Saturday, May 2, 2009

Episode 51 - Officer of the Day

Season 3, Episode 51: Officer of the Day
Original Air Date: 9/24/74
Written by: Laurence Marks

Directed by: Hy Averback

With Henry away, Frank is in charge. During Morning Formation, he assigns Hawkeye to be Officer of the Day, but is angered when Hawkeye isn't there to receive the assignment.

He wakes Hakweye up from a deep sleep to give him the OR armband, logbook, plus belt and side-arm. Hawkeye flatly--and imaginatively--refuses to carry a gun.

After dealing with minor annoyances (like inspecting the guards, keeping Klinger from going AWOL, and finding Radar's stolen teddy bear, filched by the two young sons of Trapper's tailor), he has to deal with Col. Flagg, who arrives in camp with a wounded prisoner.

Flagg admits shooting the prisoner while he was trying to get away, and he wants the 4077th to patch him up. Hawkeye and Trapper agree, but are horrified to find out Flagg wants him tended to so he can execute him over the weekend.

Hawkeye and Trapper then stall as long as possible, trying to keep Flagg from taking the prisoner. Frank orders them to sign the patient's release, but they flat out refuse. Flagg finally gets so sick of this, he threatens Hawkeye by cocking his gun and hinting strongly Hawkeye should sign. He does, disgustedly.

Later that night, Flagg watches them load a stretcher into his ambulance, and reminds Hawkeye and Trapper not to take him on again.

But just before the ambulance doors close, we see that the "prisoner" is really Klinger, who wants a trip to Seoul. The ambulance drives off, with Hawkeye and Trapper with a sly grin on their faces.

The next day, Hawkeye recites a report to Radar about the events of the day. Trapper steps in, showing off his new suit. Its a beautiful pinstripe suit, unfortunately, the stripes are going in the wrong direction!

Fun Facts: Edward Winter's Col. Flagg character takes a major leap from his last appearance. In that episode, he was a goofy, way-too-gung ho spy, but in this one he's psychotic and cruel.

Trapper's horizontally-pinstriped suit is one of the great sight-gags of all time. A classic prop, I wonder where it is now?

There's a subtly creepy moment during the confrontational scene with Hawkeye and Flagg. While Flagg demands Hawkeye sign the release, he strokes his gun lovingly.

But that's not what's most interesting: watch Hot Lips in this scene--Loretta Swit has Hot Lips looking positively orgasmic at this display of murderous machismo. Her eyes grow wide, she starts to breathe heavily. She looks like she wants to boff Flagg, right then and there. Genuinely disturbing, and a great little insight into Hot Lips' personality.

Henry, explained as being on R&R, makes no appearance in this episode at all.

Favorite Line: The scene pictured above, with Hot Lips, Frank, and Flagg threatening Hawkeye and Trapper, is fall-down funny, Alda and Rogers seemingly ad-libbing some of the responses.

After one threat, Hawkeye turns conspiratorially to Trapper, and says: "Meanwhile, Aunt Martha, having taken a tramp in the woods, is lying in a ditch at the edge of town."

Its such a bizarre, perfectly-delivered non-sequitur that you can see Wayne Rogers start to laugh out loud, just before the camera cuts away.


Anonymous said...

Frank should've reviewed army regulations. It's against regulations to order a doctor to sign someone out, no matter who their patient is. Of course, Frank is doing this just to suck up to Colonel Flagg.

Anonymous said...

This episode was amusing in various ways. I find it almost cute when Trapper tells Frank to leave Hawkeye alone when he's sleeping.

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