Saturday, September 5, 2009

Episode 152 - Major Ego

Season 7, Episode 152: Major Ego
Original Air Date: 11/6/78
Written by: Larry Balmagia

Directed by: Alan Alda

During a session in OR, Winchester pulls off an extraordinary feat of surgical prowess, bringing a solider back to life when it seemed all but certain he was dead. Everyone else congratulates him, but Winchester acts unusually humble.

But we soon see its just an act: Winchester actually called Stars & Stripes, calling in a story about himself.

Stars & Stripes sends a reporter, Capt. Tom Greenleigh (Greg Mullavey), to interview Winchester about the story. Winchester takes his as his cue to regale the reporter with his life story, starting all the way back to his childhood.

Greenleigh tries to gently suggest that they only have room for the facts of the case, but Winchester either can't or won't get the hint, and continues to go on and on about himself.

In OR, Winchester is so busy trying to impress Greenleigh that he shows off, but Greenleigh seems to only have time for Margaret. Margaret, mad at her soon-to-be ex-husband Donald Penobscott for tying up their joint savings account, actually lets herself respond to Greenleigh's less-than-subtle advances, and, as a way to feel independent.

Winchester, so desperate to keep Greenleigh's attention, slips up during a difficult chest case. Hawkeye takes notice of the patient's slow recovery in Post Op, and tries to get Winchester's attention over it. Winchester ignores him, treating Hawkeye like a neophyte.

Hawkeye presses, and when Winchester suggests its because Hawkeye wants some of the spotlight, too, he has to restrain himself from knocking Winchester's block off.

In the O Club, Margaret, lonely and a little drunk, finally gives Greenleigh the time of day, offering him back to her tent. Greenleigh is, to say the least, thrilled.

Later that night, as Winchester's patient deteriorates, Hawkeye takes it upon himself to open him back up. During the procedure, Winchester storms in, enraged at Hawkeye for his effrontery. But when Winchester sees that Hawkeye was right--he did indeed miss a bleeder--he realizes just how that happened.

Just before Greenleigh leaves, he runs over the details of the story with Winchester, painting him as a heroic, life saving performer of miracles. Winchester, ashamed, tears up the article saying he refuses to let a lie like that be printed in the newspaper.

Hawkeye, seeing all this, congratulates Winchester for coming through when it counted.

Later, Winchester and Margaret compare notes on Greenleigh and his "style", although Winchester doesn't realize it, wondering "Are we talking about the same thing?" Margaret assures him, "Oh, I'm sure we're not."

Fun Facts: Radar does not appear in this episode.

After Margaret sleeps with Greenleigh, she's chipper and good natured, feeling that she's finally let go of her husband. When she runs into Potter, he tells her that whatever she did to bring about the change, "keep it up." Margaret cheerfully agrees, and walks off. Potter takes a few steps, pauses, turns around to look at Margaret quizzically, and then resumes his walk. A great little moment.

Favorite Line: Capt. Greenleigh bumps into Margaret after he reports to Col. Potter. As she storms out, he only has eyes for Margaret.

Potter tries to get Greenleigh's attention, but is ignored. He finally asks, "Do you want to put your eyes back in their sockets, Captain?"


Russell said...

Isn't Greenleigh played by GREG Mullavey? Or did he have various nome de plumes?

I think that exchange between Charles and Margaret is the best part of this episode; either that or the scene between Hawkeye and Charles when, confronted with his mistake, Charles says, "I don't know how that could have happened!" Hawkeye coolly says, "Yes, you do." And Charles, after a moment reflection, nearly whispers, "Yes, I do."

rob! said...

Yes, it is Greg--don't know where I got Dean from. Duly corrected.

And yes, that scene with Hawkeye and Winchester in OR is a really good one.

What the Parrot Saw said...

Hawkeye's exchange with Charles after Greenleigh leaves has always struck me as notable; (paraphrasing Hawkeye) "You may be a rotten guy, but you're all right." It is clear that Charles' integrity has scored points with Hawk.

It also served notice that this character had a genuine moral compass; alas, something that Frank could not or would not be permitted to display.

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