Notes
From the Underground
(Episode 2)

Notes From the Underground - Goldman and Anderson in the tunnels.
  • Guest Stars: James Max, Alfie Wise, Clyde R. Jones
  • Story by:  Bill L. Norton
  • Directed by: Bill L. Norton
Synopsis: The Vietnam War was the longest war in American history.

While out on patrol, Second Squad is ambushed by the enemy. The attacking NVA retreat, heading in Goldman's direction and Anderson orders a hasty ambush be set up. Unfortunately, no one lets Goldman's men know that Second Squad was chasing the NVA down, and Myron's men nearly kill their buddies when they come running into the clearing. The NVA that they were chasing had simply disappeared.

Wallace and FergusonWallace comes in, finding out what happened as the wounded and dead are being evaced out. It is suggested that they check out a nearby village to see what it holds. Spreading out through what appears to be an abandoned village, Taylor startles everyone when he starts shooting into a hootch. Goldman gets into it with Taylor about scaring the hell out of everyone, Taylor not backing down and mouthing right back to Goldman. Anderson gets between the two men, telling Taylor to leave and for Goldman to forget it. Myron is furious, still clearly at odds with Anderson. Everyone else continues to search the village.

While taking a break and eating some c-rats, Baker ends up the source of amusement when a pig gets into some of his dietary supplement and takes off with it. He eventually catches the pig, but the entire platoon comes under fire again. Taylor ends up wounded, taking a shot across the side of his neck. Trying to crawl to safety, he is instead knocked unconscious and taken captive by the NVA. The brief firefight is over as suddenly as it had begun, everyone realizes that Taylor has gone missing and Goldman orders the area searched for the young man. When Taylor is not found, Johnson becomes upset, Anderson assuring him that they will find his friend.

RuizRuiz, while bragging to Horn, sits down on some boards and ends up with a nail in his backside. Horn pulls the board with the nail off of the shouting Ruiz, and realizes he is looking at the entrance to a tunnel. After Anderson tosses in a grenade, he asks for two men to go down inside. Clyde volunteers, wanting payback for his friends who were just recently killed and Anderson sends Ruiz with him. Once down in the tunnels, Clyde goes to climb down to the next level and ends up being viciously and repeatedly piked by an NVA. Ruiz, horrified, is unable to help his buddy and ends up climbing back topside, sobbing it was horrible and he couldn't get his friend out. Doc Matsuda goes in and eventually they get Clyde out, but he is badly wounded.

Anderson volunteers to go down by himself, saying he had done tunnels before in III Corps. Goldman refuses to let him go down alone but no one will volunteer to go with Anderson. Wallace arrives, suggests they use gas and hands the canister to Goldman.

Taylor is below in the tunnels, water being poured on his face as an NVA officer demands information of him. Taylor insists he has no information and eventually the officer knocks him unconscious. He then orders the doctor they have with them to start treating Taylor.

Anderson and GoldmanGoldman decides he is going with Anderson down in the tunnels, but Anderson tries to dissuade him. The two end up arguing over attitude and who's in charge. Disgusted, Goldman stomps off, grabs his revolver and climbs into the tunnels. Anderson sighs and follows, the two continuing to snipe at each other down below. While negotiating the tunnels, Anderson spots a snake. Myron jumps back in time to avoid being bit by the poisonous viper, but he's clearly afraid of the snake. Anderson realizes that Goldman is terrified, and offers to take care of it, but Goldman refuses and finally gathers enough courage to kill it. He then tells Anderson he's been afraid of snakes ever since he was little.

The Vietnamese doctor continues to treat Taylor, curious about the black man, and the two begin to form a friendship with each other when the doctor protects him from further harm from the angry NVA officer.

