- Story by Jerry Patrick Brown
- Directed by Stephen L Posey
- Guest Stars: Dana Lee as Major Diem, Don Nardini as Captain Sykes, Alan Scarfe as Lt Colonel Stringer, Danny Kamekona as Muoi, Tom Tran as Dong, Michael Barker as Major Priest, Louise Dushkin as Mama San, Albie Selznick as Chambers, Charles Kahlenberg as Howard Siddons
Over 2,300 Americans classified “Missing” in the Vietnam War are still unaccounted for. Reported live sightings could indicate some are still held prisoner in Southeast Asia.
Goldman and Anderson’s men wander through what’s left of the area that took a major artillery barrage only hours before. With them is Lt Colonel Stringer and his aide, Major Priest. Stringer mutters that it’s a complete waste. There isn’t one NVA body to be found.
Some of the men find a body, mostly buried under debris and ashes. Johnson helps dig it out, calling out that it’s Ferguson, the young RTO who got hit and Goldman had turned back for. Taylor tells Johnson the man is dead, to let it go.
Platoon Captain Sykes comes up to Stringer and informs him that they found some pieces of webbing , shows him a rifle and adds they found one NVA headgear with a bullet hole. But there is nothing indicating the fate of Goldman and Anderson. Nor is there anything to indicate how many of the enemy were wounded or killed. Sykes says there are several blood trails, estimating maybe twenty killed. Major Priest says thirty, maybe even thirty-five, but Stringer tells them to say it was fifty.
Stringer asks whose body was recovered and Sykes tells him it’s Ferguson, the RTO. But there’s no sign of Goldman and Anderson. Pragmatic, Stringer orders an air recon of the area and to get the company out of there, with no duty for Goldman’s platoon for the next day as they earned it. He says disgustedly, “Three good men blown to hell and nothing to show for it, not one damn dink body.”
When Stringer walks away, Percell and Ruiz approach the captain, Percell wanting to know why they can’t continue searching. Ruiz adds that the lieutenant was wounded, that he and Sarge would have gotten to some cover knowing what was coming. Percell asks what if the dinks took them? Either way, they will never be seen from the air. Sykes tells them to saddle up, they’re moving out and walks away.
Johnson and Taylor join them. Danny says they’re the only chance that Sarge and L-T have of being found. Ruiz reminds him that it will make them AWOL, but Danny points out it wouldn’t stop either Anderson or Goldman if one of them was missing. Johnson points out there’s a problem as there are only four of them to cover a lot of ground. Danny remains determined, saying at least it would be something. Johnson won’t do it even when Danny pushes him, saying it ’s pointless. Taylor agrees, saying it’s a waste of their time, that Goldman and Anderson could be anywhere. They walk away, and Ruiz tells Danny he’ll back him up, but that Johnson and Taylor are right, it would be pointless. He convinces Danny to come back with them. Danny, defeated and hurt, says that Goldman and Anderson are out there.
Later that day McKay returns, his slick in need of some repairs before he and his crew can go back out and rejoin the search. Percell corners McKay, asking if they found any sign of Goldman and Anderson. Johnny tells him no, not today. Danny tells him that he and the guys want to come with him, that four sets of fresh eyes would help. Johnny tells him they’re welcome, but he’s leaving at 0600 the next morning. Percell doesn’t want to wait, pressing McKay, pointing out that if Sarge and L-T are hurt, a few hours could make all the difference. Frustrated, Johnny explains that his chopper needs to be fixed, it won’t fly. Percell isn’t listening and starts to push back but McKay gets in his face. He snaps at Percell that he wants Goldman and Anderson found just as much, but in thirty minutes it‘s going to be dark and that isn’t enough time to do any good.
Danny apologizes, adding that he feels they should be doing something. Johnny dials it back, and agrees. Both men are upset and can see it in each other. Defeated, Percell tells him they will be there in the morning.
Back in the barracks, Taylor has field stripped his rifle, the pieces spread out on his bunk. He’s carefully cleaning everything as Johnson watches and Ruiz comes to sit on his bunk. Ruiz tells Taylor he didn’t know that he knew how to field strip a rifle. Johnson adds that he thought the only thing that Marcus knew how to field strip was someone else’s wallet.
Marcus isn’t in the mood for jokes. In a flat voice he tells them he’s taking care of business. Different times calls for different business. Right now this is business that needs doing. Ruiz plays with the magazine and quietly notes that they could have jumped off that chopper, that they should have jumped off when they realized that Sarge and L-T weren’t going to make it. They shouldn’t have left them. Johnson tries to placate him but Ruiz snaps that they should have gone back, that it might have made a difference, that they might have gotten them out. Alive.
