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Recap / Band Of Brothers S 1 E 7 The Breaking Point

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Episode 7 - The Breaking Point:

The January 3rd barrages and January 9th shelling marked the low point for the men in E Company. Even then, very few actually broke. But I knew the terror and pressure we'd been under could take their toll. I was afraid the men would lose focus, suffer a drop in morale. And that was dangerous, especially in combat. More of which lay in store for us.
Carwood Lipton

"The Breaking Point" is the seventh episode of Band of Brothers. Narrated by 2nd Lt Carwood Lipton, Easy Company's occupation of Bastogne gets progressivelyworse. Many casualties result from enemy attacks, not helped by the actions of the incompetent Lt Dike. Things don't get any better when Easy Company march on thetown of Foy. Needless to say, this is the biggest WHAM Episode of the series.

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"It's called 'wounded'. Injured is when you fall out of a trope or something":

  • An Arm and a Leg: Toye and later Guarnere each get a leg blown off.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Lt Speirs 'relieving' Lt Dike of command. See Refuge in Audacity below. Winters wants to do this during Foy, but has to be ordered not to by Col Sink.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Discussed about Lt Shames, where Winters says he has No Indoor Voice.
    Winters: He's seen too many war movies. He thinks he has to yell all the time.
  • Break the Badass: Happens to Buck Compton, and he's pulled off the line.
  • Break the Cutie: Malarkey loses his five best friends in the company over the course of the episode, leaving him almost completely broken.
  • Broken Bird:
    • Malarkey by the end. He's not even seen in the church afterwards.
    • Lipton has to send one of the soldiers to the infirmary when he catches the terrified man digging obsessively to the point his fingernails were gone.
  • Call-Back:
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    • When Webb asks whether the company vets have been injured in combat, Skip tells him about all of the wounds they've suffered, most of which were seen in previous episodes.
    • The ending title cards of the last episode stated that no member of the 101st ever agreed with the notion that they needed to be rescued by General Patton. In this episode, Toye tells a film crew who asked him how it felt to be rescued by Patton that they didn't need to be rescued by him.
  • Cigarette of Anxiety: Luz lights one after a shell falls into his foxhole and doesn't go off. Lipton has one as well, even though he doesn't smoke.
  • Cerebus Call Back: Hoobler's desire to see a Luger from the first episode, and Malarkey's desire to get one in the second. Hoobler gets one and is killed when it goes off. Malarkey is given it as a souvenir to try and console him.
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  • Darkest Hour: There's a reason this episode is called "The Breaking Point".
  • A Day in the Limelight: For Carwood Lipton.
  • Death by Irony: Hoobler dies when the Luger he's been wanting goes off.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Three named and developed characters sadly go out this way - Hoobler, Muck and Penkala.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Dike has "Foxhole Norman" due to constantly staying in his foxhole during battles.
  • Friendship Moment: Subverted. Dike starts talking to Lipton conversationally, but walks away before it's finished.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Buck Compton, resulting in him being pulled off the line.
    • Luz after witnessing two men's deaths in front of his eyes.
    • Malarkey after his friends are killed.
  • Humble Hero: Speirs congratulates Lipton on being there for the men when Dike wasn't, talking about how they view him as a Team Mom figure. Lipton has no idea what Speirs is talking about.
  • Ironic Death: Hoobler finally gets a Luger after wanting one for the entire war. It then goes off in his pants and severs the main artery in his leg, causing him to bleed to death.
  • Irony: Muck and Penkala are calling for Luz to join them in their foxhole during the barrage. They get hit before Luz can get there, and he survives.
  • Kicked Upstairs: Nixon is nearly given this but turns it down, and chooses Peacock for it instead. The rest of the men are glad to see him go - both because of his general ineptitude and he's a genuinely Nice Guy. This is also Dike's fate after Foy, though the episode doesn't state it.
  • Laughing Mad: Lipton is actually laughing during the first set of bombings. His narration says that he was reminded of 4th of July fireworks.
  • Machiavelli Was Wrong: Defied by Speirs, who alludes to allowing the rumours about him to spread - and using the fear of him to inspire respect - for this very reason.
  • Major Injury Under Reaction: Guarnere still makes wise cracks while he's laying in the snow with his leg blown off.
  • Mauve Shirt: Hoobler, who dies in the first few minutes.
  • Oblivious to His Own Description: While they rest in the church, Spiers talks with Lipton about the leader Easy Company has had since Winters was promoted. This leader made sure the men were ready and in fighting shape, helped raise moral and discouraged anything that would hinder it. Lipton is confused and Spiers has to outright tell Lipton he is talking about him.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • Lipton, a non-smoker, shares a cigarette with Luz. After the attacks are over.
    • Later on, he goes to Winters to tell him that he thinks Dike will get everybody killed during the attack on Foy the next day, something that you're not supposed to do in the military.
  • Pet the Dog: Speirs does this to Lipton at the end, congratulating him on keeping the men together.
  • Put on a Bus: Joe Toye and Bill Guarnere after they lose a leg each. This marks their final appearances in the series.note  Buck Compton gets pulled off the line too but comes Back for the Finale. To a different extent, Lt Peacock who is reassigned back to the USA before all the killing happens.
  • Reckless Gun Usage/ Pants-Positive Safety: Poor Hoobler.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Speirs runs right into Foy, past the Germans without getting shot at first. Lipton's narration theorizes that they didn't shoot because they couldn't believe what they were seeing.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Penkala and Webb.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Turns out that Skip Muck was this. Out of every character that dies in the series, he's the one with the most screen time and focus (especially in this episode).
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Dike says he's going for help but it's really this.
  • Sergeant Rock: Lipton's role in this episode.
  • Shot in the Ass: Perconte marks the last person this happens to in the series.
  • Snow Means Death:
    • Truth in Television since it was one of the coldest Januarys in the history of Bastogne. But many soldiers are killed, though none of them by the cold itself.
    • Inverted with Guarnere and Toye. The cold temperature actually caused their blood to congeal and prevented them from bleeding to death when their legs got blown off.
  • Survival Mantra: When Toye realizes his leg has been blown off, he tries desperately to get to safety before another round of artillery comes in. First as he's dragging himself through the snow, and later as Guarnere is pulling him, he keeps repeating, "I gotta get up" and "I gotta get my helmet." Guarnere even tells him to forget about it shortly before the second round comes in that hits them both. He was likely in shock or trying to stem off shock at that point.
  • To Absent Friends: The final scene takes place in a church. Lipton narrates the list of Easy Company men who perished in the attacks or else were pulled off the line for whatever reason, and each corresponding men fades from the scene. When he's done, the church looks far emptier than it did before.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Malarkey keeps Skip Muck's rosary beads after he's killed. He's also given Hoobler's Luger as a gift for his brother.
  • Villainous Breakdown: If you consider Dike a villain, then he definitely has one during the attack on Foy.
  • WHAM Episode: Three notable character deaths, many others, two gruesome injuries and one broken badass? You bet that's a check.
    • Highlighted by the final scene in the church as Easy Company finally gets some rest. Lipton sees the whole company in his mind's eye, and then each person disappears as he remembers what happened to him. At the end of the scene, a once-full church is now half-empty.
  • While Rome Burns: See Laughing Mad above for Lipton.
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