Saturday, June 20, 2009

Episode 94 - The More I See You

Season 4, Episode 94: The More I See You
Original Air Date: 2/10/76
Written by: Larry Gelbart & Gene Reynolds

Directed by: Gene Reynolds

It's a boring day at the 4077th. Hawkeye and B.J. are so bored they are sitting around, basically talking nonsense to one another.

But things start to look up, when they see a jeep arrive carrying two new nurses. Hawkeye and B.J. watch from the Swamp, and then Hawkeye is stunned--one of them is an old flame, Carlye Breslin. More than an old flame, actually--Hawkeye reveals to B.J. that he and Carlye were deeply in love, lived together for over a year, and then it "busted up", as Hawkeye says, trying to sound casual.

Later, they go to visit the nurses in their tent, bringing gifts as a way to say welcome. Carlye (Blythe Danner) is just as stunned to see Hawkeye, but they both pretend they've never met. But little things slip through--Carlye already knows where Hawkeye's nickname comes from, and even finishes a joke Hawkeye tells, as if she's heard it before.

They invite them to drinks after dinner, and later that night Carlye comes to visit Hawkeye, who is alone in the Swamp.

At first Hawkeye is guarded and defensive, but soon he drops the facade and they talk, openly, about the old days. Hawkeye is mad Carlye--now Carlye Walton--is married (to an ad man named Doug). Carlye is having none of it, reminding Hawkeye that he was always married to to medicine first, and that's what busted them up in the first place.

The conversation turns into an argument, and Hawkeye admits "There's been no one since you--faint copies at best."

They resolve to have to try and work together, despite their history. Carlye leaves, leaving Hawkeye to grimace and mutter, dismissively, "Doug."

Later, Hawkeye and Carlye work together in surgery, but Hawkeye is snappish and mean, unable to stay professional. Carlye suggests they talk again, after work.

They meet up in a small hut with a dirt floor away from the camp. They have some drinks, talk some more, and Hawkeye reveals how devastated he was when she left him. Eventually, though, they are embracing another. Hawkeye kisses Carlye, promising things will be better this time. Carlye is hesitant, but eventually responds.

A few days pass, and while filing some paperwork in Radar's office, Hawkeye and B.J. (who is waiting for a long distance call to Peg to go through) talk, with Hawkeye sort of apologizing for not being around much lately.

This becomes a discussion of Hawkeye having an affair with a married woman, and Hawkeye asks if B.J. has ever been unfaithful. B.J. says no, but he's gentle and unjudgmental with Hawkeye in explaining that he hasn't cheated on Peg because "God will send me to Hell without and electric fan or its not the Right Thing to do...I simply don't want to."

Radar finds Hawkeye and shows him that Carlye has put in for an immediate transfer. Hawkeye heads to Carlye's tent, demanding an explanation. She says she can't continue on this path, and will tell Potter the truth so she can be transferred immediately.

Hawkeye tries to get to her to stay, even feebly offering to propose to Caryle. Carlye isn't buying it, and points out to Hawkeye how shaky his commitment really is, and that his first love will always be--and should be--medicine.

Hawkeye accepts this, and they embrace one last time. Hawkeye makes a final, half-hearted joke, and leaves.

Later, Hawkeye and B.J. are back to being bored again. Eventually, though, the talk comes back to Carlye. Hawkeye says he doesn't mind that she's gone again, its just that "she never altogether leaves."

Fun Facts: As a kid, this was always one of my least favorite episodes, because it was all "mushy stuff." Now its one of my all-time favorite episodes, having had the chance to grow up (hollow laugh) and see this episode for the brilliant, mature character piece it is. Alda and Danner have an easy, informal chemistry, and it really feels like two people who were once in love. Their scenes together are brilliant.

Also, B.J.'s talk with Hawkeye about why he doesn't cheat on Peg is one of the most simple, most profound pieces of character motivation I have ever seen on a TV show. It registered to me as a kid, for reasons I couldn't understand at the time. In a TV landscape where most male characters are written as horndogs or overgrown man-children, B.J. expresses the thoughts and feelings of a smart, adult man.

