Episode Spotlight: Give and Take

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

“Give and Take” (#249, 11×14)
Originally Broadcast: Monday, February 14th, 1983
Written by Dennis Koenig
Directed by Charles S. Dubin

Capsule Summary: Charles, charged with collecting money for charity, passes the responsibility, and it continues to be passed around camp. Meanwhile, a G.I. comes face to face with the North Korean soldier he shot.

The third-to-last episode of M*A*S*H, “Give and Take” featured two storylines. The A-story involves Charles trying to shirk his duties as charity officer while the B-story sees a wounded soldier, Private Kurland (played by Craig Wasson), coming to terms with the fact that the North Korean soldier he shot is a human being just like him. It is interesting that the B-story is the more serious of the two and I suppose for that reason you could argue it was actually the main storyline, although I believe the charity officer storyline got more screen time.

I wonder if the A-story was scripted intentionally to give all the main characters a bit to do as the series was coming to a close. With the charity officer gig passing from character to character, we got to see once again the temperament and thought processes of them all. Charles of course wants nothing to do with begging for donations, nice guy B.J. agrees to try his hand at it, Hawkeye attempts to seduce a nurse into donating, etc. Learning at the end that Charles donated all the money himself actually fit the character, who wasn’t as mean as he made himself out to be and had a very deep sense of self-preservation.

Corporal Klinger, Bringer of Chocolate
Corporal Klinger, Bringer of Chocolate

As for the B-story, although definitely heavy-handed, I think it works pretty well on the strength of Craig Wasson, who did a fantastic job portraying a man forced to come to grips with the reality that he has killed another human being rather than a nameless, faceless soldier. His conversation with Colonel Potter near the end of the episode about the North Korean soldier (“he was just a guy like me) is intense.

This episode features an anachronism: the candy bars Klinger hands out had Universal Product Codes (UPCs) on them. These were not introduced in the United States until the 1970s. Speaking of Klinger, why was he wearing his fur coat in this episode?

Igor explaining to B.J. about how he lost all his money to Rizzo in a poker game may have been the most lines the character had in a single episode.

9 Comments

  • Larry P. says:

    Good but not great episode for me. I’m not a big fan of the charity storyline, but the subplot involving the wounded U.S. soldier and the Korean he shot is, IMO, very powerful.

  • chuckles says:

    not that great of an episode. This was the 2nd to last regular episode….I think MASH had had it by then…

  • Christy says:

    If I had to pick a charity like episode that I love and shamelessly tear up a little would be Death Takes A Holiday.. Which also has Charlies and candy bars. Not to say I don’t like this one.. Just a thought.

  • doc funnypants says:

    CHARLES: Trying to raise money here is like trying to raise the Titanic with tweezers.
    Father Mulcahy: You’ll be busted so low, you’ll be saying “Yes,sir” to Klinger.
    All in all, a decent episode to wile away some time. Especially with the job of charity collection officer being passed around like a bottle of fine scotch.

  • Doc Funnypants says:

    IMO, the only thing that would’ve made Charles’s appeal any more PSA-worthy would be having a close-up of a single tear running down his face.

  • Maggie Hoolihan says:

    The nurse who Hawkeye asked on a date really bothered me. Her boyfriend would rip Hawkeye apart simply because he asked her out and tried to get her to contribute to charity? Seriously? Oh but he’s so secure in his muscles and Errol Flynn looks right? Just the way she said that with such glee was irritating. You’re happy that you have a boyfriend who trusts you so little that he wants to commit murder on anyone who is interested in you? Sounds like a personal problem.

    • Maggie Hoolihan says:

      Mulcahy: “Klinger you know I’m not interested in glory.” No Father, you just get bitterly angry when you don’t get promoted fast enough, make everyone’s life miserable when the cardinal visits because you want him to see how great you are, and have just about enough humility to fit in a thimble.

      • Maggie Hoolihan says:

        Oh and I’ve never seen a priest get angry that someone is soliciting people for charity. Oh but it’s not going to MY charity so I don’t want it. No Father, this charity money is probably going to wounded soldiers instead of Korean children so we certainly can’t have that. How dare anyone try to help an American instead of a Korean? Ugh Mulcahy really is unlikable in this one.

  • Sophie says:

    I think Klinger is wearing his fur coat because it’s cold. Why not? Looks awful warm!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.