Every Monday, I spotlight a random episode of M*A*S*H, providing a brief review and asking readers to offer their thoughts.
“The Gun” (#85, 4×13)
Originally Broadcast: Tuesday, December 2nd, 1975
Written by Larry Gelbart & Gene Reynolds
Directed by Burt Metcalfe
Capsule Summary: When a colonel’s beloved vintage revolver goes missing, Radar finds himself facing 15 years in the stockade.
I’m of two minds about this episode. On the one hand, I think Radar’s “My bear went off!” is a hilarious line. On the other hand, the rest of Radar’s drunken rambling is rather underwhelming. I don’t know if Radar was just a boring drunk or if Gary Burghoff had trouble acting drunk, but the scene in the Officers’ Club in which he discussed his predicament with Klinger was underwhelming.
There’s no B story in this episode, unless you want to split the main gun plot into Radar’s story and Frank’s story. I don’t really think that’s necessary. The two are so intertwined, although Radar certainly gets more screen time.
I don’t know whether taking the revolver was in character for Frank or out of character. I can believe he’d be impressed by the gun and wish he could have it. But to actually steal it and then immediately show it off to Margaret? How could be possibly think that she wouldn’t hear about a missing gun, particularity one owned by a colonel?
I did enjoy the confrontation scene in the O.R. in which Hawkeye and B.J. kept pushing Frank across the room until he was trapped between two gurneys and had to climb over one to escape. But he was right about them believing Radar was innocent until proven guilty but not him. Sometimes Frank does make sense.
Unless I’m mistaken, the whole gun bin thing is one of those little plot devices invented for one episode and never seen or mentioned again. I know there was at least one other episode which involved the personal effects of wounded or deceased soldiers, but I don’t recall any other instances in which the gun bin appeared or receipts were issued to wounded soldiers for their weapons.
I wish we had learned something about the tank that ran Colonel Chaffey and his men off the road. Why wasn’t anyone more concerned about that? Chaffey certainly didn’t seem to care. All he was worried about was his revolver.
Radar mentions a sister while talking to Frank about his key ring. He also mentions a brother in one episode but otherwise is said to be an only child, something firmly established by Season Eight.
Try as I might, I can’t figure out what Margaret was reading in bed at the start of the episode.