AfterMASH Episode Spotlight: Madness to His Method

I’m reviewing every episode of AfterMASH, in original broadcast order, and asking fans to add their memories and opinions.

“Madness to His Method” (#27, 2×05)
Originally Broadcast: Tuesday, October 16th, 1984 from 8-8:30PM ET
Written by Tom Straw
Directed by Burt Metcalfe

TV Guide Summary

N/A

The Hartford Courant Summary

Klinger is trying to stay out of jail.

Review

Potter writes a letter to Sidney Freedman, telling him everything that’s going on with Klinger. This is the third AfterMASH episode to feature a character writing a letter. Potter wrote to Klinger in the series premiere (“September of ’53”) and Klinger wrote to Radar in “Yours Truly, Max Klinger” partway through Season 1.

Still from the AfterMASH episode Madness to His Method showing Kilnger and Potter.

Klinger asks Potter to put in a good word with the new psychiatrist.

There are a number of storylines running through the episode. Klinger worries about General General’s new female psychiatrist, Dr. Boyer attempts to flirt with the new female psychiatrist, Potter tries to help a patient he operated on in Korea who refuses to speak, Wally Wainright upgrades the cafeteria menu in the hopes of keeping the patients calm, and Soon-Lee worries about Klinger.

To Be Continued…

As was often the case with “letter home” episodes on M*A*S*H, there’s just too much going on in this episode. Klinger’s storyline is solid, although I’m not thrilled to see him wearing costumes and impersonating people again.

The new psychiatrist is a breath of fresh air. She easily sees through Klinger’s scams. She’s convinced he’s sane but she’s still worried about him. What’s more, she’s strong-willed and easily stands up to Dr. Boyer. Literally. She stands up in the tub in the hydrotherapy room, covered only in suds, and scares Dr. Boyer away.

Still from the AfterMASH episode showing Dr. Lenore Dudziak.

Dr. Lenore Dudziak scares off Dr. Boyer.

I like Potter’s storyline, too. He makes an impassioned speech in the hopes of getting through to his patient:

“Damn it, man. Why are you doing this to yourself? Korea’s over. Don’t let it kill you now. We want to help you but you’ve gotta speak up. Talk to me. I was there, I saw it too. You can’t give up. You can’t. If you’re hurt, cry. If you’re mad, make some noise. Do something. Anything. But don’t give up.”

The speech doesn’t work but a food fight in the cafeteria does.

Father Mulcahy makes a few appearances but isn’t heavily involved in any of the storylines. Likewise, Alma Cox, Wally Wainright, and Mildred each show up briefly. Soon-Lee is only in one very short scene.

Notes

New recurring character Dr. Lenore Dudziak, played by Wendy Girard, makes her debut in this episode.

Sidney Freedman is working at the University of Chicago.

References to the 4077th

Potter’s storyline connects directly to the 4077th. Klinger thinks he recognizes one of his fellow psychiatrist ward resident from the 4077th. Potter checks and, sure enough, the patient was at the 4077th. It was Potter who sewed him up.

In his letter to Sidney, Potter mentions the 4077th’s 98% recovery rate. He also asks if Sidney was at the 4077th the night Klinger hopscotched through the minefield.

M*A*S*H Connections

This is the 11th of 13 episodes directed by Burt Metcalfe.

3 Comments

  • Doc Funnypants says:

    I noticed Tom Straw wrote this episode. He’s the same man who was an executive story editor and later producer on “Night Court” which was created by one-time “M*A*S*H” writer Reinhold Weege. As it turned out, at least thirty people who worked on or appeared on that show also have connections to “Night Court”.

    • Penguinphysics says:

      I might be mis-remembering this, but wasn’t Tom Straw the name of the blinded soldier (a high school English teacher, if memory serves) from the episode Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind?

      • Doc Funnypants says:

        You’re correct about that being the name of Tom Sullivan’s character. IMO, an unlikely gem of a performance from an inspirational man.

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