Hot Lips and Frank do not appear in this episode.

In the final scene, there's a weird joke making fun of George Raft. Huh?

Favorite Line: Carly, having had her first meal at the 4077th, tells Hawkeye he was right about how bad the food is.

Hawkeye: "Yeah, I'll never understand how the cook got off at Nuremberg."


Russell said...

Likewise, this was never one of my favorites as a kid, Rob. still isn't one my favorites, but I agree it is a wonderful character study of Hawkeye. And I love the interaction between him and BJ. (I wonder if the producers took note of Wayne Rogers' complaints and made more of an effort to "round out" BJ?)
I just wish Frank and Margaret could have appeared. Margaret, certainly, should have had something to say about her new nurses.

What the Parrot Saw said...

This seems a hackneyed concept--the flame who reappears out of nowhere--which works quite well due to the genuine chemistry between Carlye and Hawkeye.

My favorite moment: Carlye nails Hawkeye's continuing ambivalence towards settling down in noting that he has (literally) paced himself in a corner when he proposes. There is an earned, honest dramatic depth present.

One almost wishes that Carlye had tried harder to reconcile her feelings and her marriage- it might have made an enduring subplot. Danner and Alda's acting is that solid throughout.

I also agree: this is an "adult" episode, one which makes much more sense when one gets older (cue: ellipsis)

paulyt said...

One of my fave tidbits of trivia about this episode is that Blythe Danner is Gwyneth Paltrow's mother. I never knew that until I saw this episode and googled her name.

Bill said...

My take on Carlye is she's a game-player who works Hawkeye into a self-loathing lather because she's beautiful and smart enough to know she can. Sure, Hawkeye has some minor control issues, but her reasons for rejecting him (he's a hard-working doctor and she has to be in the "front seat" in her relationship) seems like a thin excuse for keeping him hopping. I actually feel bad for Doug.

OK, so maybe I've been there, too.

Re: George Raft. The dig about him not being an actor is I think inspired by the common tag that he was a real-life tough guy who wasn't acting on screen but just behaving. Legend had it he was pals with all the mobsters in Chicago. Warners film fans remember him as the coin-flipping actor who passed up golden parts Bogart rode to glory. He's kind of a one-note johnny in my view, too, but definitely could connect in the right part, like "Each Dawn I Die."

Anonymous said...

as paulyt said, it was uncanny seeing this, for me anyway, a few years ago, as I thought at first that it was Gwyneth Paltrow, until I figured out she would have been a baby when this was made!

Robert Gross said...

I never liked this episode. It reads like someone's one-act play that got dusted off the shelf and retooled for M*A*S*H. I can't buy that one of Hawkeye's old flames from the states would just wind up by chance at the 4077th.

Dawn said...

I was 17 when this episode aired.(am 55 now, how time flies!) It hit me like a ton of bricks. It was then, and remains now, my favorite episode. The writing, the acting, the chemistry between Alan Alda and Blythe Danner was pure magic. At the end of the episode, where Hawkeye says about Carlye "She never altogether leaves....".....I don't know, something sharp went right through my heart.

And sure enough, years, relationships later, I too, have a guy that I'm no longer with, been many years, and he's never altogether gone either. I think we all have that one that got away.

Love M*A*S*H. Best T.V. show ever. It's theme is my cellphone ringtone. When my phone rings in public, someone ALWAYS recognizes it, and it always brings a smile....

Namaste everyone....still hoping for Peacetime......

Anonymous said...

I never saw this segment until May 6, 2015 and it instantly became my favorite, perhaps only matched by the final 2 hour episode. Alda and Danner were just sublime, their parting scene would have wowed Broadway audiences for months on end. No wonder both were successful stage actors also.

Kovina Kris said...

I just watched this episode last night and I too was quite impressed with the believable chemistry between Danner and Alda. Very well written and acted. I loved the line that Danner said to Alda, (may not be exact) "is that white smoke coming out of your ears or did they just elect a new Pope?"

Unknown said...

such an lovely episode, you see Hawkeye in a way you've never seen him before. :)

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