Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Episode 171 - Are You Now, Margaret?

Season 8, Episode 171: Are You Now, Margaret?
Original Air Date: 9/24/79
Written by: Thad Mumford and Dan Wilcox

Directed by: Charles S. Dubin

The 4077th is visited by the aide of a congressman, a man named R. Theodore Williamson (Lawrence Pressman), who says he has arrived to look into the unit and its people, ostensibly for the congressman to see how the war effort can be strengthened. Potter thinks its just grandstanding for the congressman to win re-election, but he gives his permission for Willamson to ask around.

He talks to Margaret, and then moves on to Hawkeye and B.J., trying his best to avoid Klinger, who is busy snapping pictures of everyone in an attempt to win a contest for Stars and Stripes.

Williamson's questions start out about the equipment the 4077th uses, but they quickly turn to the staff, asking about people's attitudes and their behavior. Hawkeye and B.J., less than interested, foist him towards Winchester, who in the Mess Tent bores Williamson to tears by telling him endless stories about life in Boston.

Hawkeye, B.J., Father Mulcahy, and Margaret compare notes, and they all have had the same experience, with Williamson asking personal questions about the staff.

Hawkeye and B.J. go to Williamson and ask him directly what he's in Korea for. Williamson at first puts them off, but then quickly grows serious and asks to discuss the matter with them and Col. Potter.

In Potter's tent Williamson reveals what his true mission is: to gather evidence about a suspected communist in the unit--Major Margaret Houlihan.

Back in Potter's office, Williamson confronts Margaret with the charges, who of course protests. Hawkeye, B.J., and Potter defend her, but Williamson won't listen, and insists that a former boyfriend of Margaret's in college, a man named Wally Chrichton--has been named as a subversive by HUAC.

Williamson then suggests that if Margaret is really as patriotic as she says she is, maybe she can offer up the names of some of Wally's friends? And if she refuses to do so, then she'll be ordered to testify in front of the committee. Williamson gives Margaret the choice, and leaves the office.

Later, in the Mess Tent, a despondent Margaret tearfully recalls the friends she and Wally had in college. She can't bring herself to offer them up to HUAC, but she also can't volunteer to testify, knowing just being there would destroy her life and embarrass her father. Overwhelmed, she hurries out.

That night, in the Officers Club, Hawkeye, B.J., and Winchester try to defend Margaret to Williamson, and unsubtly drops hints that Margaret--aka "Hot Lips"--is no communist; rather, she's a party girl. Williamson leaves.

He shows up at Margaret's tent, and Margaret answers dressed in a negligee. Williamson offers to help Margaret defend herself, and within moments he grabs her in a passionate embrace and kisses her.

Just at that moment, Klinger pops out of Margaret's clothes locker, camera in hand, and snaps a picture of the two of them.

Williamson, shocked, tries to figure out what's going on when Hawkeye, B.J., and Winchester storm in. They tell him that they're going to send the picture to Williamson's wife if he keeps up this witch hunt.

Williamson accuses them all of blackmail, but of course he was willing to let Margaret go if she slept with him. Everyone is even more disgusted when he reveals that he would've prosecuted her anyway. Margaret, sputtering, yells, "You mean you were gonna...and then you were creep!"

Williamson, knowing when he's been beaten, storms out.

Later, everyone reads a copy of the new Stars and Stripes. Klinger's photo entry didn't win, but there is some good news: a story about Williamson's wife having an affair with the congressman! Apparently, the wife was driven to it, since she describes her husband as "Being married to his country first and me second."

Fun Facts: Everyone but Father Mulcahy is in the final scene, which has always bugged me a little. He should be there, since the scene is the follow-up to plot of the episode, not an unrelated bit.

Radar does not appear in this episode.

Favorite Line: Williamson asks Potter if he's heard of the congressman. Potter answers: "No, we don't get a lot of newspapers around here--the paper boy keeps throwing them in the minefield."

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Episode 170 - Too Many Cooks

Season 8, Episode 170: Too Many Cooks
Original Air Date: 9/17/79
Written by: Dennis Koenig

Directed by: Charles S. Dubin

During OR, and even though Col. Potter seems to be in a sour mood, everyone's spirits are lifted when they meet Pvt. Conway (Ed Begley, Jr.) gets wheeled in with a simple fractured ankle. Since its not the result of a war injury--Conway's just a klutz--it makes Hawkeye's day to treat such a non-violent injury.

Col. Potter doesn't enjoy all the levity, but the rest of them don't care--they find it even funnier when another solider gets wheeled in, injured when Conway fell on him.

Turns out that Conway is a hapless soldier, completely inept with weapons. But he is a superb cook, and he starts preparing meals for the 4077th, which thrills everyone--for the first time, the Mess Tent is SRO.

Col. Potter isn't pleased that Conway is being kept off the line just to prepare food for the 4077th, and lets everyone know what's making him so surly: his wife Mildred has grown tired of never having Sherman around, and is demanding he give up his command and return home. He orders the doctors to send Conway home, pronto.

Hawkeye tries to get Potter to talk about his problems, but he won't open up. He gets even madder when he discovers the rest of them trying to get Conway a transfer off the line. He takes the phone from the general in charge, General Haggerty, and says that if there's anyone who's going anywhere, it might be him: right now, the way he's feeling, Potter just wants to quit and go home.

Everyone is stunned at this, and Margaret goes to Potter and manages to get him to open up and soften a little bit. He's been trying to call Mildred to talk to her, but the lousy phone lines are keeping the call from going through.

Later, Gen. Haggerty (John Randolph) shows at the 4077th to talk to his old friend Potter directly, to find out what's on Potter's mind after that strange phone call.

They start to talk, but Haggerty is distracted by the amazingly tasty food served to him. Hawkeye and B.J., eager to see if they can talk Haggerty into transferring Conway off the front lines and to the 4077th permanently, butter him up.

But they are crestfallen when Haggerty says he's going to take Conway with him as his personal chef--"I'll be the envy of all the generals in the Far East." Klinger is thrilled, assuming he'll be able to tag along.

But Conway has other plans: he wants to go back to his unit, and cook for them, as a way to make up for all his klutziness. Haggerty is disappointed, but admires Conway's loyalty, and agrees. Klinger quickly dissolves their partnership, not wanting to go the front.

A few days later, Col. Potter gets a letter from Mildred, who is no longer angry. After speaking to a young soldier who was wounded and cared for at a MASH, Mildred realizes how important what her husband is doing, and apologizes for being so tough on him. Everything at the Potter house is back to normal.

Fun Facts: This is the eighth season's "Angry Potter" episode.

The credits have been changed, with "Also starring Gary Burghoff as Radar" added to the end. This is the first--and only--time this sort of character credit was used on the show.

There's a moment where Klinger imitates Col. Potter's nasally bray: "Did you reach my wife yet?!?" For some reason, Farr's imitation of Harry Morgan makes me laugh every single time.

This episode features the first of several awkward scenes of Radar, on R&R in Tokyo, talking to Klinger, but otherwise not being in the episode at all.

Favorite Line: Klinger says he and Conway are going to open a restaurant together back home, and mentions how Toledo desperately needs another four-star restaurant.

B.J.: "Yeah, the other one closed when all the pin-boys quit."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Episode 169 - The Party

Season 7, Episode 169: The Party
Original Air Date: 3/12/78
Written by: Alan Alda and Burt Metcalfe

Directed by: Burt Metcalfe

After a long session in OR, B.J. reads a letter from Peg where she mentions her difficulties making some preserves.

