Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Episode 192 - War Co-Respondent

Season 8, Episode 192: War Co-Respodent
Original Air Date: 3/3/80
Written by: Mike Farrell

Directed by: Mike Farrell

A bus full of wounded arrive, escorted by a surprising guest--journalist Aggie O'Shea (Susan Saint James), a genuine celebrity.

Aggie is following a couple soldiers as they make their way through their tour in Korea, and then reporting on what she experiences. She meets with the doctors and Margaret afterward, and Hawkeye is shameless in his attempts to romance her. But Aggie seems only interested in...B.J.

While in Post Op together, Aggie is pretty flirty with B.J., continually rebuffing Hawkeye's advances. Her interest in B.J. is so apparent that everyone in camp notices, even the wounded.

That night, they share a drink in the O Club, and Aggie lays it right on the line, letting B.J. know she's "very interested" in him, leaving B.J. flush and stunned into silence.

The next morning, everyone in camp is talking about B.J. and Aggie. After a rough night's sleep, he has a talk with Aggie in the x-ray room where he goes so far as to ask Aggie how long she can stay in Seoul. Her answer is, "As long as you want."

B.J. is cranky and humorless about all the rumors, storming off insulted when he catches everyone in the Mess Tent joking about it. Hawkeye gets B.J. to open up, and B.J. reveals that while nothing has happened between him and Aggie, he is starting to develop real feelings for her. For the first time, someone other than Peg has really caught his eye, and he's feeling torn up about it.

When one of the soldiers Aggie is profiling has to go back in for surgery, Hawkeye assists, and brings up Aggie and the young man, Scotty. At first B.J. is snippy to Hawkeye, but Hawkeye keeps going, pointing out how a war can bring two very different people together--people who, back at home, wouldn't have much in common.

Later that night, B.J. and Aggie talk again, and B.J. confesses that while he has feelings for Aggie, he can't give up his one life line--the one he has to his family. Aggie confesses that she loves B.J., and they embrace in saying goodbye.

Weeks later, a care package from Aggie arrives, with presents for everyone. Potter's gift is an original drawing by Aggie, one of B.J, with a life preserver around him, emblazoned with the words "San Francisco." When Potter asks what that means, B.J. answers, "Beats me."

Fun Facts: This episode is a Mike Farrell tour de force--written, directed, and starring!

There's a throwaway line between Margaret and Aggie in Margaret's tent. When Aggie wonders if B.J. has ever fooled around, Margaret laughs, and answers, "That's a, never." Obviously Margaret doesn't know what happened in Season Five's "Hanky Panky."

Favorite Line: Hawkeye brings up Aggie while in surgery, and B.J. responds with a snippy, "Will you knock it off?" Farrell delivers it with just the right amount of peak to make it sound like B.J. is simmering with anger.


What the Parrot Saw said...

I genuinely like BJ as a character, but War Co-Respondent seems to wallow far too long on BJ's emotional trials here. Foregrounding BJ in an episode is not at all a bad idea, but I've never felt that any sparks truly fly between him and O'Shea. All of it seems rote, albeit with Susan Saint James playing an agreeably worldly, warm, intelligent character. Farrell is a fine actor, but his reactions just seem to run a constrained gamut we'd expect from any family man strongly tempted to stray.

This might have been a better hour episode with a relevant subplot to give it depth or to otherwise frame it. Reminds me uncomfortably of S5's In Love and War in which the trajectory of infatuation to undying love just seems to run a little too fast- such happens in warzones.... doesn't ring quite true here for me...

Russell said...

This time I have to disagree with you, Parrot. This episode works for me, much more than "In Love and War" did. I think there are plenty of sparks between BJ and Aggie (although maybe that's because I like SSJ so much!)
I remember fondly a few lines from this episode, such as when BJ tells Aggie they can't get together because "for me there is no here---there's ONLY tomorrow." I love that. And when BJ comes in on Father Mulcahy talking about BJ and Aggie "pitching woo," and BJ says, "Don't stop talking on my account...(pause) unless you ARE talking on my account." I've used that line a few times in my life. :-)

This is probably my favorite episode of this season, and definitely one of my all-time favs.

What the Parrot Saw said...

Actually, Russell, in re-reading my comment, it reads to me a bit like you commenting on Hawkeye. :-)

(and I'm definitely not in the 'Alda carried the show' camp)

Good call on the dialogue. I should revisit this one.

Dr. Eric said...

This is a very serious BJ episode, but it has one of my favorite Hawkeye lines. After Fr. Mulcahy says his "pitching woo" line, Hawkeye asks him: "Isn't he the Chinese baseball star?" That line ALWAYS breaks me up :-)!

Robert Gross said...

I like Hawkeye's line about how Aggie and the soldier would have never been friends in the real world (just when B.J. thought Hawkeye was talking about Aggie and him). For once, Hawkeye uses *subtlety* to lead B.J. to the point that allows B.J. to finally make a decision.

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