Marvin says he doesn’t know, and that he feels ashamed. If this happened to Sarge, it could happen to him or any one of them. Maybe all of them.
Marcus, still cleaning the rifle parts, agrees that it always could.
Marvin notes that he just felt safer when Sarge was around no matter how sticky it got. He doesn’t feel that way now.
Taylor grumbles that Ruiz and Johnson sound like two kids. Annoyed and disgusted, Ruiz tells him to shut up. Undeterred, Marcus reminds Ruiz that if he got off that chopper, Sarge would have dropkicked his sorry ass back home and that Ruiz knew it. Johnson wants to know what the hell is wrong with Marcus and Marcus snaps that Johnson’s what’s the matter with him. Didn’t he learn anything from Sarge?
Johnson demands Taylor tell him what he missed. Taylor tells him that Sarge would have told him to put all this behind him and stay alive. If you start expecting to be put in a body bag that’s what is gonna happen and he doesn’t want to be dragged in there with him or anybody else.
Percell comes in at that point, dumping his gear on his bunk. Ruiz wants to know what McKay told him. Percell says they’ll go out with McKay at first light. Ruiz notes that at least they’ll be doing something. Percell grumbles that it’s little or nothing.
Johnson wants to know what’s eating Percell, who snaps, “Nothing,” but then sucks it in and adds that they need people on the ground looking for Goldman and Anderson. Ruiz reminds him that the Army has its way of doing things. Percell strips his shirt off with sharp movements and mutters that it’s a load of crap.
Percell then tells them that when they go out tomorrow, he’s going to tell McKay to set them down on the ground to look for Goldman and Anderson, and they will have to back him up. There is a long moment of silence, then Johnson says as long as Danny doesn’t do something stupid.
Danny leaves, slamming out the door, saying the only thing he’s going to do now is hit the showers and go to the club. That maybe a couple of beers would help him sleep.
Taylor shakes his head as he continues to snap his rifle back together and says “The cat’s coming unglued.” Ruiz tells him they all are, including Taylor. Marcus just gives him a dirty look.
At the wire service office where Alex works, Johnny sits next to her as she’s trying to type. She’s doing her best to ignore him while Johnny tries to get her to stop. When she tells him she can’t stop, he reminds her that no story is that important. She snaps back that this one is, that it’s about Myron and Zeke and she had to get it down while it’s still fresh in her mind. She notes that it’s the best piece she’s written since she came to this war.
Not knowing what else to do, Johnny starts to read what she’s already typed but becomes horrified at what he sees. He snaps at Alex that the article says Myron’s dead! Johnny adds that he came to tell her that they didn’t find anything but that she’s already declaring Myron dead and filling in his grave! That sure, she’s sending him off in style, but come on.
Alex just keeps typing. She finally stops and says that she knew they weren’t going to find Myron and that he’s gone. That she’s sorry for that but she knew it was coming. She starts to type again.
Johnny leans in and tells her sharply that he knows better than anyone how much she loves Myron. She keeps typing, flatly telling Johnny as she does that it is over between them. He tells her that she’s lying to herself, that Goldman deserves better than this. She could lie about loving him but don’t deny the guy his life! That he’s not dead, he’s missing!
Alex snaps that she doesn’t want to talk about it. She ignores Johnny, starting to type again. Johnny purposely puts his hand over her typewriter and she snaps again that she won’t talk about it! Johnny, hurting and upset, asks that can’t she understand that he needs to? She just looks away from him, typing and he gets up to leave, disappointed and a bit disgusted with her. But he won’t let her off that easily. He tells her that he’s scared as hell that what she says is true, that both Goldman and Anderson are gone for good. She stops but won’t look at him and disgusted, Johnny leaves.
At the EM club, Danny is busy tying on a good drunk, several beer bottles stacked on the table in front of him. Johnson comes in and one of the guys, Chambers, congratulates him, saying they’ll be calling him Sarge now. Johnson hauls off and hits him, snarling that they still have a Sarge as Ruiz grabs his arm. Marvin isn’t about take Sarge’s place in the platoon. Chambers, wiping his bloody lip says that isn’t the case, just that he saw Johnson’s E5 papers go in today. Johnson is on his way to being a buck sergeant.