Radar mentions that his mother has a good recipe for them, as does Mildred Potter. B.J. offers to round up the advice of Mrs. Potter and Mother O'Reilly, but Potter has a better idea: why not have Mildred write Peg directly?

Back at the Swamp, B.J. gets the idea to have a party back in the states, featuring the family members of the everyone at the 4077th. This energizes him, and its all he can talk about, even during a bug out after I-Corps tells them that the Chinese army is headed their way.

He tries to get Hawkeye, Margaret, Winchester, and Klinger to participate too, but they all seem skeptical, for various reasons.

By the time they arrive at the new location for the 4077th, B.J. is demoralized--the party seems like its not going to happen, and a patient of his might be permanently paralyzed due to the unexpected trip.

The next morning, Hawkeye sits down with everyone and tells them how much this party means to B.J., and insists they all write their relatives and ask them about the party.

A couple of weeks pass, and just as the mail starts arriving again, Gen. Embry calls and says the 4077th is bugging out again, and they have to back to their original location.

On the ride back, everyone opens up mail from their relatives about the party. To everyone's shock and/or delight, they all plan on attending--the Klingers, the Winchesters, the Houlihans, and Dr. Pierce--everyone!

B.J. is over the moon excited about the party, the only problem is finding a date that will work for everyone. After date after date getting rejected for one reason after another, they finally settle on March 28th.

They pose for a picture out on the compound in front of the signpost, but Klinger has a problem: his mother doesn't know he's in Korea! He reveals that since his mother doesn't speak English, everyone else has kept Klinger's secret for fear that she would worry every day he was going to die. B.J. finds a way around it--see above picture.

A week or so after the party, during a session in OR, Radar reads a letter from Peg about the party. Everyone got along amazingly well: Margaret's parents (who are going through a separation) spent the whole evening dancing together, Mrs. Potter and Mr. Pierce took a real shine to one another, Klinger's mother revealed she always knew her son was in Korea, but didn't let on because she didn't want him to worry about her.

The biggest news is that the Winchesters took to the O'Reillys, so much so that they invited them to their home in Cape Cod during Radar's first summer back after the war!

After OR, B.J. is all smiles after hearing how well the party went. Radar comes in, eager to discuss his potential visit with the Winchesters. Winchester himself says Radar can bring anyone or anything he would like--even his goat--because he plans to turn himself over to the Chinese.

Fun Facts: The final episode of the seventh season.

I wonder how some of the other members of the 4077th, like Nurse Bigelow, Nurse Kellye, and Sgt. Zale felt not being asked to participate in the get together?

The sequence featuring all the different trucks, carrying different members of the cast, is a lot of fun. I love Potter's response to looking at Klinger's letter, which is all in Arabic: "Oh...sure is a pretty-looking language!"

Favorite Line: Klinger isn't sure about inviting his family to the party, since most of his family don't speak English. B.J. asks isn't anyone in his family bi-lingual?

Klinger says his Uncle Abdul does, and B.J. says: "Well, invite him along! He can translate for the Winchesters, too."

Monday, September 21, 2009

Episode 168 - Ain't Love Grand?

Season 7, Episode 168: Ain't Love Grand?
Original Air Date: 3/5/79
Written by: Ken Levine & David Isaacs

Directed by: Mike Farrell

After a month straight of nothing but OR to Mess Tent to The Swamp, Hawkeye, B.J., and Winchester are sick to death of each other. Hawkeye suggests getting a drink at Rosie's, and Winchester agrees--but only if Hawkeye and B.J. stay behind.

At Rosie's, Winchester ends up talking to a pretty girl named Sooni (Sylvia Chang), and even though she's blunt and coarse, Winchester ends up taking a shine to her.

Klinger also meets someone, a Lieutenant Debbie Clark (Kit McDonough), who is completely charmed by Klinger's outsize and unique personality.

Winchester ends up falling for Sooni, mostly because he thinks he can educate, in a sort of Eliza Doolittle manner. He buys her a nice dress (part of the Klinger Collection), teaches her table manners, and tries to get her interested in classical music.

But, despite Winchester's best efforts, Sooni isn't interested in his efforts. She's a working girl, and doesn't see herself as anything more than that, and constantly rebuffs Winchester's attempts to make her into something else.

Meanwhile, Klinger and Debbi are having a good time together, until Klinger reveals that he has fallen for her, hard, and he's been thinking that they'd be together after the war: a house with a white picket fence, kids...the works.

This unnerves Debbie, who was really only interested in whatever good times they can both squeeze out in this miserable place. Klinger is hurt, thinking what they had was much more than that. He reveals himself as a huge romantic, and if its just a "good time" Debbie wants...then he's not really interested.

After another day, Sooni has finally had enough of Winchester and his interests. After hearing one too many poems, she bails on him, saying she's "just a working girl" and leaves him there in Rosie's, devastated and embarrassed.

Later, Hawkeye and B.J. have a drink at Rosie's with Winchester to try and cheer him up. Klinger is there, drunk, singing torch songs. Winchester gets up and joins him.

Fun Facts: The first episode of the series directed by Mike Farrell.

Radar does not appear in this episode.

Favorite Line: Hawkeye and B.J., without Winchester around, are sick of each other. When Hawkeye mentions that Winchester didn't come home last night, B.J. tersely comments: "At least one of us with someone interesting last night."

Hawkeye, in mock outrage: "...Well!"

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Episode 167 - A Night At Rosie's

Season 7, Episode 167: A Night At Rosie's
Original Air Date: 2/26/79
Written by: Ken Levine & David Isaacs

Directed by: Burt Metcalfe

Hawkeye, enraged at the lousy breakfast the Mess Tent was serving, wanders into Rosie's Bar. Rosie (Eileen Saki) insists she's closed, but Hawkeye begs. Rosie relents, but all Hawkeye asks for is a beer and bowl, into which he mixes the beer and a package of Rice Krispies.

Moments later, a solider right off the line named Scully (Joshua Bryant) sits down, demanding a drink and a cigar. Rosie decides she might as well open for business, and Scully tells Hawkeye that he just came off the line, tired of the war.

Soon after, B.J. walks in, looking for Hawkeye. Potter wonders where Hawkeye went and wants him back in camp, but Hawkeye and Scully quickly talk B.J. into having a drink.

Cut to: the three of them, tipsy, loudly singing songs and declaring that Rosie's is its own country ("Rosieland"), and as long as they're here, the war outside doesn't exist.

Eventually, it seems like the whole camp is hanging out at Rosie's--Klinger comes to gamble, Father Mulcahy comes to corral B.J. and Hawkeye, but quickly gives up and has a drink, Margaret comes looking for her nurses but after a couple of compliments finds herself dancing with Scully.

Winchester arrives, demanding Hawkeye return to take over his O.D. duties, and gets Hawkeye so mad he stuffs a gag in Winchester's mouth and ties him to a chair.

Radar also comes by, but gets distracted by an unconscious major, who has been sleeping for days on end and doesn't seem to be assigned to any Army outfit in all of Korea.

Night falls, and Col. Potter finally gets so fed up he follows the rest of his camp to Rosie's. He has a talk with Hawkeye and B.J. outside and is furious with them, reminding them that he deserves more respect than this. He ultimately decides to let the party continue, and Hawkeye thanks him, saying "We'll remember this." Potter grimly replies, "Tomorrow, I doubt you'll remember anything" and walks off.

During the craps game, Father Mulcahy notices that the ringleaders are cheating, leading to a huge fight breaking out. MPs arrive, looking for Scully, who is technically AWOL.

