Thursday, October 8, 2009

Episode 179 - The Yalu Brick Road

Season 8, Episode 179: The Yalu Brick Road
Original Air Date: 11/19/79
Written by: Mike Farrell

Directed by: Charles S. Dubin

The camp is suffering from a brutal case of Samonella, which they all picked up from some bad turkeys Klinger scored from a shifty supply sergeant. With Hawkeye, B.J., Margaret, and Winchester all away for medical conferences and not yet back home, its up to Potter and Mulcahy to try and take care of everyone.

Meanwhile, we see what's taking Hawkeye and B.J. so long: B.J. got them lost, and can't find their way back to the main road. They get into an accident and crash the jeep, forcing them to walk. While hoofing it, they into a North Korean soldier (Soon-Tek Oh, again) who is determined to surrender to them, despite Hawkeye and B.J.'s lack of interest in taking prisoners.

Margaret and Winchester make it back to the 4077th, and help out with all the sick personnel. Winchester tries to worm his way out of helping out, but Margaret threatens him if he takes one step outside.

Back out in the hills, Hawkeye and B.J. can't get rid of the North Korean who they call "Ralph", but he proves to be invaluable when he saves from being imprisoned--or worse--by a group of passing, armed-to-the-teeth North Korean soldiers. He pretends they are his prisoners, which the others accept, and move on. After they're out of site, Ralph surrenders again, and gets a giant hug from the two of them.

They keep walking, and come across an old man who has broken his ankle while moving a wooden cart down the road. He's so weak he can't walk at all, so B.J. has to carry him on his back until they find his hut, where his wife is.

Luckily, the old man and his wife own a beat-up, rusty motorcycle, which B.J. insists he can drive. He puts Hawkeye in the side car, and Ralph climbs on the back, and off they go--none too steadily--to the 4077th.

While Margaret, Winchester, Potter, and Mulcahy tend to the sick, Hawkeye and B.J. return, accidentally running over Winchester's freshly-cleaned sheets in the process.

They head off to Post Op to help out, and they bring Ralph with them: "There's a whole ward full of people you haven't surrendered to yet."

Fun Facts: This episode features the first appearance of G.W. Bailey as Sgt. Rizzo, essentially the replacement character for Johnny Haymer's Sgt. Zale. But this episode was one of the ones run out of order, because a later episode ("Captains Outrageous") is written as the actual introduction of the character.

This episode is written by Mike Farrell, making him only the third M*A*S*H cast member (after Alda and McLean Stevenson) to write for the series.

This is actor Soon-Tek Oh's fourth episode guest-starring on the series.

Favorite Line: Winchester, annoyed at having to wash linens while everyone is still sick, marvels to no one in particular: "So close to China and I am doing laundry."


What the Parrot Saw said...

One of my favorite lines here is a truly awful pun- Rizzo: "Sam an' Ella?! Who are they?"

One of my least favorite aspects of the later seasons is the amount of bad plays on language though: Potter's new-found(?) love of alliteration was particularly grating at times ("I've got a missive from the missus!")

Both plots here are funny, almost a little too affected at times, but "Ralph's" saving Hawk and BJ from the N. Korean patrol is well-done.

And the scorn heaped on Klinger is funny; I feel for the unit here! Potter's offer of a "turkey [burrp] sandwich" to Charles is especially humorous.

Russell said...

I like this episode; the first of the season that I really enjoyed, probably because it wasn't a Hawkeye-fest. Although I agree with Parrot that it is a bit over-the-top a few times.

My favorite bit is Margaret's wrath in finding Charles sleeping on the job. haha!

RobAsWell said...

The scenes with Hawkeye, BJ, and Ralph are my favorite in the entire series. 3 guys in a war which none of them want to be a part of anymore, all surrendering to one another. It lights me up to even think of it. :-D The rest of the episode is okay, nothing special. But Ralph's character is so hilarious; totally made better by the fact he speaks zero English the entire episode. He's got the funniest gestures around, including the double wink after saving the fellas from the North Korean patrol. An absolute riot.

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