Johnson is embarrassed and immediately apologizes. He announces that he’s buying beer for everyone. Chambers, being a sport, tells him to come back tomorrow and that he’ll turn the other cheek.
Percell continues to get drunker as the four men sit and drink together. In the background, the song Cold, Cold Heart sung by Hank Williams comes on. Taylor makes a face and asks Danny if he’s playing that song, and that it sounds like someone ran over a dog. Johnson and Ruiz smirk. Danny tells him that it helps him think. Marcus wants to know what he’s got to think about.
Danny answers that he wants to know what’s going on. He can’t understand what’s going on. Ruiz notes that what’s going on is one of them is getting really drunk. Danny wants to know why they aren’t out there looking for Sarge and L-T. It doesn’t seem like the Army is looking out for its guys anymore. It doesn’t seem that the Army is in charge of this fight and he wants to know who is. His teammates just stare at him.
Ruiz tells him that they are, the grunts. That he is General Ruiz and this here is Rear Admiral Johnson. The two clink bottles. Danny doesn’t like that they’re joking and calls it bull. Smacking his bottle on the table for emphasis he announces that they kicked Charlie’s can at Tet. Yet they got rid of Westmoreland? It was crazy. As Danny staggers to his feet, Johnson adds, “Out of the mouths of drunks.”
Danny asks if they aren’t going to send over any more guys to help them win this thing, what the hell is gonna happen to them? As his teammates look at each other, Danny adds that they’ll be left here until they all get zapped.
Marcus wants to know who is this “they” Danny keeps talking about. Danny asks Marcus to tell him! Is it the long haired homos that he keeps seeing on the TV? Is it the TV News? They lied about Tet and a whole lot more! He doesn’t know who, and he’s no longer hot to be part of it anymore. Taylor looks at Johnson and Ruiz, shaking his head and notes that drunks and jealous women, they’ll talk your arm off without making a lick of sense.
Ruiz notes they’re leaving with McKay at 0600 and he’s hitting the rack. The rest agree but for Percell who decides he’s gonna stay, that he wants one more.
The next morning they are skimming low over the trees in McKay’s chopper, everyone looking for Goldman and Anderson. Everyone but Percell, who is so hung over he’s throwing up in his helmet. McKay keeps low as they continue to look for signs that Goldman and Anderson are down there.
And they are, both men watching McKay’s slick as it flies over their heads. Their hands are bound and they’ve been stripped down to their T-shirts and shorts. They are prisoners of war now, held captive by several NVA and being led further away from any help.
The NVA keep them moving through the jungle but both men are exhausted and Goldman struggles as he’s wounded. Emotionally he’s not holding up as well as Anderson. But he hangs on to his sarcasm when Anderson gets up next to him and asks how the leg is holding up. He tells Zeke not to count on him for volleyball. He adds that he thinks it’s infected.
At the top of a gully, Goldman hesitates and Major Diem, the commander of the group, shoves him forward. Myron loses his footing and tumbles down the rest of the way, ending up in a heap at the bottom. Despite being bound, Anderson quickly gets down to him as Myron is clearly starting to falter. Zeke tells him that he has to get up, that if these men think he’s slowing them down, they may do something rash. Myron must find something deep inside as he struggles back to his feet with Zeke’s help. They stumble on.
Eventually, the NVA take a break to eat and rest. Myron and Zeke are still heavily bound and on their knees. Myron is in pain, shifting restlessly beside Zeke as Major Diem approaches. Zeke tells him that his friend is hurt and do they have a doctor, bac si? Diem just glares at them and Myron notes with sarcasm that Zeke is breaking their hearts.
Zeke switches tactics and tells Diem that he sees they’re all having lunch and that it looks good. He then notes to Myron that he’d like a cheeseburger, no onions and a small order of fries. Zeke knows what he’s doing. It’s his way of keeping Myron focused on him so Myron doesn’t let himself get dragged down again by what appears to be a hopeless situation. Major Diem points at them, snapping something in Vietnamese before he walks away.
Alone for the moment, Myron notes quietly to Zeke that if they were going to be turned over to the VC, it would’ve happened by now. He thinks they’re going north. Zeke acknowledges that the further they get into NVA territory, the harder it’s going to be to get away. Myron agrees and tells Zeke that if they’re going to make a move, they need to do it soon. Zeke asks if he can run and Myron tells him he’ll fly if he has to.