Goldman and Anderson continue to negotiate the tunnels, when they reach a trap door. A grenade is tossed down at them, Goldman throwing it far enough down the tunnel to save them as Anderson shoots his way up through the trap door, shouting in fury: "I'm the nightmare your mamma warned you about!" Both men set chase after the NVA, exchanging fire. They end up in a room filled with ammunition, though, and a shot sets the whole thing off, burying the two men in a cave-in. When the dust clears, Goldman realizes Anderson is unconscious and half-buried. Panicking, Myron quickly digs Anderson out, and revives him, saving Anderson's life. Relieved the sergeant was going to be all right, and a bit overwhelmed, Goldman dissolves into laughter, unable to stop.

Baker and Stone (tunnel rat)Topside, Goldman's men watch with amusement and curiosity when the Tunnel Combat Specialists (Tunnel Rats) arrive. Below, Goldman and Anderson try to dig out, and Myron asks about Anderson and why he was on his third tour. They eventually break through enough to get some air, and the tunnel rats arrive to help get them out. But the tunnel rats trip a wire and end up either dead or badly wounded, leaving Anderson and Goldman still trapped.

Later, the doctor informs Taylor that his friends had been defeated, killed in a cave-in. Taylor refuses to believe him. Eventually, Anderson and Goldman get free and help to bring the wounded and dead tunnel rats topside. Wallace, disgusted with the entire situation, decides to cut his losses and orders the platoon to leave the village. When the NVA below realize they have won and the Americans are leaving, they start to rejoice and decide they will ambush them outside the village. The NVA officer then orders the doctor to take Taylor above and kill him.

Once outside, Taylor begs for his life as the doctor struggles with not wanting to kill him. The NVA officer arrives, and tries to take the gun away from the doctor. All three men grapple for a moment before the doctor is accidentally shot and Taylor secures the gun. Killing the officer, he then watches the doctor die before he sets off to try and save his buddies from the ambush. Taylor arrives in time to fire shots and shout a warning to his friends, saving their lives. Goldman's men drive back the NVA successfully.

Anderson and TaylorLater, back at the village, Ruiz roasts the pig and the men enjoy the fresh meat. Johnson takes a slice over to Anderson and Goldman, offering it to the L-T. Myron waves it away, saying "Oy" and walks back to his men. Anderson takes the meat and goes over to Taylor, who has just finished burying the doctor. Taylor then explains to Anderson the doctor was a good man.

ToD Advisor's Episode Notes: The actual title for this show came from a Dostoyevsky novel titled "Notes from Underground." The "inspiration" for "Notes from the Underground" was a book called "The Tunnels of Cu Chi" by Tom Mangold and John Penycate. This was a very popular book in Hollywood circles when it came out (1985). Even people I knew who had no interest in the war read it. Besides "Tour", it was the basis for a sequence in the movie "Casualties of War." The writers (or I) often included some little thing for the veterans to relate to, and in "Notes" this was Ruiz chanting a little ditty, "Yea though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I shall fear no evil because I am the toughest M__F__ in the Valley!” Before he reaches the profane line, he trips over the tunnel entrance. I provided the "Tunnel Rat" insignia the three "rats" wear on their uniform pockets. I have no idea where (what unit) the real 196th Brigade got its "Tunnel Rats" from, or whether they had an insignia, but I found a patch in a junk bin in a NYC flea market and modified it for the show. I sent it off to the costumers and they copied it.

Worth another look: While down in the tunnels, Zeke realizes a snake is about to bite Goldman and warns him. Myron jumps back in time, but is clearly terrified of the viper. Struggling with his fears, he's determined to kill the snake, even after Zeke offers to do it for him.
Music:
  • For What It's Worth- Buffalo Springfield.   When Wallace meets up with Goldman and Anderson, and then as they enter the abandoned ville.
  • Wipe Out- The Surfaris.  When Baker chases the pig around the ville, his buddies laughing at him.
  • Reach Out (I'll Be There)- the Four Tops.   When Ruiz starts serving the roast pig and Anderson talks to Taylor, and continues over the last scene of the men walking silhouetted against the sunset.
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