When Margaret learns this, she's less than pleased, and demands he return to his unit. During the chaos of the fight, she helps Scully sneak out. Before he leaves, though, he kisses Margaret and promises to come back and see her again sometime.

The next morning, Rosie's is trashed, and Hawkeye and B.J. are hung over. Just before they leave, they hear the confused wailing of the previously unconscious major. Turns out he was stationed in Honolulu, and he was drinking with some buddies and joked about the war. When he passed out, those friends stuck him on a troop ship, and, two weeks later, here he is in Korea.

Hawkeye and B.J., amazed that anyone would feel the need to get drunk while being in Hawaii, offer to take the major on a tour of the 4077th, to get an idea of what he's been missing.

Fun Facts: Another format-busting episode: like Season Four's "The Bus", there are no scenes at the 4077th.

This is the introduction of Scully, who would come back a couple of times in the next few seasons.

Favorite Line: Hawkeye, B.J, and Smitty are singing loud, drunken songs. After finishing one song, they decide to sing an Andrew Sisters tune, and Hawkeye assigns each of them an identity. Hawkeye wants to be Maxine, and demands B.J. be Laverne. B.J. protests, asking, "Why can't you be Laverne once?"

Hawkeye, with mock outrage: "Because I've had it with making sacrifices!"

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Episode 166 - Preventative Medicine

Season 7, Episode 166: Preventative Medicine
Original Air Date: 2/19/79
Written by: Tom Reeder

Directed by: Tony Mordente

During OR, the doctors notice that all the wounded have multiple shrapnel wounds, from all directions. Col. Potter explains these soldiers are part of Col. Lacy's unit, which sustains more casualties than any other in Korea.

Later, Col. Lacy (James Wainwright) himself arrives, and seems to be quite the charmer. He's complimentary to Radar, to Col. Potter, to Margaret. Hawkeye and B.J. are indifferent to Lacy's kind words, and his troops are downright hostile to him.

Lacy makes a speech about how the bravery of his men have given him the initiative to put in a plan to I-Corps to take on Hill 403, a dangerous mission. Hawkeye and B.J. are disgusted, and in private Col. Potter tries to talk Lacy out of it, to no effect.

The next morning, Lacy sits down to breakfast with Margaret in the Mess Tent, and she's up front about how much she likes him. Lacy tells her about the mission to claim Hill 403, and when he casually admits that he expects "around 20%" in casualties, Margaret is horrified. She asks what makes the hill so important, worth all that, and he responds, as if its a strange question, "Well, getting it."

Margaret, disgusted, walks off, leaving Lacy alone. He then tries to talk to Hawkeye and B.J., and Hawkeye lets him know how revolting he finds Lacy to be. Lacy is condescending and smug, still not caring a bit about all the casualties he's created and will create.

He returns to Post Op to give out Purple Hearts, but none of the wounded want them. One of them goes into cardiac arrest, while Lacy receives a phone call from a general, who tells him that Lacy's offensive on Hill 403 has been denied, on the grounds of it being too risky.

Hawkeye and B.J. overhear this and gloat, but Lacy won't take no for an answer. He says that he plans to send out reconnaissance, and that usually draws fire. And once the shooting starts, whose to say who started it?

B.J. is horrified, but Hawkeye seems to have changed his mind--he compliments Lacy, inviting him to the Swamp for some drinks. B.J. at first is shocked, but Hawkeye lets him know the plan is to slip Lacy a mickey, pulling him off the line.

They go ahead with the plan, and when Lacy doubles over in pain, B.J. immediately diagnoses it as Gastritis, but Hawkeye says its Appendicitis, requiring surgery. When Lacy hears that, he protests, saying he'll lose his command if he's off the line that long, which only reaffirms Hawkeye's plan.

In the scrub room, Hawkeye and B.J. have it out--B.J. says cutting a healthy body open is "Mutilation--why don't you just stab him?"

Hawkeye argues that its worth that to save the lives of all the young men who won't have to climb Hill 403, and goes ahead with the operation. B.J. walks out, refusing to participate.

Later, Hawkeye comes back to the Swamp. He wearily admits to B.J. that Lacy's appendix was "Pink and perfect, and I tossed it in the scrap bucket."

B.J. says there's wounded coming, just a few seconds before the P.A. announces it. B.J. adds: "You treated a symptom--the disease goes merrily on." He puts his hand on Hawkeye's shoulder, helping him up, and together they leave the Swamp.

Fun Facts: This episode's plot is a more dramatic, extended version of part of the storyline from Season Three's "White Gold", where Hawkeye and Trapper give Col. Flagg a mickey that puts him in the hospital for a while.

Favorite Line: Col. Potter asks Hawkeye and B.J. to lay off Lacy while he's in camp. Margaret, who finds Lacy attractive, seconds that: "Yeah!"

Potter, pointing to Margaret: "That goes for you, too."

Friday, September 18, 2009

Episode 165 - Rally Round The Flagg, Boys

Season 7, Episode 165: Rally Round The Flagg, Boys
Original Air Date: 10/30/78
Written by: Mitch Markowitz

Directed by: Harry Morgan

After playing Bridge with two South Korean dignitaries, wounded arrive. One of them, a North Korean, has a severe head injury, and Hawkeye as Chief Surgeon overrules Winchester by taking him in first.

Another solider, a Corporal, is furious as one of "them" being taken ahead of his buddy, and during OR he calls Hawkeye a commie. After some additional prodding by Winchester, Hawkeye loses his cool and walks over to the Corporal and threatens to shut his mouth for him.

Later, Col. Potter is dismayed to see Col. Flagg waiting for him in his office. Flagg heard about Hawkeye working on a North Korean ahead of an American, which is against protocol, and is here to investigate.

He confronts Hawkeye, calling him a commie, among other things., Hawkeye of course doesn't take any of Flagg's threats seriously, and after a minute or so he walks away.

Later, Flagg introduces himself to Winchester, and wants him to spy on Hawkeye for him. He insists to Winchester that Hawkeye's a commie spy, and that Winchester find some evidence. Winchester of course thinks this is all nonsense, but is willing to do Flagg's bidding when he offers Winchester a ticket home to Boston in return.

Winchester does some snooping, but of course he doesn't find anything. Hawkeye is sure that Flagg has bugged the Swamp, a lot more familiar with Flagg's methods than Winchester.

Winchester finds the spying distasteful, and tries to resign. Flagg switches from bribery to threats, saying if he doesn't help out Winchester could just "disappear." Winchester relents.

Later, in Post Op, Flagg questions the North Korean, but that quickly devolves into cutting off the patient's IV drip. Radar sees this, and is horrified. He tells Flaggh he can't do that, and Winchester steps in.

He then finds a "clue" on the North Korean, which looks like a map of the 4077th, with a meeting of some sort scheduled for 10pm.

Flagg camps outside the Swamp with some MPs, where Winchester joins them. They see two Koreans in suits enter, along with Hawkeye and Col. Potter. Flagg thinks its a spy ring so big it involves Potter, too, and charges in with gun in hand.

Turns out the two Korean gentlemen are the mayor of Ouijambu, and the chief of police, something of course Winchester knew all along. Flagg should be embarrassed, but he thinks its an even bigger plot, and refuses to give an inch. Hawkeye laughs that "You're going to lose your magic decoder ring for this one, Flagg."

As the MPs and Flagg leave, Winchester sits down to play bridge with the others, and begins to regale them with the story of how he pulled one over on Flagg.