A Vietnamese woman dressed in a traditional ao dai dress and the conical shaped hat called non la places some rice in front of them. Politely, Myron addresses her as Mama San, asking her to untie him so that he could eat. She glares at him and then spits in his rice and berates him in Vietnamese before leaving as the NVA laugh. Another NVA throws a rolled up bundle of clothes at each of them.
Myron, still hanging on to something inside himself, asks Zeke if he wants to swap lunch- his has sauce.
Alex’s editor, Howard Siddons is very impressed with the story she’s written about Zeke and Myron. He tells her it’s the kind of story that gave her the reputation of being one of their best. She tells him she’s flattered. He notes that he didn’t fly all the way to Saigon to talk about her past work but rather her future. He’s going to send her to Paris, to cover the peace talks. Alex is stunned. Siddons notes that the focus of the war is changing and that the peace talks are what’s important now.
She hedges, telling him that it’s not finished here, that there are American boys here who aren’t old enough to vote or buy a beer and they’re still being blown apart.
Siddons argues that what’s decided in Paris will have more to do with their futures. She still hedges and he tells her this assignment is a career maker and he wants it to be hers, that she deserves it.
Haltingly, Alex says she’s not sure. One of the men in the story she wrote, she feels he’s dead but she’s just not sure. She couldn’t leave without knowing.
Siddons understands but he reminds her that that kind of confirmation can take a long time and he doesn’t have a long time to give her. He’s assigning the job before he leaves for New York the next day. Reluctantly she tells him she’ll know her decision then.
Zeke and Myron are now dressed in the black pajamas that most VC wear. Still heavily bound, they wade across a shallow river, Myron ahead of Zeke. Myron makes it to the other side when Zeke loses his footing and goes down. His captors immediately start to pound on him with the butts of their rifles as he struggles to get back up. Myron starts shouting, telling them to stop, that Zeke can’t get up. The NVA guard with him refuses to let him go back to Zeke. Major Diem finally orders the one beating Zeke to stop and the NVA soldier hauls Zeke back to his feet.
Zeke joins Myron on the bank, thanking him and noting he didn’t want to ruin his new suit. Myron wants to know if he’s okay and Zeke tells him he’s just wet. But the water has loosened his ropes and he starts to work on them as they continue to hike through the jungle.
At the barracks, Danny starts slamming the lid of his foot locker repeatedly and then kicks it. Ruiz rushes over and grabs him, telling him he gets it, it’s one dead mother footlocker. Danny, still furious and bewildered, tells Ruiz that they should have found something, that they should have found Goldman and Anderson. Ruiz shouts at him that there’s a damn war going on and that they’re doing everything they can. Danny shouts back at him, asking what’s with him and why is he talking the damn Army line? Taylor jumps out of his bunk, shouting at them to put a lid on it.
Danny explodes, rushing Taylor and slamming him up against the barracks wall, demanding to know who is Taylor to bitch? Taylor throws him off, yelling at Danny that he thinks he’s the only one to feel the loss? Danny has no corner on those feelings. Danny slugs him hard, screaming at him that none of this is his call, that Taylor wasn’t there. That he had his nose so far up a lieutenant’s skirt that he couldn’t think straight out there in the bush with them. Sarge sent him home on a dust-off with the wounded.
He stomps away with Taylor shouting after him that Danny thinks he forgot that? Danny whips around, pointing at him, shouting it could have made the difference. Taylor shouts back it wouldn’t have mattered but Danny won’t back down. Nor will Taylor who adds that when your time comes, it comes and that’s it. He comes up to Danny, no longer shouting, adding it was Zeke and Myron’s time. Danny whirls on him, ready to beat the hell out of Taylor when Johnson comes into the barracks, yelling to break it up.
The two men stand glaring at each other as Johnson comes up between them and informs them that they’re rolling out at 0500. He tells them what they’ll need in ammunition and supplies, Taylor demanding to know where he got his information as he wipes the blood from his mouth. Johnson tells him that Captain Sykes gave it to him. Showing the sergeant’s stripes pinned on his shirt collar, he also tells them that Sykes gave him their sorry butts as well.
While Taylor and Percell look at each other, Ruiz decides to congratulate Marvin and shakes his hand.
It’s now night. Zeke and Myron are still trussed up, back to back in a pair of bamboo cages. Zeke whispers to Myron, asking if he can see the guard. Myron tells him he’s asleep. Zeke notes he could use some sleep himself and Myron agrees wholeheartedly. Zeke mentions that he thinks they are in the Boi Loi Woods. Myron says there’s a branch of the Ho Chi Minh Trail that runs through there. The two men figure they reasonably know where they are. Myron thinks that they’ll be kept there and then shipped north on the “Red Ball Express.”
