Sunday, August 9, 2009

Episode 131 - The Grim Reaper

Season 6, Episode 131: The Grim Reaper
Original Air Date: 11/29/77
Written by: Burt Prelusky

Directed by: George Tyne

Col. Potter, Hawkeye, and B.J. are in Potter's office listening to a report by the appropriately-named Col. Bloodworth (Charles Aidman), who is telling them of an impending assault on a hill, and exactly how many casualties it will result in.

Hawkeye and B.J. find it difficult not to interrupt and mock Bloodworth, because of his casualness over how many young men will be killed, just to get a hill, "Because the other side has it."

Potter tells them to quite down, but Hawkeye just can't contain himself. He belittles Bloodworth, and the meeting ends abruptly when Bloodworth has had enough.

Later that day, the promised wounded arrive, but its 77 short of the total Bloodworth promised. Hawkeye heads off to the Officers Club to gloat, but it turns ugly when, after the P.A. announces more wounded are coming, Bloodworth smugly promises that's the remaining 77 soldiers. Hawkeye wonders if Bloodworth shot them himself, and gets so worked up he grabs the Colonel and throws him against a wall. Other members of the 4077 separate them, and Hawkeye walks out.

Bloodworth brings Hawkeye up on charges, which Potter, after yelling at Hawkeye for pushing Bloodworth around, says he'll try and head off.

Meanwhile, Klinger is happy to talk to one of the wounded, a Private Danker (Jerry Hauser), who is from Toledo and knows all the same haunts as Klinger, like the local dance hall and Tony Paco's.

Potter meets with Bloodworth, asking him to drop the charges. Bloodworth refuses, and throws in an insult to Potter for "coddling" his doctors in the process. He drives off, leaving Potter saying, "Pierce shouldn't have pushed you--he should have decked you!"

Later that night, more wounded arrive, one of whom is Bloodworth. In O.R., he lies on a table, watching Hawkeye operate on a patient. He sees Hawkeye stay calm and cool as blood shoots out of his patient's wound, hitting Hawkeye right in the face.

Near morning, Bloodworth asks to speak to Hawkeye. He tells Hawkeye that he watched him perform as a doctor, and was deeply impressed. He also realized how callous he was about death, and how scared he was when he thought he was the one who was about to die. Bloodworth informs Hawkeye that "a push in a bar" doesn't add up to all that, and the charges are dropped.

A few days later, Klinger shares a package from Tony Paco's, sent to him by Private Danker, with Hawkeye and B.J. They at first refuse to share with Winchester (as revenge for him not sharing food he had sent to him from home), but eventually let him pull up a chair and enjoy.

Fun Facts: Radar does not appear in this episode.

I do wonder one thing--the soldier from Toledo, Danker, is told by Hawkeye that his wound is very minor. So how and why did Danker get sent home so soon, enabling him to send Klinger the care package?

Favorite Line: The final scene, where Hawkeye, B.J., Klinger, and Winchester dig in to all the hot dogs and such from Tony Paco's, is wonderfully lit and shot, and its clear the actors are really eating. I feel like I can smell the hot dogs cooking.

When they goof on Winchester by sharing with him only a tiny portion of one hot dog, he walks off in anger. They stop him, saying they were just kidding. When he begins to chomp down, they admonish him to "save some for Margaret."

He pauses, thinks for a moment, and then holds up the tiny piece he was originally given, and says, quietly, "Oh, um...this is for Margaret."


What the Parrot Saw said...

Here, Hawkeye's disgust seems genuinely righteous: Bloodworth lies just that side of Burns in his belief in “pin-point accuracy;” yet Hawkeye’s shoving him against the Officer’s Club wall still seems a tad over the top.

Potter’s scene in which he reprimands the younger doctor (for the second time this season) is a reminder that Potter wasn’t Blake; still, I can’t see Hawk shoving General Hammond against the supply shed, either.

The times, they were a ‘changin.

The B-plot with Paco’s franks agreeably recalls “Adam’s Ribs.” And I agree, rob!- this could have been an ad!

/rushes off to cook a sausage.

Vincent Paul Bartilucci said...

This is one of those episodes that I wish had been played a little differently - perhaps with Col. Bloodworth explaining to Hawkeye that he doesn't have the luxury of thinking in anything but numbers because it's war and if he thinks too long about the young men he's sending off to fight and die he wouldn't be able to do his job. It would've made for a much more interesting episode, imo.

But, no, Hawkeye was rarely if ever put in his place like that.

Russell said...

I agree, the highlights of the episode are the Potter-Pierce scene and the ending. I think it's great the way Col. Potter finishes the talk by saying, "Dismissed, Captain!" only to pause a moment and say, in a less hostile voice, "I'll talk to him." You can really feel how frustrated Potter is with his ragtag bunch of non-Army doctors in this episode. And the ending...there really IS a Tony Pacos, and it really is delicious!!! I live in Columbus, Ohio, and they sell Tony Paco relish and sauce in grocery stores here. Eventually I need to go to the actual restaurant in Toledo (and also to get a Mud Hens cap!)

71dude said...

Great Potter line: "See those boots? Picture them kicking you across the compound."

Paul Pelkonen said...

As someone who made a point of visiting the place when traveling across the country in 2009, it's Tony P-a-c-k-o's, located in East Toledo. An awesome place for hot dogs, chili and stuffed cabbage!
Official site is here.

They also have a small exhibit in the restaurant with the prop box of sausage casings from the episode where Hawkeye and BJ build a kidney machine, season 9's "A War for All Seasons." It's autographed by the cast and kept under glass.

Packo's rules!

mark said...

"The Grim Reaper on his own list". Poetic justice for sure.

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