Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Episode 105 - The Korean Surgeon

Season 5, Episode 105: The Korean Surgeon
Original Air Date: 11/23/76
Written by: Bill Idelson

Directed by: Gene Reynolds

A batch of wounded arrive, including some North Koreans. Even more unusual, one of them is a doctor--a surgeon and an officer named Dr. Paik (Soon-Teck Oh).

Frank, of course, wants nothing to do with him, so Hawkeye offers to perform the surgery, and tells Dr. Paik to assure another wounded North Korean--who is afraid he will be killed during surgery--that he will be treated well by the 4077th.

Later, in Post Op, Dr. Paik tries to help clear the breathing tube of a solider laying nearby, but is spotted by Hot Lips, who mistakes him for trying to kill the young man. Frank and Hot Lips want Dr. Paik strapped to his cot, but Hawkeye and B.J. refuse to treat Dr. Paik so suspiciously.

In conversation, Dr. Paik mentions he's not looking forward to going to a prison camp, where, as a doctor, he'll treat such mundane conditions as foot fungus and worms. He says he'd even be willing to work at the 4077th, if possible.

Hawkeye and B.J.'s wheels start spinning, and soon they are asking Radar for help in getting a set of fake papers, in an attempt to get Dr. Paik transferred to the 4077th.

Soon, they are faking Dr. Paik leaving on the bus. They sneak him off, shave his goatee, give him a haircut and glasses, and within a day he arrives as Captain Cho-Wan Ho, Class of 1939, Chicago (which is really where the doctor went to school).

Col. Potter is happy to have the extra help, but Hot Lips seems suspicious, wondering if she and Dr. Ho have met before. He tries to throw her off by suggesting they met a bar one night, but she remains unsure.

Dr. Ho proves to be superb surgeon--Col. Potter is pleased, but Frank and Hot Lips are not so easily mollified.

Later, two South Koreans arrive, claiming to be from a nearby unit, asking for medical supplies. Frank initially refuses, but after they butter him up, he orders Radar and Klinger to get what they ask for.

Dr. Paik oversees this, and tells Radar and Klinger that the two men are imposters--North Koreans dressed in stolen uniforms. He tells them that they are "heavily armed and dangerous", and the best thing to do is to simply give them what they want, and they will go, peacefully.

Frank, in an attempt to brag to the two North Koreans, ends up talking himself into going along with them, "back to their camp", ostensibly to give a lecture.

Radar rushes into Col. Potter's office, telling him what happened. Potter asks how Radar knew the two men were North Korean, and he says Captain Cho told them, a fact that only underscores Hot Lips suspicions--she was in Potter's office, insisting he check up on the new doctor.

Later, Col. Potter arrives in The Swamp, and tells them he knows what's going on. Hawkeye and B.J. try and defend Dr. Paik, and Potter, while sympathetic, insists Paik must be put under arrest.

Meanwhile, the two North Koreans stop their jeep with a jerk, and order Frank out--he's such an annoying chatterbox they can't stand him anymore, even with his worth as a hostage. They drive off, leaving Frank to wander home.

Dr. Paik packs up to leave, and Hawkeye and B.J. give him a cake as a going-away present. Dr. Paik is philosophical about the whole thing--he knew it couldn't last, but was happy to have helped while he could.

In the back of a jeep driven by some MPs, Dr. Paik passes Frank walking by. Laughing and waving, he whizzes by, leaving Frank confused.

Fun Facts: This is actor Soon-Tek Oh's third appearance on the show.

This is pretty much the last episode featuring Frank and Hot Lips as a team, where they are trying to thwart the efforts of Hawkeye (and Trapper at first, now here B.J.).

One of two North Koreans is played by actor Larry Hama, who would go on to have a hugely successful career as a comic book artist, writer, and editor, best known for being the main creative force behind Marvel Comics' long-running G.I. Joe series.

Favorite Line: Frank, sneering at the North Korean doctor, says to Hawkeye: "You want to hear an odd one? This pinko here is trying to teach me medicine."

B.J., without breaking stride, walks by and adds, "Tell him he's wasting his time."


Russell said...

Another good one. I really liked how Margaret and Frank worked together in this one...and the scenes with Frank and the two North Koreans are priceless. Larry Linville at his very best.

My favorite line is when Dr. Paik, Margaret, and Potter are together. Dr. Paik suggests that he and Margaret may have tangoed in Seoul, and Margaret says she definitely didn't tango. Potter says, "Maybe it was the cha-cha-cha" and then, when faced with an angry Margaret, cracks a smile, "I'm kidding."

Rob, although I know you think Season Four was awesome, I think Season Five may just be the best----we've had atleast five episodes in a row now that are funny and emotional, with another few coming up before we get to a clinker, and then even more good ones to finish the season with style. I'm just saying.

What the Parrot Saw said...

Soon-Teck Oh turns in a very agreeable and believable performance here as Dr. Paik; his gratitude in being allowed to practice surgery is evident and his quiet affability would have been a nice addition to the 4077th.

Of course, its a non-starter with RA Col. Potter. Unsurprisingly, however, even in his anger at Hawkeye and BJ, he readily admits to Paik's excellence as a surgeon.

Now, if Henry were still in command...

Steve Spatucci said...

This was just on at 5:30 a.m. today! Very odd to watch it after reading about it. So which one was Larry Hama - the driver? Or the guy in the passenger seat?

rob! said...


He plays the passenger, I think--the one with less lines.

The other was played by Daniel Ito, who was Jack Klugman's assistant/partner on Quincy.

rob! said...


I think that Season 5 is second to Season 4, but not by much--like I said when I first got to them, I look at both seasons as the peak of the series, if not the peak of TV, period.

Dr. Eric said...

This one has one of Radar's best all time lines "I-Corps disapproves of the enemy!"

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