Zeke quietly tells Myron they aren’t the first ones to be sitting in a cage. Myron sees the guard wake up and both men instantly feign being asleep. The guard immediately comes over and slams his AK-47 against the bars, startling Zeke and Myron as he shouts at them. He then leaves, going over to the edge of the camp to take a leak as Zeke and Myron watch him.
Unfortunately the guard ends up urinating on one of his buddies who jumps up out of the shadows shouting his indignation. Exhausted and scared, Zeke and Myron can’t help but burst into hysterical laughter as the two guards continue to shout at each other. They laugh so hard that the two guards stop and stare at them. One comes over and barks something at them but Zeke and Myron continue to laugh, out of control. Then the second guard snaps at them, but they can’t stop and finally both guards leave, angry and embarrassed as Zeke and Myron continue to laugh.
Alex is in Saigon that night, sitting at a table in Tiem Café. A handsome older Vietnamese gentleman brings over a tray of tea, placing it in front of her and she thanks him, handing him some money. He leaves and she carefully lifts the teacup, nudging open a piece of paper and reads what’s inside. She sets the cup back and then crushes out her cigarette before getting up and leaving.
Outside in the alley beside the café she finds the older gentleman, Muoi, and approaches him. Brusquely Muoi asks her what she needs. She asks about the battle at Ben Cat two days ago and that two Americans might have survived. Would his VC contacts know? He notes that many have been killed and that the area is filled with soldiers from the north. It would be dangerous to ask. She pleads with him, telling him that it’s important to her. She tells him that one of the Americans is Goldman. He must know who Goldman is as he looks at her. Muoi reminds her that there have been many favors in the past. She reminds him that she has rewarded him for all of them. He’s reluctant and tells her the risk has become greater. She’s annoyed but pays what he thinks it would be worth to ask and Muoi leaves, telling her he’ll try.
It’s still night and Zeke finally manages to get his hands free. Myron asks if he can get his feet free. Meanwhile Major Diem is busy yelling at one of the guards, getting in his face about something as Myron keeps watch. Now completely free, Zeke carefully kicks out the bars of his cage and gets out, sliding over to Myron to start untying him. But Major Diem is now yelling at the guard, pointing in their direction and Myron tells Zeke to forget it and go. Zeke hesitates, the last thing he wants to do is leave Myron behind. But it’s the only way he can get help so he slips off into the jungle with one last look at Myron before he leaves. Myron watches him go.
Zeke starts to make a run for it but a young Vietnamese man blocks his way. He’s only got one arm and he’s not dressed like the guards. Zeke tells him he doesn’t want to hurt him but the guards have already found them and surround Zeke, who looks away in defeat.
Zeke is dragged back to the camp and brought into one of the buildings, standing between two guards as Major Diem paces in front of him. His hands are bound behind his back. Diem snaps an order at one of the guards who then drives Zeke to the ground with a rifle to the face. Zeke is stunned as he lies on the dirt floor and they drag him to his knees. The young man who had found him stands in front of him, watching. The leader grabs Zeke’s hair and hauls his head back. Addressing Zeke by his rank, he asks what Zeke thinks, is there a lesson?
Zeke’s vision is blurred as he stares at the major. He slowly realizes that Diem is speaking English. When Zeke says nothing, Diem orders Zeke to be dragged to his feet. He gets in Zeke’s face and asks if Zeke understands, again addressing him by rank.
Zeke finally speaks, merely saying, “Staff Sergeant Clayton Ezekiel Anderson.” Major Diem turns his back and one of the guards drives his rifle butt into Zeke’s stomach. Zeke collapses in blinding pain and the same guard then brutally kicks him. Zeke can barely breathe. The young man watches in horror. They then dump a bucket of water over Zeke’s head.
Still on the ground, struggling to breathe through the pain, he sees one of the guards is wearing boots, HIS boots. The two guards again grab and drag him to his feet. They hold him up as the major drapes his arm over the boy’s shoulder and tells Zeke that Citizen Dong lost his arm to the American artillery. That he hates Americans like all loyal citizens. Diem comes back to Zeke, berating him, telling him the people of the countryside would have killed him had his men not been there to protect him. Again he gets in Zeke’s face, and again he demands to know if Zeke understands.
Zeke finally tells him that he hears him.
