LT. Hanley is wounded and goes to the hospital. He is replaced by the tough and unpleasant Lt. Douglas that commands Saunders and his squad by the book. They are assigned to meet a Maquis and blow off a bridge that is the escape route of the Germans. Douglas' attitudes affect the whole squad and endangers the mission. What is the secret of Lt. Douglas? Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
"Command" is an episode of what happens when book learned individuals get promoted to their levels of incompetence without the necessary combat experience. Lieutenant Douglas (well played by Joseph Campanella) is assigned to lead the squad after Lieutenant Hanley is injured. His orders are to blow a bridge in conjunction with a French underground fighter. Douglas compulsively does everything by the book and in so doing throws the entire squad off balance. He makes numerous mistakes along the way and tries to pawn off the blame on Sergeant Saunders when things go entirely wrong. The big question is why he acts this way? It's interesting to compare Douglas' management style with modern times; he's the micro-manager personified, unable to delegate authority. And when lives are at stake, one can understand the horror stories that abound from war.
Dialog is excellent between Saunders and Douglas and the sergeant's immense leadership skills shine through in his performance. Sometimes being an outstanding leader is far more than just giving orders. One must question bad calls when so many lives are at stake.
I'm critical of the first time Lieutenant Douglas takes the point and the Germans open fire on him. At that range, considering the fire power, it would have been impossible to miss. Director McEveety needed to figure a better way of getting the Lieutenant pinned down.
I'm also critical of the German hand grenade scene in the farm house - much to planned and spontaneous - not realistic.
I do however like the combat scenes in general which are a specialty trait of Director McEveety, especially at night when the firepower flash is clearly evident.
I can understand the bridge blowing scene being duplicated from a previous episode because it was not the point of the whole story.
In the end we learn why Lieutenant Douglas acted as he did and there is forgiveness amongst the squad members. Given everything that's happened, I think it's frightening someone like Douglas would remain a combat Lieutenant in the field.
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