As Blake dies, he tells Schofield to continue on without him, insisting that Schofield will recognize his brother once he reaches the second battalion. "He looks like me, and he's a bit older," Blake says. Suddenly, Blake gets confused and does not know why he is bleeding. Schofield reluctantly tells him that he's dying. Blake asks Schofield to write to his mother for him and tell her he was not scared. Schofield tells him he is going to go on by himself and give the message to the Second Devons, as Blake dies.
Schofield drags Blake's body over to another place, as two British soldiers emerge and offer to help. They lay him down as a general, Smith, asks Schofield what he is doing. Schofield tells him he must deliver a message to the Second Devons just beyond Écoust, and Smith tells him they are going through Écoust and can take him with them.
Smith tells Schofield that the Newfoundlands have requested reinforcements, which is where his men are headed. "May I tell you something that you probably already know? It doesn't do to dwell on it," Smith tells Schofield about the loss of Blake.
Schofield climbs into a truck with a number of other soldiers. "Welcome aboard the night bus to fuck-knows-where," one of the soldiers says to him as they drive away. When the truck gets stuck in the mud, Schofield jumps out and tries to help, but it does not work. He orders everyone to get out and they try and push the truck to get out of the mud. They eventually get it out of the mud and climb back on.
On the truck, the other soldiers ask him what he's doing and he explains. "You'll never make it," one of them says, to which Schofield responds, "Yes I will." They all look at the wreckage surrounding them—Germans have machine-gunned cows in the surrounding area. The men talk about how ruthless the Germans are, as the truck comes to a halt once again.
Schofield hops off and continues on alone. Before Schofield leaves, Smith tells him that Mackenzie is someone who would rather fight than follow orders, and advises Schofield to have a witness when he delivers the message. Schofield embarks, trying to jump across a destroyed bridge, when guns begin firing at him. He climbs the stairs on the other side, frightened, and begins shooting at the enemy.
He runs towards the structure in search of the enemy, and walks into its dark stairwell. At the top of the stairs, he opens a door and shoots, before falling backward down a few of the stairs. Schofield awakens later to water dripping on his head. When he looks out the window nearby, he sees that the surrounding town is on fire. Germans begin shooting at him and he makes a run for it.
The stabbing that Blake endures kills him almost immediately. Unable to move and bleeding out, he cries to Schofield as he realizes he is dying, and tells him to write to his mother and father and tell them what happened. Schofield promises to Blake that he will continue on in their mission and make sure the message gets to his brother's battalion. It is a tragic death sequence, especially considering it follows a scene of brotherhood and togetherness between the two men. The film shows the ways that these two young men have their whole lives ahead of them, only to have one of them die.
After embarking on the journey alone, Schofield suddenly finds himself in the company of another group of British soldiers who are traveling towards Écoust and offer to bring him along. Just when he has lost his best friend, Schofield encounters people who can help him. General Smith orders him to come with him, as Schofield looks at the lifeless body of his friend, shocked. Without Blake by his side, Schofield is even more motivated to continue on and fulfill the mission.
Schofield is not given very much time to emotionally process the loss of his friend. No sooner has he left Blake's body behind that General Smith gives him some unsolicited and rather chilly advice. Pulling Schofield aside, he tells him, "I'm sorry about your friend. May I tell you something that you probably already know? It doesn't do to dwell on it." Schofield suddenly finds himself on a mission he did not want to go on, without his companion, and without a sympathetic ear. As he sits on the truck to Écoust, he wears an expression of hopelessness and disillusionment.
After a brief time with other soldiers, Schofield must continue on alone, as the bridge they meant to cross has been destroyed. He gets some advice from Smith about dealing with Mackenzie, the officer at the Second Battalion, then goes on his way, seeking to cross a river as gunshots burst out around him unexpectedly. Schofield's path remains treacherous every step of the way, with hardly a moment's respite, as the window for him to deliver his message becomes narrower and narrower.
The film has a consistent eerie and dramatic quality to it, in part because of the story itself, but in large part due to the visual and musical landscape that director Sam Mendes creates, as well. The score, by Thomas Newman, is consistently ominous, reflecting the ways that Schofield never quite knows what is lurking around the corner. Additionally, the use of light and color reflects the more suspenseful elements of the plot. After Schofield is knocked unconscious after shooting at the German sniper, the screen is filled with darkness, and he awakens moments later in the low light of the building. Outside, fires rage, and he makes his way through the shadows, trying to remain as discreet as possible in enemy territory.