Thursday, April 9, 2009

Episode 34 - The Sniper

Season 2, Episode 34: The Sniper
Original Air Date: 11/17/73
Written by: Richard M. Powell
Directed by: Jackie Cooper

All seems normal at the 4077th--Hawkeye has a picnic date with a new nurse, Lt. Marquette (Teri Garr!), Trapper, sick with a cold, washes his socks, and Frank and Hot Lips are out in the hills doing target practice.

As Hawkeye leans in for a kiss with Lt. Marquette, a shot is fired, nearly hitting them. Hawkeye tells her to stay down while he runs after Frank, assuming it was his gun. Frank says he hasn't fired yet, but Hawkeye doesn't believe him.

He changes his mind however when more bullets start to fly--all over the camp, causing everyone to run for cover. Henry and Radar are stranded in the shower.

Henry "volunteers" Radar to run to the office and call for help, but a series of shots has him running all over the compound, driving him back into the showers.

With Henry stuck in the showers, Frank takes charge, sort of. No one listens to him, so all the decisions end up being made by Hawkeye. Trapper calls HQ for help, but they are told they're on their own until tomorrow.

To make matters worse, casualties arrive. How are they going to get the wounded inside without being shot?

Hawkeye says the only solution is to surrender, a suggestion Frank and Hot Lips rail against. But Henry ends up agreeing with Hawkeye, since more wounded are planned to arrive. Hawkeye and Trapper out with a white flag.

While waving it, they get the wounded inside. But the sniper starts firing again, and knocks out the 4077th's generator.

Without power, they perform surgery, and try and round up enough food and water for them all.

At night, Hawkeye continues to schmooze Lt. Marquette, and Hot Lips strongly suggests that if the 4077th had a "real man", he would go out and do something about the sniper.

Later, Hawkeye goes to get Frank, and notices he's gone. He goes outside looking for him, only to find Frank sitting in a corner, petrified.

Then both of them hear a noise. Thinking its the sniper, Hawkeye talks Frank into following him into the Mess Tent in attempt to catch him.

The plan works, except its not the sniper--its Radar, who is so hungry he was willing to risk his life for a Ketchup on Rye ("With butter and lettuce!", Radar adds).

The next morning, a chopper arrives, and a sharpshooter fires at the sniper with a hail of bullets. Hawkeye volunteers to go look for him, and finds the sniper--practically a kid--lying wounded in the brush.

Later, we learn that the sniper was separated from his unit, and he was cold and hungry, half out of his mind. He thought the 4077th was MacArthur's headquarters, leading Hawkeye and Trapper to dress up a sleeping Frank with sunglasses and a corncob pipe so they'll have a MacArthur to pay him a bedside visit.

Fun Facts: During Radar's scene being shot at, just as he reaches the Shower Tent, he drops his towel, and for a half-second you see his naked butt. How did the censors let that one by?

After the last of the wounded are brought in, the sniper fire starts again. Hawkeye begins to grab the door to the office and close it, and off-screen you hear Trapper yell "Hold it! Hold it! Hold it!" so its not closed before he gets in.

The tone of Wayne Rogers voice, and the fact that Hawkeye would not purposely do that to Trapper, makes me think this was a mistake on Alda's part, and Rogers just ad-libbed and went with it.

Favorite Line: Henry, mulling over whether to surrender: "Look, I can't surrender without orders. They emphasized that to me particularly, I don't know exactly why. But the guy said: 'Blake, never surrender without checking.'"


Russell said...

I remember the shower scene...I think it must have been shown in a few MASH specials. But how did Henry & Radar end up getting from the shower to the office?

Anonymous said...

The end where Frank is dressed up like MacArthur-cut in Syndication
Another MASH Unreally material..the sniper is shout by about 30 rounds of .45 bullets--and still lives...

Rob As Well said...

This is one of the episodes that makes me wonder why the Korean War couldn't be won... the North Koreans have the lousiest shots in the world. It makes me want to count how many shots are fired (in this and several other "we're being shot at" episodes). If I recall correctly, only 2 people from the 4077th are ever actually hit by enemy fire in all the episodes with several hundred shots fired in total.

Anonymous said...

To answer your question Russell; as a van pulled in as the sniper was firing. Henry and Radar ran near one of the sides as it was coming to a stop to avoid getting shot.

Unknown said...

They ran alongside the ambulance which shielded bullets

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