The Pacific

Season 1 Episode 8

Iwo Jima

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM May 02, 2010 on HBO

Episode Fan Reviews (5)

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out of 10
159 votes
  • Better episode as it kept its focus on one character, but I don't think we ever really saw what made Bellisone tick.

    This episode showed improvement and the last half of the series is definately an improvement over the muddled first half.

    As this series was supposed to be about three characters, Bellisone, Sledge and Leckie, we see one of the stories end tonight as Bellisone gets killed on Iwo Jima.

    Out of all the chracters on the show, we knew him the least. As I mentioned in my other reviews, he was barely in most episodes, and really only had two out episodes about him, including this one.

    What did we learn about him? He had a good upbringing and a nice family, was a womanizer for a couple of years taking advantage of his fame, then decided to get back to basics and be a marine. He was well liked and famous, and the recruits were impressed. (I liked felt more period-correct, there was no cynics like in war movies today, its practically a trope in modern movies about the army, the group mouthing off about their leader until seeing how good he is..etc..)

    However, the romance was very rushed and it felt they were ticking things off from a checklist. They also never really showed us what made Bellisone the man he was..what made him do heroic things, what made him different from Leckie and Sledge who are very it the circumstance or was it something about him?
  • Medal of Honor notwithstanding, Gunney Basilone's Marine Corp conscience finally gets the best of him.

    The episode was thought-provoking on many levels, but the standout theme was the jusxtaposition of the "man's inhumanity to man" and intimacy of two hearts beating as one.
    Basilone's valor may seem like one of a kind, but at the core of his being he knew he was just another Marine and that he was wasting his battlefield experience and natural ability to lead. Selling war bonds in the lap of luxury was not in keeping semper fidelis spirit the Marines live by. Instead of just taking his medal and going home, he unselfishly gave the Marine Corps all he had left--his life. When the troops got jammed up on the beach at Iwo, there was only one thing to do to prevent a complete massacre and that was to head directly into the line of fire. It was men like Basilone that led the way. The image of his dying body was hard to watch, but it was the look of astonishment and horror in the faces of his men that made the scene so captivating.

    Basilone's brief romance with Lena gave this episode it's emotional momentum. As hard as it was for her to let go, she fully supported Basilone's decision to return to combat. She was, after all, a Marine and knew that the Marine Corp is all about sacrifice for the success of the mission. Her bravery and fortitude were on vivid display in the closing scene. Lena understood completely that the solemnity of her Pacific sunset was being played out in antithetical horror on the other side of the ocean. With uniform proudly worn, she would "keep moving forward."
  • Perfect Complement to Part 7

    Part 8 "Iwo Jima" was the perfect complement to Part 7 "Pelelui Hills" as the stories of a leader's death were told from two very different perspectives. In Part 7, Sledge's leader Skipper was an opaque character. We didn't know much about him, except that he was calm and wise. Although his sudden death was a shock to Sledge and to us the audience, we didn't connect with Skipper like Basilone.

    Through previous episodes, we followed Basilone's journey from Guadal Canal to becoming a national hero. We saw him growing increasingly uncomfortable with selling war bonds and living the high life as a war hero. He wanted to help his fellow marines. And he finally did.

    He went to Camp Pendelton and trained a dozen marines, probably better than anyone else could. He passed on his experience from the battle field, like how to handle a hot machine gun and what to expect under fire. Then he shepherded them at Iwo Jima. He was calm and wise like Skipper, but we knew much more about Basilone as a person. He had a loving wife waiting for him back home. He also didn't have to be at Iwo Jima.

    When he finally succumbed to the improbable odds at Iwo Jima, I wasn't shocked. Instead I was sad and proud. What he did at Guadal Canal which earned him a medal, paled in comparison to his actions at Iwo Jima. He wasn't a gung-ho marine who tried to satisfy his ego. He was a marine who courageously sacraficed everything for his country.

    For those who watch war movies for the gore and action, I think you're missing the point. War isn't something to be glorified and get excited about. It is a necessary evil to be avoided at all cost. The Pacific is so far doing a fine job getting that point across.
  • part 8

    The Pacific was high on battle scenes today, like I had hoped for, but there was absolutely no story behind it. The narrator (Colin Hank's father) dubbed this the only battle that saw more US casualties than Japanese casualties, and yet the viewer did not see that come to fruition really. They just saw the same scenes of dying and fighting that they see every week.

    The show has not been very original, that is a given, but it is almost insulting to me as a viewer how dumbed down this series is. I can remember scenes from Generation Kill vividly, and that aired two years ago. In 2012 (provided the world doesn't end) will I be talking about any particular scene of The Pacific? I doubt it.

    I've liked two episodes out of the first eight. That doesn't even pass for an acceptable batting average in the MLB anymore.
  • tad improved, but still...

    Still cliche dialogues, still uninspired directing, still mediocre acting but at least this time I felt touched by Basilone's death.

    Keep in mind, I knew about his faith and I didnt expect his death scene would even make a difference.
    To my surprise I did cared about a character this time, Basilone and his lady that is even if their dialogues were trying hard to make me not to.

    On the other hand I am also surprised on how uninspired the creators seem to be.
    And vain. Vain, vain vain. They should just follow one main character in all 10 episodes and give it the chance to get developed.

    p.s. quiz: the soldier we see loosing his arm in every main battle is the same actor? maybe the same actor from the same "Private Ryan" scene? Do we lack inspiration here or the Matrix is malfunctioning?
    War is hell and I am sure we dont even see 1% of it on screen. But showing body parts and guts only it is sooo sooo "last year". I guess 25M can't buy you originality or emotions.