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'The Pacific' - 'Melbourne' Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted Mar 29th 2010 2:31PM
Jon Seda, 'The Pacific' - 'Melbourne'(S03) Wasn't that a stark contrast from the first two episodes. As viewers, we were just as out of sorts watching that arrival in Melbourne, Australia as the marines themselves were. After two weeks of near non-stop warfare and bloodshed, the marines got a chance to get some much needed R & R, as well as the attention of some very appreciative Aussie young women.

The more relaxed pace of the episode allowed us to get to know some of our principal cast members more intimately. Particularly Robert Leckie and John Basilone, who had very different experiences in Melbourne. Basilone was the decorated war hero, given the highest honor he could possibly achieve, while Leckie found something even sweeter: a woman.

As someone who's never been to war, I can't speak of what it must be like during these breaks from the action, when the military personnel can interact socially with regular civilians. Knowing that you could be called back to the front at any moment must create a heightened sense of emotion, which could explain why both Leckie and the lovely Australian lass he became smitten with seemed to get so serious so quickly.

Of course, courtship in the 1940s was also very different than it is these days, with less of an emphasis on just casually dating and more of a focus on the rituals of moving toward a long and lasting marriage. The awkwardness of young men who've been away from women for so long, finding these beautiful women ready and willing, so it would seem, only to be introduced suddenly to their families must have been a bit jarring.

But it was precisely those intimate moments with the families, and with the couples themselves, that created the emotional connections we needed. Now we have an idea of what they've left behind when they go back to fight again. We know what they're like, sort of, when they're away from war, which helps to humanize them a bit.

The action was so relentless through the first two episodes, that it became difficult to differentiate one soldier from another. We found ourselves latching onto little things that would make this one stand out over that one; including our main characters. Now, we've seen how reluctantly Basilone is accepting his new status as a marine hero, and how depressed he is to be leaving his friends and the battle behind to go home and sell war bonds.

We've seen the heart of Robert Leckie, and we know how deeply he fell in love, and subsequently how much he was shattered by her rejection -- solely so that her family wouldn't suffer if he died. He has a self-destructive side that could prove to be his undoing, but we know he's a passionate man who wears his heart on his sleeve. Unfortunately, that heart sometimes beats louder than his brain, leading to him pulling a sidearm on a superior officer.

The jarring transition from Guadalcanal to Melbourne was appreciated not just for it allowing us to take some time and get to know these characters, but for showcasing what a whirlwind of disparate experiences these very young men had to go through. The drinking and carousing they got up to makes perfect sense after the horrors they witnessed. And for many of them, the distractions did not provide the needed happiness.

In many ways, this was a transitional episode; a short breather between military campaigns. There wasn't a lot that happened, other than relationships being forged that may or may not come back into play for our marines. But it was a nice respite, and an interesting examination of how some of these men can be just as "lost" in civilized society as they were in the jungles of Guadalcanal.

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penny

Part of growing up is being able to deal with the past. Being proud for the good times, feeling sorry for the bad ones. It is no secret that a genocide took place in Turkey, starting with the Armenians, then against the Greek pontians of the Black Sea, then eliminating any christian element from Asia Minor. All these according to official documents that have recently seen the light, for example Moustafa Kemal, talking about a "clear" turkish nation, sending all other religious minorities away from Turkey (reminds you of Hitler??), asking the German army (Lieman Von Sanders) to organise the turkish army, initiating elimination techniques identical to Hitler's (amele tampuru) where no soldiers were taken, but women, children and the elderly, walking in circles until they dropped dead in eastern Anatolia. Shocking are the report from european officials to their countries where they mentioned that they could no longer go on describing what they were witnessing every day, as it was far too brutal, shocking is Ernest Heminway's description of Smyrna(he went there as a reporter), of American reporters of the Times, not to mention the survivors and intellectual Turks who, due to sencorship, cannot be heard or are murderred.Read Thea Halo's book, NOT EVEN MY NAME. People move on. But a healthy relationship entails recognition of one's mistakes, in order not to have them repeated in the human history.

April 22 2010 at 4:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JayDee

Just a little background. Band of Brothers was based on historian Steven Ambrose's account of the 101st Airborne from training to VE Day. Pacific is based on GI memoirs: With the Old Breed by Eugene Sledge and Helmet for my Pillow by Robt. Lecke, and other battle records, etc. Consequently the context is very different that BofB. It does feel more disjointed, but having read With the Old Breed, I can see, feel and taste the complete abject misery of the campaigns on these islands. They literally had to crap in their foxholes and throw it out. The incessant rains, malaria, jungle rot, the stench of decomposing bodies does not make for easy watching. Casuality rates constantly kept the personnel changing from platoon leaders down to the squad level. And the Samurai warrior code of the Japanese kept them fighting even to the point of shooting and grenading medics who tried to help them as they lay wounded and/or dying. The savagery and confusion is hard to watch and get invested in, but it is an attempt to show what the individual GI went through in his own personal hell.

April 06 2010 at 12:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Hakan Derin

Mike Singleton,
What did Turks do to you? Whats yur problem man? I see your comments everywhere telling incorrect things. Even a Greek and Dutch guy are telling that Turks didnt do anything as massacre. Do you know where Turkey is on the map, or have been here before? Write us where you get these information and let us know the truth. If you cannot, just shut up....

