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During World War II, a young gung ho American Lieutenant sets his sights on defeating a sickly, injured group of Japanese soldiers held up in a cave. Suddenly, the Lieutenant finds himself as a young Japanese soldier ordered to massacre a group of Americans, stuck in the same situation.
It's August 6, 1945, and in the last days of World War II in the Philippines a platoon of American troops observes for a mortar attack against Japanese soldiers holed up in a cave for two days. Sgt. Causarano calls into headquarters to note that the bombardment is doing no good and to recommend they bypass the cave. He reports to the tired men that HQ may give the order to bypass later that day, and they hope that they won't be called on to storm the enemy soldiers. However, HQ sends a gung ho Lt. Katell to take command of the platoon. Katell orderes a frontal assault but Causarano warns against it as the other soldiers grumble. One of the soldiers, Watkins, is particularly disgruntled and Katell orders the men to shape up. Causarano interrupts his tirade and Katell confirms his orders. The sergeant advises him to remove his insignia so the Japanese won't target him as an officer. He then suggests that they wait the Japanese out and Katell considers his advice, but decides to go with an assault. Causarano observes that the lieutenant has only been on the battlefield a short time and hasn't been shot at yet or shot at anyone. Katell is eager to kill Japanese and tells Watkins to clean up his weapon. When Katell snaps at the men, Watkins says they've had enough of killing and Katell storms off to observe the cave...Read the full recap
Dean Stockwell later starred in Quantum Leap in which his co-star, Scott Bakula's character leaped with other people lives, as Stockwell's character did here.
This episode also has a similar premise to another Twilight Zone episode, "Judgment Night."
Leonard Nimoy is best known as Mr. Spock from Star Trek.
This is the second of three appearances for Albert Salmi having appeared in "Execution" earlier and "Of Late I Think of Cliffordville" in season 4.
J. H. Fujikawa was also in ''To Serve Man.''
Narrator: It's August, 1945, the last grimy pages of a dirty, torn book of war. The place is the Philippine Islands. The men are what's left of a platoon of American Infantry, whose dulled and tired eyes set deep in dulled and tired faces can now look toward a miracle, that moment when the nightmare appears to be coming to an end. But they've got one more battle to fight, and in a moment we'll observe that battle. August, 1945, Philippine Islands. But in reality it's high noon in the Twilight Zone.
Andrew J. Watkins: Lieutenant, we're about 24 months up on you. Now we've seen enough dead men to last us the rest of our lives. The rest of our lives and then some. Now you got a big yen to do some killing, okay, we'll do some killing for you. But don't ask us to stand up and cheer.
Sgt. Causarano: What's your pleasure, Lieutenant? How many men have to die before you're satisfied?
Lt. Katell: Off hand, all of them. No matter who they are or where they are. If they're the enemy they get it. First day of the war or last day of the war, they get it.
Narrator: 'The quality of mercy is not strained, it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.' Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, but applicable to any moment in time, to any group of soldiery, to any nation on the face of the Earth - or, as in this case, to the Twilight Zone.