Monday, June 8, 2009

Episode 82 - Dear Peggy

Season 4, Episode 82: Dear Peggy
Original Air Date: 11/11/75
Written by: Jim Fritzell & Everett Greenbaum

Directed by: Burt Metcalfe

B.J. writes a letter home to wife Peg, and tells her about some of the events at the 4077th. Sadly, there's not much going on--without wounded to tend to, everyone's bored out of their minds!

He tells Peg about Frank, and how bad a doctor he is. Frank's patient starts to fade during the operation, and when he loses a pulse, Frank just gives up. B.J.--doubling as the anesthetist--jumps in and saves the patient.

Father Mulcahy is worried about the impending visit of Col. Hollister, Divisional Chaplain, who is coming to inspect the job Mulcahy is doing, and he confides in B.J., who tries to reassure him.

B.J. tells Peg about the time Hawkeye tried to break the Guinness World Record, by cramming fifteen people into a jeep. Hot Lips and Frank are against it, but when Hawkeye insists its for the glory of the 4077th, Hot Lips joins in. Frank complains to Col. Potter, who blows him off. Moments later, Col. Hollister (Ned Beatty) arrives, just in time to see Father Mulcahy spill out of the crammed jeep.

The next morning, everyone in camp shows up for Father Mulcahy's Sunday services, as a show of support. Afterwards, Hollister isn't impressed, saying Mulcahy is too meek--he insists Mulcahy must "lead the attack, Father, with a Bible in one hand, and a sword in the other!"

Hollister also gets involved in the case of the solider B.J. saved earlier, and tells Mulcahy he should write the boy's parents telling them their son will be okay. Mulcahy is unsure, thinking he should wait until the young man becomes more stable. Hollister won't listen, and demands Mulcahy write the letter.

Hollister leaves, after approving of Mulcahy's letter. Moments later, the young man starts to get worse, causing Mulcahy to have a crisis of conscience, thinking he's done the wrong thing, not standing up to Hollister when he should have.

Mulcahy paces outside as the doctors work on the young man, but they eventually come out and tell Mulcahy he's going to be fine.

The next day, B.J. ends his letter while playing chess with Hawkeye.

Fun Facts: Another episode in the "Dear..." format, this time it's B.J.'s turn.

When Mulcahy is waiting to hear how the solider is doing, he kneels onto the compound, about to pray when the doctors come out. Its a completely silent scene, subtly executed and nicely done.

Favorite Line: B.J. asks Hawkeye if he's going to go the cockroach race being held in another part of the camp, Hawkeye says: "Nah, people who go to those things only want to see a cockroach crash."


Russell said...

Another great episode from the talented team of Fritzell & Greenbaum featuring two of my favorites, BJ and Father Mulcahy. I love how Father Mulcahy spills out of the jeep just as Col. Hollister arrives. Funny!!!

What the Parrot Saw said...

Ned Beatty's Hollister obviously had read the 1920s best seller The Man Nobody Knows and took it to heart; "Father, many a business has gone under with the slogan 'we deliver'" (true!).

As certain strains of evangelical Christianity became extremely popular from the 80s onward, one can easily recast Hollister as a Rick Warren type were MASH set in modern day Iraq.

If memory serves, didn't a subplot here involve teaching Koreans English in order to assist in the OR? Hawkeye's cueing them in a refrain of "You tell him, ferret-face!" is dumb- but wickedly funny.

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