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Name That Episode III #74

The Name That Episode game is played Tuesdays and Thursdays, with images posted randomly between 12PM and 6PM Eastern. Players can participate as often as they like. An archive of past rounds can be found here. Today’s image can be found below. Can you name the episode it’s from? Feel free to post guesses in the comments section. As always, the winner gets bragging rights.

And the Winner Is: Big Daddy O’Reilly, who correctly identified “Lil” from Season 7.

Name That Episode

Name That Episode III #73

The Name That Episode game is played Tuesdays and Thursdays, with images posted randomly between 12PM and 6PM Eastern. Players can participate as often as they like. An archive of past rounds can be found here. Today’s image can be found below. Can you name the episode it’s from? Feel free to post guesses in the comments section. As always, the winner gets bragging rights.

And the Winner Is: converse_craig, who correctly identified “Pressure Points” from Season 10.

Name That Episode

Episode Spotlight: Blood Brothers

Every Monday, I spotlight a random episode of M*A*S*H, providing a brief review and asking readers to offer their thoughts.

“Blood Brothers” (#212, 9×18)
Originally Broadcast: Monday, April 6th, 1981
Written by David Pollock & Elias Davis
Directed by Harry Morgan

Capsule Summary: While Father Mulcahy prepares for a visit from an Army cardinal, Hawkeye grapples with how to tell a wounded soldier he has leukemia.

This episode may be best remembered for guest starring the late Patrick Swayze a number of years before he became wildly famous for his roles in films like Dirty Dancing and Ghost. His character, Gary Sturgis, serves as a bridge between the A and B stories. The title clearly refers to the friendship between Sturgis and the severely wounded Dan, and the offer to donate blood that leads Hawkeye to discover Sturgis has leukemia. I suppose that makes it the A story.

I had forgotten that Sturgis had leukemia and for some reason thought he had hepatitis and was just upset he could not donate blood to his friend. That would have made for a very different episode and would have meant not seeing Hawkeye try to decide what to tell Sturgis, worrying that knowing his fate would alter how he spent his last months. B.J. asks Hawkeye whether he’d want to know. Hawkeye’s response is deep: “Would you want to tell me?” Ultimately he decides to tell Sturgis, which was probably the right thing to do.

Father Mulcahy’s B story had some laughs courtesy of Rizzo and Igor, but was like the A story primarily dramatic. This wasn’t the first episode to involve a visit to the 4077th by someone higher up the Army’s religious food chain (I’m thinking of Ned Beatty’s Colonel Hollister in Season 4’s “Dear Peggy”). There were moments while rewatching the episode when I felt William Christopher was perhaps overdoing it just a bit with his reactions, particularly his speech in the Officers’ Club when Roy and Dennis are fighting.

I’m also torn on how to take Father Mulcahy’s sermon. It worked well up until he “revealed” that he was the first man in his story and then it got a little too emotional. We know from other episodes that Mulcahy sometimes felt unappreciated at the 4077th and by the military (or at least wondered if he was doing any good) so it fits that he would worry that he was looking for recognition from Cardinal Reardon.

Perhaps he decided after sitting up all night talking with Sturgis that by trying to shut down the craps game for a few days or asking Igor to take down the portrait of Mona, he was only trying to impress Reardon. After all, he didn’t want to stop the craps game forever. Was his aim to make the 4077th look good for Reardon or himself look good? Maybe that realization led to his emotional sermon.

Father Mulcahy’s sermon

It’s a rare episode when Rizzo has more screen time than members of the main cast. David Ogden Stiers had so little to do in this episode that until I went back and checked I thought perhaps he had directed it. Imagine my surprise to discover it was in fact Harry Morgan directing. Margaret has a very limited role as well. Klinger’s is only slightly larger.

I think my favorite line in this episode is Rizzo’s response to Father Mulcahy in the supply tent:

“Father, please, try and see my side of it. What if peace is declared tomorrow and they ship us all home before I have time to shear these sheep?”

The best scene, however, has to be the introductions after Cardinal Reardon arrives:

Mulcahy: “May I introduce our company commander, Colonel Potter, and our company clerk, Corporal Klinger.”
Klinger: “Cardinal.”
Reardon: “Corporal.”
Mulcahy: “Captain.”
Bratton: “Chaplain, Corporal.”
Klinger: “Captain.”
Reardon: “Colonel.”
Potter: “Cardinal. Corporal, show the cardinal to his quarters.”

