We see in this episode Private Albert Blithe, an Easy Company soldier. We see him alone in a field just staring at the sky. When the viewer first sees Albert, it is unclear what is wrong. The viewer guesses at shock and is probably right. His fellow comrades escort him to the rallying point near the village of Carentan.
Carentan is set to be liberated from a heavily fortified German defence. Easy approaches the town and while being fired on, are pinned down in ditches along the roadside. Under the incredible bravery and orders of Winters, they can advance and take out the enemy positions.
It is during this episode that Winters is hit by a ricochet bullet in the leg. When Doc Roe asks, “are you going to keep off that leg?” the look in Winters eyes says all that Doc Roe needs to know. The look says, “I am a leader, and I am staying with my men” While being treated, Winters finds Blithe who has temporary blindness. Unsure of the cause, Winters suggests he move away from enemy lines but Blithe declines, his sight coming back.
During Easy`s battle at Carentan, Blithe remains in shock. Lt Spiers talks to him about bravery in combat, making him realise that it is a normal fear to have. Blithe becomes even more frightened of the battle but is encouraged by Winters to stand up and fire his rifle.
During a patrol, Blithe is wounded by a sniper after volunteering. Did he volunteer because he wanted to? Did he volunteer because he felt he owed his company after his issues with shock and the blindness?
This episode is beautifully acted by all, and the cinematography is stunning. The rawness of war and effects on the men is brought to the screen with simplicity. The pile of unclaimed laundry telling of the losses of the 101st & the message of their cancelled leave. Just as Easy had started to relax and take a breath, they were off again, not knowing whether they would survive the next battle.
Episode 4 shows Bill Guarnere explaining to the replacements all they need to know about their new comrades.
While Easy prepares to fly into Holland, an old face shows up. Captain Sobel returns, having been reassigned as the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment S-4 (Supply) Officer. He takes pleasure in confronting Malarkey on stealing the motorcycle he was seen taking a joyride in, which Malarkey denies, of course.
Easy jumps into Holland and are greeted by the Dutch. They find themselves receiving a hero’s welcome in Eindhoven. Winters and Nixon expected resistance so are a little sceptical about the greeting. What they do see in the crowd is women being shamed. Their punishment being doled out for fraternising with German soldiers during the time of the occupation. Easy Company take pity and when they see one of these women on the road with her child, ensure that she gets some food.
As the company work their way towards Nuenen, losses are piling up. Men are killed, wounded, and missing. Easy company decide to take a search party out for Randleman and find him, already having been located and on the way back with others.
The operation was deemed a failure and was ceased. 750 men were lost from the 101st Airborne while the British lost 8000. The unit was assigned to reserve status and withdrawn from Holland to Mourmelon-le-Grand, France for reorganization and then is placed in Corps Reserve, where they would remain until the start of the Ardennes Counter Offensive, otherwise known as the “Battle of the Bulge.”
This episode shows everything. 60 minutes of such varying emotion. The highs from the Dutch when they see the Americans coming to liberate Eindhoven. The lows when they see how the women are treated for sleeping with Germans. The worry of having replacements because in war, you always know that someone has your back. Replacements do not know you like the regular squad knows each other, which is why Bill was educating them on who’s who. Bill understood that they needed to know as much about everything and anyone to ensure the company’s safety. The nerves and worry, when one of their own is missing and the highs when he is back.
Again, an episode that carried so much action and so much emotion. Each role maintained perfectly by the actors chosen to play the parts. The research that they did for their roles, really showing through as they settled into their part.