softcore, and get caught in a horrible dust storm. Some Cool Hand Luke reject runs around screaming about "moostash hairs" a whole lot and making everybody tuck in their shirts, which is totally awesome and would get him fragged if this were a movie about fake fictional folks. Later, everybody's totally overjoyed to be in a gas attack, which turns out to be fake, so yet again nothing has happened. Evan runs around like a total idiot and swallows his tobacco, but they decide that he is okay, mostly because it means something actually happened.
Evan will be riding around with Team Leader Iceman, the totally insane driver Ray Person, and the unbearably smug but likeable Lance Cpl. Trombley. Ray Person basically snorts Ripped Fuel all day and all night and tells Evan his constantly evolving and bizarre theories about the war, Saddam, life and everything. It's probably the most interesting stuff, because you can still like Person at this point. A quick break from the constant gay talk means some hilarious racism, then Iceman's team rips on a little girl's letter from America so hard and disgustingly that it will blow your hair back. He spends a lot of time being disapproving of the bizarre weirdos on his team, and also adoring them. The only other person you need to remember right now is Lt. Fick, who is totally fantastic.
Bored as hell, the boys are excited by a pizza party, but there's more to it than just pizza: they're moving out. Everybody puts on their clothes finally, and hates on the commanding officers for awhile, and stock up on adult diapers. That's a subplot I am not interested in watching be developed. A few tiny run-ins later, all basically 100% faithful to the book plus even more obnoxious grandstanding by Trombley, the episode ends just where it should: a bunch of Iraqi surrenders, not being mission-critical, are set on the road back home and into the fire of Fedayeen death squads. While the Geneva Convention says you take care of surrenders and give them safe passage, the higher-ups have a simple solution: un-surrender them and keep moving. Evan and Lt. Fick, the officer in charge, are totally grossed out, but Fick pulls what will become a characteristic move: telling Evan to write whatever the hell he wants.
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Five vehicles converging into a single line in the dust, mirage lines as they come together. V formation collapsing into enfilade, coming through the dust straight at you, endless radio chatter full of misfits and hitmen. First Recon Battalion is commanded by Godfather, who talks like Brando; his Sergeant Major is Sixta, who talks like Deliverance. There are three companies: Alpha (callsign "Assassin"), commanded by Captain Patterson, Bravo ("Hitman"), commanded by Encino Man (his Gunnery Sergeant is Casey Kasem), and Charlie ("Raptor"). Eventually there will be Delta, but they don't count and fuck them anyway.
In Bravo Company are three platoons. Third platoon is commanded by Captain America, regrettably. You will know him by the shrieking of his constantly degrading paranoia (and from Malcolm In The Middle, where he played Francis's best friend Eric, whom I loved). Second platoon is mostly what we're dealing with, commanded by Lt. Nate Fick (the guy that looks like Opie, with Gunny Wynn, the guy that looks like Ron Perlman). In second platoon there are three teams. Team One is led by Brad "Iceman" Colbert, so when they say "Hitman Two One," they mean Brad: Bravo Company, Second Platoon, Team One. It's easy: Battalion (First Recon), company (Bravo), platoon (2), team (1).
The unbelievably irritating Cpl. Ray Person drives the Humvee for Iceman's team. It's Ray and Brad in the front, insane Trombley (the youngest and deadliest shooter in Bravo Company, and the one most likely to compare shooting somebody in the stomach to Grand Theft Auto) in back, and Gabriel Garza up top, manning the gun turret. They don't talk about it, because if you thought about it for five seconds you would freak out like Captain America, but what this means is that the entire platoon balances on Ray, because he's the driver of the lead vehicle. Tactically and practically speaking: If Ray dies, everybody dies. Sometimes it's hard to understand how they manage to love his unholy ass but I think that might be part of it.
Garza spots something in the distance, and soon enough the battle's joined. There are several trucks firing on each other, and then a plane flies overhead, dropping missiles in the middle of everything. And all the time, the radio chatter turning bombs into declarative statements like "cleared hot" and "missile away," and turning deaths into permission, and turning people into numbers and locations and callsigns. The camera flashes on things: a belt loop, a pisiform wrist bone, a coiled telephone cord, a name tag. It's the kingdom of Things. Four T-55s at one o'clock, two kliks. Hitman, this is Hitman Two One. Enemy contact, four T-55s, One o'clock, two kliks, how copy? Contact right! Enemy foot-mobiles, four o'clock, 300 m, by the berm. This is Hitman Two One. Roger that. Garza swings his machine gun high, aiming at a plane. Misfit Two Two, cleared hot. Missile away. Contact right. RPG team, two o'clock... 500 meters behind the truck. They blow a truck to bits, and then explode the bits.