Original Air Date: 12/11/84
Written by: Dennis Koenig
Directed by: Hy Averback
During a torrential downpour, General Pershing is designated a disaster relief area. Alma Cox insists that everyone remain on staff, even Dr. Potter, who only lives a few hundred feet away. Potter, Klinger, Mulcahy, and Dr. Boyer decide on a very 4077th thing to do--have a card game.
Alma also calls in the head of the hospital, Wally Wainwright--but in this case it's not so much devotion to duty, but the desire for a relationship. Well, not a relationship so much as a sexual tryst so she can get her old job back. Wainwright says he is devoted to his wife, and Alma takes the rejection in stride.
A patient arrives with a seemingly simple problem--a broken shoulder--turns into something more serious when his bigger problem of a ruptured spleen is missed by one of the new doctors. Meanwhile, Wainwright, upon hearing that the hospital received a lot of good press when it served a similar community-minded purpose back in 1948, makes attempts to alert the media this time around (in between playing in the poker game with Potter, Klinger, and Mulcahy).
When the hospital's waiting room is turned SRO due to a collapsed building nearby, Potter, Klinger, and Mulcahy snap into action like their old days in Korea. This leaves Wainwright standing helplessly off to the side, something a local reporter and photographer notices when they arrive to do a story on the hospital. The next day, the paper runs a story about the crack staff, and how generally useless Wainwright is. The episode ends with the boss trashing his office in frustration about how his plan for personal glory went so wrong.
(Not So)Fun Facts: This episode never aired, at least in the United States (see below). It was the last episode filmed, but of course not designed as a series finale. After such a memorable send off in "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen", AfterM*A*S*H just limped off TV with a whimper, not a bang. This helped cement the series' unjust reputation as one of (if not the) worst spin-offs in television history.
Soon-Lee and Mildred Potter do not appear in this episode.
Favorite Line: An announcement comes over the loud speaker, stating that due to the worsening storm, there are casualties from a collapsed building. Klinger marvels, "...and I didn't even hear the choppers!" Not a funny line really, but kind of a fun callback to the boys' days at the 4077th.
This episode was never aired in the United States, so I assumed it never aired anywhere. But there's a voice over during the end credits that reveals this particular copy of the show played in Australia, of all places. It still seems unbelievably mercenary of CBS--which benefited so much and so long from its association with M*A*S*H--to not even bother airing a show that was completed and ready to air. Potter, Klinger, and Mulcahy--not to mention the real-life people who made the show--deserved better.
Thanks again to Michael for giving me the chance to see this elusive episode!