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November 27, 2014

Generation Kill: Screwby

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Jul 27th 2008 10:01PM

James Ransone(Part 3 of 7) "Yeah... these guys waving at us are probably the same ones who tried to kill us yesterday." - Cpl. Josh Ray Person

On the road again. More banter. More offensive jokes. And lots more stupidity. Honestly, the fact that no one has uttered the word "mutiny" is mind-boggling. To the contrary, everyone has fallen in line. I'm not sure if you caught it, but Sixta's constant harping about the grooming standard finally worked. All moustaches were gone.

I'm serious about the mutiny thing though... honestly, this is like having Michael Scott (from The Office) as your commanding officer, only with extra idiocy and far less humor.

Two big things to talk about in this episode, and you guessed it -- it's all because those in charge probably shouldn't be. First up is the stunningly stupid Cpt. Craig "Encino Man" Schwetje. How exactly do men like this get promoted? After a "radio malfunction" (he had changed his channel without telling anyone), he called in an air-strike on an Iraqi two-man mortar team that Fick and his men had already taken out.

That's bad enough. Even worse? He called it in with only around 200 yards between friendlies and the target, better known as "danger close." As Doc Bryan was quick to point out, everyone, right down to the lowliest grunt, knows what "danger close" is. People could die from shrapnel. Encino Man had no idea what it was, nor did he care. He asserted his power after being questioned by Doc and Fick, and ran with the strike anyway. Fortunately, he had no clue about proper codes for an air-strike, so it never happened. But the damage was done.

To add to the absurdity, Fick may now be investigated for his role in questioning Schwetje's orders! Hats off to Stark Sands though. He's playing the role of Fick perfectly - balanced, calm, and collected. I wonder if his casting was partly based on his appearance? Fick, one of the smartest guys out there, looks like a teenage boy compared to some of the other men.

And speaking of the smartest guys out there, scratch Godfather off that list. Last week, I referred to him as a "guy who knew his shit." He lost my respect the second we realized he was just out to get a medal and commendation from Maj. Gen. Mattis. He dropped even lower in my book after he commended Encino Man for his daring and unorthodox methods. The man got a pat on the back for calling in a "danger close" air-strike! Unbelievable.

And then there's Trombley. Poor guy -- I honestly feel bad for him. He was technically obeying orders. ROE had been lifted, declaring any Iraqis on the way to the airfield as hostile. Was his shooting of a young boy terrible? Yes, absolutely. But consider his line of vision, the tenseness of the situation, and his faith in his commanders - Colbert, and ultimately Godfather. They said shoot. He did. And now, no one, except for Colbert has his back. That ain't right one bit. It's shocking to me that no one else seems to see his side. Other soldiers are calling him a cold-blooded killer, ignoring the fact that they had the same orders to shoot in that situation. Perhaps he should have practiced restraint, but considering the stress he was under, I'm not sure I or anyone else would have done anything differently.

This does bring one very important thing to light - there is absolutely no unit integrity here. For any group of people to survive - whether it be family, a business, or the military - you have to have each others backs. These men don't and it's starting to show.

More thoughts...

  • Q-Tip is one of the better characters in the book and I wish he was being used more in the series. His argument with Trombley, after Trombley "shit on his shitter," was far more colorful in Wright's book. Screwby!
  • We actually got a bit of foreshadowing that Trombley would do something stupid early on in the episode when he asked if he could shoot some wild dogs. If he's willing to shoot a dog, he isn't going to hesitate if there's a camel in his line of sight.
  • I can't believe Sixta was willing to leave behind the supply truck. Food, ammo, guns, mines... all lost. And he was pissed at Garza for losing his helmet. Par for the course at this point.
  • I loved Espera's reasoning for joining the Marines: because white people don't stab other white people behind a Tastee-Freeze with a screwdriver.
  • Person is nuts... old news, I know. But the war isn't really about NAMBLA (North American Man Boy Love Association)... or is it?
  • Brad's Big Gay Al impersonation was hilarious... but an eerie reminder that these men are just like you and me. I make Big Gay Al and Mr. Hankey voices all the time.
  • Chaffin had the picture of Wright's girlfriend the whole time. Hilarious.
  • "We just seized an airfield... that was pretty fuckin' ninja."

Next week is part four, "Combat Jack." I can't wait to see what happens as a result of Trombley's actions. What does everyone think though? Is it his fault?

Regarding the injured boy, who's to blame?
Trombley -- he could have restrained himself.99 (23.0%)
Colbert -- he knew the order was a bad one.20 (4.7%)
Godfather -- In the end, it was his call.311 (72.3%)

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Beckett

Trombley's comment about not meaning to shoot innocent camels was too funny. However, I can't feel real sorry for him. At the end of the episode, he seemed all to willing to throw Colbert under the bus, even though Brad had his back. Almost a cold glee in telling him that he didn't care what happened to himself as he was a short-timer, but essentially that Brad's career was on the line. Also, am I the only want that would like to see Mish get an ass-whoopin'? I guess if he really can get them satelite tv, he might be worth having around.

July 30 2008 at 12:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Adamantium

What an awesome episode, keeps getting better and better.

I like the scene with Person explaining his view of the command leaving the truck and saying how "You just don't leave cars open in places like Baltimore" a nice little nod to his role on The Wire which he happened to steal cars. Great work.

July 29 2008 at 12:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Borat

Sorry for the double(now triple)-comment.

July 28 2008 at 3:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Borat

Great episode. It feels like it is lifted directly from the book.

One thing I do miss though is Wright's perspective on everything when he wrote the book. I guess he just went into more detail and gave us a better look. For example, the "you shit on my shitter" scene came out as hilarious in this episode, but in the book it comes off as more serious. Wright tells us how the marine who owns the shitter is one of the toughest and most unemotional guys out there but for some reason he gets oddly emotional over the fact that his only "luxury" was sullied. I thought that was a small but powerful part of the book which didn't translate well to the screen.

I wonder what Fick thinks of his portrayal. He also wrote his own book which came out in 06.

July 28 2008 at 3:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Borat's comment
D-Bo

Thanks for the reference to Fick's book, I just ordered a copy

July 31 2008 at 3:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Borat

What a fucking great episode. Feels like it was lifted directly from the book.

Is Captain America hilarious or what? I can't believe a man like this was in command.

Trombley is definitely a psycho in some ways, but they were cleared hot to engage, so I don't understand how that's his fault.

One thing I do miss though is Wright's perspective on everything when he wrote the book. I guess he just went into more detail and gave us a better look. For example, the "you shit on my shitter" scene came out as hilarious in this episode, but in the book it comes off as more serious. Wright tells us how the marine who owns the shitter is one of the toughest and most unemotional guys out there but for some reason he gets oddly emotional over the fact that his only "luxury" was sullied. I thought that was a small but powerful part of the book which didn't translate well to the screen.

I wonder what Fick thinks of his portrayal in the series. Fick also wrote a book about the whole thing in 2006, so it would be interesting to get his perspective.

July 28 2008 at 3:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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