The Tragic Ballad of Willy T.

Timecode: 17:08 – 18:16

Who the fuck is PFC William T. Santiago?

by Mikey P.

Oh, Second Platoon Bravo, how can it be?
Y’all eat together ‘cept one poor PFC.
That sad boy, oh, poor Willy T.willy eats alone

He cried and he cried, but you ain’t heard his voice.
Kept lettin’ him cry, and you left him no choice.
Went and wrote ‘em a letter, said “please help me Sir!”
“I fall out on runs, and my vision done blur-ed.”
“It ain’t heat exhaustion; no, I fear it’s much more.”
“But my sergeant don’t listen, he’s all ‘bout the Corps.”
“I’m in need of relief, get me outta this place!”
“I’m Puerto Rican, not Cuban, just look at my face!”
“Y’all send me some help, and I’ll fo sho hook it up.”
“Cuz I done seen me a shootin’, and now I know wassup!”
“The bullet done flown right over the line.”
“And the man that done shot it, he’s one of our kind.”
“In exchange for my transfer, I’ll give ya his name.”
“I don’t care ‘bout no Code, I ain’t got no shame.”Willy's handwriting

But word of the letter, ‘twas bound to get out.
And next thing ya knew, Colonel Jessep did shout:
“Ship him off’a the base like some blouse-wearing queer¹?”
“No, sir, that ain’t right, ‘course I’m just spit-balling here…”
“The last time I checked, he’s a U.S. Marine.”
“So a transfer, while easy, ain’t really my scene.”
“We’re gonna train the lad, show him what’s what.”
“And if you should fail, Jon? It’s your throat that I’ll cut.”
“See, we follow orders, or people, they die.”
“So, when you’re done with young William, be sure he sees why.”Jessep incredulous

So, Kendrick went off, and he talked to his men.
Dawson took down his orders, then talked to Louden.
The next thing ya knew, Willy awoke with a fright.
And the Code Red was given ‘neath the cover of night.
They taped up his hands and stuffed a rag down his throat.
And with Willy’s condition, there was no antidote.WillyFallGIF

Oh, Second Platoon Bravo, how can it be?
Y’all killed one of your own, that poor PFC.
That sad boy, oh, poor Willy T.

* * *

Tragic poetry aside, there’s a nagging question that has to be answered before we can move on with our lives (and get to the best parts² of this movie):

Why in the fucking world did Santiago join the Marines in the first place?

One of my favorite Twitter³ follows, @SheaSerrano, always describes the best NBA players (like Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard, but definitely NOT LaMarcus Aldridge) with the phrase, “[So-and-so] is built for war.” Well, I don’t think you need me to tell you that Willy Santiago wasn’t built for a snowball fight, let alone war. So, how the hell did he end up enlisted in the world’s greatest killing machine?Santiago drill sargeant

As far as I can tell, there are only three plausible explanations (each of which conveniently parallel a Season 6, Game of Thrones’ storyline):

Explanation #1 (a.k.a. the Samwell Tarly parallel): He has an asshole, overbearing father, who forced him do it to “make a man out of him”.

Explanation #2 (a.k.a. the Tommen Baratheon parallel): He has/had an ass-kicking older brother (RIP Joffrey), who joined the Corps a few years back and ripped shit up, and he was trying to follow in his footsteps (but failed miserably).

Explanation #3 (a.k.a. the Arya Stark parallel): He endured a childhood fraught with abuse, neglect, and/or witnessing his father’s head being lopped off, and he was trying to take the power back.

Now, I know I’ve positioned myself as something of a Maester when it comes to all AFGM-related matters, but I’ll be honest: I don’t know which explanation is right here. To paraphrase the great Colonel Jessep: I’m an educated man, but I can’t speak intelligently about the psychological motivations of William Santiago.

All I can say is that, “Private Santiago is dead, and that is a tragedy. But he is dead because he had no Code. He is dead because he had no honor. And God was watching.”

Oh, wait, no. That wasn’t me. That was Kendrick. Shit, I guess it’s back to the drawing board…

…or I could write some more poetry. That was fun.


¹To be clear: that’s Jessep-speak (he is the movie’s villain, after all).
²i.e. Any and all scenes involving Jack Nicholson.
³Hey, while you’re thinking about Twitter, give us a follow!
Just like Sam’s dad forced him to join the Night’s Watch.

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