Friday, May 1, 2009

Episode 50 - Rainbow Bridge

Season 3, Episode 50: Rainbow Bridge
Original Air Date: 9/17/74
Written by: Larry Gelbart & Laurence Marks

Directed by: Hy Averback

Hawkeye and Trapper prepare for three days R&R in Tokyo. But their anticipation is cut-short when a supply of plasma arrives, meaning there will soon be a bunch of casualties to put the plasma into.

Its an extraordinarily heavy load--around 400 wounded in three days--and everyone is exhausted. While Hawkeye and Trapper fight with Frank and Hot Lips in the Mess Tent, Henry arrives saying they just got a message from the Chinese--a group of wounded American soldiers require more assistance than they can provide, so they are offering the 4077th the chance to come and get them. The only problem is the Chinese unit is just pass The Rainbow Bridge, which is five miles inside the Chinese border.

Frank and Hot Lips think its a trap, but Hawkeye and Trapper insist they go, saying they shouldn't waste this humanitarian offer. Henry agrees, and soon Hawkeye, Trapper, Frank (goaded into going by Hot Lips, who think there might be a promotion in this), Radar, and Klinger are on a bus, headed for the border.

Once they arrive, they meet the Chinese commanding officer, Dr. Ling Tan (legendary character actor Mako). The Chinese insisted the doctors not bring any guns, but of course Frank hasn't listened. In a tense moment, he goes for his gun, causing Tan to break the deal.

Hawkeye and Trapper talk him out of it, and demand Frank give up his firearm. They all laugh--even the Chinese soldiers with their Russian rifles pointed at the doctors--when they see Frank is carrying a miniscule gun, barely more than a pea-shooter.

The air cleared, Hawkeye, Trapper, Radar, and Klinger collect the wounded, and head home.

Later that day, Hawkeye and Trapper prepare for their delayed R&R trip, but pass out in their bunks from exhaustion. Radar covers them with blankets, wishing them a good night.

Fun Facts: This episode opens up with singer/songwriter Loudon Wainwright III playing Captain Spaulding, singing an original song, "North Korean Blues." Its repeated in the middle of episode, and at the end--this is the closest M*A*S*H would ever get to a musical episode.

Related to that, this episode features an extraordinarily-directed sequence. After the bus drives off, the camera follows a worried Henry as he walks across the compound. Off-camera, we hear Capt. Spaulding play his song, and as Henry continues to walk, he passes Spaulding, providing a sort of Greek chorus for the show:
..its a wonderfully moody, well-composed sequence, timed just right, with an effective use of the song.

This would be first of many appearances by character actor Mako, always playing a different part.

Favorite Line: This episode is full of great lines, but my particular favorite is whe Hawkeye is on the bus, waiting while Trapper goofily embraces Hot Lips in a mock romantic gesture.

Hawkeye: "As for me, I think Ralph Bellamy said it best: 'If I can't get the girl, at least give me more money.'"


Mo said...

I love this episode especially because of the song. Kinda weird to have it in there, but I'm glad they did it. I always wondered how that came about.

Anonymous said...

Not too thrilled by the lighthearted manner Hawkeye and Trapper use to discuss rape.

taxpayer said...

Does anyone know what year bus that is?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...