Major Diem points out that Zeke had tried to go to the river, but there was a field of NVA mines in front of him. Zeke was lucky that Dong caught him or he would have been killed. He points out to Zeke that he was lucky twice: that he escaped death at the hands of the loyal citizens and he escaped death from the minefield. He grabs Zeke by the jaw and forces him to look at him, warning him that if Zeke tries to flee again that he will execute BOTH him and Goldman. He then orders Zeke returned to his cage.
The next day, Goldman’s platoon moves cautiously through the bush. Percell, walking ahead of Ruiz, tells him that it feels pretty strange to be out there without Sarge. Ruiz notes that they’ll be pretty lucky to get themselves back this time. Johnson, now in Anderson’s place, snaps to them to not bunch up and watch their intervals. Taylor grumbles that while he’s ordering them, why doesn’t he order a muzzle on Percell and Ruiz. Johnson snaps for everyone to stop the chatter.
Captain Sykes comes up and asks what the holdup is. Johnson tells him there’s no holdup. Sykes reminds him that they are part of a coordinated “hammer and anvil” operation and does Johnson know what that means?
Johnson explains that he does, that they’ll set up the ambush while the other companies drive the enemy toward them. Sykes wants to know what happens if they aren’t in position on time. Contrite, Johnson tells him it doesn’t work. Sykes drives it home that it won’t work and to get it together. Johnson takes off, snapping at everyone to stop bunching up and watch their intervals and shut the hell up.
In Saigon Alex is walking down the street when she spots her contact. Muoi catches her eye from across the street, then disappears down the side alley next to the same café as she comes after him. He waits for her there and when she joins him, Muoi apologizes to her. His contacts knew nothing as it wasn’t their battle, it was the NVA. Desperate, Alex asks if there’s someone else but Muoi quietly tells her that he knows of no one else who would know the fate of her friends.
In the bush, the men set up the ambush as planned. They string wires for claymores and Sykes reminds Johnson to make sure the claymores are well hidden. He adds that he doesn’t want bodies, but some prisoners. He informs Johnson that the NVA use the Boi Loi Woods to connect up with the Ho Chi Minh Trail and that Colonel Stringer thinks they could bag a few prisoners and get some up-to-date intel. As he tells Johnson this, Marvin watches as Taylor and Ruiz fumble with one of the claymores. But he promises Sykes that the men are ready.
When Alex gets back to her office, Johnny’s waiting at her desk. He looks at her in sorrow as she hesitates. He stands up and tells her that it’s not what she thinks. Nothing has changed, they‘re still listed as missing. But the search mission has been terminated.
Alex snaps that this is it, isn’t it? The Army thinks he’s dead, too. She pushes past Johnny who catches her arm and tells her she’s wrong, that the air search mission didn’t find anything and that’s all it means. Alex nods, unable to look at Johnny. Johnny tells her that there’s a company out there now with orders to bring back prisoners. They’re going to find out what happened. She breaks, snapping at Johnny that she knows what happened. That Myron died, that he died fighting a stupid war that nobody cares about. Johnny reaches out, tries to touch and comfort her but she twists away from him, finally starting to cry.
Brokenly, she tells Johnny that she does love Myron. She always felt his presence when he was gone. Now she knows he’s not coming back.
Zeke and Myron are still tied up in the bamboo cages, sitting in the hot sun. When the guard watching them turns his back, Myron looks at Zeke. Zeke shows signs of his recent beating, sitting listlessly in the sun. Myron talks to him, asking him why does he keep thinking about train wrecks? Zeke slowly looks at him and gives Myron a weak grin as he tells him to wait and see what he did to the other guy. Myron gives him a quick smile.
It’s their friendship that they both rely on, more so now than ever as they know it’s all they have to survive the mess they’re now in.
There is a changing of the guards, the new one snapping at the other one to beat it in Vietnamese. He then lightly kicks Myron’s cage before walking around the corner of the building next to them so he can sit in the shade and eat his bowl of rice.
Behind them, Dong slips up through the grass and slits the ropes binding Zeke’s wrists. Zeke is startled as the young man gives him the knife and then points in a certain direction before he slips away. Myron sees what happens and quickly keeps his eyes open for the guard as Zeke cuts the ropes binding his ankles. Cutting the cage door open, he glances back at Myron who nods to him.
Several children race through the village, laughing and chasing each other, the guard eating his rice and watching them. He is completely surprised when Zeke suddenly leaps out beside him and then Myron appears from the other side, grabbing his rifle and slamming it into his face, knocking him out.
