Saturday, December 26, 2009

Episode 240 - Who Knew?

Season 11, Episode 240: Who Knew?
Original Air Date: 11/22/82
Written by: Elias Davis & David Pollock

Directed by: Harry Morgan

Hawkeye returns to the Swamp in the middle of the night, waking B.J. as he brags about the great night he just had with a new nurse, Lt. Millie Carpenter.

The next morning, during breakfast in the Mess Tent, Col. Potter delivers some grim news: Lt. Millie Carpenter has been killed. Apparently, she went for a stroll in the hills, and stepped on a landmine. Everyone is shocked and saddened, but none of them volunteer to say "a few words" at Millie's memorial service.

Later, Hawkeye finds Father Mulcahy as he goes through Millie's personal items, looking for information about her to prepare the service. After making small talk, he volunteers to deliver Millie's eulogy.

He starts asking people in camp about Millie, but no one has much to say about her: Margaret can only say "she was a good nurse", and even her fellow nurses don't have much to add other than commenting that when Millie got sent a big box of fudge from home, she only gave her roommates one piece each.

Hawkeye grows so frustrated that he decides to give up trying to write a eulogy, turning the job back over to Father Mulcahy. But Mulcahy suggests he read Millie's diary, which he found among Millie's personal items.

Hawkeye takes it back to the Swamp and reads, and we hear Millie's words in a voice over. We learn that she felt a lot for Hawkeye, but never let on. She ends the diary mentioning she's going to go take a walk, the last thing she would ever do.

Hawkeye is deeply troubled over what he's read, knowing that he never would have let Millie get close, insistent as he is on keeping things casual. He's convinced that their relationship would have been the same at six months than it was after the first few dates.

The next day, Hawkeye delivers the eulogy, sharing a few facts about Millie: the big box of fudge that Millie was so stingy with was given out to the wounded in Post Op, during the night shift so no one ever saw what she was doing. Also, she bravely volunteered to work at a MASH because she was so in awe of the work everyone was doing.

Hawkeye decides to use this moment to learn something: to try and not be so reserved about his feelings, and to let people know what they mean to him--something Millie never got the chance to do.

Hawkeye singles out Margaret, Col. Potter, Father Mulcahy, Charles, Klinger, and "Beej", telling each of them how much he loves them. He ends with saying "Goodbye, Millie."

Fun Facts: There's a great moment between Hawkeye and B.J. where they talk about Millie's memorial service, where Hawkeye gently chides the pre-fab service Mulcahy would offer.

As good as the memorial scene is, I always thought it was a little awkward that Hawkeye singles out the show's main characters as those closest to him. Of course, that makes sense, but I wonder how the nurses in the audience that Hawkeye had slept with felt about being left out?

The actress providing Millie's voice in uncredited.

There's a B-plot involving Winchester and Klinger where he tries to get Winchester to invest in a new product, what will be come the hula hoop. After some initial interest, Winchester decides the whole thing is ridiculous and withdraws his investment.

Favorite Line: When Klinger shows Winchester his invention, the proto-hula hoop, Winchester is none-too-impressed: "My word--you have invented...the circle!" Hasn't Winchester seen The Hudsucker Proxy?


Russell said...

I remember NOT liking this episode when I first saw it. I mean, aren't Hawkeye's feelings pretty much out on his sleeves already? And I agree with you, Rob, hadn't Hawkeye now spent 2 1/2 years in Korea with some of these same people (Goodman, Igor, Baker, Able)? It seems odd for him to just tell the other six leads that he only cares for somebody else's funeral, to boot!

Russell said...

Okay, JUST re-watched this episode and---yep----HATED it.
My goodness, how tacky is it that at somebody else's memorial service you make a spectacle of yourself like this? It isn't always all about you, Hawkeye!! I felt mid-way through that maybe it was supposed to be about some of the soldiers who didn't make it back alive, (Col Henry Blake?) but it totally became a "love-in" for Alda at the end. It doesn't help that we never saw the character.

Best part of the episode was the re-appearance of Enid Kent as Lt. Baker.

WestVirginiaRebel said...

I liked Klinger's get rich scheme-one of the few scams where he wasn't trying to get out of the Army. The final scene with Winchester "throwing away" the Frisbee (a huge fad in the Seventies) was fun.

Hawkeye's attitude towards Millie seemed out of character for the older, more mature person that he'd become by then.

Cross in California. said...

It was a great episode. Definitely made me cry.

Unknown said...

Without the 'Hoop' and Frisbee, it wouldn't be a memorable episode for me. Just another Hawkeye focused episode.

Woman in Love said...

I love the episode. Not every one is meant to be taken literally - for me, and I think it was the writer's intent - that it really be about how we are too shy with our feelings especially with those we love most. Hawkeye's entire shtick was that he would seem to be genuine and, thus, genuinely invested but much of that was veneer beneath which He hid his Self. The line that sticks with me was that Millie couldn't sleep "there was too much Hawkeye running through her" mind - I think knowing that Millie died because after their date she couldn't sleep and then went out for the walk which killed her brought Hawk to his emotional breaking point.

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