Fun Facts: Sadly, this is Edward Winter's final appearance on M*A*S*H as Col. Flagg. As a character, Flagg was a bit cartoony, at least compared to the series as it was by the seventh season, so his appearance is a little out of place, in terms of tone.

That said, I loved the character, and Winter's performance, so it might have been interesting to see if Flagg could have been developed more. I've always thought he should have appeared in the final episode, at the very least (I had what I think is a perfect final scene for the character--I'll tell you about it sometime).

When Hawkeye is discussing Col. Flagg to Winchester, he makes a reference to the time Flagg asked Hawkeye to patch up a prisoner just so he could execute him later, which we saw in the Season Three episode, "Officer of the Day."

I never fully understood the controversy of putting one soldier--North Korean or no--ahead of another, because its not like there's only one surgeon. Since there are four doctors, there are essentially four "#1 patient" slots, so even if you've been bumped to second place, you're still getting operated on immediately.

Favorite Line: When Flagg is cornering Hawkeye, he threatens him with "Your butt is in my sling."

Hawkeye, refusing to take any of this seriously, gives up and says, "All right, take me--I'm yours."

Flagg, lacking any ability to understand humor, says, "I knew it--you're one of 'those' too." Hawkeye slams his head against the wall in frustration.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Episode 164 - C*A*V*E

Season 7, Episode 164: C*A*V*E
Original Air Date: 2/5/79
Written by: Larry Balmagia and Ronny Graham

Directed by: William Jurgensen

The 4077th is caught in a crossfire between the Army and a Chinese battalion, and it gets so bad that Col. Potter calls I-Corps to try and get them to stop firing.

I-Corps thinks the 4077th is in another location, but Potter tries to tell them that they were there briefly, but are now back to their original location. They are "Mobile", after all.

I-Corps asks for the proper code word to verify Potter is who he says he is, but they have an out-of-date book and I-Corps rejects them, hanging up. Potter tries to call General Embry, but the bombs have cut the phone lines so the 4077th is stranded!

Potter calls a meeting and decides that for the duration the whole unit will move to a nearby cave, protecting them from the shelling. Everyone goes along with the plan, except for Hawkeye, who has several objections. But he's overruled, and they all pack up and head for the cave.

Once they get there, Hawkeye refuses to go inside, and it dawns on Potter what's going on: Hawkeye suffers from claustrophobia, something he's never told anyone before.

Hawkeye tries to carry on inside, but he just can't do it--his heart races, he sweats profusely, and he has to run outside to the cave's entrance just to catch his breath.

A bigger problem is one of Hawkeye's patients, who is getting worse and being stuck in a damp cave isn't helping. He needs to be operated on again, and there's only one place that can happen--the 4077th.

Hawkeye offers to drive the patient back and operate on him there. Margaret, revealing her terror over loud noises to help comfort Hawkeye, volunteers to accompany Hawkeye back to the 4077th.

In the OR, its Hawkeye's turn to comfort Margaret to keep her mind off all the loud explosions, and he tries to pass the time playing a game of 20 Questions, kidding along the way.

Just as they're finishing up the surgery, the bombs stop falling and its quiet again. Hawkeye finally guesses Margaret's been thinking of Joan of Arc. Amazed, she asks, "How did you know?"

Hawkeye says: "That's easy--who else would you be thinking of the past five minutes?"

The next morning, everyone else returns, finding Hawkeye and Margaret passed out in Post Op. They try to get up to help, only to pass out again.

Fun Facts: A nice change of pace, having an episode that spends so much time away from the usual 4077th sets.

Radar does not appear in this episode.

The scenes of the 4077th heading for the cave are shot day-for-night, and its fairly obvious that its not night time!

Favorite Line: Potter request is rejected by I-Corps, since they don't believe he is who he says he is. Potter states, in disbelief: "He thinks I'm Chinese."

Hawkeye: "I don't see it, myself."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Episode 163 - Hot Lips Is Back In Town

Season 7, Episode 163: Hot Lips is Back In Town
Original Air Date: 1/29/79
Written by: Larry Balmagia, Bernard Dilbert, and Gary Markowitz

Directed by: Charles Dubin

The medical staff is having a meeting in the Mess Tent, when its interrupted by a mail call. Everyone gets something, Margaret's being the biggest of all: her divorce is now official.

She seems stunned, and insists she's happy. But when wounded arrive, Hawkeye has to snap her out of her daze. During OR, she's a little short-tempered and all business. Hawkeye and B.J. offer to take her out for drinks in the O Club, which she accepts, and they all get pie-eyed.

In the middle of the night, a bubbly, cheery Margaret visits Col. Potter in his tent, rededicating herself to a career in the Army. She's got all kinds of ideas how to improve things at the 4077th, which Potter, desperate to go back to sleep, readily agrees to.

The next morning, Margaret announces that she has a new plan for the nurses to take over in Triage, freeing the doctors to get to work immediately. Also, she's invited an old friend, Gen. Lyle Weiskopf, to come to the 4077th and inspect the unit's new procedures. Potter flatly refuses to go along, but its too late: he's already on his way. Hawkeye mutters, "It's going to be a real fun weekend."

The next day, Gen. Weiskopf (Walter Brooke) arrives, just in time for wounded to arrive. The nurses perform their new tasks flawlessly.

Later, Weiskopf and Margaret meet for drinks back in her tent. He seems more interested in going back to the "good old days"--namely, when he and Margaret were an item, and Margaret was "Hot Lips."

Margaret is confused and angry, wanting to talk about her plans to improve medical procedures--not just at the 4077th, but maybe in the entire Theater of Operations. Weiskopf goes along, but he makes it clear that while he'd promote Margaret to Colonel, he expects her to go back to being his mistress, with her grandiose plans being much less important.

Margaret, realizing Weiskopf only wants one thing, demands he leave. He protests, saying she's making a big mistake, but Margaret insists. Alone in her tent, she raises a glass, and toasts herself for standing her ground: "Here's to me."

Fun Facts: Gen. Weiskopf is really a sleazebag here. He's willing to promote Margaret to Colonel, just as long as she's his mistress. Yeesh.

Hawkeye and B.J. interrupt Winchester's triage demonstration to the nurses with a comedy bit right out of the show's early years: they storm in, dressed in full costume, as "Gen. Lyle Dumbkopf" and his faithful aide.

Favorite Line: Radar comes to the nurses tent to express his interest in a new nurse, Lt. Nugent (Peggy Lee Brennan). Mustering up his courage, he tells the other nurse in the tent, Lt. Baker (Jan Jorden) that he's going to stay there and say his piece, despite what anyone says.

Baker finds all this amusing, sarcastically calling Radar "Corporal Hellcat." She turns to Lt. Nugent, and says, "I'll be outside if you need me."

Turning to Radar, she says, "That goes for you, too."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Episode 162 - The Young and the Restless

Season 7, Episode 162: The Young and the Restless
Original Air Date: 1/22/79
Written by: Mitch Markowitz

Directed by: William Jurgensen

The 4077th is visited by a young doctor, Captain Simmons (James Canning), who will be delivering a lecture on new surgical techniques.

Simmons is very young, so young that Winchester immediately assumes he knows nothing of value. Col. Potter, currently feeling his age while suffering from
Phlebitis, now feels even older when faced with such a young whiz kid.

Wounded arrive, and Simmons helps out. At first he's stunned by the volume of casualties, but he quickly gets up to speed, filling in for Col. Potter after his Phlebitis gets even worse and causes him real pain.

