Season 9, Episode 210: The Red/White Blues
Original Air Date: 3/9/81
Written by: Elias Davis & David Pollock
Directed by: Gabrielle Beaumont
Col. Potter undergoes a routine physical--the last one he'll have to undergo while on active duty--and the results aren't good. His blood pressure is way above the norm, and he runs the risk of being pulled from command and stuck behind a desk.
Potter begs Hawkeye to fudge the numbers, but he refuses. Potter is adamant, and asks Hawkeye for two weeks to get his numbers down before the report has to be sent in to HQ. Hawkeye agrees, but reminds him he's going to have to cut down on his drinking, his salt, his cigars, and his penchant for getting angry due to the pressures of being in command.
Hawkeye promises to keep Potter's condition a secret, but almost immediately he spills the news to everyone, who start treating Potter with kid gloves, which of course drives him nuts.
Back in his office, Potter flies off the handle when he thinks Klinger ordered the wrong medicine needed to preemptively deal with the Malaria problem--they're stuck with Chloroquine instead of Primaquine. After blowing his stack, Hawkeye finds a letter enclosed that HQ was out of Primaquine, so they sent the other, less effective drug, instead.
Chloroquine is just a supressant, not the cure that Primaquine is...plus, it also has negative side effects for negroes. But it will have to do. Potter, chastened, apologizes to Klinger.
Later, Hawkeye is back in Klinger's office, and he's shocked to see the mountain of paperwork that covers the office. He can't understand why Klinger isn't getting the work done, but Klinger insists its not out of laziness, its because he feels so worn out and tired. Hawkeye isn't hearing any of it, and issues a direct order to Klinger to get all the work done before Potter comes back and sees the mess.
While the doctors try and stall Potter in the O Club (all of them drinking lemonade), Margaret checks up on Klinger. The office is in even worse shape, and Klinger complains about feeling awful. Margaret is furious, and when choppers arrive, she orders him to get up and help out, and stop goldbricking.
While in Pre-Op, Margaret sees that Pvt. Goldman (Roy Goldman) is resting on a bench. He complains of feeling tired with a bad back, and Margaret promises to have one of the doctors check him out.
Klinger, seeing this, gets mad, accusing Margaret of believing Goldman but not him, even though they have the same symptoms. Margaret apologizes and tells him to rest, too.
After OR, Hawkeye and B.J. run blood tests, and whatever's dogging Klinger and Goldman, they know its the same thing--they just don't know what it is.
While finishing up Klinger's paperwork, they come up with a plan to take Klinger and Goldman off the pills entirely. Potter, tired of being prevented from going to his office, sees the damage and explodes--but, after the outburst, he feels better.
A few days later, the gets another examination, and this time he passes with a few points to spare. Overjoyed, he takes a drink and lights a cigar in celebration.
Fun Facts: Another installment of The Young Sherman Potter Chronicles: he mentions getting a physical from a "young mademoiselle" in a farmhouse. Hotcha!
This episode ends with a text coda, the only time the show would do this, explaining that later research revealed that Chloroquine had negative side effects not only with blacks, but also Caucasians of Mediterranean descent.
Favorite Line: Hawkeye and Potter discuss the Chloroquine pills, and they're relative effectiveness. Potter asks: "And what about the negroes?"
Klinger, utterly confused: "What did I do to them?!"