This week, I finally saw the value of the opening narrative with Tom Hanks interspersed with interviews with the World War II veterans. They're presented to offer background information for the events to come. Most of us have never seen anything like the war in the Pacific, so we wouldn't know about things like the intricate tunnels the Japanese used on Peleliu.
By having Hanks and the vets fill us in before the drama begins, they don't have to worry about unnecessary exposition within the episode to make sure we understand what's going on. That way, the writers can keep the dialogue as realistic as possible. After all, the men hardly knew what was going on when they first got there so I doubt they'd stop and explain in detail about how many tunnels the Japanese were holed up in within the mountains.
There was a nice parallel with the beginning and ending scenes of the marines coming back into base camp. When Sledge and company were heading out, we got to see the First Marines coming in, battered and severely injured. It was a startling contrast to the fresh marines heading into the mountains, and yet when Sledge returned, his group looked virtually identical.
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