Myron wants to know if they should trust the guy who gave them the knife and Zeke says he doesn’t see that they have a choice, leading Myron in the direction Dong pointed out.
Just outside the camp, the first guard is walking sentry duty when he hears something. Cautiously he follows the sound to find Zeke kneeling in the grass, holding the knife. Myron rears up behind the guard, pressing the rifle to his head. The guard immediately surrenders as Zeke throws the knife away and grabs the guard’s rifle. Myron isn’t feeling very charitable as he comes around the man to join Zeke. He wants to know what they’re going to do with a prisoner. Zeke says that they should do what’s been done to them and slams the rifle stock across the guard’s face, knocking him out cold. As they start to flee, Dong finds them, calling them Americans in order to get their attention.
Both Zeke and Myron whip around, pointing their weapons at the boy who only points in the opposite direction they are fleeing, telling them “Didi mau.” He’s adamant but Myron isn’t willing to trust him. Zeke wants to know why the boy is helping them as they are Americans and he points to the empty sleeve of Dong’s shirt. Dong tells them the VC were responsible, not the Americans. Desperate, he again urges them to leave the way he’s pointing, telling them to didi mau.
Zeke and Myron decide to take their chances and flee the way the boy tells them.
Back at the camp Major Diem is livid. Everyone scrambles, looking for the escaped prisoners as he shouts orders at them. The woman who a few days before had spit in Myron’s food now comes up and tells him one thing- Dong.
Zeke and Myron have now made it to the river, quickly smearing mud over their bare arms for camouflage, both hyper-aware of everything around them. They then splash across the river to get to the safety of the jungle.
Back at the camp, Dong stands silently, Major Diem snapping questions at him. Dong doesn’t answer, only stares straight ahead. Diem hits the back of his head, then asks the question again and when Dong still doesn’t answer, slaps him across the face. This continues until finally Dong raises his arm and points. Diem pulls out his pistol and immediately shoots Dong in the head. He then orders his men to go searching in the opposite direction.
Zeke and Myron move as quickly as they can through the jungle, constantly checking behind them for signs of pursuit. Both men are injured, Zeke from the beating and Myron from his wounded leg but it doesn’t slow them down.
What they don’t know is they’re heading right into Johnson’s ambush as their men wait for the first signs of the enemy being driven into their trap. Zeke and Myron slip through the bushes, still dressed in the black pajamas of the VC and one of the men sees them, yelling that there are VC and they all open fire on Zeke and Myron.
Thinking they are being attacked by the NVA, the two men dive for cover, barely making it as the entire platoon opens up on them, pinning them down in a hail of gunfire. There isn’t anything they can do but stay down and pray they don’t get killed.
Howard Siddons has returned to get Alex’s answer. She tells him that it’s as confirmed as it’s ever going to be and that even the Army has stopped looking for Zeke and Myron. Siddons tells her he’s sorry for her loss but that she’s doing the right thing. She’s not sure, saying she feels guilty for leaving but she can’t bear the thought of staying. Siddons promises to take care of everything and, shaking her hand, congratulates her.
The NVA are still looking for Zeke and Myron when they hear the firefight in the distance. Major Diem has no doubt that his two prisoners are part of it and orders his men to check it out.
Meanwhile, the platoon is still firing everything they have at what they perceive to be two VC. Zeke and Myron are now shooting back, unaware that these are Americans, let alone their own men. Percell shouts for someone to hit the spot with a blooper and when it goes off near Zeke and Myron, Zeke shouts to Myron that these are American weapons. Myron agrees, telling Zeke he looks like an Irish VC. He then starts shouting at their attackers, that they’re Americans, Zeke joining him.
Taylor hears them and hesitates, and then Percell shouts that they’re Americans. Taylor doesn’t believe it and snaps that he’s Ho Chi Minh and opens fire again. Zeke and Myron continue to shout that they’re Americans but to no avail.
Nearby, Major Diem draws up his plan in the dirt, giving orders on what he wants done. Another blooper is lobbed at Zeke and Myron but thankfully it’s off the mark. Percell notes that he thinks the kid with the 79 has never used it before. Disgusted, he decides to take matters into his own hands. Muttering that there are only two of the enemy, he makes a run at their position. The rest of the men, afraid of hitting Danny, stop shooting. Johnson then shouts to give Danny some cover and they all start firing again.
