Thursday, April 23, 2009

Episode 48 - A Smattering of Intelligence

Season 2, Episode 48: A Smattering of Intelligence
Original Air Date: 3/2/74
Written by: Larry Gelbart & Laurence Marks

Directed by: Larry Gelbart

After some wounded arrive, a chopper crashes--but the only person wounded is Col. Flagg (Edward Winter), who has a broken arm. Flagg is a uber-tough guy, refusing any pain medication and not finding Capt. Pierce funny at all.

After being bandaged up, Flagg goes to see Henry and admits who he is, including a list of all his multiple aliases. Flagg says he can't officially have been at the 4077, so Henry has to doctor the paperwork.

Later, an old friend of Trapper's arrives, Vinnie Pratt (Bill Fletcher). He tells them that he's part of G2, and he's here to follow up on what Flagg is doing. He reveals that each branch of the U.S. intelligence community investigates one other, which Hawkeye and Trapper find ridiculous and a giant waste of time. Henry is also displeased when he meets Pratt, and just wants the 4077th left out of all this skullduggery.

Flagg's arm heals, but to stay in camp he smashes it, breaking it all over again! He then sends a ridiculously coded message to his superiors, which Hawkeye, Trapper, and Pratt intercept.

To have some fun, Hawkeye and Trapper drop hints that maybe Frank is worth looking into--after all, wouldn't someone with something to hide be as gung ho patriotic as possible?

To lead them on futher, they doctor Frank's file with all sort of incriminating details, which Flagg finds. Then they replace it with a second file, which Pratt finds.

Later, both Flagg and Pratt come to arrest Burns, each for different and conflicting reasons. Frank insists he's innocent, but both Flagg and Pratt aren't moved.

Just as they're about to carry Frank off, Hawkeye and Trapper admit this was all their doing, and they did it just to highlight how wasteful and silly all this spy stuff is. Flagg isn't happy, but Pratt takes it a little better.

Wounded arrive, leaving Flagg and Pratt in The Swamp. They decide to get some coffee, but not before Pratt takes some pictures of The Swamp with a tiny camera.

The episode ends with Col. Flagg's report on M*A*S*H 4077, which "Strongly suggests further observation."

Fun Facts: This is actor Edward Winter's second appearance on the show, but his first as Col. Flagg. Trapper's pal Pratt is never heard from again, but of course Col. Flagg would come back to the visit 4077 several times.

I love how Col. Flagg is in a permanent, pseudo-tough guy squint in his every appearance. Winter's performance--and the show's take on the character--is an example of the concept of the Anti-Comic.

While Hawkeye, Trapper, etc.,
using humor to repeatedly goof on the whole notion of Authority, and point out the stupidity of violence, bloodshed, and a blinding, unquestioning obedience to one's leaders, Winter's Col. Flagg embodies all those traits--he doesn't make a joke, because he is the joke. He and Archie Bunker would have gotten along great.

In the last scene with Flagg and Pratt, Pratt calls Flagg "Sam." Is this really Col. Flagg's first name, or yet another alias?

This is the final show of the second season.

Favorite Line: When tells Trapper: "You really hit me below the belt", Trapper responds with: "Come see me, I do hernias."

1 comment:

Mark said...

Flagg's "ridiculously coded message" was, to "The Far east Export-Import Company: Mary had a little lamb; My dog has fleas. Mairzy doats and dozy doats, and I'll be home for Christmas. Signed, Your loving son, Queen Victoria". Pratt recognized himself as "Mary".

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