Kendal finds Chaplin in his temporary quarters at the station, reports that the search is on for Brannan and Cortez, and sits down to reminisce about a past deployment with an inauspicious beginning, three weeks after Kendal's wedding. Kendal remembers Jeffrey being on the pier to watch the department. And there goes Chaplin. Are you happy now, Kendal? You made your captain cry. "Gimme your dumb hand sir," Kendal says, clasping it and saying he can't imagine Chaplin's going through. "But I am your friend, and I know who you are. I trust you. They find what hurts you the most and they try to break you with it. But that's where they miss. What hurts us the most, that's our strength. That's what gets us through." Red-eyed, Chaplin nods bravely, and hands back the letter Kendal gave him for Christine. They shake hands, and Kendal leaves the room. Chaplin dons his hat, with fresh purpose and resolve and a jaunty angle.
Cut to the video from Jeffrey, in which he promised to tell his dad stories on the other side. In Shepard's video message to her father, she says she hopes he never has to watch it, and how scared she is, but she's not going to run away. "That's not who I am." She, Kendal, and Chaplin stand under an American flag in the station's courtyard.
In the interrogation room, the tape of Kendal has come off pause so it can continue playing to an empty room. In it, he tells the debriefer that the reason he isn't planning to tell Christine any of this is that the thought of her kept him alive, and is the one good thing he has, and maybe this way he gets to keep it that way. On the other side of the world, the senior officers watch the flag wave, and the camera rises to get a look at the Colorado in the harbor in the background. Where it's starting to look like it belongs.
M. Giant is a Minneapolis-based writer with a wife, a son, and a number of cats that seems to have settled at around two. Learn waaaay too much about him at Velcrometer, follow him on Twitter , or just e-mail him at m.giant[at]gmail.com.