When Danny gets to within a few feet of Zeke and Myron, he fetches up against a tree for cover and loads a fresh clip, snapping it into place. The rest of the platoon hold up on firing now, waiting for Danny’s next move. Taking a deep breath, Danny makes the final charge, furious and growling as he jumps into where Zeke and Myron are pinned down, ready to kill what he believes are two VC. Zeke shouts at him as Danny lies there, glaring at them over the barrel of his rifle as Zeke and Myron look back at him. Zeke wants to know if he’s alright. Danny stares at them, bewildered. Zeke carefully nudges the muzzle of Danny’s rifle out of his face, Myron watching over his shoulder.
Behind them, the rest of the men start shouting, wanting to know what’s going on. Still stunned, Danny climbs to his feet, Zeke and Myron with him and shouts that it’s okay, that it’s Sarge and the L-T. The platoon is shocked and thrilled, but Taylor starts shouting for them to get going as the NVA who are tracking Myron and Zeke now join the fight.
Danny, Zeke and Myron get back to the men under the protection of their cover fire. Once there, Myron throws himself down near Sykes, shouting at him that it’s an entire company of NVA Regulars and they’re hitting both ends of the line. Meanwhile Zeke gets hold of the 79 and starts using it with the sure accuracy the other man could not.
This is where Myron knows what he’s doing and starts shouting orders to his men, Zeke doing the same as they set up a better defense against the NVA. They take casualties but as the platoon sets up and fights back, the NVA decide to pull back. A Huey comes in over the tree line, hanging over them and radioing down that help is only a half klick away and coming in.
Myron and Zeke’s ordeal is finally over.
Myron slowly wakes in the dispensary. He’s cleaned up and lying on fresh, clean sheets, hooked up to fluids. He’s unsure and confused as he looks around cautiously until he sees Alex sitting quietly on a chair next to him. He’s been through hell and he’s still not quite willing to believe it’s over, asking her if she’s real. She smiles sadly at him and assures him she’s real and with him. Exhausted, he can only look at her as she strokes his arm.
Despite having the hell beat out of him, Zeke apparently doesn’t need to stay in the dispensary and he’s now back at his quarters, carefully pulling back the blankets on his bed and smoothing down the sheet. He’s clearly relieved to be back and safe and more than appreciates his own bed. But his relief is short lived when there is a pounding on his door. Muttering that he’s having a bad dream, that he ain’t even asleep and he’s having a bad dream, he goes over to open the door only to have Taylor, Johnson, Percell and Ruiz rush in, carrying a case of beer, someone shoving a bottle in his hand.
The guys grin and dump the case of beer on Zeke’s table as he tells them that this is against regulations. The guys want to know what regulations and Zeke informs them that it’s HIS regulations. But the guys want to celebrate that Johnson got promoted. Zeke tells Johnson that he’s proud of him, he’s gotta know that and shakes Marvin’s hand. He doesn’t want to be rude but they need to get on out as he needs to get some sleep. Ruiz tells him that’s okay, they want to stay, even if it’s just to watch him sleep. Ruiz adds that he’s their luck. Zeke smiles and tells them that they’re his luck, too.
Worth another look:
The guard who is supposedly watching them has been sleeping but now wakes up. As Zeke and Myron quickly feign being asleep, he comes up and slams his rifle against the cage, startling both men. Pleased with himself he snaps at them in Vietnamese, then goes over next to a nearby building and starts to take a leak.
The next moment one of his buddies jumps out of the shadowed weeds, indignant and yelling at him. Beyond exhausted, Zeke and Myron can’t help bursting into hysterical laughter. As Frick and Frack continue to shout and bitch at each other, Zeke and Myron continue to laugh harder and harder, rolling around in their cages. It finally gets the attention of Frick and Frack who realize the two prisoners are hysterical as they stare at them.
Embarrassed, first one and then the other guard goes to the cages, shouting at Zeke and Myron in Vietnamese but then leave. Zeke and Myron can’t help it, they’re out of control as they continue to laugh.
- Twenty Five Miles – Edwin Starr. When Johnson enters the EM Club, Chambers congratulates him and tells him that they’ll soon be calling him Sarge, only to have Johnson slug him.
- Cold, Cold Heart – Hank Williams. Johnson, Ruiz and Taylor join an already drunk Danny at the EM Club. Marcus hears the song come on and asks if Danny is playing it and that it sounds like someone ran over a dog.
- All Along the Watch Tower – Bob Dylan. The guys, including a very hung over Percell, have joined McKay in the air search for Goldman and Anderson.