Season 9, Episode 196: Letters
Original Air Date: 11/24/80
Written by: Dennis Koenig
Directed by: Charles S. Dubin
The weather is cold and rainy, making everyone at the 4077th miserable. Except for Klinger, who is thrilled, since the bad weather means there's no fighting, which means no wounded.
Klinger delivers mail to everyone, and Hawkeye gets a huge package from a schoolteacher friend of his from Crabapple Cove. Inside the package are letters from her young students, which Hawkeye distributes to everyone to answer and hoepfully help chase away the boredom.
Father Mulcahy tells one kid about the time he save the life of a wandering dog who had a taste for liquor, training it to never touch a drop again. Klinger tells the story about a side business he thought he'd start breeding chinchillas, except for the fact that the two chinchillas he owns are both male.
Margaret tells a kid about the time she grew very close to a paralyzed young man, spending all her time with him in his last moments. B.J. has a lighter story, about when, as a temporary replacement for Winchester, the Army sent a replacement...lawyer.
Hawkeye's letter is from an angry young boy, who lost his brother in the war and thinks all doctors do is "Fix people up so they can go get killed." It hits Hawkeye hard, and he struggles with a way to answer it.
He tries pawning the letter off to Mulcahy, but he refuses, saying Hawkeye has to deal with the feelings the young man's letter has brought up, whether he answers it or not.
Meanwhile, Potter answers his letter, relating a story about when he almost set the camp record for free throws, but missing the record-breaking shot.
Winchester's letter is from a young girl who enclosed a leaf, which touches Winchester greatly--he looks at it in wonder and says, to no one in particular, "Autumn in New England." He writes a sweet letter back to her, thanking her for her gift, and mentioning how it reminds him of the beauty that still exists in the world.
An emergency develops, when a local missionary brings a young girl to the 4077th after hitting her head and falling unconscious. Hawkeye and B.J. operate, just after the missionary thanks God for having these surgeons be here, at this place, at the right time.
Later, Hawkeye finally arrives at an answer to his letter, trying to explain to the young man that he shouldn't hate anyone, because its hate that ultimately killed his brother, and that he should "Try and find good wherever you can find it."
Fun Facts: A kid asks Father Mulcahy if he ever saved a life, and his answer is about the dog who drinks booze. But Mulcahy is forgetting about the time he literally saved a man's life--by operating on him, no less--in Season Five's "Mulcahy's War."
Favorite Line: Hawkeye: "The only thing Charles remembers fondly from his childhood is his hair."