HOLLYWOOD —Sunday night’s episode of “The Pacific” started on a high note. Finally enlisted as a Marine, Sledge (Joe Mazzello) trained for combat at Camp Elliott. Mazzello is incredible in the role as the young Sledge. The 1st Marine Division landed at Cape Gloucester on the Japanese-held island of New Britain. As Leckie (James Badge Dale) and the other Marines battled the Japanese, they quickly realize that the more ominous enemy is the smothering jungle itself. The way the miniseries is depicted leaves nothing to the imagination, and that is obviously a good thing in this case. The viewer finds him or herself engulfed with the lives of these young men who prove each Sunday why WWII veterans are considered the greatest generation.

Having survived Gloucester and stationed on the godforsaken island of Pavuvu, Leckie began displaying the physical and mental effects of combat and is sent to a naval hospital on nearby Banika for psychiatric observation. I found myself clutching the sofa when the hospital scenes were playing out. The effects of war obviously are great, however, James Badge Dale as Leckie is an amazing actor who can show so many emotions on his face while still looking as if it’s natural for him. Each episode is more engrossing than the last.

When Emmy season is around, Dale is an obvious choice as the lead actor nominee for this series. The episode was written by Robert Schenkkan and Graham Yost, also directed by Graham Yost.

Catch the next episode on Sunday night at 9-10 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.

Photograph courtesy: David James/HBO