Monday, March 9, 2009

Episode 9 - Henry, Please Come Home

Season 1, Episode 9: Henry, Please Come Home
Original Air Date: 11/19/72
Written by: Laurence Marks
Directed by: William Wiard

In the O.R., there's a dust-up when Frank is rude to Nurse Ginger Bayliss, and Hawkeye and Trapper call him out on it, in front of the rest of the staff.

After surgery, Frank insists Ginger should be formally reprimanded, and Hawkeye and Trapper yell at him all over again. Henry calms everything down, but warns them that they have to try and get along with Frank, in case, someday, Henry isn't there to fix everything.

Not too long after, Gen. Hammond arrives to bestow a commendation (4th class) on Henry, now that the 4077th has achieved a 90% efficiency rating, the highest of any MASH unit in Korea.

Along with the commendation, Henry is transferred to Tokyo, where he'll be teaching. Hawkeye, Trapper, and Radar are stunned--and even more stunned when they realize that Frank is now in charge!

Under the command of Burns, the place becomes a nightmare--he changes everyone's duties and schedules, shuts down doctors' still, and insists on other Army formalities--morning reveille, calisthenics, the whole bit.

This forces Hawkeye, Trapper, Radar, Spearchucker, Ugly John, Ho-John, and Boone to try and figure out what to do with Frank. Suggestions like having him transferred, getting him on the operating table, and even pushing in front of a moving chopper blade are all offered.

But Hawkeye realizes the answer is Henry--they need Henry back!

They take a trip to Tokyo to hang out with Henry, who is enjoying himself immensely. They try and guilt him into coming back, but he won't do it (why would he?).

The part of their plan that works is when they have Radar fake a serious illness, something they can't quite diagnose. Henry is concerned enough to come back to the 4077th to help out, and his arrival is less than welcomed by Frank.

After a cursory examination, Henry suggests exploratory surgery on Radar, which catches everyone by surprise. As they try and talk him out of it, Frank and Henry get into an argument. In a careless moment, Radar offers to place a call to Gen. Hammond for Henry, leaping out bed in the process.

The whole sham revealed, Henry demands to know what's going on. Hawkeye admits it was all a plan to get Henry back, and out of the hands of Burns. Henry, against all his better judgment, agrees to return to commanding the 4077th.

Later, Henry interrupts a poker game in The Swamp. He tells everyone that things are going to be stricter, more serious from now on, but when he accepts the martini offered him and pulls up a chair at the poker table, everyone can see things are back to normal.

Fun Facts: M*A*S*H as a series was never all that concerned with episode-to-episode continuity, but there are moments when CBS' habit of showing the shows wildly out of order really becomes apparent--Spearchucker and Ugly John return, after being gone for several episodes. In addition, General Hammond is back, even though we've already seen General Barker and General Clayton appear.

In addition, the character of Boone is part of Hawkeye's informal gang, played by actor Robert Gooden. This was a character from the movie, and it didn't take long for the show's producers and writers to figure out the series didn't need to retain so many of the movie's characters. He would make only one more appearance in the series.

In the scene where Frank angrily confronts Henry about reprimanding Ginger Bayliss, Hawkeye says: "You're kidding, doctor--and I only call you that because it always gets a laugh."

At that moment, the laugh track kicks in, thereby delivering the exact thing that Hawkeye just mentioned, as if there are bleachers of people at the 4077th watching all this. A truly Dada-esque moment on the show.

Favorite Line: When Ugly John's suggestion of getting rid of Frank via the operating table is met with comments like "You're not very imaginative, Ugly John", his matter-of-fact response is: "Huh, never claimed to be!"I know it doesn't read that funny, but there's something about John Orchard's delivery that makes me laugh every time.

There's also a nice moment, at the end, when Henry sits down to play poker with the guys. He plops down next to Radar and puts his arm around him, amid all the chatter of the characters. A sweet bit of business between McLean Stevenson and Gary Burghoff.


Anonymous said...

Hey, rob!, I think you should know there are different ranks of general. For example, general Hammond was a brigadier general.

Anonymous said...

This is the episode that made me hate the military in the first place. Discipline, I'm okay with if it is deserved. However, the way the military treats the soldiers more like figures and dogs than humans really makes me mad. I hope I'm never drafted.

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