March 31 2010 at 2:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
DrWho

This episode was a snooze-fest, and that's coming from someone who likes character development. Trouble is, there really wasn't any, save for some generic (and seems like made up) melodrama.

In fact, that's been the problem with the whole series so far. I still don't feel anything for these people. I'm not sure if it's the acting or the writing or the editing - probably all three, but something just doesn't click. The previous ep was confusing and this one plain unnecessary.

Also, what doesn't help is the boring and overly long intro, or series of intros. First we have the narrated voice-over (dealing with what's to come in the ep), which I don't mind. But then we jump to the past with a 'previously on Pacific...' recaps, then we have a slow and boring credit sequence and finally the show proper. Yawn.

So far, I'm not at all impressed.

March 30 2010 at 7:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Greg

I'm really liking the series, it's different from Band Of Brothers since it's a different war and also little less known than Band Of Brothers.

I know that since Hanks/Spielberg both there will be comparisons but we really should let the series stand on it's own.

The character development is a bit slow especially John's but Leckie's character has been nicely developed over the 3 episodes.

March 30 2010 at 12:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jesse

I'm 3 episodes in and I don't know a single fucking character's name. What the fuck did that guy do to win the Medal of honor? They didn't show us anything in the first two episodes that make it look like he should have won it.

This show pales compared to Band of Brothers or hell even half the god damn showed on the air right now. I keep watching out of respect for those that served and I keep getting more disappointed.

March 29 2010 at 11:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jesse's comment
Western

I read Jesse's post and I don't know his fucking last name. What the fuck did that guy do to even be able to post? He didn't show us anything in this post to make it look like he should have posted it.

This post pales compared to Gina's post or hell even half the god damn posts on this blog right now. I keep reading out of respect for those that post and I keep getting more disappointed by Jesse. (I think I need some god damn fucking decaf)

March 30 2010 at 12:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike Singleton

What was fascinating about this episode of "The Pacific" was how much depth there was in the story. Leckie's interaction with the Greek girl and her family relates the tragic story of the sack of Smyrna (now Izmir) by the Turkish army in 1922. Leckie's awareness of this war crime that Stella's mother escaped from builds his bond with the family. The ability to weave in historical details like this also showcase the contrast between American actions as "saviors" in WWII with the unfortunate isolationism policy of the US in the aftermath of WWI where US Navy (and other nations) warships stood by while thousands of Greek and Armenian civilians were massacred by the Turks in Smyrna.

March 29 2010 at 10:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mike Singleton's comment
Elestar

Ä°zmir is and was a Turkish city you idiot, what the hell greek army were doing there you think, if you can?
We have saved our country including Ä°zmir and Ä°stanbul with a great warrior and commander. Read more about WWI

April 01 2010 at 6:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chris

I cared about the Band of Brothers. I liked that they followed these guys from paratrooper training all the way to the end of the war. I'm just not caring as much about these guys in the Pacific. Like the other dude mentioned, I'm not hating it but I'm not loving it. I expected more too because I loved Sledge's book "With the Old Breed". I guess it shows just how unbelievably good BoB is. The wars were different so it's unreasonable to think that both shows would be the same. I'll be sticking with it.

March 29 2010 at 10:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bruce

Yeah three episodes in and while I'm not hating it, I can't help but realize it's just not half as good as Band of Brothers, and there's no way for "The Pacific" to stand alone without comparisons to that previous Hanks/Spielberg WWII miniseries. It seems like they're going off in different directions just so they can say they did it differently from BoB. The problem is they got it right the first time around. They should have copied BoB as much as possible.

March 29 2010 at 4:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gina

Love the show. I think one of the reasons the first two episodes felt so off is because that is actually what happened. These men where thrown together and immediately shipped off to an island no one had ever heard of. Very few new each other. They had just met and now are being told they will fight together. They have been told that the Japanese have control of Guadalcanal and will fight them to the bitter end. The marines get there and no fighting. Not for days. Then out of the blue two massive battles. It was jarring, it was disjointed. After that emotional experience when these men get to Australia they are welcomed. The Australian soldiers are in Africa, and the marines helped keep Australia safe by beating back Japan off Guadalcanal. Yes the marines went a little overboard. But hell did you see all the Japanese soldiers that they had to kill?! Anything that would burn those images from my mind for a little while would be welcome if I was one of them.

It was good to see the marines in a more normal? setting. I honestly think John Basilone never thought of a medal coming from that battle. Most soldiers do not fight for their lives and the lives of their buddies thinking that this might earn me a medal. I am not even sure he knows just what he did that night. How utterly selfless he was in his actions and just how amazing he was in that battle. I swear it looked like he took out half of the Japanese by himself. The only thing he remembers is his friend died probably right after saving his life. He probably wanted to have the medal taken away that is why he was going to steal the MP's jeep. Anything to just be a regular marine again.

Leckie, I think comes from a very standoffish family not very expressive. The Greek family must have seemed sent from heaven. It seems that any kindness or small sign of affection (Vera in front of the church) sends him into infatuation. Stella seemed to be falling for him and had the presense of mind to realize after her childhood friend died that Leckie might not live and didn't want her parents to get too attached.

Great episodes.

March 29 2010 at 4:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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