Band of Brothers

Season 1 Episode 5


Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Sep 30, 2001 on HBO
out of 10
User Rating
246 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Winters is promoted after leading a daring attack against the Germans. Meanwhile, he is haunted by the memory of a teenage soldier he killed.

Later, Easy Company rushes to the Ardennes Forest to help defend the crossroads of Bastogne from attack. Unfortunately for Easy Company they are short on supplies and are not equipped to deal with the bitter cold weather.moreless

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  • Tom Hanks Cameo in this episode, see if you can spot him!

    This is actually my favorite episode, except for the finale, of course. In this episode you get to see a lot of story on one of the main characters: Winters. He's by far my favorite character, and this episode really is a tell-all about him.

    One of the best parts of this episode is the Typewriter/army transitions. The plot really charges ahead and we get some good character development going on. Also, the transitions between the story and the fighting are very smooth.

    The use of humor in this episode is the best. It really comes to the front and seems to lighten the mood all around. Fantastic episode!moreless
  • This episode was not one of the better. It felt disorganised and confusing. It had some elements that I liked, but for the most part it wasn't very impressive.

    For one the narrative was off. They tried some new techniques in this episode and it didn't work very well because it was too different from the other episodes. When you're only doing ten episodes you can't keep trying new narrative techniques all the time, it makes the show disjointed. If you want to be creative, pick a different forum. The jumping back and forth in the timeline was not done smoothly enough and it caused some confusion. Plus, when did Guarnere (sp?) hurt his leg? Could they PLEASE try and be a little more clear in what they're doing. In addition to that the interviews in the beginning felt out of place. They kept talking about someone going into the water first, setting up that scenario in the episode, yet it never came. They were out on a river but we didn't get to see who went in the water first, or even that it was that big of a deal. That was really annoying to me, don't plant a gun if you don't plan on using it.

    What I did like about this episode was that it brought on some interesting character development with Winters. I think this is the first time on the show that they've adressed the internal conflict of having killed someone, even if it was an enemy during war. They did that storyline very well through Winters, and the actor did an especially good job. On top of that Winters was moved to administrative duties, which one would think would be every soldier's dream since it's safe, but it's not quite so easy in real life. I was impressed with how they portrayed his longing to be back in the field with his soldiers and his moral conflict with having killed so many people. It's an interesting paradox.moreless
  • The changing nature of frontline combat

    The plot-arc of this mission focuses on the challenges presented to a Commanding Officer C/O, both during combat and the lulls inbetween engagements. It also combines the viewpoint of Winters (the c/o) when promoted up the chain of command and what it feels like to leave the company of men you've grown to rely on and they you/him. In that sense, the episode works well.

    Flashbacks pepper the episode as we also get to see how when taken off the frontline, soldiers had to deal with what they had seen, endured and done. In the particular case of Winters, we see that returning to "normal" life doesnt remove the mental appartus a soldier relies on, when in midst of frontline action. Furthermore, memories of the dead begin to haunt a soldier and in some degree begin to merge with reality. In Winters case, a young soldier that he shot in ambiguous circumstances, that for an instance we are led to believe, he perhaps could have taken prisoner. The combat that takes place though, against an enemy SS battalion emphasises well, the changing circumstances of combat providing us with a demonstration of day-to-night action, an ambush and artillery support, counter support fire. This event occurs near the start of the episode and is in the middle of another setpiece firefight, which is the highlight of the hour - at least for me.

    Unfortunately, I did find the scenes after Winters' promotion stale. There isnt enough going on, though it does serve its purpose. I also agree that the narrative style taken on by this episode doesnt compare to what has come previous. Thankfully that changes back in later episodes.

    The ending is a slow paced affair, doing more to setup the anticipation of the next episode, than provide any meaningful conclusion to this episode. However, it does highlight another important aspect of fighting a war - the less than perfect conditions that a military theorists would send a company (mil. unit) into combat, is more than likely never going to be achieved.

    Any other series, Id consider this a filler episode, but as it is - overall this is a great episode if not to the extremely high level of quality of the first three of this short but brillant series.

    If you want to be setup perfectly for the next episode, do watch this one.moreless
  • Great Drama with plenty of action.

    I guess you can classify this episode this one as a flashback episode. While this one shows events of operation Market Garden. It was split into two parts. One the actions that lead to the promotion of Winters to Regiment Executive Officer and the days after it. You see how he leads the men with once again bad intelligence. Even though the action scenes flash in and out as Winters types out his report, its your imagination that fills in the blanks. The second part was a low time in the war and it portrayed very well as you see the men of Easy Company relaxing and scenes of a liberated Paris. The last few minutes setups the next episode very well. As you see the men ill equipped but ready to fight.moreless
  • More on Winters.

    I like the way the episode was set up. It opens with Winters shooting a teenage German soldier, after some slight hesitations. Winters is promoted after an "against the odds" attack over the Germans. That particular attack was great and the way it is presented into the episode was great too. Winters typing his report as we discover more on the attack. It was very interesting to see how Winters is affected after killing that young German soldier. It tells a lot about the character. Even if they were enemies, a teenage is a teenage and this will normally haunt anybody. The final scenes are more of a set up for the next one. Easy company are preparing to defend the crossroads of Bastogne with very limited ammo and shortage of food...all this under terrible weather conditions. There`s a lot of momentum as this particularly delicate defense is about to take place.

    So another episode filled with intensity and energy and also a lot of character development of Winters.moreless
Michael Cudlitz

Michael Cudlitz

Denver 'Bull' Randleman

Ron Livingston

Ron Livingston

Capt. Lewis Nixon

Scott Grimes

Scott Grimes

T/Sgt. Donald Malarkey

Donnie Wahlberg

Donnie Wahlberg

2nd Lt. C. Carwood Lipton

Neal McDonough

Neal McDonough

1st Lt. Lynn "Buck" Compton

Ross McCall

Ross McCall

Joseph D Liebgott

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Goof: The British para commander is referred to as a brigadier-general and is wearing a general officer's cap badge. There has been no such rank in the British Army since the 1920s. The equivalent, brigadier, is not a general officer and wears a different cap badge.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Webster: (After being wounded) "They got me." You believe that? You believe I said that?

    • 2nd Lt. George Rice: Looks like you guys are going to be surrounded.
      Richard Winters: We're paratroopers, Lieutenant, we're supposed to be surrounded.

    • Malarkey: Hey, Skip! I've been looking everywhere for you where've you been?
      Muck: Well Don I was at home in Tonnawanda, but then Hitler started this whole thing so now I'm here.

    • Nixon: I don't know why I'm still doing this.
      Winters: Drinking?
      Nixon: No, hiding it in your foot locker. I'm a captain, for chrissake.
      Winters: Why don't you just give it up?
      Nixon: Drinking?
      Winters: No, hiding it in my foot locker. You're a captain, for pete's sake.

  • NOTES (2)

    • International Episode Titles:
      Slovakia: Križovatky (Crossroads)

    • Original International Air Dates:
      United Kingdom: October 26, 2001 on BBC 2
      Germany: April 17, 2003 on Premiere 1
      Denmark: June 12, 2006 on Kanal 5
      Greece: November 22, 2007 on SKAI
      Slovakia: September 30, 2009 on STV1