Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What I’m Watching: The Pacific

The Pacific: Season 1, Episode 3 “Melbourne” (B+)

The first non-battle episode of this miniseries is a roaring success. The enthusiasm with which the soldiers are greeted in Australia after just being in the throes of all this violence and death in the middle of the jungle presents a fascinating contrast between public perception of what’s going on “over there” and the reality of things. It’s also particularly interesting to see how this foreign crowd reacts to the American soldiers, and more entertainingly, how the Americans react to the Australians. The truth is that boys will be boys, and the amount of alcohol consumed and women flirted with within hours of landing in Melbourne is staggering. Some is certainly amusing, while the rest is definitely more serious and powerful. John has to deal with the unexpected consequences of being called and being awarded a medal of honor, and that last shot of the Golden Gate Bridge is a haunting shot, followed by a close-up of his face, as he prepares to deal with the fact that he now has to sell war bonds back home. Bob staying at Stella’s seems like a fantasy, even if it’s filled with sad stories about the past, and all of the conversations about religion and family are extremely intriguing. Seeing Bob get choked up when the mom says that she prays he’ll come back to them was a particularly moving moment. Of course it all has to get taken away so quickly when the soldiers are told they have to march 100 miles back to Melbourne and then arrives to find his lady no longer interested (“you’re dumping me because you think I’m going to get killed”) and himself reassigned as a result of his drunken behavior. This installment also served to really underline the effect of the war on people back at home, and did an extraordinary job of it.

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