This is an episode that used to be one of my absolute favourites, but over the years it has lost a certain degree of its appeal.
It's a two story episode that largely focuses on Father Mulcahy being drawn into running a race against the 8063's best runner: Jack "The Rabbit" Le Masters after Klinger draws the majority cast into an ill considered bet, whilst Winchester's interactions in the Post-Op with a stuttering patient make up the minor plot line.
The elephant in the room here is that whenever you hear anyone talking about this episode or you read about it online, the focus is always the same. Everybody loves the Winchester story
- him admonishing Captain Sweeney, the banter about Captain Marvel and the pep-talk where he explains to the soldier about his high IQ before giving him his personal copy of Moby Dick, and of course the final reveal that Charle's sister Honoraria has a stutter.
And lets be honest... that last scene is a ripper. It's one of my favourite Charles moments in the entire series.
So what's the problem?
I think it's that I only really watch this episode for that 60s scene at the end.
Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike the main plot line. Klinger continues to be a comedic spinster superstar, and all the doctors get some good kicks in -
Pierce responding to Margaret's in for a penny in for a pound logic: "that's the type of thinking that has kept us in this war for so long"
Winchester on Klinger's apology: "Max you don't have to suck up to me. I did''t bet, and I don't like you anyway"
BJ expression when they find out that they have Jessie Snr instead of jnr - "barely fit for the human race"
Even Margaret gets in amongst it when she identifies her big rival as "Parellel Parker"
And so forth.
But how does an episode that primarily focuses on a race to better orphan's lives end up in a situation where we really don't care that much about the story and outcome. Well for starters, it's really predictable that Father Mulcahey will win... but more notably, the reveal of Jack and Mulcahey fixing the race is bloody awful.
So post race, Jack shoots the Priest the world's least subtle wink and facial expression for no real purpose. That blemish really annoys me.
All of that said though, this is still a solid story though it lacks punch. But like we were discussing earlier... it's the B-Story with Winchester that really elevates the episode above it's station.
This episode may essentially only be worth watching for two scenes - Charle's end reveal and his pep-talk but those scenes are soon fantastic that they make me keep coming back to watch to this episode. So for me, this episode rates in the above average category.