First of all, I'd like to say that I don't entirely blame Steven Rogers for the boringness of Doc I.  He was having some major personal problems while filming season one, according to the interviews from the "Back to the Front" Memorial Day Marathon.  But even if he had been the most amazing actor in the world, I don't think he could have made Doc I really interesting  (okay, maybe if he was Vic Morrow or Johnny Depp...).  The character  is just badly written.  There's no depth.

Which is why much of this episode is so dull, I suppose.  Boringly written, featuring one uninteresting and one comedic character, yet trying to say something deep about war and people's behavior during war.

The ep starts out promisingly, with lots of action-ful stock footage.  But then Doc makes the bad decision of heading for a flashy private home instead of trying to find the evac hospital, and everything goes downhill.  We do get blessed with English-speaking Frenchpeople; maybe Pierre Jalbert wanted a week off.  Joan Hackett's character, Gabrielle, is the only thing in this ep that really interests me.  She's uncertain, conflicted... there's some good stuff there.

I can't help wondering why the character Jackson decides to take the jeep when he pulls his Lassie-going-to-fetch-help stunt.  Yes, it's much faster, but they know they're behind enemy lines, and a jeep makes him much more conspicuous.  I feel no sorrow when he dies -- he wasn't a very interesting character, and by this point in the ep, I'm very very very bored.

Braddock does not act very wounded.  I think he's goldbricking.  Although he IS pretty subdued -- very few jokes.

Braddock and the Lt. and Cording leave the decision to escape up to Doc I, which is a big mistake.  We know he's just gonna sit around and blink and look mildly concerned.  Or he might decide to join the German army, as the Nazi Major suggests.

I do like Braddock's faux-German schtick to get the Nazi guard away from the door.  There's just enough real German words in there to make it sound good, and the rest is gibbery English.  But I'm not terribly sad when Cpl. Cording gets shot.  I know he'll be reincarnated as Gomer Pyle's crabby Sgt. Carter.

I finally get interested in the ep when Gabrielle stabs the Nazi Major and plays her little "no, no, nobody's dead here" charade.  He was pretty much a creep, what with wanting to take away all the old man's treasures and leave him a few grandchildren in return.  But there's not much ep time left to develop it, alas.

 

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