This has been one of my very favorite eps for many years. Probably since I first saw it. I love so many things about it! As you will soon find out, because this is going to be a rather exuberant commentary, I can just feel it...
Oooh, we get an explosive opener! And a creeping Sarge... and Caje... and Billy... and Littlejohn... and Kirby! Hey, where'd Doc come from? How'd he get up by Sarge all of a sudden? I didn't see him come running through the smoke. How come Doc didn't get a dramatic entrance?
(DA!)--We need to climb through more windows. We all look so athletic and aggressive...
Notice how we go two minutes and forty-five seconds without any dialog. Just smoke and the guys looking all manly and some nice run-run-run music. And when we do finally get our first line, it is my most-quoted Kirby line ever: "Another wet day, another wet town." I say that all the time!
(DA!)--Whoa, Caje is lookin' nice here! He's all wet, his collar is flipped up, his shirt is open to reveal dog tags and what lies beneath...
I love our intro to Bijou -- he's very animal-like at first, ripping and gnawing at whatever food-like item he's found. And that look he gives Caje when Caje reaches for the bit-o-garbage -- yikes! Must pause here and mention that I adore Michel Petit in this episode. He stands toe-to-toe with Vic Morrow and the gang and holds his own! And he's not all fakey and cutesy like too many child-actors. He really pulls off this role of the old-before-his-time boy.
And I love Bijou's theme song. It's forlorn, yet hopeful. Probably one of my favorite themes from the series.
Oooh, a favorite Billy line: "It's my mother, not my 'ole lady'," when he's yammering with Kirby. And isn't Kirby just delicious in this ep? He's very conflicted and ornery and don't you like that bent cigarette dangling out of his mouth in this opener? Perfect touch.
Annnnd we realize Bijou is not the innocent scavenger he seems, as he lifts Caje's wallet. I keep expecting Billy to call him a 'valise,' but then I realize that this ep comes before "The Party."
Hey -- we're using a tin can to make coffee? What's wrong with using Billy's helmet? Has he gotten wise and started wearing it all the time so we can't boil chickens and coffee and who knows what else in it?
Annnnd Kirby starts suspecting Bijou. Sums it up in one line: "Kid's a regular wheeler-dealer, ain't he." For once, Kirby's pretty much right.
What's this? Hanley's letting Saunders ride in his jeep? Must be why the lieutenant looks so chipper and pleased with himself -- he's done his good deed for the day, and now he can be as grumpy as he likes until tomorrow.
Another of my favorite Kirby lines of all time: "This is absolutely my last war." We hope so, Kirby.
It's Christmas for Bijou! Food, candy, clothes! Even Kirby gives him half a chocolate bar. At which point Saunders gives Kirby one of the greatest "oh get a life already" looks.
Tsk, tsk, tsk. Saunders, haven't I warned you time and time again not to ever say "S2 says there shouldn't be any Krauts around." I give you thirty seconds until you see a whole mess of Krauts.
(DA!)--Some fairly nice footage of Kirby crawling through the underbrush to reach... Oh. My. Giddy. Aunt. Will you look at Saunders all sprawled out on the forest floor? Reclining on an elbow, one knee up at a jaunty angle? Helmetless? Can someone bring me a mop and bucket? Cuz there's some kind of flash flood goin' on... didn't know one person could produce this much drool... Must. Rewind. Several. Times.
Saunders does some great anger-and-frustration snapping at Kirby. I think someone packed his Angry Eyes today!
Then Saunders sums up the whole series for us, as he does every now and then: "Krauts, Krauts, they're all over the place; everywhere you turn there're Krauts." Yeah, cuz otherwise your viewers would get bored! Or at least the male ones... I could rewind it a few moments and stay unbored for days, no Krauts needed.
I love watching Saunders looking Bijou in the eyes, measuring him, deciding whether he should trust him or not. Then he lets loose with, "Tell him if he keeps followin' us I'm gonna blister his pants," and tousles Bijou's hair! It's happy, playful Saunders! No wonder I love this ep, eh?
Annnnd now we don't trust Bijou! He speaks Deutsch -- at least enough to ask for chocolate. I guess I speak that much German too, though.
Way to go, Billy. Lose the B.A.R., why don't you? But it's okay -- Sarge will forgive you. Much too easily, really. He's being awfully nice at the moment. Hmmm. Must be those quick-drying uniforms have got him in a good mood. We go splashing around in the water and does anyone stay wet? Noooooooo.
What is up with the little jig Kirby does as he leaves Bijou in the house and tries to catch up with the squad? He lifts his left leg, fiddles with something in his knee-area mid-stride... what is he doing? Or do I not want to know?
How does Bijou get ahead of the squad? So far ahead he can hide in the grass and get caught by Kirby?
I love Saunders. He trusts Bijou. One longish look into Bijou's upturned face, and he just knows. What a guy.
Aww, Kirby's so very grumpy. The rest of the guys seem bent on making him grumpier too. First Caje and Bijou get all buddy-buddy, then Littlejohn gives the kid a hat... then Bijou himself tries to cheer Kirby up... but Kirby's not buying. He likes being grumpy.
Oh, look. A power station and more Krauts. How convenient.
I love the shot where we all run up the hill and flop on our bellies in-frame in a nice row, ending with the ever-enthusiastic Bijou. Makes me grin.
And I love the enthusiasm in Billy's "Oh yeah!" when Saunders loans him his sidearm and asks if he can handle it. That's how I'd respond to any request from Saunders... but I digress...
Annnnd now Saunders doesn't trust Bijou either. As Jo Davidsmeyer points out in The Viewer's Companion, Vic is completely scary when he gets so mad at Bijou that he almost hits him. If he looked at me like that, I'd be afraid. Very afraid. Just one more reason to stay on Sarge's good side!
Um, do we have a "mockingbird" in our midst? No, no, not Bijou... Billy! It looks to me like he's taking Kirby prisoner! As they walk through the foliage (looks like mountain laurel to me), he's holding the pistol pointed right at Kirby's back. Hee.
Bijou breaks my heart when he rips off his boots. Kirby must be especially hard-hearted today (or just mad because Billy got the drop on him?), because he doesn't soften up at all.
(DA!)--What can I possibly say about Caje all tied up in that guard house? My words fail me.
Okay, would there really be a hand-dandy camo netting on the side of the embankment surrounding the power station? It sure makes it easy for us to climb up the hill, but when was the last time when Krauts wanted to make things easy for us? Methinks this is a blooper.
Poor Billy has bad weapon-luck today. First he loses Kirby's B.A.R., then Sarge's pistol jams on him. I think he needs to stick with his own rifle from now on.
Um.... did Caje just kill that sentry with a little pocketknife? I knew he was good, but I didn't realize he was Jason Bourne. And where did all the other Krauts go? Did we shoot them all off-screen? Did I miss something while I was taking notes?
See that expression on Bijou's face when Saunders hands him the canteen? That's what I'd look like if my most-beloved sergeant gave me a drink of water. Or a smile. Or even just looked in my direction.
Yes, I love many things about this ep. Although the ending, with Kirby taking Bijou's hand, is a little forcedly maudlin even for my taste. Oh well, if Jo Davidsmeyer can forgive the ending, I can too. The rest of the ep is too fantastic to be ruined by a little sappiness!