Thursday, July 16, 2009

Episode 113 - End Run

Season 5, Episode 113: End Run
Original Air Date: 1/25/77
Written by: John D. Hess

Directed by: Harry Morgan

This episode opens on the front line, as a group of U.S. solider come under enemy fire. One of the wounded is a young man named Billy Tyler (Henry Brown), who arrives at the 4077th with a nasty wound to his leg. Radar recognizes Tyler, who was a college football star back in Iowa.

Just before he goes under, Tyler tells Hawkeye and B.J. that if they "can't save the leg...don't save me." But despite their best efforts, Tyler's leg wound is too great, and Hawkeye ends up having to amputate it.

Later, in Post Op, Tyler thanks Hawkeye for saving his leg. Hawkeye has to break the news to him that the pains Tyler feels are just "phantom pains", leftovers from the wound. Tyler, for the first time, looks under his blanket, and sees what has happened. He is furious, and, eyes welling up with tears, blames Hawkeye and tells him to go to Hell.

Hawkeye is demoralized by Tyler's reaction, and so is Radar, who comes in to drown his sorrows in booze, as well. Hawkeye tries to take his mind off it by getting involved in a fight between Klinger and Sgt. Zale, organized by Frank, mostly for his own entertainment. He tries getting the two of them to agree to a truce, but it doesn't work.

Later, Radar tells Hawkeye that Billy wants "out"--and not just out of the Army. Hawkeye sits down and has a talk with Billy, but he's adamant about his belief that he has no future without being able to play football.

After Hawkeye leaves, Radar stops by to talk, reminiscing about a great game he saw Tyler play in, where, even though Tyler's team was behind, Tyler simply wouldn't give up until he and his team were victorious.

Remembering that game, Tyler agrees that it was his tenacity that won the day, and says "There's always a way to beat them--you just have to keep searching, until you find it."

In that moment, Tyler realizes what he just heard himself say, and that Radar was drawing it out of him.

Meanwhile, Klinger and Zale's fight commences, with Frank gleefully acting as ringmaster. After they dance around each other, never landing a punch, Frank demands they really start throwing some punches. So they do--both hitting Frank at the same time, knocking him out. The spectators--Hawkeye, B.J., Hot Lips, and others--fall over in hysterics.

Later, Tyler is being shipped out, and he mentions to Hawkeye that he's going to go for "the short pass"--a term which bewilders Hawkeye but delights Radar. Tyler thanks Hawkeye for all his help.

After Tyler's ambulance departs, Radar explains to Hawkeye that Billy intends to try. Both of them feeling better, they decide to have a drink together at Rosie's Bar. Radar wonders, "Can you get drunk on Grape Nehi?" Hawkeye, putting his arm around Radar, answers: "I don't know, let's find out."

Fun Facts: The second episode of the series directed by Harry Morgan, who shows himself to be a crackerjack TV director. This episode opens with two scenes--one of Billy getting wounded, the other the brawl in Rosie's Bar--brilliantly intercut, with the fight scene being particularly well-executed.

Col. Potter has a tiny role in this episode, like he did in Morgan's previous directing effort, Season Four's "The Novocaine Mutiny." I guess Morgan found it easier to direct an episode when he didn't have to do too much acting in it, either.

Favorite Line: Klinger and Zale engage in a round of insults, with Klinger getting off this good one: "If my dog had your face, I'd shave his butt and teach him to walk backwards."


What The Parrot Saw said...

Radar's pep talk to Billy is one of Burghoff's best performances- in my mind, perfectly executed. Radar obviously learned a thing or two from watching the doctors' (save Frank) bedside manner. He is able to draw Billy out of his self-pity with a warm surefootedness that remains a joy to watch.

Hawkeye's earlier scene is as good. And Henry Brown turns in a terrific performance throughout. You truly witness his fear and despair as he slowly lifts the blanket, terrified to look but knowing that he has to.

Also agree with you one re: the match cuts in the opening- very effective and its a pity that the series didn't indulge in this more.

(The "If my dog had your face..." insult was often bandied about in junior high when I was young. Wouldn't be surprised if M*A*S*H introduced it to the lexicon or at least gave it a wider airing...)

Pepper said...

The end scene with Burns is great, wanting a court martial, then having the tables turned. However it really showed the decline of his character i think, his desperation to 'man up' for Hotlips. ,,,also Potter's response...Burns: These men hit me!

Potter: what do you want me to do, kiss it and make it better..." While Blake struggled to fight Burns most of the time, Potter seemed to be the 'equalizer' that was needed to be greater counter to Burns and Hotlips earlier in season 4

John Monkees HoF said...

Was Iowa college football integrated in the early 1950s? Not sure if Billy could have really been on that team.

Ben said...

Billy could have easily played for the Iowa Hawkeyes in 1949 or 1950 if he wasn't a fictional character. The first black player to play for Iowa was Frank Holbrook in 1895 and 1896, in fact he was the leading scorer for Iowa in 1896. In fact, both the University of Iowa and Iowa State University have a long history of being two of the first mostly white universities to accept black students.

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