COMBAT!
 

 



Combat! Season 1
Combat! Season 2
Combat! Season 3
Combat! Season 4
Combat! Season 5


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Season 4
COMBAT! episodes:

[A Day in June]
[Any Second Now]
[Just for the Record]
[The Squad]
[Lost Sheep, Lost Shepherd]
[Forgotten Front]
[Missing In Action]
[Rear Echelon Commandos]
[The Chateau]
[The Prisoner]
[Escape to Nowhere]
[The Celebrity]
[Far from the Brave]
[The Quiet Warrior]
[Cat and Mouse]
[Reunion]
[I Swear by Apollo]
[The Walking Wounded]
[The Medal]
[The Volunteer]
[No Time for Pity]
[Survival]
[Next in Command]
[Night Patrol]
[Off Limits]
[No Hallelujahs for Glory]
[Battle of the Roses]
[Hill 256]
[The Sniper]
[One More for the Road]
[High Named Today]
[No Trumpets, No Drums]

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Combat!
reviews by Jo DavidsmeyerEpisodes rated from 0 to 4 bayonets

Vic Morrow and baby

One More for the Road

Rating: 3-1/2 bayonets

Written by
Kay Lenard & Jess Carneol

Directed by Bernard McEveety


Synopsis

While behind enemy lines, the squad discovers an orphaned infant boy. Against the objections of his men (and his own conscience) Saunders orders the squad to leave the baby behind. Everyone complains against Saunders' decision as they march. Kirby especially is bitter about Sarge "going by the book" at the expense of a little baby. Saunders finally gives in; they get the baby and detour to find a convent to take the child. But as they continue their journey with baby in tow, Saunders regrets his change of heart.

They discover the convent destroyed and abandoned. The baby's cries nearly reveal their position to a passing German patrol. Doc, attempting to quiet the babe, accidentally smothers him. Doc resuscitates him and Saunders opens his heart. The squad next comes to a destroyed farmhouse. Ignoring Saunders' shouted warning, Stroback runs toward tethered cow to get milk for the baby; Stroback is killed stepping on a landmine. Saunders must face that he has lost a man because of his failure to "follow the book."

Again, against Saunders' instructions, Caje, Kirby, and Nelson cross the minefield to get the cow. After feeding the child, they find a locket that identifies his parents as a German soldier and a French collaborator. The sentiment of the squad toward the baby switches, leaving Saunders as the baby's champion in spite of himself.

Reaching the river, they discover the only bridge held by Germans; the river is too rough to cross with the baby. Caje returns to the destroyed farmhouse to scrounge clothes and a bicycle to try to cross the bridge with the baby, posing as a civilian. He makes it just as the American barrage begins. The squad runs, Doc trips and loses his grip on the baby. Saunders throws himself across the baby, saving its life. When the sisters at the next convent agree to take the baby, Doc gives him over to Saunders' arms so that he can deliver the child into their care.


Review

In "One More For The Road" Saunders' authority is undermined by the presence of a small baby. This is the only episode where he completely loses control of both the squad and the mission.

This tightly written and directed episode offers a look at a Saunders struggling, and failing, to reconcile the necessities of wartime command with his own moral integrity. Despite his inner feelings, he orders a helpless baby left behind. But the squad voices Saunders' own remorse and bitterness over being forced to make this terrible decision. Even the devoted Billy joins in the recriminations.

This first season episode shows us something we never see again in the five seasons of Combat--Saunders buckling to pressure. When he changes his mind and retrieves the baby, his good intention becomes the first paving block in this episode's road to hell. From then on he has lost control of the squad and lost their respect. They question, ignore, and even disobey Saunders throughout this episode.

The baby is the one in command; he commands the attention of the squad, to the exclusion of their duty. Saunders fights a losing battle trying to get his squad back, trying to get them to remember that they are soldiers, and trying to keep them all alive.

Yet, when Kirby and the others almost abandon the child when they find out "they've been had" in protecting a German baby, it is Saunders who brings both his squad and himself back to their moral center. The fact that it is a German baby changes nothing.

The story's ending is bitter-sweet. Though the baby has been brought to safety, still, Saunders' decision cost a man his life. Being a hopeless romantic, I like to think that Doc revisits the convent after the war and adopts little Ludwig-Renee.

The episode has to lose half a bayonet for the silly and unnecessary sequence of Caje passing himself off as a civilian (and the too convenient earlier discovery of all the items he would need for this deception), plus another loss for the too clever title of the episode.


Notes, Oddities, and Bloopers

  • Fortunately Caje wears a turtleneck under his uniform shirt in this episode. It looked very nice with the civilian clothes, but out-of-place with his field garb.
  • Kirby has BAR in this episode
  • The apple orchard is the same one seen in "A Day In June" and "Survival"
  • The pontoon bridge is the same one seen in "Bridge at Chalons", "Command", and many other episodes.

Cast Credits

Vic Morrow as Sgt. Saunders
Rick Jason as Lt. Hanley

Jack Hogan as Kirby
Pierre Jalbert as Caje
Steven Rogers as Doc
Dick Peabody as Littlejohn
Tom Lowell as Billy Nelson
Fletcher Fist as Brockmeyer
Don Edmonds as Stroback

The Monroe Twins as The Baby


Dialog Excerpts

SAUNDERS:
You all wanted to be escorts, right? Remember, we're behind enemy lines. If we run into a German patrol, we're going to need every gun we have. Nobody but Doc carries that baby.
 
NELSON:
(long pause) Well, he's right. I mean, the Sarge has got a point.
 
SAUNDERS:
I don't care if you think I've got a point or not. That's an order. All I want to do is to get this baby to a convent, get out of this area, back to our own platoon before our own artillery opens up on us.

[sound clip Saunders Has a Point (98 k)


NELSON:
What do we do now?
 
KIRBY:
Well, we'll find another convent, or a farm, or --
 
SAUNDERS:
What's the matter, Kirby, you running out of ideas? That baby would have been a lot safer back at that barn. All we've done is to louse him and ourselves up.
 
KIRBY:
But Sarge, we couldn't --
 
SAUNDERS:
Now you just shut up. You did a little talking, now you listen to me. All those wisecracks about going by the book, well, what do you think the book is for? It's to protect wise guys like you! And guys like me who let themselves get talked right out of it! All right. Our orders are to get out of this area in two hours and forty minutes and not to engage the enemy while we're doing it. Now, move out!

CAJE:
Be nice if we'd get lucky and find something standing for a change.
 

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