A Suncompass Guide to the Episodes

 

The Tug of War Raid

 

 

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Sergeant Troy:  Christopher George
Captain Dietrich:  Hans Gudegast
Sergeant Moffitt:  Gary Raymond
Hitchcock:  Larry Casey
Bo Randall:  Bo Hopkins

 
Guest Stars

Felicia:  Brioni Farrell
Papa Gaspard:  Michael Shillo
Lt. Pohl:  Murray Roman
Kindly Doctor: Guy Danfort

Produced by Jon Epstein
Directed by Jack N. Reddish  
Written by Mark Weingart. 
Running time:  about 24 minutes. 
Rated about PG-14 (for mature subject matter)

 

by Suncompass*

 

Once upon a time during the second world war in North Africa there was a sweet brave pretty French girl.

[SC: Oh boy, a fairy tale!]

The episode opens with Felicia and her Papa at a small church cemetery with flowers for dearly departed Mama.  Papa is worried about his work and his daughter.

[SC: At least Mama's been spared the German occupation and Papa's occupation. He's a hangman. Now, if only Papa could get work in town. But there probably isn't much call for his skills there. What could Felicia imagine that her father does for a living? Whatever it is that Papa tells her, it isn't that he is the hangman at the German camp.]

[SC: Keep an eye on the passage of time in this episode. It goes out of skew.].

Felicia declines the invitation from her father and fortuitously Papa hurries off, leaving a feverish-looking Felicia to do whatever it is she has to do that day.  In this case, it appears it is to go into the church to meet Troy in disguise and sporting the mandatory French beret in order to look suitably French.

[SC: Was Moffitt too tall for the role of Frenchman?  He already has his own beret and we soon learn he could say "Levez les mains!" if he were caught.  But that probably wouldn't impress the Germans a whole lot under the circumstances, would it. Apparently we shouldn't think too hard about what would happen if Troy were caught, and how hard it would be for him to convince anyone he's French - given he doesn't speak the language.]

"Do you have it?"
- Troy

 

 

 

"The microfilm is behind the mirror."
- Felicia

Troy sits next to Felicia in the otherwise empty church and gives her a typically Rat Patrol complex password: "Do you have it?"

[SC: "Have what?" Felicia replies sweetly with an innocent smile on her face. "A merry widow?"]
[Ed: Now, stop that, SC. We'll have none of that here.] 

And Felicia gives it to him. The locket with the microfilm, that is.  She doesn't know what it is all about but Troy decides to tell her something about what might be on the microfilm in the locket (something about infrared bombing or something suitably technical).

[SC: Do you think was that wise, Troy?] 

Then Troy looks out one window of the church and tells her that it looks clear for her to leave so she does, only to be nabbed immediately by the German soldiers just outside the door.

[SC: How did Troy miss seeing the Germans out there?  There must have been almost a half dozen in full uniform standing out in the open. Perhaps he missed the lesson at agent's school about looking in all directions before declaring it ‘safe'.  That must be it.]

"Because, Sergeant, an exposure of classified information rattling under my nose is very uncomfortable to me."
- Dietrich

 

"That's your problem, Captain."
- Troy

Troy does a bit of tricky escape dancing but the German's don't care for his steps and they clunk him on the head, knocking him down, and the precious locket falls unseen into an open grave nearby.  The Germans have got both Troy and Felicia and immediately whisk them off to a nearish German camp where Dietrich is in charge.

[SC: Do you suppose this is a promotion for Dietrich?  Not for long, I'm guessing.  By the end of the episode he's probably in the figurative dog house...again.  Say, that German compound looks awfully familiar although dressed up with palms.  Seen in The Do Re Mi Raid and Hickory Dickory Raid maybe?]

When Troy and Felicia arrive at the German camp, they get to see the hangman using the hanging scaffold.  The hangman (Felicia's Papa) isn't a man who enjoys his work, especially once he knows he will likely be expected to hang his own daughter.

 

"I want that film, man!"
- Dietrich

 

"Forgive me for laughing, Sergeant, but you remind me of a man leaping off a bridge, smiling as he falls - just to show how brave he is."
- Dietrich

 

 

"What is this world coming to?"
- Dietrich

 

 

 

"Oh, Gaspard, surprise me tomorrow, will you?  Show up sober."
- Dietrich

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"The only excitement in two hours was a hearse."
- Moffitt

One of Dietrich's big scenes.  Dietrich is most keen on getting the microfilm from Troy and even gets a bit red in the face over it.  "I want that film, man!"  But Troy is running true to character and being a tad recalcitrant on the whole film thing.   He doesn't seem really bothered by the fact that Dietrich is uncomfortable about the classified information having gone missing on his watch.  In any case Troy refuses to cooperate despite the fact that it means he will be hung the next day.

[SC: Dietrich said he'd hang Troy the next day. That could be important. Ever notice how Troy gets himself into terrible messes whenever he goes on his own to collect information?  Something similar happened when he went into a neutral town (where a shoeshine boy became a nuisance) to collect aerial photos.]

