“The Pacific” Reaches Resolution

At the end of Part Nine, the penultimate installment, our rag tag gaggle of unlikely heroes get the word they’ve won. Actually, they hear some big bomb has been dropped on the “Jap” mainland, news that no one coming from the carnage of Okinawa can comprehend or cares much about. It’s over, but they have truly been to Hell—repeatedly. Coming back may not be so easy.

The Pacific’s battle for Okinawa depicted the rain, mud, desperate suicide tactics of the proud Japanese soldiers and the heart-wrenching plights of innocent Okinawans. We see women used as shields. Mothers used as suicide bombers. We see the once-gentle Eugene Sledge lose his humanity then clutch to what little remains as he cradles a mortally wounded Okinawan woman.

It was over for this viewer when they killed Medal of Honor recipient Gy.Sgt. John Basilone in the eighth installment. (Am I alone in this?) Okinawa was yet another week of much of the same. Shoot-‘ em- up, “F— you!” More shooting, tragedy, rain, comic relief, and frustration among the Marines. We see them comfortable in their new roles as killing machines. The monotony may be intentional—the viewer becomes as sick of the war as the Marines probably did. It would be interesting to know if this tactic riveted or revolted viewers.

In the upcoming final installment, it appears the boys will try to adjust to life at home. Though we hoped one main character, Robert Leckie, would return to his Australian love (she tossed him, afraid his death would devastate her mother), he returns to the mythic Vera, a friend at home. Sledge returns to a mother eager for him to move forward, but his physician father who treated the returning veterans of the Great War understands his son’s grief all too well.

It appears Lena Basilone, now a widow since John died fighting to take Iwo Jima, visits the other Mrs. Basilone. Of her reported 10 children, John was portrayed as her favorite. Pass the tissues.

We still say, “Watch the Pacific.” Undoubtedly HBO will air the series again.

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