Thursday, July 9, 2009

Episode 106 - Hawkeye Get Your Gun

Season 5, Episode 106: Hawkeye Get Your Gun
Original Air Date: 11/30/76
Written by: Gene Reynolds & Jay Folb

Directed by: William Jurgensen

During a long, grueling session in O.R., Frank keeps making less-than-subtle comments about Col. Potter's age, and how he might not be as capable as his three younger surgeons. Potter is, of course, insulted.

Later on, the 4077th gets a message from a Korean hospital, asking for help--two doctors, and all the medical supplies a jeep can carry. While trying to decide who will go, Frank puts his foot in his mouth again, suggesting that Potter is too old to go on this mission.

Potter uses a deck of cards to decide who's going to go--and it ends up being Hawkeye and...Col. Potter.

As they climb into the jeep, Potter notices Hawkeye does not have his standard issue sidearm. Hawkeye argues he doesn't want to bring it, but Potter insists.

Soon, they arrive at the Korean hospital, but it's not quite a hospital--its more of a dilapidated hut. The commander, Major Choi (Mako), greets them, and immediately puts them to work.

Hawkeye is dismayed (and more than a little snide) at the lack of sterile conditions, but Major Choi reminds him they are making do with what they have.

Its a marathon session, with the added feature of shelling going on outside. Eventually, Hawkeye and Col. Potter try to catch some sleep in a side room, resting on a wooden crate. Hawkeye boasts he can put Potter to sleep, and tries to pseudo-hypnotize him into doing so. It works, but in reverse--its Hawkeye who passes out, leaving Potter to go back to work.

Surgery goes on all night, eventually ending in the morning. Major Choi commends them on their work, and they head home.

On the way back, Hawkeye and Potter drink liberally from a canteen of booze Klinger packed in their jeep. They both get hammered and silly, but things get serious when bombs start to fall on the road they're driving on, getting so close they stop the jeep and hide in a nearby ditch.

A shell hits their jeep, blowing it up ("The case will be in court for years!", Hawkeye comments). Then bullets start to fly, and Potter, refusing to be "dragged off to some Chinese prison camp", empties his gun firing back.

He insists Hawkeye do the same, but he adamantly refuses. Potter flat out orders him to, yet Hawkeye still refuses. He lets Potter know it is simply not in him to shoot anyone, for any reason.

Finally Potter talks Hawkeye into it, telling him to think of the gun as "The biggest noise-maker in all of Korea." Hawkeye relents, but only partially--he shoots straight into the air, warning everyone within earshot to take cover. Now that he's used up all his bullets, he reasons, can he go home now?

Potter is amazed at the extent of Hawkeye's refusal to play along--simultaneously angry and impressed. But since he's also drunk, he finds it very funny. They both end up giggling in the ditch, just as the bullets stop flying.

They wander back, running across a platoon of U.S. soldiers. Told that the North Koreans have moved out, Hawkeye and Col. Potter are safe to walk home, staggering drunkenly as they do it.

That night, Frank visits Col. Potter to say goodnight, amazed that the old man is still standing, let alone awake. Potter says he's about to do fifty push-ups, would Frank like to join him?

Frank begs off, leaving Potter to crawl into his bed, finally going to sleep after a very long day.

Fun Facts: This is actor Mako's second appearance on the series, after first appearing in Season 3's "Rainbow Bridge."

Hawkeye's utter hatred of guns (
"Look, Colonel--I'll treat their wounds, heal their wounds, bind their wounds, but I will not inflict their wounds!") had a huge effect on me as a kid.

Combined with another hero of mine, Batman, who had a similar view of them, I grew up with a visceral dislike of guns and the damage they cause. (I later spent some time skeet-shooting and target-shooting, with a variety of guns, coming away with an even bigger feeling of disgust. But I felt better--or more informed, at least--for getting some actual, real world experience to back those initial feelings up)

Favorite Line: Col. Potter defends his ability to go on the mission to Frank, by saying that "I may not be a colt, but I'm not an old grey mare, either!"

Hawkeye, backing him up: "She's right."


What the Parrot Saw said...

Hawkeye's scene with Col. Potter during the lull in the Korean hospital remains one of my favorites.

They are both exhausted (fine acting here) but Potter demonstrates a genuine, and respectful dignity as he watches Hawkeye fall asleep. Watch him toy with Hawkeye as Hawk is trying to hypnotize him to sleep... He may be older than the doctors under his command- but it is his third war. He's learned a few tricks insofar as pacing oneself.

A truly wonderful moment when he checks on Hawk, collects himself, and returns to the OR.

And while he delights in giving Frank his comeuppance at the end, his own exhaustion is a fitting note to end on.

This episode reminds us that Potter's respect in the 4077th was most deserved. It cemented my admiration for his strength early on in my following the series.

Oddly, both Hawkeye and Sherman happen to be drunk when they confront each other about their wildly differing views on sidearms. Its as if this is the only way that the two men would be able to reconcile their staunchly opposing views, at least at this point...

Russell said...

I loved this episode as a spotlight on Col Potter, but I always wished it had been BJ or even Frank who went with him to the hospital instead of Hawkeye. We always seemed to get the Hawkeye-other cast member team-up instead of two others. What was this, The Brave & The Bold with Hawkeye as Batman!?! (sigh)
Sure, the scenes would have been wildly different if it had been BJ (or Frank!) instead of Hawkeye, but for all we know, BJ hates guns even more than Hawkeye does. We'll never know.

Neal said...

Even though M*A*S*H was one of the first shows to make full use of an ensemble cast, the show still revolved primarily around Hawkeye. I think the networks expected a strong lead in every show. Perhaps if the show had been made in the 80s, a Potter/Frank or Potter/BJ team-up would've been do-able. I can only think of one episode off-hand where Hawkeye was not a major figure and that was when George Lindsey showed up as a fill-in surgeon.

I agree with you, Rob, that the fourth and fifth seasons were the best. They teetered between the sillier, early seasons and the more realistic and somber later seasons. The perfect balance of comedy and pathos.

Pepper said...

I love the scene with Klinger drawing cards, in his gypsy disguise, claiming to be able to discern the other two's condition. He then snaps into reality after he finds he draws a straight!,,,,i also like when Klinger first enters Potter's office and Hawkeye's amusement.

Robert Gross said...

Come to think of it...

Hey, Doctor Potter, why don't *you* have an "I shall not inflict" code like Hawkeye does?

WestVirginiaRebel said...

This was one of the first shows where we really saw the differences between Potter and Blake-Potter was a combat veteran and knew how to use a gun. Can you imagine Henry in the same situation? Hawkeye's pacifism might be sincere, but could he really pull it off in a combat situation? What if Potter had been wounded and Hawkeye had been alone?

Klinger was a lousy psychic but a great card player.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...