Next Dietrich scene [Ed note: Suncompass only saw this scene once and had to have it all explained to her.  Wonder if she got it straight.].  Dietrich and Troy are still busy discussing the microfilm or lack thereof.  Troy is still being difficult and Dietrich is still upset, but getting a grip on his anger.  Dietrich even manages to give a little bitter laugh at Troy being difficult, and makes a comment about Troy cutting off his nose to spite his face....hmmm...he doesn't use quite that analogy but essentially the same idea.  ‘Smile and be difficult all you like now, Troy, for tomorrow you hang for nothing,' is what it boils down to. 

Troy, still being difficult, is taken away to his cell.

Into Dietrich's office comes Papa, the hangman, for a few words from his boss, Dietrich, who is in a rather despondent mood.

[SC: Dietrich usually is after meeting with Troy]. 

Despite Dietrich's foul mood he is complimentary - mostly - of the hangman's work.  "Good job, hangman.  There's an art to hanging.  No one appreciates it or us.  What is the world coming to? You get to hang a woman in the morning. And by the way, don't come to work drunk."

Troy meanwhile stands in his cell watching more scaffold testing through the bars of his window while Felicia in another cell becomes more sick and collapses.

Once again back with the other Rat Patrol lads, they are still waiting for Troy to return with the microfilm. We see that someone other than Tully fills out the patrol foursome this time. Apparently the new fellow, Bo, is a frustrated barber in civilian life or he lied about his prowess with a straight razor because Hitch allows him to take just such a dangerous instrument to his lovely face for a shave.

[SC: And Hitch comes to regret this rash trust.]
[Ed: The management refuses to accept responsibility for bad puns made on the premises.].

 

 

"I guess I come a little too close."
- Bo

Moffitt, meanwhile, is so appalled at Bo's ineptitude at shaving that he takes possession of Bo's straight razor and won't give it back.

[SC: Maybe he was afraid Bo might take it to his lovely face and shave him too.]

There is a discussion amongst Moffitt, Hitch and Bo about where Troy is, for he is over an hour late and the only excitement they've had in two hours is a hearse passing by.  They seem bored.

[SC: Anyone knows that a hearse comes nowhere near to the entertainment value of Troy.]

Back at Troy's cell he's antsy for a cigarette so he bums one from the German soldier on guard.

[SC: Who said Troy couldn't speak German?  He knows ‘zigarette'. And notice that Troy still has his shoulder holster on!  Maybe you don't worry about  someone hanging themselves in their cell when they will be hung in the morning?]

 

 

Papa, the hangman, shows up to see Troy in his cell.

[SC: Papa probably came straight from Dietrich's office but that pep talk Dietrich gave him doesn't look to have cheered him up. Dietrich might need a refresher course in effective management techniques.]

Papa begs Troy to help save his daughter. Although this won't really help save Felicia, Troy, after assuring himself that Papa is indeed trustworthy, tells him where he can find the locket with the microfilm in it so Papa can get it to the Rat Patrol lads. The guard, who a moment earlier pretended not to understand English, clearly understands English spoken in hushed tones in the next room and reports all he hears about the locket and its whereabouts to his superior (Pohl).

[SC: scoundrel!]

Papa goes to the cemetery and has just dug up the locket when a German officer appears holding a gun on Papa and demanding the locket.  But Papa is a game fellow and takes on the armed officer.

[SC: Why didn't the officer take someone along with him in case he needed help getting the locket from Papa?]
[Ed: Because that would have ruined the rest of the episode, SC.]. 

Papa's feistiness is admirable but it gets Papa seriously shot.  He doesn't give up though and manages to get away in his old black car with the valuable locket.  He finds the rest of the patrol who are still fretting over Troy's absence. 

 

 

 

 

 

"Just enough time for him to do all the spadework."
- Lt. Pohl

[SC: How did Papa know where the rest of the patrol is waiting?  Troy must have told him. But if so, then the Germans heard where they were too.   One guesses then, that no one bothered to tell Dietrich or he'd have sent men to capture the rest of the patrol, don't you think? Dietrich's not an idiot. If he's been paying attention he'd know the others would be plotting to free Troy, and surely Dietrich would try to catch them first.]

Papa leaks a lot of blood - his shirt is rather red with it - but he gives Moffitt the locket, tells him where to find Troy, and that he was to hang Troy ‘this morning' at the German camp.  Then he promptly dies.

[SC: This morning?!  Papa was to hang Troy this morning?  Time has suddenly gone out of skew.    Is Papa confused?   Did he dig all night in the cemetery? But the shifty officer gave Papa only 30 minutes for spadework. Is this artistic license or did the editing staff get the bits of film in the wrong order? Being cynical, Suncompass expects it was the latter.]

Back at the German camp a kindly doctor arrives to see sick Felicia and diagnose her with malaria, then ooo and ahhh about how young she is.  She's only a child. Dietrich tells the doctor that the child will be hanged the next day. Too young to hang.  What a complete and total waste.  Tsk tsk.  Bad Troy not to save her.

