Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Episode 133 - Comrades in Arms, Part 2

Season 6, Episode 133: Comrades in Arms, Part 2
Original Air Date: 12/13/77
Written by: Alan Alda

Directed by: Alan Alda and Burt Metcalfe

The morning after the night before, Hawkeye and Margaret wake up in their beat-up tent.

Hawkeye is a little nervous, made worse when he sees that Margaret seems to think this is the beginning of a long-term relationship, and the natural evolution of their time together at the 4077th. She even reveals, deep down, she would laugh sometimes when Hawkeye would get "a real good one" off on Frank!

A wounded North Korean solider arrives in the hut, but they can't leave because Hawkeye's wounded leg has stiffened up over night. They hide under some debris, long enough for the solider to stagger in, look around, and fall over--he's seriously wounded, and was using his last few moments of consciousness to scrounge for food. He passes out.

As Hawkeye works on him, Margaret hears a chopper outside. She runs outside and sees one of theirs, a chopper flown by pilot Aylesworth (Doug Rowe) with B.J. as a passenger. She tries to flag them down, but they don't see her.

They do see Hawkeye and Margaret's lost jeep, but when they get shot at by the jeep's North Korean thieves, they head back to the 4077th. When they arrive, Potter is furious they went up without permission, but he's mollified when B.J. tells him he thinks they saw where Hawkeye and Margaret might be. Potter says that now that the 8063rd is back where its supposed to be, they can finally send out a search party.

Another day passes, and Hawkeye and Margaret are stuck sitting under one parka as rain pours down on them, reading a map by flashlight. They are discovered by a member of the 8063rd, which overjoys Hawkeye, leaving Margaret furious, now that its dawned on her that Hawkeye isn't interested in having a relationship with her.

Back at the 8063rd, they perform the surgery they were sent there for. The surgery goes well, but the tension is thick when its obvious to everyone in the room that these two visitors aren't getting along. You can hear the painful slap of the instruments as Margaret thrusts them into Hawkeye's hand.

At the 4077th, B.J., Potter, Winchester, and Father Mulcahy have a drink to celebrate the imminent return of Hawkeye and Margaret. They wonder at how difficult it must have been for the two of them, since they're so different. But its Father Mulcahy, via some innocently-intended comments, that puts the idea in everyone's heads that maybe they turned to each other for..."comfort."

A few hours later, Hawkeye and Margaret do return home, to a party in their honor. After receiving some gifts, Hawkeye profusely thanks everyone for "really saving" his skin, so profusely that a boiling Margaret slaps him across the face and storms out.

Later that night, Hawkeye visits Margaret in her tent to talk. At first she completely denies anything happened, but then she softens a bit and owns up to what happened, but in terms so stiff Hawkeye says he'll "have a lawyer draw up a contract."

Margaret gets the point and levels with Hawkeye, by reading him a letter she's "accidentally" sending to Donald Penobscott, thanking the non-existent "Hank" for an amazing, tender night in that abandoned hut.

Hawkeye and Margaret own up to the idea that nothing more will come of this since they're so different, but they both admit they shared something together, and they're relationship--as friends--will be different, better, from now on.

Fun Facts: Radar does not appear in this episode.

This idea--of Hawkeye and Margaret getting together--never quite worked for me, and I think I can point to this second part as being the reason why. As soon as sleeps with Hawkeye, Margaret becomes clingy and immediately starts going on about a long-term relationship, something I just can't picture the fiercely-independent Major Margaret Houlihan doing. This is a woman who slept with half the Generals in the Asian Theater of Operations, and she's going to get all goopy over Hawkeye?

There's a great scene in the Swamp where Hawkeye tells B.J. what happened, and asks for advice. Its a great flip-side to the scene in Season Five's "Hanky Panky", and B.J. shows some clear-eyed understanding of Hawkeye, and giving it to him straight.

Favorite Line: Without Hawkeye and Margaret, the 4077th is overloaded with wounded. When they realize how far behind they've fallen, Potter admonishes Winchester to "shake a leg."

Winchester curtly repiles something to the effect of, "When I'm done, I am done."

Potter sighs and says, "Sorry I asked."

Winchester, gutsily, says barely under his breath, "That's...what I had in mind."

A great line, a nice piece of characterization, made even better that we see that Potter heard it! What must have been going through his mind at that moment...


What the Parrot Saw said...

And now.... M*A*S*H! (remember how Norman Lear often had a recap of the previous week's episode, followed by an announcer in the second part of his two-parters?)

One of the nice things about your synopses, rob, is that they remind me of smaller details I sometimes forget. In both episodes, the scenes with Hawk and Margaret in the abandoned hut are better than I recall.

But, really, this development was not quite a trainwreck, but still just so trite. Margaret's morning infatuation with Hawkeye would be more believable... if it wasn't Margaret. Or Hawkeye. Two things work here:

Margaret’s painful realization of her husband’s philandering (the accident of the misplaced letters is perfect, just the sort of thing a cad would overlook). With the seeds planted earlier in the season, her emotions (last episode) seem quite real.

The mixed feelings, recriminations between two friends/lovers/now (because of their long standing history) closer friends. The dialogue at the end rings true enough. It's the other 25 minutes preceding here which seem over-blown.


Russell said...

Again, I agree with Parrot. The scenes between BJ and Hawkeye, and Hawkeye and Margaret at the end, are good. I love the "Hank" letter.

The rest of this episode is just crap. (sorry, Alan Alda!)

Cole McCarthy said...

I have a theory as to why Margaret was so uncharacteristically clingy towards Hawkeye. The show makes it obvious that all of the generals she's had flings with were just one night stands. Frank Burns was a terrible lover and a terrible person, Donald was an unfaithful and unaffectionate husband, but Hawkeye was warm and comforting towards Margaret, something supposedly alien towards her.

Robert Gross said...

"This is a woman who slept with half the Generals in the Asian Theater of Operations, and she's going to get all goopy over Hawkeye?"

There's a line in an episode, I don't remember which one, in which she says "Margaret Houlihan doesn't concubine with anyone!!!"

And I always think in response, "The hell she doesn't!"

WestVirginiaRebel said...

Didn't she sort of have a thing for Trapper? Hawkeye and Margaret were thrown together in the heat of the moment, but it does seem that she should have realized that Hawkeye, being Hawkeye, wouldn't or couldn't pursue a full-time relationship with her. Her expectations of the men she was with often seemed unrealistic, given how Frank and Donald turned out. Nevertheless, this was the turning point in her character when she stopped being "Hot Lips" and became a more independent and fully developed character.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...