The Liberator episode 2 recap – what happened in “One Word: Anzio”? Desperate measures.

November 11, 2020
Daniel Hart 0
Netflix, TV Recaps


“One Word: Anzio”¬†details the horror of war and how it can be peaceful one minute and severely violent the next.

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“One Word: Anzio”¬†details the horror of war and how it can be peaceful one minute and severely violent the next.

This recap of Netflix series The Liberator episode 2, “One Word: Anzio” contains significant spoilers.

We recapped every episode — check out the archive.

The opening

“One Word: Anzio” begins with Sparks in a control room. Suddenly, planes are heard overhead, and everyone gets under the table. Sparks is shaken as he’s interviewed — he states that their orders were to hold the Via Anziate. The start of the episode suggests something traumatic has happened to Sparks and his men.

Anzio, Italy — January 1944

Sparks’ squad was told to wait three weeks in Anzio and await orders. Three weeks was enough time to get comfortable after months of making loads of progress. The squad knew there was going to be some ruin, so they prepared. In the early morning, the squad is suddenly attacked by Germans with artillery — it’s a surprise attack. German soldiers descend, so they respond with their own artillery in a no man’s land area. The squad is outnumbered instantly. “One Word: Anzio” shows the true cost of World War Two — how a peaceful moment can suddenly descend into violent chaos.

Under arrest and offer of a surrender

While in cover, Captain Sparks is placed under arrest for violating a military code, and he’s asked to return to Naples. This is because he left the hospital when he wasn’t signed off to fight. However, with the chaos surrounding them, it’s a little absurd to arrest him. A German captain approaches captain Sparks, and they agree to a thirty-minute truce to remove the wounded — the German asks Sparks if they want to surrender as well. Sparks tells his squad that this is the only road to Anzio. The lieutenant trying to arrest him tells him he is staying as he has orders to bring Sparks back to Naples.

There’s plenty to unpack here; the squad are suffering from a German ambush, Sparks is apparently under arrest amongst all this, and a German soldier is asking if they want to surrender — this is a headache of all situations.

Falling back

After refusing to surrender, Captain Sparks and his squad continue to take on the Germans who are advancing. Eventually, they have to fall back to a place called “The Caves”. The squad knew they were on the verge of defeat and it was a matter of time.

A wounded soldier saves the day.

While trying to reach the river, they are placed in a bad position, and they have to surrender to German soldiers. Sparks wants his wounded to be treated, or he will not answer the questions. One of Sparks’ wounded men named Cooper manages to crawl from the river and shoot at the two Germans holding them captive — this helps them fight back and take the Germans hostage. Cooper bleeds out, but he saved them from being prisoners of war. This was really last-breath action, showing true desperation.

Rain and last legs

With the rain clamoring down on them, Sparks’ squad are on their last legs, battling the Germans as best they can. Crossing bridges and further sacrifices were made. Only a couple survived, but most of E Company were obliterated. We are back in the interview with Sparks with his superior, and he is devastated by what happened.

Searching hospital beds for survivors

Sparks checks out hospital beds and finds one of his men. He checks on the records of Childers, John A — he didn’t make it. The doctor tells him they are under pressure and bombardment from the enemy. Gomez is freaking out because Coldfoot is not getting the treatment he needs — Sparks tells the head doctor to treat him immediately. The doctor tells Sparks that he’s close to being arrested and court-martialed for insubordination. There’s plenty of trauma and frustration eking from Sparks as he heckles and shouts at the doctor; the pressure and the weight of loss have taken a toll on him.

The ending

Sparks sends a letter to Mary, and he’s in pain — he talks about how he has lost most of the men he has battled with. Captain Sparks answers to the charge by Lt Childers for going AWOL. Sparks explains that Childers voluntarily fought with his men. He describes him as an excellent soldier. Sparks’ charges are dismissed. In his letter to Mary, he’s wondering how he survived, but many with him didn’t — he expresses that he will never forget Anzio.

The Liberator episode 2 details the horror of war and how it can be peaceful one minute and severely violent the next. The episode does well to present Sparks’ trauma and his inability to process his losses.

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