Sunday, June 21, 2009

Episode 95 - Deluge

Season 4, Episode 95: Deluge
Original Air Date: 2/17/76
Written by: Larry Gelbart & Simon Muntner

Directed by: William Jurgensen

A massive deluge of wounded hits the 4077th, and all the various cases are intercut with actual, black and white Newsreel footage from the time--some of it important and newsworthy, some of it silly, like a ping pong-playing cat.

In addition to the casualties, landmines start to explode, set off by the extreme weather changes outside. News breaks that China has ruptured the U.N.'s front line, kicking off "an entirely new war."

The news gets so bad that orders are sent for all the nurses to be shipped out temporarily. But Hot Lips refuses to leave, even in the face of great danger. She feels so strongly she walks in in the middle of Col. Potter taking a shower, demanding she stay: "I was born to serve, Colonel, you must let me!" Potter reluctantly agrees.

Tensions start to flare, with Frank prattling on about how he's happy the Chinese have entered the war, and now the U.S. can "obliterate them all."

To make things worse, a carelessly-tossed cigarette starts a fire in Pre-Op, which Radar and Klinger struggle to put out. They finally do, arriving in O.R. just in time for a bomb to go off just outside, blowing out the O.R.'s windows and causing all sorts of chaos.

Eventually, the deluge subsides, leaving everyone exhausted. Potter walks in on Hot Lips as she is showering (leaving a bewildered Frank, waiting outside), thanking her for staying.

Fun Facts: This is another example of M*A*S*H's timeline being out of whack--in "The Late Captain Pierce", earlier in the season, Dwight Eisenhower is now President. But during one of this episode's Newsreel snippets, Harry Truman is still in office.

Favorite Line: Klinger talks about a kid he knew back in Toledo, Archie Jaglaw, who fell on down a sewer as a kid and was a Nazi ever since. He got turned down by the Army because of flat feet.

Klinger: "You know how he got flat feet? Goose-stepping in his basement!"


Russell said...

This is definitely one of my "all time favorite" episodes.
For example, Rob, the pic you posted features a hilarious conversation between Father Mulcahy, BJ, and Hawkeye that shows us how much each of these guys respects and appreciates (dare I say loves?) each other.
Frank comes off as more than just a cartoon character (something he was always in danger of becoming)and Margaret has those great lines.

I think my favorite line/situation is BJ to Radar, "He's not from Omaha any more," and Radar, ever the professional, simply carts the dead body away again.


Russell said...

I really like those "chapter headings" you've put on the right hand side of the page. Nice work, Rob!

rob! said...

Thanks, Russell, I've been meaning to get to those for a while.

I think it makes the blog(s) look so much better having graphics instead of text lists.

What the Parrot Saw said...

The juxtapose of a grim OR session with occasionally frivolous Stateside news is nowhere more apparent than in the scene in which BJ wonders how an operating theatre can work without gloves.

Next scene: Dagwood- the kitten who plays pong.

A subtle reminder of why many historians consider Korea "the forgotten war."

The final scene, which opens with Hawkeye and BJ's sheer exhaustion back in the Swamp might well have been borrowed from a WW2 combat penciler's journal. An arresting image.

Unknown said...

Many scenes are amazing in this episode. 2 that stick out to me.

1. Hawkeye and the Sergeant who is smoking. Hawkeye who is NEVER prone to use any kind of military authority seriously, here does. it shows that when it came to medicine and safety, he'll do whatever he had to do, to ensure success. A tense moment. "And im a Captain fella!"

2. Radar comes in with sandwiches and a bomb goes off right outside the window or the OR. THe scene really sticks out at these doctors and people who under that kind of stress and turmoil, remain so dedicated to the bodies in front of them!!!

Cole McCarthy said...

My favorite line was when the PA said ". . . this is an entirely new war", and Hawkeye says "for those who were tired of the old one"

Anonymous said...

The Chinese entered the War November/December 1950--Potter enetered MASH Sept 19, 1952....

Bill said...

This is the best episode of the season. And what a season! It starts out with two daring back-to-back episodes introducing the first two new main characters to the series, and ends with two of the finest format-busting (Rob's term) shows in its or any other sitcom's history.

The format here is so unusual it deserves special reflection. My take: "M*A*S*H" may well be commenting on Korea being the "forgotten war" as Parrot says, but it's also making a statement about the very media we are watching this in. The newsreel footage replicates the manifold diversions of television circa 1976, with ginsu commercials and Gong Show promos stacked up against the misery and mayhem of "M*A*S*H" as we tune in every week. The music playing over Hawkeye's triage work presents it wonderfully. We're all just dancing in some bizarre cosmic highlight reel spinning off into forever.

Anyone else wince when B. J. says "Sorry Dagwood" as he chops into his sandwich, thinking not of the "Blondie" character but rather the ping-pong playing cat of the same name? Darn, I love that cat!

zcx said...

Great comment, Bill.

The "Dagwood" reference always struck me as a little too "meta"...

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