This is a fantastic episode, and you can tell it will be right from the very first shot.  Any ep that opens on Saunders firing his Thompson is bound to be good.

And you can tell Vic Morrow is directing this episode even before his name pops up on screen.  That man sure loved his handy cam, didn't he?

There's not one line of dialog in the first two-and-a-half minutes.  Just lots of frantic firing and a few hand signals.  Which, I suppose, is meant to make up for the almost total lack of action in the rest of the ep.

Poor Hanley is driving his own jeep again, I see.  Tsk tsk, are they out of extras to drive him around?  It's a tough war indeed, when lieutenants have to drive themselves around and look debonair and deliver bad news to the rest of the soldiers.

(DA!)--Saunders sets a high standard for this ep's yummyness factor with that oh-so-casual leeeean against a wall while he tells Caje to take over Third Squad.  And then check out that sexy "wanna rumble?" glare he gives Jackson, just daring him to protest.  Yeow!

Hello there, Fletcher Fist!  Good to see you again, even if you're not playing Brockmeyer and have barely any lines. 

Okay, Mr. Director, enough with the handy cam already!  I'm getting dizzy.  And not just from all this ep's fine scenery, er, acting talent.

Why does Saunders sweep all the papers off that big desk upstairs when he just told the radio dude to put the radio on the little table by the wall?  Is he marking it as his sleeping territory?  Does he plan to have a five course meal later?  Did he just not get to be destructive enough during the opening firefight?

One of the things I love most about Vic Morrow's directing is how he'll cram his shots full of people.  Not just a couple guys in the foreground, but soldiers, soldiers everywhere!  Check out those great shots with Jackson in the foreground, Kirby resting on the stairs, and then Doc and Saunders and some wounded guys up above.  Very non-boring!

Kirby sitting on the chair's arm instead of the seat always cracks me up.  Always gotta be different, that one.

I love the way Littlejohn eyes Jackson when they're preparing to play poker.  He's totally sizing him up and it's great.

And hello to you, Dee Pollock!  What's up with the fakey goatee?  You're too baby-faced to pull that off, don't you know that?

(DA!)--Is Saunders looking extra hubba-hubba-licious today or what?  He's scruffy, he's a little glowery, and best of all, he's leaning on anything and everything in sight!  First there was that wall outside, and now it's a big chair.  No wonder I love this ep!

(DA!)--Littlejohn looks really good here too, still sizing Jackson up and being both cagey and wise.

(DA!)--And here comes Hanley, wearing his poncho so well that I almost don't hate it.  That man can make almost anything look good, can't he?

Lookee here, it's Tom Skerritt!  And he's got a name this time, too!  Wow, this ep is just full of familiar faces.

(DA!)--Oh man, now Caje is leeeeeeaning on a banister and looking all serious, with his sleeves rolled up and everything.  I think this may be the number one leaningest episode of all time!

(DA!)--Say, is this a conspiracy to flood my apartment with drool?  Kirby's looking extra-yummy today too, with his collar flipped up and just a hint of scruff.

Don't you love Kirby's yip of glee when he finds out he needs to go to the aid station?  I burst out laughing at that one, it's so exuberant and unexpected.

(DA!)--You know, I've gotta thank Jackson for being a jerk and getting Saunders all angry.  'Cause there is nothing finer than an angry Saunders.  More growling, please!

(DA!)--Is it getting warmer in here, or is it just me?  I think that a shirtless, sprawling Fletcher Fist is radiating hotness.  He's definitely ready for his close up, Mr. Morrow!

Aww, isn't Doc cute, leaning on his hand and watching the game?  He looks all tuckered out from a long day of dispensing bandages and aspirins. 

Shucks.  Poor Dee Pollock only makes it through half of this ep.  He has a pretty good death scene, though, full of fluttering eyelids and trembling lips.

(DA!)--Meanwhile, back at the palace, check out Doc's unbuttoned shirt.  It seems every single character gets to do the hottie thing in this ep -- and I, for one, am not complaining!

(DA!)--I'm gonna wear my swooning couch out.  Holy Sexy Sergeant Saunders!  He's all glowy-eyed and gruff, telling Doc he'll take care of the Littlejohn Situation.  I don't know if I can take much more of this. 

(DA!)--And here comes a seething Caje.  I half expect his glare to set Jackson on fire.  Come on, Caje, seethe some more, you have no idea how anger becomes you (or do you?)

(DA!)--That's it, I'm just staying on my swooning couch for the rest of this episode.  Saunders gives Jackson the Silent Stare of Righteous Fury and I'm so far gone, I can barely hit the rewind button.  I've gotta remember to watch this episode on cold winter afternoons, that's for sure.

You know, I always expect Jackson to chuck that ceramic cherub across the room.  When he sets it down oh-so-carefully, I start to not hate him quite so much.  It's a nice moment, nicely played.

(DA!)--Oh my giddy aunt!  Caje needs to get shouty more often!  Look at him going all fierce and grrrrrrr.  I'm betting this ep is on the top ten list of every Caje fan, just because of this little scene alone.

(DA!)--Saunders can even saunter sexily while wearing a giant poncho.  Whatta guy.

Kirby is just so cute when he's all cheery!  I wish he didn't get stuck being Mr. Complainer or Mr. Whiny or Mr. Difficult so often, because when he's doing the happy thing, he's adorable.  Of course, he'd probably rather not be called cute and adorable, but too bad.

(Anti-DA!)--Aw nuts, Fletcher Fist got dressed again.

(DA!)--This episode is chock full of great Saunders glares.  Keep it up, Saunders, you might set a record!

When Jackson breaks at last, watch out!  I can't help but understand where he's coming from, and I just can't hate him anymore.  His whole worldview is cracking, and that's tough to take.  I love how Saunders just lets the tirade play itself out, and says nothing in return.  He just waves everyone to move out and gives Jackson a look that says, "Okay, it's over.  I'm not going to belabor it."  And before he leaves too, he offers Jackson a reason to go on.  How can I not love this man?

Watch how Jackson walks out very slowly and carefully, like a baby who's just taking its first steps.  He's learning how to be a man all over again, and it's a great visual emphasis of the point.

You know, I can't watch this ep very often.  It's just too good -- good story, good acting, good looking guys -- I'd get spoiled!

 

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