After spending the last episode away from the battlefield, The Pacific comes roaring back with more Japanese night attacks and, even worse, the attacks that come from within the soldiers. After working out of the intelligence tent during a heated battle on Cape Gloucester, Leckie finds it increasingly difficult to cope with the jungle, the rain — and his bed-wetting problem. Leckie's only respite from the front line is in a mental hospital in Banika.
"One hundred men against 1,200. They're either incredibly brave or incredibly stupid." — Runner
"Or they just really f---ing hate us." — Leckie
After his drunken insubordination at the end of the third episode, Leckie finds himself on intelligence duty. On the negative side, Lt. Larkin doesn't think very much of Leckie, even when he does prove to be a good soldier, taking out four Japanese soldiers when he falls behind from the rest of the men; on the plus side, he gets to stay off the front line during an attack, as he's charged instead with protecting — and destroying — the intelligence tent should the Japanese take the American position.
Of course, that pro is really a con as well. James Badge Dale's performance perfectly illustrates Leckie's fear, as he can only listen to the battle, not knowing when or if he should pull the pin out of his grenade and torch the tent — and himself. Although he and most of his fellow men make it through the night, that fear begins to creep into others.
Gibson, with completely blank eyes, strangles a Japanese soldier to death the morning after the battle and seemingly shows no remorse or understanding as he smiles at an onlooking Leckie. The battle isn't the only thing working on these boys. As Leckie makes plain in his note home to Vera, the rain has become the U.S. Marines' No. 1 enemy. So it's only fitting that Leckie watches Lebec strip out of his uniform, put a gun in his mouth and pull the trigger — all in the middle of a rainy season downpour.
"This is as bad as my war gets." — Cpl. Ruddiger
Even when the rain subsides in Pavuvu, Leckie can't stay dry at night because of a case of enuresis. It makes him the butt of Larkin's jokes and paralyzes him from even wanting to leave his bed in the morning. So, he's carted off to a mental hospital.
It's clear from the moment he gets there that Leckie doesn't belong. He resists Dr. Grant's attempts to psychoanalyze him, and eventually Grant decides Leckie isn't faking just to get some clean sheets and three Coca-Colas a day. Still, Grant is right: Sometimes the men just need a rest from the battle. Leckie can only hope that's true for Gibson, who also has been brought to the hospital. Leckie can hope, but he sees it's not true for Gibson.
Leckie's rest ends when he can no longer tolerate the middle-of-the-night pacing and raving of one of the men who busts Ruddiger's nose while being restrained. And even though Ruddiger is aware that his service isn't close to measuring up to what Leckie & Co. see in the field, Leckie can't wait to get back to his men. He bribes Dr. Grant with his confiscated Japanese pistol and gets his release papers.
But before he goes, he stops to say goodbye to Gibson, who, despite losing his full grasp of sanity, is aware of what Leckie is throwing himself back into. He morbidly wishes Leckie luck, hoping that he dies quick and easy by sniper fire or a bomb. Gibson then retells a story of fallen soldier who was taken out back in Gaudalcanal, and all Gibson can say at the end of recalling his friend's demise is: "Jesus, I envy him."
A few other thoughts:
• No John Basilone this week, except in comic book form. Pvt. Loudmouth (Nate Corddry) reads a strip of Basilone's heroic efforts at Guadalcanal — presumably a piece of propaganda being used as he makes the rounds selling war bonds back home.
• We also get an update on Sledge, who after enlisting is now practicing blowing up enemy soldiers with mortar shells. Unfortunately, two of the test dummies he destroys are his own men, not the enemy.
• Tonally, seeing Sledge preparing for battle fits well with this hour's examination of the psychological horrors of war. Sledge's father said in an earlier episode he's worried for his son's heart and soul more than his flesh and bones.
What did you think of the episode?
After spending the last episode away from the battlefield, The Pacific comes roaring back with more Japanese night attacks and, even worse, the attacks that come from within the soldiers. After working out of the intelligence tent during a heated battle on Cape Gloucester, Leckie finds it increasingly difficult to cope with the jungle, the rain — and his bed-wetting problem. Leckie's only respite from the front line is in a mental hospital in Banika...