Sunday, April 12, 2009

Episode 37 - Deal Me Out

Season 2, Episode 37: Deal Me Out
Original Air Date: 12/8/73
Written by: Larry Gelbart & Laurence Marks
Directed by: Gene Reynolds

The 4077th is visited by Major Sidney Freedman and Capt. Sam Pak (Pat Morita), who are here for an important conference: an all-night poker game in The Swamp!

As Hawkeye, Trapper, Henry, Sidney, Sam, and Klinger ante up, all sorts of mayhem breaks loose in the camp--Radar hits a local with his jeep, and a wounded CID man arrives, but Frank refuses to operate on him because regulations say another CID man must be present, in case the wounded man reveals classified information.

The game's players keep changing, as Henry, Hawkeye, and Trapper keep going in and out to deal with what's going on.

The second CID man, Capt. Halloran (Edward Winter) arrives, but Hawkeye and Trapper have gone ahead with the surgery. Once they assure him the CID man never uttered a word, Halloran is annoyed at Frank for having him drive all the way up to the 4077th for nothing. He ends up joining the game, driving Frank to storm out in frustration.

Later, another one of Frank's patients, an unstable Private named Carter (John Ritter) refuses to go back to the fighting, and takes Frank hostage in the showers!

While Sidney tries to talk Carter down, Trapper sneaks in from the back and gets the gun away from him. Sidney escorts Carter out, talking calmly to him.

Later, the guy Radar hit with his jeep--the famous "Whiplash Wang"--demands money, so everyone in the game antes up a few bucks to give to Radar. Radar pays him off, only to "hit" him again a few minutes later with an ambulance!

Acting like he's been injured again, Hawkeye and Trapper drag him back to Post Op.

Later, early in the morning, everyone is barely awake, having played poker all night. They all want to go to sleep, but groggily deal another hand.

Fun Facts: This is one of my all-time favorite episodes: every scene with the poker game has the flow and feel of an old-time radio show, with the jokes flying fast and furious.

This is the first episode featuring Pat Morita as Captain Pak, and while this is Sidney Freedman's second appearance, its his first as part of the gang. This slight adaptation of the character would turn into a major addition for the show.

Speaking of additions, this is the first appearance of actor Edward Winter, playing a character very similar to Col. Flagg, who Winter would play the next time he guest-starred on the show. Of course, given Flagg's penchant for using fake I.D.s, this could be Flagg pretending to be someone named Capt. Halloran!

There's a great little character moment in the scene where Pvt. Carter is taken away: Hawkeye and Trapper are talking to Frank, and Hawkeye is handed Carter's gun. Hawkeye holds it between two fingers, as if it was maggot-ridden, and drops it on a nearby shelf, his face contorted into a look of disgust. Hawkeye's deep, deep hatred of guns would be returned to in later episodes, but you get to see a glimpse of it here, as part of the background of a scene.

Favorite Line: Henry fiddles with his chips while staring at his cards, so Sidney suggests: "Fondling your chips is very infantile."

Henry, without even looking up from his cards, responds: "Not now, Sidney."

I realize that's not that funny a line just reading it, but McLean Stevenson's delivery is perfect, and you get a good sense how chummy all these guys are with one another.


Domino said...

A good episode. This revolves almost exactly around a poker game. Hawkeye did get most of the good lines, but Trapper really stole the show when he bravely disarmed that soldier. Trapper probably wouldn't have left if Rogers had gotten more great moments such as that.

Donald said...

RIP Henry, Frank, Flagg, Sidney, Carter, and Pak.

We've lost many great men in MASH.

Anonymous said...

Another primo episode, Rob! I would just like to point up a particular stand-out, outstanding connection with this outstanding cast:

When Frank enters The Swamp and makes reference that “The Conference is in full swing,” and Sidney, with complete familiarity, says to Frank, “Hi, Frank. What's new up on the mount?” and Captain Pak inquires, “Read any good commandments lately?”

It's just another example of the fine tuning of the directors/producers of this show!

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