Thursday, April 2, 2009

Episode 27 - Radar's Report

Season 2, Episode 27: Radar's Report
Original Air Date: 9/29/73
Written by: Laurence Marks
Directed by: Jackie Cooper

A week in the life of the 4077th, as explained to HQ by Radar via his weekly report.

Amid the maddeningly complex details and formalities Radar has to use to describe what happened, we learn that while operating on a wounder North Korean solider, the solider gets loose, grabs a scalpel, and tries to escape. In the melee, he knocks over an IV stand for a patient Trapper is working on, "Contaminating the whole field".

After slashing a new nurse (Lt. Johnson, played by Joan Van Ark), the soldier is distracted by Klinger after he bursts in, long enough for Hawkeye to get the knife away from him.

Trapper is furious that his patient is not recovering well, and is angry at the North Korean. Hawkeye tries to talk him down, explaining how brainwashed the North Korean soldiers are--filled with stories about torture and abuse at the hands of U.S. doctors.

Meanwhile, after a nasty run-in with Klinger, Frank demands that Henry get Klinger shipped out of the unit. Henry orders an official psychiatric evaluation, and Dr. Robert Freedman (Allan Arbus) arrives to talk to do the examination. Maj. Freedman is more than a little irritated he came all the way to the front to examine a guy in a dress.

At the same time, Hawkeye has fallen head over heels in love with Lt. Johnson, and puts the moves on her. But he backs off abruptly when he sees her wedding ring.

Lt. Johnson reveals that the wedding ring is a blind, used to keep hordes of lecherous men away. Hawkeye is thrilled at the news, and gets in way over his head, suggesting they "Walk off, hand in hand down the aisle."

After Trapper's patient dies, Trapper makes his way into the North Korean's tent, and seems prepared to murder the wounded man in his bed. Hawkeye comes in behind him, and quietly talks him down.

Later in The Swamp, Lt. Johnson meets up with Hawkeye. While she likes him a lot, she feels this is all moving too fast--she tells Hawkeye she has no interest in marriage, to anyone, which breaks Hawkeye's heart. She then tells Hawkeye she is being shipped out to Tokyo in the morning.

Later, we get to hear what Maj. Freedman concludes: that Cpl. Klinger is a transvestite and a homosexual. Klinger is aghast at this, and says he just wants a Section 8. Maj. Freedman basically says take it or leave it, and Klinger leaves it--but he forgets his purse, which Maj. Freedman cheerfully hands to him.

Radar finishes his report, and hands it to Henry to sign.

Fun Facts: The scene with Trapper and Hawkeye in the tent with the enemy solider is genuinely tense, and even a little get the sense from Wayne Rogers' line reading that Trapper genuinely considered murdering the solider in revenge.

Of course, the big event for this episode is the debut of Allan Arbus Major Milton--soon to be Sidney--Freedman. In many ways, Sidney was my favorite character on the show, and Arbus' portrayal was so brilliant (and the writers take on the character equally brilliant), that he kept being brought back, season after season.

Its kind of weird that Hawkeye--after dumping three nurses last season when they wanted a commitment from him--is ready to marry Lt. Johnson so quickly. Since when is he the marrying kind?

Favorite Line: During the scene with Trapper and Hawkeye in the North Korean's tent, the camera is focused on Trapper. Hawkeye walks in, out of focus, and asks: "Trapper?"

When he gets no response, he asks again: "Trap?"

There's something about the way Alan Alda
lowers his voice, to almost a whisper, that really underscores the tension of the scene. In that one word, he conveys his deep friendship with Trapper (by using a shortened version of his name), while simultaneously expressing a fair amount of surprise at what his friend is doing. A great moment.


Steve said...

I never knew he was Milton at first. Never.

Unknown said...

I found the musical score interesting in this ep. You have the strings and horns. More intense and rich. Every happen in other eps?

Domino said...

Again, no critiques. A very funny episode. It has the first appearance of Freedman. Trapper has a bigger part than Hawkeye especially the part with the North Korean, whose antics partly caused Trapper's patient to die. I actually got worried that Trap would kill him. Overall, a god episode thanks to Larry Gelbart. This is in my opinion seeing the first appearance of Radar's teddy bear.

Anonymous said...

The character of Sidney just felt so right in the episodes he appeared in. He didn't feel like a guest star at all, he blended in seamlessly with the regular cast. Alan Alda will forever be my favourite MASH character, but Allan Arbus is a close second!

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