The Pacific: Review of Episodes 3 & 4

The Pacific Episode 3 Just over a week ago I covered the first two episodes of The Pacific, HBO’s series on the Pacific theatre of World War II. After four months on Guadalcanal the troops finally get some hard earned reprieve and a hero’s welcome in Melbourne. They are treated as the saviours of Australia, but not everybody is thrilled about the presence of the Marines, namely the few lads left down under whose compatriots have been fighting the war for a few years already. One sour soldier decides to mention said frustration just as Basilone and Morgan are toasting a fallen comrade. Blows are exchanged and a round of drinks is ordered for the ‘Cowboy Yanks’ to cool everyone’s tempers. Just as in Band of Brothers, you get beaten over the head with the vernacular of the Australians and British; slow, clear (but heavily accented) pronunciation and the overuse of slang to refer to their American comrades. ‘Hey Allan, another round of drinks for Uncle Sam’s Yankee-Doodle Cowboys.’ That wasn’t in there but you get the idea.

Despite the over-the-top Aussies Melbourne is the equivalent of heaven on earth. They’ve done a great job recreating the city at that time, with old trams and neat townhouses. It really is gorgeous and provides the backdrop for the Marines’ booze fest and tail chase, with all of the main characters having to put in various of degrees of effort trying to get their broads into the sack. Leckie meets the daughter of a first generation family originally from Greece, who take him in with heart and soul, only to be dumped later by his girlfriend out of fear he might never return. Basilone is informed he’ll receive the Medal of Freedom for his bravery on Gaudalcanal. Leckie gets into trouble for the first time (on video he mentioned that he got promoted and demoted so often they should have had a zipper for his chevrons), and Basilone gets sent home to bang the war drum and raise money.

In part four the troops are sent back into the field on the isalnd of New Britain at Cape Gloucester, once again the outnumbered Japanese throw themselves on the sword and the troops end up battling the elements more than the enemy. Some are driven to insanity and Leckie develops enuresis, or bedwetting from the stress. Even out of combat the troops have to deal with rats and crabs. Leckie gets sent to a hospital which is actually more of a looney bin and gets a break, a coke and burger and manages to stay dry and asks to be sent back to his unit. I agree with another reviewer in that I find Leckie to be a likeable guy, somewhat unpolished but genuine. It’s going to be interesting to see how they devleop, and how they cope; we’re not half-way through this thing yet and and the hardships and pressure being faced is already immense.

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