Has the pin-up of Mona always been behind the bar in the Officers’ Club? Also, I wonder if it is an actual Korean War era pin-up or something the art department cooked up?

I can’t be the only one who thought Cardinal Reardon really wanted a drink when he first arrived at the 4077th. Why else would he keep asking about the Officers’ Club?

Name That Episode III #72

The Name That Episode game is played Tuesdays and Thursdays, with images posted randomly between 12PM and 6PM Eastern. Players can participate as often as they like. An archive of past rounds can be found here. Today’s image can be found below. Can you name the episode it’s from? Feel free to post guesses in the comments section. As always, the winner gets bragging rights.

And the Winner Is: Tuttle4077, who correctly identified “Major Topper” from Season 6.

Name That Episode

Name That Episode III #71

The Name That Episode game is played Tuesdays and Thursdays, with images posted randomly between 12PM and 6PM Eastern. Players can participate as often as they like. An archive of past rounds can be found here. Today’s image can be found below. Can you name the episode it’s from? Feel free to post guesses in the comments section. As always, the winner gets bragging rights.

And the Winner Is: Big Daddy O’Reilly, who correctly identified “The U.N., the Night, and the Music” from Season 11.

Name That Episode

Episode Spotlight: Depressing News

Every Monday, I spotlight a random episode of M*A*S*H, providing a brief review and asking readers to offer their thoughts.

“Depressing News” (#206, 9×12)
Originally Broadcast: Monday, February 9th, 1981
Written by Dan Wilcox & Thad Mumford
Directed by Alan Alda

Capsule Summary: While Klinger works on launching a newspaper, Hawkeye builds a tower out of 500,000 tongue depressors.

While Klinger’s enthusiasm for his “MASH Notes” newspaper may at times have felt over-the-top, for the most part this is a solid episode. Hawkeye’s destruction of his monument to senseless destruction is very well done as is his motivation for doing so. M*A*S*H is often criticized for becoming too maudlin and moralizing in its later years. I don’t think that’s the case here at all. The absurdity of the Army sending the 4077th half a million tongue depressors sets Hawkeye off and that makes sense.

Sure, it’s a mistake. Colonel Potter knows that. B.J. knows that. Even Hawkeye knows that. But it still represents, to Hawkeye at least, how the Army — and by extension the United States government — doesn’t see soldiers as individuals. His conversation with B.J. in the Officers’ Club about how the Army considers doctors and soldiers interchangeable is superb, particularly when he runs down the list of past and present characters, symbolically snapping the tongue depressor representing the late Henry Blake.

The Hawkeye and Klinger storylines are intertwined, making it hard to decide which is the A story and which is the B story. Despite what Colonel Potter said, the newspaper was just another scam for Klinger. That’s fine but his eagerness was overkill. It was just too much. Part of me wants to believe that Charles only agreed to write the gourmet food column because he was bored. Otherwise that means Klinger was able to trick him quite easily. On the other hand, Charles is such a snob that he probably would be easily tricked by Klinger.

Potter’s painting of Hawkeye’s monument

There’s a relatively well-known anachronism in this episode. Watch closely 17 minutes in just as the delivery truck drives off. Hawkeye and B.J. are seen walking towards the boxes of tongue depressors. Alan Alda is wearing a pair of bright blue sneakers obviously from the 1980s. Mike Farrell, on the other hand, is wearing period-appropriate Chuck Taylor All-Stars.

Klinger’s proposed “Furious Physician Nixes Sticks Pix” headline is a reference to the famous “Sticks Nix Hick Pix” headline published in the July 17th, 1935 edition of Variety.

Some of the nurses at the start of the episode seem to be having quite a bit of fun tossing bedding around.

Name That Episode III #70

The Name That Episode game is played Tuesdays and Thursdays, with images posted randomly between 12PM and 6PM Eastern. Players can participate as often as they like. An archive of past rounds can be found here. Today’s image can be found below. Can you name the episode it’s from? Feel free to post guesses in the comments section. As always, the winner gets bragging rights.

And the Winner Is: Seoul City Sue, who correctly identified “Bottoms Up” from Season 9.

Name That Episode

Name That Episode III #69

The Name That Episode game is played Tuesdays and Thursdays, with images posted randomly between 12PM and 6PM Eastern. Players can participate as often as they like. An archive of past rounds can be found here. Today’s image can be found below. Can you name the episode it’s from? Feel free to post guesses in the comments section. As always, the winner gets bragging rights.

