Friday, June 19, 2009

Episode 93 - Smilin' Jack

Season 4, Episode 93: Smilin' Jack
Original Air Date: 2/3/76
Written by: Larry Gelbart & Simon Muntner

Directed by: Charles Dubin

The 4077th gets a visit from Smilin' Jack (Robert Hogan), a hot-shot chopper pilot, who is working on attaining the record of Chopper Pilot of the Year, by bringing in the most wounded.

Jack visits Hawkeye in O.R., and then asks out a nurse. He then visits his old friend Col. Potter.

Potter and Jack talk about old times, and work out a trade for some supplies. Before Jack leaves, though, Potter notices an old scratch on Jack's hand that he says he patched up months ago. Jack dismisses it, and leaves.

Later that night, Jack is having drinks in the O Club with Hawkeye and B.J., and he's hustling them for drinks by pulling off a trick involving a hypodermic needle. The jovial mood is broken when Potter arrives, officially grounding Jack upon completion of a physical.

Hawkeye and B.J. do the work up, and Jack seems in good shape, except he's unwilling to give them a urine sample. He's so hostile, the doctors bluntly ask him what Potter suspects. Jack fesses up--he's got diabetes.

Hawkeye and B.J. try and press upon Jack the risk he's taking being up in the air while having diabetes. Jack insists no one is grounding him--no one.

Later, Jack jumps in his chopper and heads to battalion aid, in an attempt to pick up four wounded soldiers at one time, therefore beating the record in what he knows will be his last chance.

Col. Potter tries to get him to land, but Jack won't listen. He does manage to bring four wounded back to the 4077th, setting the record. Jack is thrilled to have set the record, only to see Dangerous Dan come in, carrying in more wounded, once again taking the record.

Jack, knowing when he's beaten, hands over all his flying credentials to B.J., and ruefully accepts his fate.

Fun Facts: This is the first episode directed Charles Dubin, who would helm 44 episodes of the series.

Another installment of The Young Sherman Potter Adventures: he mentions another pilot he knew, Duncan McShane, who used to throw grenades from his chopper at targets.

Favorite Line: When Hawkeye and Smilin' Jack are discussing how many wounded he's brought in while Jack flirts with a nurse. He asks her out, and she accepts.

Hawkeye asks: "How many will this make for you, Jack?"

Smilin' Jack: "839--Dangerous Dan's got 842. I need three to tie."

Frank, sitting nearby, exclaims: "Oh, now--that's disgusting!"

Hawkeye, stunned at Frank's mistake, looks at Jack in disbelief. It doesn't read funny here, but the look on Hawkeye's face is priceless.


What the Parrot Saw said...

While seemingly written as a one-shot, Robert Hogan's Smiling Jack possesses much of the cheery, but purposeful, daring-do reminiscent of the first three seasons. As with Carlye Walton (or, later, Stephen Nussbuam who was purposefully written out of that episode), one wishes that this engaging character might well have become a semi-regular.

Bill said...

Like the Parrot, I like Jack and what he brings to the episode. A sunny guy who manages the impressive feat of being both likeable and interesting, he sheds a different light on the operations of the 4077 from his position as chopper pilot. Chopper pilots are obviously central to the operations of the unit, and there's even a scene in the movie where the doctors are discussing helicopter flyers of the recent past, but the show only ever focuses on one here.

Like Rob says in his commentary, the "Chopper Pilot Of The Year" contest idea doesn't make a lot of sense, esp. as this seems to be taking place in mid-summer with a lot of year left to run. But I like the painful way Potter has to deal with Jack's situation, and the stubborn but ultimately positive way Jack responds.

Agree also with Rob that five-in-a-copter stunt was stupid. If two of the wounded were well enough to ride to the hospital seated in the chopper cockpit, they probably could have waited for the next chopper, or even an ambulance.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...