Monday, May 18, 2009

Episode 67 - Aid Station

Season 3, Episode 67: Aid Station
Original Air Date: 2/11/75
Written by: Larry Gelbart & Simon Muntner

Directed by: William Jurgensen

An aid station at the front sends a message to the 4077th that their surgeon has been killed, and they need the immediate help of a surgeon, a nurse, and a corpsman.

Hot Lips volunteers, but the doctors end up drawing straws--actually, moldy sausages left over from breakfast, picked from a bed pan--with Hawkeye being the one to go. They then pick a corpsman, and Klinger gets picked.

All three of them are clearly rattled about going to the front--Hawkeye tells Trapper there's a will in his locker. Trapper accepts the news with quiet seriousness, although the mood is lightened when Hawkeye says he wants everything donated to the "Benjamin Pierce Memorial Brothel." Trapper promises to deliver the items in person.

On the way to the front, the jeep blows a tire, and its Hot Lips who fixes it. They get shelled, too, but they finally make it to the aid station, which has no roof due to shelling.

Hawkeye, Hot Lips, and Klinger work furiously, trying to give attention to all the patients streaming in. Back at the 4077th, the place is quiet--too quiet. Radar is so depressed he asks to sleep in The Swamp, and Henry wanders in for a nightcap, but ends up sitting alongside Radar well into the night.

After a night of sleeping in a ditch, Hawkeye, Hot Lips, and Klinger head back, with each of them having a better understanding of one another. They even stop for a moment to tell Hot Lips how great she is, something she seems to appreciate. Klinger, a top flight corpsman, pauses to put a dainty pillbox hat back on his head, ready to "rejoin the Army."

Back at the 4077th, Trapper and Frank complain about the poor conditions, like the bad food. Hawkeye and Hot Lips give each other a knowing nod, realizing they never had it so good.

Fun Facts: This episode divides the cast in an interesting, if totally accidental way. The characters that go to the front--Hawkeye, Hot Lips, and Klinger--are the ones who end up staying on the show until the final episode. The scenes back in the camp feature Trapper, Frank, Henry, and Radar, all of whom would leave the show during its run.

This is Klinger's biggest role in an episode to date, and Jamie Farr delivers a more nuanced performance than we have seen to this point. His fear of being killed (in a scene with Radar in his tent) is palpable.

Interesting note: this is the first time we see Klinger's tent. He seems to live alone, a curious amount of space given just one enlisted man!

There's a moment during an O.R. scene where Henry chastises Frank, and Frank mutters under his breath "Oh, mind your own business", an interesting little bit of rebellion from the normally hierarchy-obsessed Burns.

Favorite Line: After Frank makes a snide crack about Trapper letting Radar sleep in The Swamp, Henry responds with: "Frank, it's after five. You can stop being snotty."


Russell said...

And I have to wonder: if Trapper had participated in more of these types of episodes instead of it always being about Hawkeye, would Wayne Rogers have stayed? In my mind, Hawkeye ALWAYS went on these things. The only episode I can remember that was not Hawkeye-centric regarding trading or visiting or loaning out was the 6th season episode with "Goober" as a visiting doc who takes Hawkeye's place for a week. It's one of my favorite shows *because* Hawkeye is basically gone. We get to see how good the rest of the cast is.

What the Parrot Saw said...

Good call on Klinger's character development here- the creators obviously had the foresight and realizing that there was much that could be done with him. The fact that he is such an able corpsman fleshes out his character while also reminding the viewer that this is not just a 'service hijinks' sitcom.
Seeing Klinger perform ably when in a serious situation made his section8 gags even funnier and more real.

Radar Hat said...

Without a doubt, one of my top 5 favorite episodes. When they stop the jeep just outside of camp and Hawkeye tells Margaret how great she is, I'm floored every time. A perfect scene.

Dave said...

There were quite a few episodes where you can see why Wayne was unhappy. and you can't blame him. After he left i think the writers learned their lesson and gave Mike Farrell more to do.

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