All during the session in OR, Winchester is condescending to Simmons, assuming he doesn't know what he's doing. But Simmons proves to be a superb surgeon, fully capable of keeping up with the others.

A day later, Col. Potter refuses to get out of his bed, shirking his responsibilities. Winchester too is not dealing well with being shown up by a young surgeon, drinking to excess for three nights in a row.

Radar tries to boost Col. Potter's spirits, while Hawkeye and B.J. try to comfort Winchester. When Radar's efforts don't work, he turns to Hawkeye, B.J., and Margaret for help. Margaret offers to try.

Margaret is sweet but tough with Col. Potter, refusing to let him lounge around in bed--at one point grabbing his sheets, literally dragging him out of his cot.

Later that day, wounded arrive, forcing Winchester and Col. Potter to suck it up and go back to work. They argue with each other before going in over who's the better surgeon, inspiring each of them to put in their best performance over the course a grueling OR session.

Fun Facts: I thought this was a nice change up: having Potter and Winchester be the ones affected by a younger whiz kid surgeon, while Hawkeye and B.J. take it all in stride.

Favorite Line: Klinger's scam du jour is pretending that he's living in Toledo, treating everyone in camp like they live in Toledo, too.

After going through with this plot for a couple of days in a row, Col. Potter offers to give "Mr. Klinger" a Section 8, which Klinger goes along with. He answers Potter's routine questions to fill out the form, but gets tripped up when Potter asks for Klinger's rank.

Klinger automatically responds with "Corporal", which causes Potter to exclaim: "A-ha! Gotcha, soldier!"

Monday, September 14, 2009

Episode 161 - The Price

Season 7, Episode 161: The Price
Original Air Date: 1/15/79
Written by: Erik Tarloff

Directed by: Charles Dubin

Col. Potter rides back to camp, having spent a near-perfect day out with his horse Sophie. When he makes it back to his tent, he and Radar give the laundry to an elderly Korean gentleman, Mr. Pak (Yuki Shimoda) and his daughter Sun (Miko Mayama).

Col. Potter is a little concerned over how unhealthy Mr. Pak looks, and suggests he come to the hospital for an exam. Mr. Pak refuses, and his daughter explains he's a proud man--a former cavalry officer--and is not happy to be "reduced" to doing laundry. Col. Potter, a old cavalry man himself, understands.

Later that night, Margaret is getting a shower when she is startled by a young man hiding in the tent. She screams, and he runs out of the tent, into the arms of Hawkeye and B.J.

After calming everything down, Hawkeye and B.J. find out who the boy is--he's a young man named Ham (Ken Mochizuki), who ran away when the South Korean Army attempted to "draft" him into service. Hawkeye and B.J. are disgusted at the South Korean Army's strong arm tactics, and offer to hide Ham at the 4077th, turning to Klinger for a disguise. He offers a complete outfit for a few bucks, trying to raise enough capital to bribe Col. Potter into giving him a discharge.

The next morning, Col. Potter and Radar are shocked to see that Sophie is gone! Col. Potter assumes he left her coral open at the end of the night, and they quickly arrange a massive search to find her.

But all day passes with no luck. Col. Potter grows despondent, coming to grips with the idea he's never going to see Sophie again. He asks Radar to share a drink with him as a toast to "absent friends."

That night, two South Korean officials wander into camp, looking for Ham, who Hawkeye and B.J. are hiding under a blanket in Winchester's bed. The two officials ask for "Winchester" to be woken up, but Hawkeye and B.J. refuse.

The ruse is exposed when Winchester walks in, and the South Koreans demand to know who is in his bed--they pull the blanket back, to find a young...woman?

Winchester puts on a perfect act, accusing Hawkeye and B.J. of bringing one of their "doxies" into the tent. The two South Korean officials buy this, figuring its a local prostitute (since Ham is wearing one of Klinger's outfits). They laugh and snigger, then leave.

Hawkeye and B.J. thank Winchester for going along. Winchester accepts their thanks, then demands Ham get out of his bed!

The next morning, Sophie returns to the 4077th, ridden by Mr. Pak, dressed in full military regalia. The daughter explains that her father was once a proud man, and couldn't help claiming Sophie as his own, so he could feel like a young, brave solider once again.

Col. Potter understands this motivation better than anyone, and actually offers to let Mr. Pak keep Sophie. He says that Sophie means the world to him, but, to Mr., Pak, "she means even more."

Mr. Pak's daughter tearfully thanks Col. Potter, and accepts for her father. They turn around and wander off, leaving Col. Potter standing there with Sophie's empty bridal. Radar is stunned at Col. Potter's overwhelming gesture of kindness: "Colonel--that's just about the best thing I ever saw anybody do ever."

Later that night, Hawkeye and B.J. come back to the Swamp to find Ham packing this things, ready to enlist. They try and talk him out of it, but Ham saw Mr. Pak and how brave he was, and feels compelled not to run away any more. He leaves, despite the protests of Hawkeye and B.J.

The next morning, Mr. Pak's daughter is back, with Sophie. She explains to Col. Potter that her father died over night. But, thanks to Col. Potter, he died with pride and dignity, something she never will forget. She plants a gentle kiss on Col. Potter's cheek, hands him Sophie's lead, and walks off.

Fun Facts: A very sweet episode, and a great showcase for Harry Morgan. As someone who loves animals, it always gets me a little bit when Col. Potter gives up Sophie. And I love Radar's reaction--he's impressed beyond words with his commander.

Favorite Line: Hawkeye and B.J. ask Radar if they know who the young man is.

Hawkeye: "We found him in Major Houlihan's shower."

Radar: "Wow!"

B.J.: "You know him?"

Radar: "No, but he's sure got guts."

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Episode 160 - Inga

Season 7, Episode 160: Inga
Original Air Date: 1/8/79
Written by: Alan Alda

Directed by: Alan Alda

Hawkeye is excited over the news that a visiting Swedish doctor named Inga Halvorsen will be arriving that night. In the showers, he tells B.J. and Winchester that he is sure he will be irresistible to "In-ga", which he says lustily.

Dr. Halvorsen (Mariette Hartley) arrives, and Hawkeye is at his most flirty, escorting her to the V.I.P. Tent, carrying her suitcase. Winchester tries to horn in, but he goofs when he makes a crack about how "lumpy" older Swedish women can get. Realizing he's made a horrible faux pas, he excuses himself, leaving Hawkeye and Inga to laugh collectively.

Hawkeye and Inga meet at the Swamp, and Hawkeye thinks its a date. Inga is there to talk medicine, which disappoints him. He blows out the candle he lit, turns off the romantic music, and his tone is one of frustration.

The next day, in OR, Inga shows herself to be an excellent surgeon, showing Hawkeye and the others a procedure that none of them have seen before.

Later, in the Mess Tent, Winchester pokes and prods Hawkeye, insisting that he was put off by Inga taking over for him. At first he says that's ridiculous, but after a little more prodding by Winchester, Hawkeye vents about how he didn't like how Inga took over, not that she did it.

That enrages Margaret, and their argument spills out of the tent. Hawkeye thinks Margaret is jealous--which seems like a reach, to say the least--but Margaret is mad that Hawkeye seems to only judge women by one standard, and meeting a woman his surgical equal is something he can't handle.

Later, in the Swamp, Inga shows up to apologize, but Hawkeye tells her that's not necessary. She even starts to respond to Hawkeye's advances the night before, kissing him, and leaning him back on his bunk.

Hawkeye, thrown off by her aggressiveness, stupidly asks, "When you dance, who leads?"

