This was terrific.
Indy went from taking orders blindly to giving them, and then to
questioning them. We actually got to see his humanity, and the
turning point in his life -as far as the War is concerned.
Indy is serving in Africa, and as the episode opens, he is taking
part in a battle to take a German encampment. The episode reminds
me of The Empire Strikes Back in that
the climactic battle is at the beginning. It follows that line, when
it ends with sadness.
As the German machine gun opens up on them, they are ordered
to retreat. But when the gun jams, Indy takes the initiative and
bolts towards the opening. His commanding officer is furious, but
Indy takes out almost the entire German company with a sweep of the machine
gun after he captures it. It is a striking victory. He is about
to be court martialled by his commanding officer, but instead he gets a
promotion from the General.
It is obvious that Lieutenant Defense (Indy) and the Major will
not be friends, ever. But they are assigned to lead a mission to
bring a shipment of machine guns from the other side of Africa back to
their camp. The boat has run aground, and instead of sending another
boat around the Cape to their coast, this team is going to presumably drag
the guns through the desert and forest.
Again and again, Indy questions the orders he is given by his
major. When they find a lone boy survivor in a village ravaged by
smallpox, he is ordered to leave the boy there, because he might be carrying
the disease. But his troops disobey his orders, and take the boy
in. Indy doesn't find out until later that night, however, and does
not like being put in that kind of position.
But the turning point comes the next morning, when the major
again insists that the boy be left behind. The troops refuse, because
the boy is one of their people. When the major is about to kill them
all, Indy steps in and threatens to take over and kill the major.
Indy's sense of morals keeps him from being the perfect soldier.
His feelings keep him more human than the major, but may end up killing
The soldiers have been dying since the journey began, and it
keeps getting worse. It turns out that the boy does not carry the
disease, but the African jungle is full of other diseases, less obvious.
The major succumbs to one of them, eventually. As they rent a steam
boat, and travel down the river to the French town where the guns lie,
the major dies.
There is a period of recovery in this town, while they get the
guns loaded. But so many people are sick or dying that Indy requests
some French soldiers to help them. But he is refused. He can't
understand the attitude of the higher command.
On the way back up the river, everybody is passed out when a
nurse from an independent German hospital boards their boat, and guides
them to shore. A German doctor by the name of Albert Shweitzer fixes
most of them up, though Remmy has to lose two toes.
Indy spends much time in the hospital, and watches Shweitzer
take care of so many patients. He can't understand why the man would
want to set up a hospital in the middle of nowhere. But he sees the
good this man is doing. He can help out so much, and he is renowned
along the forest as Oganga, which means the giver and taker of life.
Unfortunately, the French government is kicking all Germans out
of their territory, and Shweitzer is one of them, even though he has no
part in the war. Indy does all he can to save the hospital, but it
is not enough.
That is when he decides to transfer to the intelligence division.
He has to stop the war somehow.
My favorite part is when Oganga, Indy and the chief of one tribe
are sitting around the fire, and the chief asks how costly the war is.
He asks if there were two men killed, or more than ten men. When
he is answered yes to the latter, he is amazed. The European nations
must be rich, because it takes a lot of cattle to repay the lives of ten
men. Indy thinks the concept of putting a price on life is barbaric,
but Shweitzer reminds him how barbaric the war in Europe is.
Other than that, the music was also in great form. All
the battle scenes, through the marching and culminating in the tense scenes
between Indy and the Major, were wonderfully scored. It all fit in
perfectly with the mood it was supposed to represent.
The actors were really good, and Indy is starting to grow.
He is finally using his heart as well as his gun. The directing was
also good, but I think it was the writing that kept this going as good
as it did. Written by Frank Darabont, who wrote The Shawshank Redemption
and The Green Mile, it's no wonder that I liked this episode the best of
all I've seen so far.