Every Monday, I spotlight a random episode of M*A*S*H, providing a brief review and asking readers to offer their thoughts.
“They Call the Wind Korea” (#151, 7×07)
Originally Broadcast: Monday, October 30th, 1978
Written by Ken Levine & David Isaacs
Directed by Charles Dubin
Capsule Summary: The 4077th batten down the hatches as heavy winds and freezing temperatures approach. Charles and Klinger, meanwhile, make a desperate attempt to reach Seoul before the storm hits.
This was a great episode from start to finish. It had some great jokes and a little character development, but more importantly it featured A and B stories that complemented one another while both feeling fleshed out.
I’m calling the storm hitting the 4077th the A story, since it was established first. There’s a nice moment during the opening scene in Colonel Potter’s office when Potter is able to catch Radar off-guard while discussing how to secure the camp for the approaching storm. It’s a very human moment. Potter painting his own thumb, while random and bizarre, is pretty funny, too.
That leaves Charles and Klinger’s mad dash for Seoul as the B story. Another nice moment comes during Klinger’s argument with Charles about driving him to Seoul. Klinger tells Charles he’s not crazy, then interrupts himself to tell Potter to ignore what he just said. I wonder if Charles ever paid Klinger the $300 he offered.
I suppose one could consider Radar and his missing guinea pig a C story but personally I feel it was just another part of the A story along with Bigelow’s injury while securing the water tower. If there was anything about the episode there’s one thing I’d criticize about the episode, it would be Radar and his guinea pig. It seemed far more juvenile than the rest of the episode, as is often the case with Radar, and thus felt a little out of place.
Margaret’s reaction to Bigelow’s injury was a brief reminder that she was not just a shrill harpy bent on enforcing rules and stomping out all signs of fun.
The best part of hearing Charles describe his childhood is when he says he was able to put frogs back together after dissecting them. The second best part was his utter contempt at the thought of listening to Klinger talk about his childhood.
The twist at the end of the episode in which Klinger learns that he and Charles were only a few hundred feet away from the 4077th reminded me a little of a 1960 episode of The Twilight Zone called “I Shot an Arrow into the Air.”
Is the 4077th’s water tower mentioned in any other episodes?