Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Episode 119 - Post-Op

Season 5, Episode 119: Post-Op
Original Air Date: 3/8/77
Written by: Ken Levine & David Isaacs, Gene Reynolds & Jay Folb

Directed by: Gene Reynolds

The 4077th is low on blood, so low that they have to call around to other units to see if they can scrounge up some more.

Col. Potter begs and pleads (and Hawkeye demands), to little avail. Things are made even worse when more wounded arrive. This leads to a tension-filled session in O.R., with Hawkeye and B.J. threatening to break Frank's legs when he complains about the working conditions. Potter tells them all to clam up.

In Post Op, various cases are tended to: Hot Lips helps a soldier write a letter home, Klinger helps console a Puerto Rican solider who is upset the doctors had to shave his impressive mustache to patch up his face, B.J. comforts a solider who lost his leg due to a land mine, and Hawkeye gives advice to a solider embarrassed by getting wounded in his rear end.

Frank is worried about his patient, who is still unconscious and can't figure out why. He asks Col. Potter for help, but is really looking more to just find someone to blame. After he learns that the solider was found in his sleeping bag, unconscious, it dawns on him that perhaps a snake crawled in there with him and bit him, knocking him out. He orders Nurse Kellye to give the young man a shot of anti-venom.

One of B.J.'s patients is a soldier who's actually upset he's being shipped home: he has such a great series of black market businesses going on in Korea, he actually tries to bribe B.J. into letting him stay. Of course, it doesn't work.

Klinger helps the despondent Puerto Rican soldier by giving him a custom-made mustache, which he gratefully accepts. Hot Lips rebuffs the advances of a soldier who, even though he's married, pledges his eternal love.

The blood supply gets so low that Col. Potter asks everyone in the camp to donate, even though it's been less than 48 hours since everyone donated the last time. Only Frank has managed not to donate at all, but he's dragged into it by Hawkeye and B.J.

The blood supply problem finally ends when a truck full of Turkish soldiers arrive. Thankful to the 4077th for taking care of one of their wounded, they are here to each donate blood. They file in to the Mess Tent to the applause of everyone in the compound, just as Frank bursts out, chased by a needle-carrying Klinger.

Fun Facts: Almost all of this episode takes place in, as the title suggests, Post-Op, which makes it a nice companion to the Season Three episode "O.R." I guess if the show had gone on past the Eleventh season and they started really running out of plots, we would have had episodes "The Scrub Room", "The Supply Shed", and "The V.I.P. Tent."

Actor Hilly Hicks appears in this episode as a medic named Moody. This was Hicks' second appearance on the show--he played a different character in the Season Three episode "White Gold."

The soldier with all the black market businesses is actor Sal Viscuso, who was frequently one of the always-unseen P.A. announcers on the show.

Radar does not appear in this episode at all.

Favorite Line: Col. Potter commiserates with a solider from Chicago, telling him about all the good times he had there as a young man. When he makes a mistake regarding where a bar he frequented used to be, he shrugs off the soldier's correction with "Well, I used to drink a lot in those days."


Russell said...

Another of my favorites, although I do think that Frank's not giving blood is played a bit too far. Oh, well. My favorite bit is with the Puerto Rican soldier and Klinger. "If I don't have a mustache, I might as well be wearing a dress!" to which Klinger slurs, "Watch it, bub!"

What the Parrot Saw said...

This is one of my favorite episodes, if only for showing (as in "Crisis" and others) the wonderful camaraderie of the unit amongst themselves and their unflagging service (in ways large and small) to the patients. No surprise as this was really the series' raison d'etre; nonetheless, when the unit was under pressure, the episodes were uniformly solid.

I too love the dialogue between Sherm and the Chicago soldier- Potter gets a few details wrong, actually. He recovers by asking if the patient has been to another city Potter is familiar with. When the soldier replies he hasn't, Potter brightens a little; "Good! We'll talk about that tomorrow!"

Always brings a smile.

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