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?"


What the Parrot Saw said...

In some ways, this is a fine episode- Mariette Hartley's character is admirably poised throughout and Potter and BJ's take on equality in relationships does not seem like an obvious sop to 70's sensibilities. A great scene.

Then... there's Hawkeye. By now, Alda's intent in remaking Hawkeye's lothario image is quite obvious- in itself, not a bad development (Alda has since admitted in interviews that he was never all that comfortable with Hawk's endless wooing and bedding of the nursing staff).

But the plot still seems fussy (Inga is both a medical whiz yet still a 'real woman' naturally) and Alda's own performance remains too stilted for me to really enjoy.

It all feels less about "Inga" and more about "Hawkeye's epiphany" (and trying way too hard in this regard).

Russell said...

I agree with What The Parrot Saw. This is another example of all the supporting characters being better than the "main" action. Hawkeye here is the weakest link. Mariette Hartley is, of course, the best part of this episode. Her scenes with Winchester are especially good, I think. And Klinger's realization that there are sex-change operations is hilarious. :-)

I liked the scene between Margaret and Hawkeye, but I think it's about two seasons late....!

Robert Gross said...

Though I agree with the "point" of this episode, I think it's one of the single most boring half hours of M*A*S*H ever aired.

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