This kills the mood, and Inga, hurt, leaves. Hawkeye marvels at his own idiocy: "I did it again, I did it again!"

This kicks off a sort of philosophical argument about men and women in the camp. Klinger expresses support for Hawkeye, but B.J. and Potter try and show Hawkeye that being in an equal partnership with women is the way to go.

In Post Op, a patient of Winchester's has a severe allergic reaction to some medication, and he thinks the solution is a tracheotomy. Inga happens to be there, and suggests another, less intrusive way. Winchester argues with her, but when Inga's method turns out to be effective, Winchester is miffed. He sarcastically thanks her for correcting him, and walks out.

Hawkeye, B.J., and Winchester talk about it in the Swamp, and Winchester is furious at her, calling her "pushy." Hawkeye, listening to all this, realizes what an ass he himself has been, and goes to Inga's tent to apologize.

He finds Inga upset over what happened, hurt over the idea she was supposed to let a patient suffer just over protocol. Hawkeye reassures her she did the right thing.

Hawkeye notices the music Inga has on, and Inga suggests they dance to it. Inga has to teach Hawkeye the dance, meaning she has to lead. It takes Hawkeye a few tries to get it right, but he finally relaxes and lets Inga lead. The dance ends in a passionate embrace and a kiss.

The P.A. announces incoming wounded, and Hawkeye suggests picking up where they left off. But Inga says she has to report to another unit in a few hours, meaning this is their last private moment together. Hawkeye is frustrated at his own stupidity, but Inga reassures him, and suggests she'd like to see him some day, after the war is over.

Hawkeye agrees, and they both walk out together, prepared to go to work as equal partners.

Fun Facts: Margaret's speech about how undesirable Hawkeye is seems a little thin here, considering that she slept with him!

Favorite Line: Hawkeye, on his "date" with Inga, gives her a glass of what he calls wine. She sips it, and marvels, "I love wine...what is this?"

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Episode 159 - B.J. Papa San

Season 7, Episode 159: B.J. Papa San
Original Air Date: 1/1/79
Written by: Larry Balmagia

Directed by: James Sheldon

B.J. gets another letter from home that Hawkeye calls "the weekly gut wrencher." When Radar comes in with a young Korean girl whose father is very sick, B.J., needing something to take his mind off his troubles, volunteers to go with the girl and visit the father.

They drive to the young girl's hut, and its clear the elderly father has pneumonia. He distributes medicine, and suggests that the father be moved to the 4077th. But the family doesn't want to split up, explaining that they lost their eldest son, who was taken by the South Korean Army and hasn't been seen since. They ask B.J. to help find him--an impossible task--but they're so desperate he agrees to see what he can do.

He tries getting some supplies from Sgt. Zale, who coldly refuses. B.J. offers to pay Zale, who still refuses, more out of greed than principle. He then resorts to blackmail, which makes Zale fold.

Later that day, Hawkeye sees B.J. carrying the jeep-full of supplies, and warns him that, despite his best efforts, he won't be able to solve this family's problems. B.J. says he knows that, but his glowing talk about the young kids and how amazing they are suggests otherwise.

B.J. ends up staying with the family all night, fixing their roof. When he tries to leave and go back to the camp, the tearfully beg him to stay. Not wanting to hurt them, he agrees.

Meanwhile, at the 4077th, a klutzy, ornery visiting general named Prescott (Dick O'Neill) can't seem to leave. He arrives with a sprained ankle, but falls off his crutches as soon as Hawkeye fixes him up. Now he has broken wrist, which doesn't stop Winchester from seeing if he can finagle himself as Prescott's personal doctor. It doesn't work--neither does Klinger's obvious attempt at a Section 8.

B.J. asks Radar to see if he can find the eldest son--named Cho Duk Sing--but all the Army red tape keeps them from getting anywhere, even after Potter steps in.

Later, Prescott is allowed to leave again, but a pet bee of Radar's stings him in the neck. Prescott is, of course, allergic, and within seconds a giant welt develops. Hawkeye wheels Prescott right back into the hospital.

During a session in OR, shelling starts. B.J. is so worried about Kim and her family that his mind isn't on his patients, and he's snippy and humorless to the others. Later, in the changing room, he admits to Hawkeye that the family's enormous needs are greater than what B.J. can provide.

But things look up when Radar tells him that he got their son Cho Duk transferred to an American unit just down the road--Radar craftily got Gen. Prescott to sign a transfer order amid the flurry of paperwork he was forced to fill out during his numerous stays as a patient.

B.J. and Hakweye drive to Kim's family's hut with the good news, but they find it deserted. Scared of the shelling, they packed up and left, heading further south--with no clue of what happened to their son, and no way of B.J. finding them.

B.J. is devastated. He wanders off, muttering, "It isn't right." He then screams, to no one in particular, "Damn it, it isn't right!"

Wandering around for a few more moments, he climbs back in the jeep, and he and Hawkeye drive home.

Fun Facts: General Prescott is played by veteran character actor Dick O'Neill, who previously appeared in Season Five's "38 Across" and would appear again in an eleventh season episode. Each time he played a different character.

Favorite Line: General Prescott, meeting Col. Potter for the first time: "You look familiar, Colonel. Do I know you?"

Potter: "I don't think so..."

Prescott: "Were you in World War II?"

Potter: "Yes..."

Prescott: "I knew you looked familiar!"

Friday, September 11, 2009

Larry Gelbart 1928-2009

Larry Gelbart passed away today, after a long battle with cancer, at age 81.

There are already tributes all over the internet (M*A*S*H writer Ken Levine's blog is a good place to start), and I'm simply not equipped to convey in any coherent terms just how much Larry Gelbart's work meant to me. Without his genius, there might have still been a M*A*S*H series, but for sure it wouldn't have been the one that captured my imagination as a child, and has held it to this day.

I was overwhelmed that Mr. Gelbart actually left a comment on this blog, when I got to the fourth season episode "The Interview." The idea that the Larry Gelbart actually bothered to read my blog--even once--meant more to me than I could possibly express.

I thanked him profusely for stopping by and for all his work; I can only hope he saw that comment after he left his. Even if he didn't, I can probably safely assume already knew.

Larry Gelbart was a genius, and his work will last long after all of us are gone. Rest in peace.

Episode 158 - Dear Sis

Season 7, Episode 158: Dear Sis
Original Air Date: 12/18/78
Written by: Alan Alda

Directed by: Alan Alda

Father Mulcahy is writing a letter home to his sister, and he's bemoaning his relative lack of usefulness at the 4077th. He tries to help out with an ornery patient in OR, but instead of being able to talk him down, it requires Margaret to shoot the patient with a sedative, leaving Mulcahy to feel like he didn't help much.

Later, Radar asks him to say a prayer for their pregnant sow over the phone, which he agrees to. But before he can finish, the sow goes into labor, requiring the advice of Winchester, who is waiting to use the phone to call his sister. Again, Mulcahy feels useless.

He admits no one comes for confession, or even just to chat. Serving as bartender, he tries to comfort those drowning their sorrows with booze over being stuck in Korea over Christmas, but he keeps getting interrupted, never getting to finish a thought.

Later, wounded arrive, and one lightly-wounded patient is short-tempered and combative. When Margaret tries to check his wound, he pushes her off, insisting he see a doctor. Mulcahy tries to help, but the soldier angrily pushes him away, too, onto the ground. Mulcahy pauses for a moment, rears back, and belts the young man, so hard in the jaw he knocks him out of his stretcher. Mulcahy can't believe what he's done.

