The Pacific Episodes

2010, TV Show

The Pacific Episode: "Basilone"

Season 1, Episode 2
Episode Synopsis: The fighting continues for the 1st Marine Division on Guadalcanal through the end of 1942, including machine gunner John Basilone's heroics during a desperate defense of the airfield by Lt. Col. "Chesty" Puller's outnumbered 7th Marine Regiment.
Original Air Date: Mar 21, 2010
Guest Cast Mitch Ryan: Edward Garland Matt Young: Army Captain Conor O'Farrell: Dr. Sledge Sam Parsonson: William LaPointe Ian Meadows: Cecil Evans Martin Williams: Cook Socratis Otto: Father Keough
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Season 1, Episode 2
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Length: 55:00
Aired: 3/21/2010
Also available on iTunes, Amazon Prime and VUDU
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The Pacific Episode Recap: "Part 2" Season 1, Episode 2

In Part 2 of The Pacific, Sgt. John Basilone (Jon Seda) and the rest of the 7th Marines arrive in Guadalcanal to reinforce the exhausted and disease-ridden 1st Marine Division as they continue to defend the crucial U.S. airstrip on the island. Basilone proves a fearless leader and soldier during an overnight Japanese attack, but he also suffers a tragic personal loss.

"We've been swallowed by the jungle and 5,000 Japs are waiting to kill us." — PFC Robert Leckie

With most of the scene-setting taken care of in Part 1, this hour is devoted to much more action. The hour opens with Basilone, Morgan and Rodriguez out for a stroll with the rest of their men. Suddenly, a few shots ring out and one of their men is dead. It's indicative of how the Japanese Army always seems to be lurking in the jungle. No huge battle breaks out, but the Japanese are watching, and still very much have the upper hand.

Even though Basilone's men have joined Leckie's group on the island, Leckie and the rest of the 1st Marine Division are starved and disease-ridden. The men lament the rations they are forced to eat, so when the Army also arrives for support, Leckie & Co. raid their fresh supply boxes, stealing canned foods, crackers and more. Leckie comes away with a box of cigars, a nice pair of moccasins and three cans of peaches. Unfortunately for Leckie, he quickly throws up the peaches, earning himself a new nickname among his buddies. "Peaches" gets in a jab or two as well: Leckie dubs Runner (Keith Nobbs), who spends much of the episode squatting in the bushes, "Old Faithful."

"If it happens, it happens." — Sgt. John Basilone

Things aren't much better in Basilone's camp. The chow tent is serving up rice, and the maggots crawling in it serve as the only protein. (So, it's not a shock that Morgan is more than a little on edge.) Col. Puller (aka "Chesty") calls Basilone and the rest of the non-commissioned officers to the command post, where he informs them that some of the other units have been re-routed to cut off the Japanese along the coast. Thus, the 7th Marines are the first and last line of defense at the airstrip. And if they give up the strip, their orders are to begin fighting guerilla-style in the jungle. "That is not going to happen," Chesty says, part to inspire, part out of fear.

As the men dig in and night falls, however, Chesty receives the call from the outpost that a majority of Japanese forces are moving straight toward the airstrip. "We don't have enough men," Chesty says, this time completely out of fear. Luckily, Chesty does have Basilone, who goes on an all-out assault with his machine gun. All the men are running low on ammo and a few of the charging Japanese soldiers break through the line at Morgan's post.

Fearlessly, Basilone picks up his machine gun (burning his hand and arm in the process because he's lost his heat glove) and moves back into the jungle to take out the men who made it through. When he runs out of ammo, he takes to his sidearm. He is suddenly knocked out of the line of fire by his buddy, Rodriguez, who has returned from the command post with more ammo. Basilone takes the ammo and returns to the front lines, leaving Rodriguez to fight in the jungle.

Back on the line at Morgan's position, Basilone shoots with fury, killing so many that the pile of bodies blocks the line of fire. He bravely charges the battlefield and moves the bodies, all while facing enemy fire. Once Morgan again has a clear shot (and Basilone's ammo reinforcements) the battle turns and the U.S. gains control. Morning again shows a field littered with bodies and third-degree burns on Basilone's hand.

The pain of the burn can't compare, however, to the loss Basilone feels when, after a morning of searching, he finds Rodriguez's body in the jungle. He brings him back to camp, where Morgan tries to console Basilone, who ponders whether a split-second decision might have meant Rodriguez's survival. Basilone finally understands Morgan's words, muttering, "If it happens, it happens," accepting that Rodriguez and all the men of the company knew that death was always a possibility when they signed up.

"The worst part about treating those combat boys from the Great War wasn't that they'd had their flesh torn. It was that they'd had their souls torn out." — Dr. Sledge

Meanwhile, back in Alabama, young Eugene Sledge decides to no longer wait for his father's permission to enlist. The heart murmur appears to have gone away, but Sledge seems intent on leaving either way. His father finally backs down, but not before noting that the physical affects of war are not what he fears for his son. "I don't want to look in your eyes someday and see no spark, no love, no life," he says. "That would break my heart." Sledge, committed to the end, still must go, and makes his plans to enlist the next morning.

"For those who fell there is no hell, not for the brave who died," — from "The Battle of Tenaru" by Robert Leckie

Back on the beach, Leckie and his crew get the good news that after four months on Guadalcanal, they are shipping out. They get the news as Leckie finishes penning a poem (which in real-life was written about the battle at Alligator Creek, depicted in Part 1). It's "an ode, an epitaph in celebration of our glorious victory at Guadalcanal," Leckie says.

"...the foe you gave was strong and brave
And unafraid to die.

Speak to the Lord for our comrades,
Killed when the battle seemed lost.
They went to meet a bright defeat
The hero's holocaust.

False is the vaunt of the victor,
Empty our living pride.
For those who fell there is no hell
Not for the brave who died."

Back on boats headed for Australia, Leckie, Runner, Phillips and Chuckler head to the mess hall for some coffee. The young man there tries to make small talk about how bad they boys had it. Angry, Runner asks what he would know about the battle, assuming no one even knows what Guadalcanal is. The young man informs Runner and the rest that Guadalcanal and the 1st Marine Division is on the front page of every newspaper in America. "You boys are heroes back home," he says.

What did you think of Part 2?

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In Part 2 of The Pacific, Sgt. John Basilone (Jon Seda) and the rest of the 7th Marines arrive in Guadalcanal to reinforce the exhausted and disease-ridden 1st Marine Division as they continue to defend the crucial U.S. airstrip on the island. Basilone proves a fearless leader and soldier during an overnight Japanese attack, but he also suffers a tragic personal loss. read more

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Premiered: March 14, 2010, on HBO
Rating: TV-MA
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Premise: A 10-part miniseries about U.S. Marines fighting the Japanese in the Pacific in World War II begins in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor and ends with their return home in 1945. Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and Gary Goetzman are the executive producers.

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