And the Winners Are: Big Daddy O’Reilly/Seoul City Sue, who correctly identified “The Ringbanger” from Season 1.

Name That Episode

New Interviews with Cast and Crew Available Online

May 6th, 2015 Update: Ken Levine has posted his thoughts on the series finale and the interviews shown on MeTV.

Last night, classic TV diginet MeTV aired a special three hour presentation of “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” that included exclusive new interviews with members of the cast and crew reflecting on the impact of the series finale. According to Ken Levine, the interviews “were recorded last year for a proposed documentary on MASH (that is still in the works).”

Those of us who don’t get MeTV can now watch the interviews online at the MeTV website. I’ve also embedded them in this post:


I haven’t had a chance to watch any of the interviews yet but hope to later today. It will be interesting to hear what Wayne Rogers and Gary Burghoff have to say about the finale considering they weren’t in it.

(Thanks to Kenny for passing this along.)

Episode Spotlight: A Smattering of Intelligence

Every Monday, I spotlight a random episode of M*A*S*H, providing a brief review and asking readers to offer their thoughts.

“A Smattering of Intelligence” (#48, 2×24)
Originally Broadcast: Saturday, March 2nd, 1974
Written by Larry Gelbart & Laurence Marks
Directed by Larry Gelbart

Capsule Summary: Hawkeye and Trapper trick a pair of intelligence officers into accusing Frank of being a communist and a fascist.

If you think too much about this episode you’ll realize the plot doesn’t make sense. But who cares about plot when you’re watching Edward Winter? Just sit back and enjoy the absurdity.

This is of course the second episode to guest star Edward Winter but the first in which he played Colonel Flagg, at least officially. His first appearance was in “Deal Me Out” earlier in Season 2 when he was credited as Captain Halloran. Most M*A*S*H fans believe this was just another of Flagg’s aliases and an exchange between Sidney Freedman and Flagg in Season 4’s “Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler?” supports this.

I think what I like best about this episode are Colonel Blake’s interactions with both Flagg and Stone. His response to Flagg asking about his clearance is hilarious: “Oh, I go through the door with about an inch to spare.” So is his reaction to the file Stone showed him: “Hey, this is nothing but a pack of filthy lying lies which is beneath my contempt about it and you can count on my full and fearful cooperation.”

Captain Stone isn’t nearly as funny as Flagg. His conversation with Frank about amphibious MASH units is hilarious but more for Frank’s enthusiasm than anything else.

Frank is very lucky that Flagg and Stone believed Hawkeye and Trapper when they said they altered his file. And Hawkeye and Trapper are lucky they didn’t get in trouble for their prank. Flagg said they could get ten years for doctor’s file doctoring. Stone’s friendship with Trapper worked in their favor but I’m actually surprised Flagg gave up so quickly.

Radar gets ready to spill the beans

This was the first of six episodes directed by Larry Gelbart. He had this to say about his directorial debut in a May 30th, 1998 post the alt.tv.mash newsgroup:

This was the first of the half dozen or so episodes I directed. I cannot tell what a great help Gene Reynolds was – first, encouraging me to do it all, then being a tremendous help, explaining the process as I went through it. I truly couldn’t – and wouldn’t – do it without him.

Trapper would later refer to Flagg breaking his own arm in “White Gold” during Season 3.

Speaking of Trapper, notice how he tilts his hat with his golf club as he passes Flagg on his way out of the X-ray room. I wonder, was this something Wayne Rogers came up with or did Gelbart instruct him to do it? It’s a tiny almost insignificant thing but it fits with Trapper’s irreverent, laid back attitude towards authority.

Does anyone know what G2 is, the organization Captain Stone claims to be a member of? CIA is the Central Intelligence Agency, CIA the Counter Intelligence Corps of the United States Army, and CID the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command.

It’s hard to tell but is Radar smoking a cigarette in the doorway to signal Stone? If so, it’s one of the rare instances of cigarettes being seen on M*A*S*H.

The “slides” of Trapper and Hawkeye in their guerrilla suits shown in the tag are from “As You Were” while the slide of Radar is from this episode. What about the slide of Colonel Blake behind a line of drying lingerie or the slide of Margaret washing Frank’s hair? Can anyone identify which episode or episodes those are from?