In Post Op, he tries to apologize, but the soldier is an even bigger jerk, ridiculing Mulcahy, asking where was he ordained: "Stillman's Gym?"

Mulcahy is devastated. He goes outside to cry, and Hawkeye follows him out and tries to comfort him. Mulcahy admits it isn't just the punch--its that he feels useless at the 4077th.

Hawkeye, B.J, Margaret, and Potter "celebrate" Christmas in his office. Potter has a stiff upper lip, but his three younger friends are miserable. Potter tries to cheer them up, taking them all to the "traditional turkey dinner" the cook has prepared in the Mess Tent.

They all cheer up at the prospect, but their enthusiasm is quickly dimmed when they got a load of the meal--turkey on shingles with cranberry sausage--which Potter can't even bring himself to eat.

Christmas presents are dispensed by Capt. "Santa" Hunnicutt, and Winchester is surprised to learn that there's one for him: his old childhood toboggan hat, which makes Winchester's eyes tear up with nostalgia. He thanks Radar, who admits the whole thing was Father Mulcahy's idea.

Winchester tearfully thanks Mulcahy, saying he's a credit to "Your kind of person", the most effusive praise he can muster.

There's also a present for Mulcahy: Hawkeye leads everyone in a toast to Mulcahy, thanking him for his simple decency and kindness. He also has everyone sing "
Dona Nobis Pacem"--"Give Us Peace."

It starts to snow, making the 4077th almost look pretty. Unfortunately, wounded arrive, breaking up the festive mood.

Everyone goes to work, and Mulcahy ends the letter to his sister with "It doesn't matter if you feel useful going from one disaster to another--the trick I guess is to just keep moving."

Fun Facts: Another episode in the "Dear..." format; this time it's Father Mulcahy's turn. The final shot of the show--Mulcahy moving briskly in the darkness--is beautifully composed.

There's a scene in OR where Potter and Margaret seem sort of rude to Mulcahy, which is a bit out of character, especially for Potter. So much so, it makes me think that this episode--or that scene at least--is being told from Mulcahy's point of view, not necessarily relating how it really happened.

Favorite Line: Potter, recalling another Christmas at war: "I remember one Christmas in the Black Forest: the company horse died and the cook tried to pass him off as dark meat. I cried all through dinner."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Episode 157 - An Eye For a Tooth

Season 7, Episode 157: An Eye For A Tooth
Original Air Date: 12/11/78
Written by: Ronny Graham

Directed by: Charles Dubin

Most of the doctors are hung over from a party the night before--but Margaret is thrilled, because her attorney has gotten her soon-to-be ex-husband to release her half of their joint savings.

Father Mulcahy gets some bad news--he was passed over--again for promotion. As Hawkeye and B.J. try to cheer him up, Margaret pulls a practical joke by overloading Hawkeye's coffee with sugar, which turns into a mini-food fight. Normally, she'd be mad at the silliness, but she's so happy about her good news that she doesn't care.

Wounded arrive, including a chopper which lands directly onto the compound! The chopper pilot, named Toby Hill (Peter Palmer) explains that the wounded man he was carrying woke up mid-flight, delirious, and tried to climb off the stretcher. Had Hill stayed in the air a few seconds longer, he would've fallen to his death--hence the quick landing.

During surgery, Winchester stokes the fire, suggesting that Margaret get revenge for the glob of oatmeal Hawkeye flung at her in the Mess Tent. She initially brushes it off, but he keeps prodding, until finally she gets back at them--sending them gag letters, filled with powder which gets all over B.J.'s face, and an electrically-charged one, sort of a joy envelope buzzer. Hawkeye declares war.

But its Winchester who takes it upon himself to get revenge for them. He rigs it so it looks like Toby Hill is asking Margaret out. When the gag is revealed, Margaret is embarrassed. She turns in anger towards Hawkeye and B.J., who are laughing hysterically. Winchester, for his part, has snuck out of the tent before the gag's payoff, escaping any blame.

Margaret gets them back by stealing their clothes out of the showers, causing Hawkeye and B.J. to run home naked, only to be greeted by Margaret and the nurses, armed with popcorn and magnifying glasses(ouch!).

Meanwhile, Col. Potter's efforts to secure a promotion for Father Mulcahy result in failure. He ashamedly tells this to Mulcahy, who is philosophical about it, and a little embarrassed that he wanted something like a promotion so badly.

In the middle of the night, Hawkeye and B.J. (with the help of Winchester again) get Margaret back by sneaking in Toby Hill's stuffed dummy mascot, Little Mac, into her tent. It falls on her as she sleeps, causing her to scream in terror.

Hawkeye and B.J. come in to take credit, but Margaret isn't finding any of this funny anymore. In her rage, she rips apart Little Mac, turning him into a pile of stuffing. Winchester comes in later, supposedly to comfort her, but really to plan revenge. Margaret refuses, saying she wants this war to end, but Winchester insists this last attack must be answered.

The next morning, Winchester is giggling uncontrollably over the previous night's events. Margaret comes in, and is furious, saying that Hawkeye and B.J. upped the ante to "cruel." Her revenge? A letter to Peg, telling her about the "Year-long love affair" between her and B.J., and that it was Hawkeye who brought them together.

Everyone is stunned--this has gotten out of hand. B.J. gets so mad that he physically attacks Margaret, leading Winchester in a panic to admit the whole thing--all the jokes--were his idea. He apologizes profusely, then realizes that this whole thing was, itself, a practical joke played on him by the other three--over night, they compared notes and realized it was Winchester the whole time.

Father Mulcahy helps out Toby Hill by accompanying him into battle to pick up a wounded soldier, now that Little Mac is out of commission. Hiull refuses, but Mulcahy insists, and gets to go along.

Later, Hill returns with the wounded man, and Mulcahy. Potter is mad at first, but then says he fully intends to put Mulcahy up for promotion the next time around, and, that time, its going to go through.

Fun Facts: The plot involving the practical jokes was apparently based on a real-life spate of them between David Ogden Steirs, Mike Farrell, and Alan Alda.

The party everyone participated in the night before is announced over the P.A. celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Officers Club. Since the O Club was introduced in Season Two's "Officers Only", that means only a year has transpired between Season Two and Season Seven!

Radar does not appear in this episode.

Favorite Line: When Hawkeye and B.J. realize their stuck in the showers without their robes, Hawkeye pauses for a moment, then says to B.J.: "You're going to look awfully silly running home to get my clothes."

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Episode 156 - Out of Gas

Season 7, Episode 156: Out of Gas
Original Air Date: 12/4/78
Written by: Tom Reeder

Directed by: Mel Damski

The 4077th is suffering through another cold snap, and the poker game is being played for winter gear instead of money.

Potter breaks the game up by telling them they can expect a huge load of wounded, soon. A big problem arises when they learn they are out of Sodium Pentathol, which was traded away with the 8063rd by Sgt. Zale for other supplies. They ask Zale if they can get it back, but the Pentathol has been traded so many times its irretrievable.

Without it, surgery slows to a crawl, since it takes so much longer to put wounded to sleep. To make matters worse, some of the nurses have never given ether (the replacement anesthetic) so directly, which causes some of the patients to choke. And on top of that, the fumes from the ether are so strong they knock some people out--it leaves Margaret on the floor.

Father Mulcahy decides he might be able to trade with the Black Market for some Pentathol, and he collects items from everyone in exchange. Mulcahy asks Winchester for a vintage bottle of wine and some gourmet food, which he agrees to--but only if he comes along for the ride to make sure they get the best possible deal.

