Episode Spotlight: Comrades in Arms, Part 2


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

“Comrades in Arms (Part II)” (#133, 6×13)
Originally Broadcast: Tuesday, December 13th, 1977
Written by Alan Alda
Directed by Burt Metcalfe and Alan Alda

Capsule Summary: After spending the night in a bombed-out building, Hawkeye and Margaret have a lot to talk about. Back at the 4077th, B.J. decides to head to the skies to look for his missing friend.

There were three two-part episodes of M*A*S*H, which originally aired on CBS as two half-hour episodes on two consecutive weeks rather than one hour-long special later split in two for syndication. “Comrades in Arms” was the first of these episodes. I reviewed Part I back in December 2013. I didn’t rewatch the first half in preparation for viewing this but the recap at the start got me up to speed pretty well.

This episode picks up the morning after Part I, after Hawkeye and Margaret sought comfort in each other’s arms. The two wake up and have drastically different reactions to what transpired between them. Hawkeye is incredibly uncomfortable with the situation, bordering on terrified. Margaret, on the other hand, acts like a love-sick schoolgirl, fawning over Hawkeye and calling him darling.

The big question is whether it was out of character for Margaret. I’m of the opinion it was at minimum a bit over the top. Margaret also reacts hysterically after seeing a North Korean soldier but that at least can be forgiven as true fear mixed with whatever other emotions she was feeling.

What can’t be explained away as nerves is Hawkeye’s decision to try to hide the two of them under a woven mat. It was a little too slapstick if you ask me.

I really didn’t like the way Hawkeye and Margaret acted after they got to the 8063rd. It was immature and unprofessional and definitely felt out of character. The best part of the episode was the heartfelt conversation between Hawkeye and Margaret after they returned safely to the 4077th.

I’m not sure how realistic it was for Charles to be using the past tense to refer to Hawkeye and Margaret. There was no reason to think the two were dead so it really rang false for me.

I did enjoy the look on Father Mulcahy’s face when Colonel Potter, B.J. and Charles were wondering if anything happened between Hawkeye and Margaret.

All Smiles

What happened to Hawkeye’s leg wound after they got back to the 4077th? He wasn’t limping at all.

The vascular clamp used by Hawkeye the 8063rd was designed in “Patent 4077,” which aired several weeks after this episode but was actually produced before it.

Look closely when the chopper lands at the 4077th. It doesn’t look like Mike Farrell is in it. It must have been a stunt double.

I couldn’t help but notice the fried chicken given to Hawkeye and Margaret (and passed around in the background) in the mess tent. It looked delicious.

Radar does not appear in this episode.

12 Replies to “Episode Spotlight: Comrades in Arms, Part 2”

  1. I don’t know what to make of Margaret’s reactions in this episode. On the one hand, she constantly was telling Hawkeye how much in love with Donald she was and on the other hand, she was calling him darling and talking about them like they were a couple.

    This episode also put an end to all the speculation about Hawkeye and Margaret being secretly attracted to each other…..yes, they were but as a couple, they would have been a disaster.

    As you mentioned, RJ, the drumsticks they were handed in the mess tent looked delicious. Compared to how much they complained the food sucked, it sure looked good.

    I like this episode since it is in my favorite season of the entire show, Season 6, I like the storyline and to be honest, I was curious about how things would be between Hawkeye and Margaret and this episode put paid to all the speculation.

  2. These two episodes show how inconsistent Margaret was over the course of the series. From lovey-dovey one moment to screaming hysterically the next. Hawkeye stayed relatively calm during the whole ordeal, while Margaret totally lost her cool at times.

    Hawkeye in season 11 is recognizable as the Hawkeye from season one. Margaret is no where near the same character between seasons 1 and 11. Yes, people change, but her character’s change was just too drastic to be realistic.

  3. Seeing Margaret and Hawkeye the morning after their fling really made me uncomfortable as well as their argument at the 8063rd. I don’t think Margaret should’ve sent her letter to Donald addressed to another man. In short, not an episode I’d enjoy watching.

  4. Margaret may have been in denial about her marriage hence her behavior around Hawkeye, but yeah the “darling” part was odd. Did she think it would be like her relationship with Frank when they got back?

  5. Part 2 is stronger than part 1, but it still has some problems. Mainly, Margaret’s lovey-dovey behavior seems really fake (Did they even do more than kiss? They’re fully clothed the next morning.) In addition, her screeching became more and more annoying. When the enemy soldier is approaching the hut, she is way too loud. Hawkeye’s discomfort the morning after is very funny and real, though. And BJ going to look for them is very touching, as is the conversation he and Hawkeye have in the Swamp. The scene in the mess tent was good, and I always enjoy seeing Margaret deck some guy (as long as she keeps her mouth shut). All-in-all I’d give this 2-parter a 6.5 out of 10. It’s too bad Radar wasn’t in this one.

    1. I never remember seeing that conversation between BJ and Hawkeye in this episode until yesterday (if I saw it as a child then I’ve forgotten). I agree, it was good, but I think the other channels cut it out to shorten the episode. I’m glad MeTV doesn’t do that; it’s nice to see something “new’ on MASH.

      1. I’ve noticed a few edits on the MeTV broadcasts, but usually nothing major.. I’m glad they left that scene in; it’s a very good one.

      2. Having just seen it again on TV Land, I agree with the consensus. While I think it was a big episode in the larger arc of the series as Margaret’s transformation to a softer and more well-rounded character, her reactions in this episode are somewhat immature.

        She becomes like, as you say, a love-sick schoolgirl just because she slept with Hawkeye. I realize the horrors of war could change someone’s moods rather quickly but this strains credulity. The part at the end, where she’s dictating a letter to “Hank”, was a sweet ending however.

  6. I initially thought the way Margaret reacted the morning after was embarrassingly out of character for her. Then I thought about how real life works when you realize that your marriage is over and you’ve been agonizing about the lonely road ahead of you. I think Margaret’s tete a tete with Hawkeye meant more to her at that particular moment than it might have otherwise because it allowed her to see that there can still be life after a divorce. Hawkeye did that for her without even realizing it. In her mind he symbolized moving on from Donald. Not necessarily with him but with anyone that isn’t Donald. Also I think there was always a lot of sexual tension between them and after easing it, she felt almost giddy. Yes I do believe they went all the way and of course would have put their clothes right back on before sleeping since they were in a warzone and might have to move quickly. I don’t believe that Margaret would have sustained a relationship with Hawkeye even if she wanted to. It was all just the shock of the letter, the need to feel alive in a dangerous place where you’re repeatedly confronted with your own mortality, and the attraction to a guy who has been able to see into your soul from day one.

  7. Regardless of what you think about this episode, you must agree that the “smiling” bit at the end is hilarious.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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