Discuss: Imagine an Episode With Only Father Mulcahy


Monday M*A*S*H Discussions offers fans the opportunity to offer their opinions on a wide variety of topics relating to M*A*S*H. Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. My hope is these discussion posts will continue to elicit comments in the weeks and months after they’re initially published. Have a suggestion about something you think might be worth discussing? Let me know and maybe it will become my next Monday M*A*S*H Discussion topic.

Today’s topic is: Imagine an episode with only Father Mulcahy.

Silence is Golden

We’re in the fourth week of our “Imagine an Episode with Only…” journey. We’ve already imagined episodes with only Margaret, Colonel Potter, and Trapper. Today, let’s share our ideas for an episode featuring Father Mulcahy. He doesn’t have to be literally the only character but he should be the primary focus and any other characters probably shouldn’t be speaking English. That’s how “Hawkeye” worked and we’re trying to think of similiar experimental episodes for the rest of the characters.

I had a tough time thinking of situations in which Father Mulcahy would be the only character in an episode of M*A*S*H. Perhaps the simplest option is to have him listening to confession for an entire episode without showing viewers any of the people who are confessing. But unless viewers can’t hear the confessions, either, it wouldn’t be Father Mulcahy on his own. Not being able to hear the confessions m

Then I realized M*A*S*H actually came up with the perfect situation for Father Mulcahy in “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” when he lost his hearing. If that had happened earlier in the series, there could’ve been an episode in which Father Mulcahy can’t hear anyone and can’t interact with anyone without writing down what he wants to say. (Imagine the possibilities if Father Mulcahy had lost his hearing at the start of Season 11 and the entire final season saw him coming to grips with his new reality.)

True, an episode like this would have other main characters in it but viewers wouldn’t hear them. In fact, viewers wouldn’t hear anything except Father Mulcahy’s inner monologue as he grapples with trying to communicate and, more importantly, fulfill his duties as chaplain.

Hit the comments with your thoughts.

10 Replies to “Discuss: Imagine an Episode With Only Father Mulcahy”

  1. Wow, wow, wow, I’ve been waiting for this one! I thought up a story about him being deaf, too! I make mine take place after GFA, though. Don’t know if that breaks the rules or not, but here goes…
    The last we saw Mulcahy, he was driving off in a jeep and leaving the war behind for good.
    The next time we see him, he’s in a hospital room in Toyko. He has been told by a second doctor that double-checked BJ’s work that the deafness is indeed profound and there is no way he can hear again.
    Now alone, Mulcahy begins to pray aloud to Jesus about a number of things, but mostly about if God wants him to remain a priest since he is deaf. He remembers Gail Harris from “Nurse Doctor” and confesses to the Lord that he did fall in love with her during that time, but never told her or anyone else, and now wonders if God wants him with her, instead. And this goes on for nearly the whole episode and when he finally says “Amen.”, the screen goes to black, making the viewer think the episode is done, but there is one last scene left…
    We see Mulcahy dressed in layman’s clothes without his collar and cross. He approaches a quaint little house in a quiet suburb in Small Town, USA. He climbs the steps and knocks on the door…but not before pocketing an engagement ring that we see him admire for a few seconds.
    The camera’s POV switches to show the interior of the house and Gail’s back as she opens the door to reveal Mulcahy standing there. He smiles and says, “Hello, Gail, my love. It’s been a long time.” Before she can reply, the end credits roll.

  2. Even though the good Father was certainly a lot more of a complicated character than he seems on the surface – as we’ve seen throughout the series – I can’t imagine an entire episode dedicated to him as the main, primary focus, considering he was at the bottom of the pecking order of the main characters. I feel like the closest thing there could be to such an episode is if we took his plot thread from an episode such as “Mulcahy’s War” (where he wants to experience the front, where he feels he can be of more use to people in need) or “An Eye for a Tooth” (where he covets a promotion) or even “Dear Sis” (where he feels absolutely useless in camp) and made any of those the only plot of the episode, that might work . . . to a degree.

  3. Great work, JocularityGirl!

    My first thoughts were to have Father Mulcahy praying after a particularly long day in the OR witnessing the damage and human cost of war, and again dealing with his own insecurities about how he can make a difference as a priest. He would reveal more about his childhood/family, how he found his calling, and compare his life back in the World. Ultimately, the good Father’s passion for his work, commitment to his calling as a priest, and his love of his MASH family would win the day. It just seems more like his character.

    But then I got another idea: having Father Mulcahy spending the afternoon at St Theresa’s orphanage, perhaps to assist with medical check ups, or along with the Sisters just spending time and playing with the children that he may treat as his own.

    He could be telling stories about his life to the kids, or comforting the children one by one, who don’t understand him and would not otherwise respond.

    [And to be clear, Father Mulcahy is a good man true to his calling. I see him as a wise, admirable, compassionate father figure in the MASH camp and to the orphans he helps throughout the series. He would never harm a child].

  4. My thought would be the good Padre going *TO* confession sometime after “Nurse Doctor”. It might be possible that the episode has stirred feelings that he needs to confess and, during the confession, he regails his fellow priest with stories and feelings that he needs to confront. It would allow him to TRULY act alone as his confessor would be behind a screen (perhaps a silhouette) and he could relate incidents at the 4077 as well as those from his past.

    1. Great idea, penguinphysics!

      I could see it also including other situations he has faced, such as his angst over praying for the dying soldier to die for an aortic graft so the other soldier could live in ‘Life Time’, or when he reacted and punched a soldier, etc.

  5. Maybe an episode where is keeping vigil over a sick patient, maybe the patient is asleep or unconscious. Mulcahy could pray, read letters from home, his and the patients or bits from newspapers or magazines.

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