They meet with the Black Marketeers, who are of course not impressed by Winchester's idea of driving a hard bargain. At gunpoint, they take his wine, his food, even his uniform, leaving Winchester looking ridiculous in his long underwear--and, to make matters worse, not even giving up the Pentathol!

As they drive off, they realize that the thieves are probably getting blasted on the wine and gorging on the food. They sneak back, grabbing the truck, loaded with the Pentathol. They barely get away when the truck won't start and the Black Marketeers start firing at them, but finally Mulcahy gets the engine to turn over and they drive off.

They arrive at the 4077th with the Sodium Pentathol, saving the day. Later, in OR, everyone is content that they're back operating at full speed...except for Winchester, who is still bemoaning the loss of his precious wine.

Fun Facts: There's a great sequence where Hawkeye makes small talk with a patient from a small town named Idaville. After Hawkeye correctly relates detail after detail about the town, the patient asks, "Hey, when were you in Idaville?"

Hawkeye responds, "Never--I grew up in the same small town in Maine."

Favorite Line: Zale lets it slip he worked out a trade to get Margaret some leather boots with spiked heels.

Potter, confused: "Spiked heels? How do you fish with those on?"

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Episode 155 - Dear Comrade

Season 7, Episode 155: Dear Comrade
Original Air Date: 11/27/78
Written by: Tom Reeder

Directed by: Charles Dubin

Hawkeye and B.J. return to the 4077th after some days of R&R, and they are dismayed to see that the Swamp is not the same Swamp they left--i.e., clean. Winchester introduces the man responsible--a Korean man named Kwang (Sab Shimono), whom Winchester has hired as a houseboy.

After wounded arrive, we learn that Kwang is not what he seems: he's actually a North Korean officer, going undercover as what he calls "a grinning lackey" to "an American capitalist fool"--namely, Winchester. He is writing a letter to his commander, giving him the details of just how the 4077th operates.

Kwang is shocked and dismissive of how the Americans operate. He says the OR is chaotic, and their behavior off-hours (which includes drinking and gambling) is "decadent."

The doctors are stumped by a rash that has infected several wounded soldiers. They call a dermatologist in Tokyo, but he is no help, flatly refusing to come out to the 4077th to look and see what's going on. Stumped and stuck with a Post Op filled with itchy soldiers, they take the advice of Kwang, who has worked up his own homemade remedy--which stinks to high heaven.

Kwang, writing his superiors, is aghast that all these educated doctors can't figure out how to treat a simple rash. The doctors are thrilled to find that, despite its stink, Kwang's mixture works!

Later that night, Kwang prepares to leave, saying that the 4077th methods of success are so unorthodox and haphazard that they can't possibly attempt to duplicate them. He quits working for Winchester, letting him know what a lousy boss he was in the process.

As he's leaving, he's stopped by Hawkeye, B.J., and Potter who thank him for the remedy, letting him know how well it worked. Potter even gives him an official commendation from the U.S. Army, as a way to say thanks.

Kwang is touched, and lies to his commanders, saying he needs to stick around and observe the 4077th some more--in reality, getting drunk with all of them in the Officers Club. Hawkeye, B.J., and Potter notice that Kwang's english has mysteriously improved over the course of the night, which he chalks up to the whiskey.

Fun Facts: Actor Sab Shimono would return to the series, in a tenth season episode.

Another episode in the "Dear..." format, this one stretching the boundaries of that conceit--an episode narrated by not only a guest star, but by a character we've never even met before!

Radar does not appear in this episode.

Hawkeye makes a joke about B.O. Plenty, a character from Dick Tracy. Tracy was still in most newspapers in 1978, not so much nowadays. I wonder how that joke plays to younger audiences? Poor Plenty didn't even get to appear in the 1990 Dick Tracy movie!

Favorite Line: Hawkeye is horrified at returning to a clean Swamp. Looking under his mattress, he exclaims in mock outrage: "All the fleas are dead--murderer!"

Monday, September 7, 2009

Episode 154 - Point of View

Season 7, Episode 154: Point of View
Original Air Date: 11/20/78
Written by: Ken Levine & David Isaacs

Directed by: Charles Dubin

Told entirely from the point of view of a G.I. named Pvt. Rich (voiced by David Stafford), we follow Rich as he is wounded in battle and then flown to the 4077th.

There he's met by B.J. and Radar, and then Klinger. As he's being wheeled to the camp on the back of a jeep, we see that Col. Potter seems extraordinarily angry and short-tempered.

Rich is visited in Pre-Op by Hawkeye and Nurse Baker (Jan Jorden), and he sees laying next to him is his friend Pvt. Ferguson (Hank Ross). Hawkeye and B.J. determine he has a piece of shrapnel in his neck, which is preventing him from talking. He's then visited by Father Mulcahy, who reassures him.

He undergoes an x-ray from Klinger (who admits the Army taught him how to do it, something he never thought he'd know), and then gets wheeled into surgery, where Hawkeye tells him everything will be okay.

Later, Rich wakes up in Post Op, where the solider next to him can't shut up. His mind wanders, and he notices Hawkeye, Margaret, and Winchester discussing Col. Potter's sudden change of behavior. Winchester smugly suggests its senility.

He notices Hawkeye looking over his chart, and we can see from Hawkeye's face that not everything is working out the way he hoped. He tries to see if Rich can talk, but he's still unable to. Hawkeye says to give it more time.

He undergoes a sponge bath from Margaret, who is gentle and discreet, and talks her way through it so that Rich barely realizes its happening. Before he knows it, its over.

Col. Potter comes to visit, and he sort of fesses up to Rich that he's in a rotten, distracted mood. After Potter leaves, Klinger wheels him to the Mess Tent, where he again overhears the doctors discussing Col. Potter's strange behavior.

Potter comes by to visit again, and Rich manages to get Potter to open up about what's bugging him. Potter reveals he's forgotten his wedding anniversary, and he's so ashamed he's furious with himself and the war. Rich, using a pencil and paper, suggests Potter just call her, but Potter isn't sure.

After he leaves, Rich tells Hawkeye what's going on with Potter. Then he begins to cough, and Hawkeye decides Rich needs to go back into surgery, with Winchester assisting.

Later, Rich awakens, the surgery having gone perfectly. Hawkeye asks Rich to say something, anything, and he answers, haltingly, "Don'" Hawkeye and the other doctors are thrilled to hear it.

After Radar tells Potter that they called his wife, explaining what happened, he's touched at the gesture and softens up. Hawkeye thanks Rich, saying his look of confidence really helped. Rich responds with a raspy, "Thank you."

The last we see of Rich is in the Evac Bus, and Hawkeye, B.J., and Potter wish him good luck and good bye. Laying next to his buddy Ferguson, who is overjoyed at being shipped home, he silently watches the 4077th recede in the distance, the doctors waving goodbye.

Fun Facts: Definitely a format-busting episode, this one is told entirely from the POV of the wounded soldier, whom of course we never see. This idea had been tried a couple of times before in movies and TV, but never this successfully. (The 1947 private eye film The Lady in the Lake uses the same idea, making for one weird movie!)

This is the seventh season's example of an "Angry Potter" episode, a yearly event starting last season.

We get to see a ride in a chopper from Rich's point of view, which makes me a little nauseous every time I watch it.

Favorite Line: Father Mulcahy's gentle promise for Rich not to worry about what's going to happen, because, "Rest easy--He's watching over you."

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...