Saturday, May 16, 2009

Episode 65 - The Consultant

Season 3, Episode 65: The Consultant
Original Air Date: 1/21/75
Written by: Robert Klane, Larry Gelbart

Directed by: Gene Reynolds

Hawkeye and Trapper go to Seoul for a medical conference, and while they're there, they meet Major Anthony Borelli (Robert Alda), a doctor (and veteran of two previous wars) who is acting as a medical consultant.

They hit it off, and Borelli is intrigued by the challenge that working at the 4077th presents. Hawkeye invites him to come visit sometime.

Later, Hawkeye and Trapper, back at the 4077, are shocked to see that Borelli has come to visit. Everyone treats him like visiting royalty, and he's helpful in surgery when a mass of wounded arrive, even when bombs are going off right outside.

Frank prepares to amputate a crushed leg, but Borelli says that it can be saved with a arterial transplant, something no one at the 4077th has ever done. Frank is against it, of course, but Henry goes ahead, giving Radar the order to search other units for a usable transplant.

They find one at a British unit, and Hawkeye and Trapper go get it. When they get back, Hawkeye is excited at the idea of trying this, even though Borelli will be doing the surgery. The only problem the meantime, Borelli has gotten drunk.

Hawkeye confronts him in The Swamp, and Borelli explains that he had forgotten how unnerving being this close to the real war can be, and he can't handle it. He insists Hawkeye can do the surgery, even though he's never done it before.

Hawkeye and Trapper perform the surgery, and its a success. Later, Hawkeye berates Borelli for being drunk when he was needed. Borelli admits to that, and doesn't try to excuse his behavior, but points out Hawkeye's homemade still ("What's that you're leaning on, doctor, a bubblegum machine?") and wishes him better luck on his third war.

Fun Facts: When asked if he'll be missed back in Tokyo, Borelli reminds them that his rank is honorary, and says "What are they going to do, bust me from a Mister down to a Miss?"--not a line that will rank as one of the show's most pro-feminist exchanges.

The syndicated version of this episode ends with the tense scene between Hawkeye and Borelli, ending the episode on a very down note. But the original, uncut version has one more scene, with everyone--except Hawkeye--wishing Borelli a fond goodbye.

Just before Borelli's chopper takes off, though, Hawkeye shows up, tips his hat to him, putting a smile on Borelli's face, giving the episode a slightly more upbeat finale. This kind of editing--where the whole tone of the episode is altered in some way--would come in to play in numerous episodes.

Favorite Line: Henry tells Borelli that the 4077th treated almost 5,000 patients in less than two months. Borelli is amazed at that staggering number, and Hawkeye adds: "Well, I had help of course."


Russell said...

Nepotism Alert!

Wasn't Robert Alda somebody's father? :-)

rob! said...

Yeah, I shoulda mentioned that!

What the Parrot Saw said...

The senior Alda is quite good here- Borelli's dignified response Hawkeye's idealistic outrage hits the right notes without being mawkish.

Unknown said...

I loved the sydicated omitted scene where Borelli says goodbye. It almost seems the actors were truly delighted to Robert Alda guest star. Their appreciation seems more "actor to actor" than "character to character".

The chopper leaves and see all teh cast standing...such legendary presence!

Rob As Well said...

I really can't stand the episodes with Borelli in them. I just don't like the character at all, so annoying with the mustard on the cheese! Almost ever line he has is like nails on a chalkboard to me. :-/ It makes it even more strange that he is Alan Alda's father.

Dave said...

I liked the Borelli in this episode but when he appears seasons later his character is much more annoying.

mark said...

Loved Hawkeye's exchange with Borelli about Frank.
Borelli: "I'm a doctor, not really a Major."
Hawkeye: "Perfect. Frank's a Major who's not really a doctor."

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