"...Sergeant Troy....Alem Amzah...I was to hang him this morning."
- Gaspar (Papa)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"What a complete total waste."
- Dietrich

 

 

Meanwhile back with the lads and Papa's body ...Oho! What's this in the back seat of Papa's car?  A black hood with eye holes in it. Just the thing needed to free Troy.  A plot is evidently hatched.

Next scene: In broad daylight Moffitt tinkers under the car hood pretending to be having car trouble.

[SC: We know from another mission that he can change a lightbulb if he has to, but can he repoint the spark plugs?]

"Do you think maybe we could blitz him out?"
- Bo

Moffitt's ploy halts the hearse on its way to the German camp.  This is where Moffitt gets to show off his skills in French and then give Hitch instructions to hide the jeep, tie the two Frenchmen up and leave them water.

[SC: How can they drink it if they are all tied up? Can you imagine how hot those black suits they are all wearing might be?]

Moffitt tells Bo and Hitch to follow him in an hour.  He's wearing Papa's black suit so we can guess where he might be going.

[SC: Papa is about as tall as Troy so are those pants a comfortable fit for Moffitt?].

Moffitt drives off in the sun in Papa's black car with the blood spots on the upholstery.

[SC: hot hot hot! ick ick ick!].

"Levez les mains!"
- Moffitt

 

 

"Don't you think you're padding your part, Captain?"
- Troy

Meanwhile back at the German camp: Troy is taken to Felicia's cell to discuss the microfilm situation. Poor Felicia isn't feeling well but even with Dietrich's and the doctor's prodding she's a game little thing and refuses to give up the microfilm location

[SC: Aha! So the guard didn't tell Dietrich that one of the officers was getting the microfilm buried in the grave.  So much for devotion to one's commanding officer. Poor Dietrich. Conniving ambitious underlings]. 

Troy is willing to go along with whatever Felicia decides about the microfilm, so Dietrich tells him he has until daylight to change his mind and give up the location of the microfilm.

[SC: Hang on to your horses, Nelly belle! It must be night or approaching night in that scene.  But Moffitt just left in Papa's car on the way to the German camp and it was broad daylight .]

"Look, Sergeant! I don't know what they want out of you, but is it worth snuffing out two lives?" 
- kindly doctor

 

"Sergeant, I give you until daylight to change your mind."
- Dietrich

Next scene: The sun comes up (or goes down).

[SC: Nice touch, that shot of the sun, don't you think? Maybe they knew we would be all confused by the way time was unfolding and refolding and included that sunrise (or sunset) just to get time back on track.]

Moffitt arrives in daylight at the camp in Papa's car to do the morning hanging.

[SC: Bravo! Finally he arrives!  But where has he been all night?  Just driving around for fun because Bo won't ever let him drive?  In town enjoying the sites?  Getting lost on the back roads around the camp because he won't ask for directions? Just where has he been all night?]

Next scene: The stage is set. Dietrich has grimly met his prisoners one last time; Troy and Felicia are prepared for the final act, and drooping.

[SC: Felicia's drooping. Troy never droops.]

The prisoners are led up the stairs to the nooses, the hangman (Moffitt) has arrived in Papa's white shirt (sans blood stains) and full black suit, complete with hood, and is waiting for them at the top of the stairs.  Dietrich watches out the window as the hearse arrives with exquisite timing and bearing Hitch and Bo in their ‘borrowed' black suits.

From his pocket, Moffitt pulls the straight razor he took away from Bo and uses it to cut Troy's bonds, slipping him a revolver too.  Troy gets the message: 'This isn't the usual hangman we have here. Good old Papa must have come through.' Moffitt turns and scoops up Felicia while the others, looking all the world like gangsters, blast away at the surprised Germans.  No one seems more surprised than Dietrich.

[SC: Really, Dietrich, didn't you suspect anything? Obviously Dietrich hasn't been paying attention for the last 50 or so missions. I think they all look like gansters as they make their escape.]

Molotov cocktails hidden in the hearse finish up the job as the Rat Patrol and Felicia pile into it and tear out of the compound.  Dietrich  dives for cover.

Final scene: Troy bids the sick Felicia farewell as she is taken away in an ambulance.  He displays great sensitivity in not telling her what her Papa really did for a living. Instead he implies that her father's job was being a hero.

Troy appears amused at the razor cuts on Hitch's face

[SC: Probably after his close shave almost anything would amuse him.]

They then all pile into the jeeps and drive off.  Another mission successful!

[SC: And they all lived happily ever after!]

A last Suncompass timely word:  If the scene where Moffitt leaves for the German camp in Papa's black car had been put after the sun rising, instead of before, the temporal complaints Suncompass have would be somewhat reduced.  Not entirely fixed but improved.

Too much episode nitpicking for you?  Then be sure not to go to the Nit-Picker's Bunker.

*disclaimer:  With each airing of the Rat Patrol series it seemed a different editor took scissors to  the episodes to make room for ever more commercials.   Suncompass acknowledges that the version of any one episode that she has seen, and reviewed here, may not be identical to the one you may have seen.

The webmaster reminds that Suncompass has her own special way of viewing/interpreting anything Rat Patrol related.  The views expressed here by Suncompass are not necessarily those of the management....unless they happen to agree, of course.

 

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