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Recap / Blackadder S 4 E 5 General Hospital

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In the aftermath of an artillery bombing on their trench, George winds up in the field hospital (much to Blackadder's annoyance). Soon after, Blackadder finds himself called to Melchett's office: a German spy is giving away every one of their battle plans (much to Blackadder's surprise, who didn't think they actually had battle plans). According to their intel, the leak is coming out of the field hospital and Blackadder is given three weeks to root them out.


Taking up in the hospital, Blackadder finds himself irked by the overly soppy Nurse Mary, though he does get some fun out of new patient Darling (who Melchett shot in the foot to give him a cover story for keeping an eye on Blackadder). However, Blackadder discovers to his surprise Nurse Mary's soppy manner is just an act for the benefit of the patients, and she's every bit as cynical and jaded as him, and they hit it off as Blackadder continues to track down the spy.

  • Accent Relapse: Inverted by Smith who picked up a strong accent while undercover in Germany and hasn't been able to drop it after returning.
  • Actor Allusion: An in-universe example. Miranda Richardson plays Nurse Mary, a seemingly fluffy and silly woman whose real personality is, well, rather different, much like Amy the Highwayman in the previous Blackadder series.
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  • Analogy Backfire: For Darling, when trying to convince Blackadder that he is not a spy in "General Hospital":
    Darling: ...I'm as British as Queen Victoria!
    Blackadder: So, your father's German, you're half-German and you married a German?note 
  • Artistic License – History: Blackadder mentions three of the great universities: Oxford, Cambridge, and Hull. The University of Hull was founded as a college in 1927 and became a university in 1954. While Blackadder had intended this as a trick question, Melchett's comment about Oxford being a complete dump (thereby implying that Hull has already been founded) plays the trope straight.
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  • Ask a Stupid Question...: Baldrick's plan to find a German spy would be to walk up to a suspect and ask if they are a German spy. In the final scene of the episode, Darling asks his main suspect if he was a spy. The suspect openly admits it. The stupid part is that only a proper British spy would openly admit that to his own side that he is a spy, which Darling failed to consider.
  • Asshole Victim: Given Mary's disdain for most of her patients and her attempts to frame Darling as a spy For the Lulz, being convicted herself almost seems karmic if still incorrect.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    George: What about you, Smithie, seen any German spies around here?
    Smith: [In thick German accent] Nein!
    George: Nine? Well, old Blackie's got his work cut out, then.
  • Creator In-Joke: Blackadder says that he tricked Nurse Mary by naming three great universities (Oxford, Cambridge and Hull), when in fact only two of them are great. Melchett responds "Quite — Oxford's a complete dump!" Rowan Atkinson attended Oxfordnote , while Stephen Fry attended Cambridge note , the two universities having a centuries-long rivalry.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Melchett threatens to have Blackadder shot for being rude to a lady.
  • Do You Want to Copulate?: Nurse Mary is pretty blunt.
    Nurse Mary: Edmund, when this war is over, do you think we might get to know each other a little better?
    Blackadder: Yes, why not? When this madness is finished, perhaps we could go cycling together, take a trip down to the Old Swan at Henley and go for a walk in the woods.
    Nurse Mary: Yes, or we could just do it right now on the desk.
    Blackadder: (looks at the desk) Yeah, okay.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Blackadder deducing Nurse Mary is a German spy. His reasoning is perfectly sound and the suspect had already admitted to using Obfuscating Stupidity in front of others. Unfortunately for them both the true 'spy' was someone else altogether: Mary was completely innocent; it was George sending apparently not-properly-censored letters to his German uncle all along.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Before being convicted, Mary attempts to frame Darling as a spy For the Lulz, something even Blackadder, despite tormenting Darling earlier, doesn't have the heart to go through with. He falsely convicts Mary, but at least under the mistaken assumption she is genuinely a spy. In turn he is genuinely horrified when he realises he got it wrong and is last seen frantically trying to halt her execution in time.
  • Hidden Disdain Reveal: Blackadder discovers Mary's true self when she snides about George's idiocy in closed quarters.
  • Idiot Ball: George completely outdoing himself as it never once occurs to him that maybe detailing top-secret information to his uncle who lives behind enemy lines where all letters are intercepted and read by the German army is a bad idea.
  • It's All About Me: Edmund's brutally honest about this.
    Nurse Mary: Tell me, Edmund, do you have someone special in your life?
    Blackadder: Well yes, as a matter of fact, I do.
    Nurse Mary: Who?
    Blackadder: Me.
    Nurse Mary: No, I mean someone you love and cherish and want to keep safe from all the horror and the hurt.
    Blackadder: Um...still me, really.
  • My Girl Back Home: Darling reveals he has a girlfriend, Doris, as part of his attempt to convince Blackadder that he's not the German spy. Blackadder himself is an aversion, when Mary asks he reveals that he doesn't have anyone waiting for him in England.
    Blackadder: I've always been a soldier, married to the Army. Book of King's Regulations is my mistress...possibly with a Harrods lingerie catalogue discreetly tucked between the pages.
    Blackadder: Skirt? If only! When I joined up, we were still fighting colonial wars. If you saw someone in a skirt, you shot him and nicked his country!
  • Nobody's That Dumb: Why Blackadder didn't even consider Smith the spy for a second and lampshades to Darling when he's convinced the man is a spy (he is, but a British one). Not even the Germans would be stupid enough to field a spy with a strong German accent.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Nurse Mary uses a mild version of this. ("My fluffy-bunny act", as she calls it.)
  • Officer and a Gentleman: Melchett, of all people.
    Melchett: Explain yourself, Blackadder, before I have you shot for being rude to a lady!
  • Plot Armor: After George got hurt, Blackadder called him a lucky bastard, then climbed to the top of the trench and yelled "What about me?! I'm over here!" The only reasons he didn't get shot is probably a) the Germans were taking cover from artillery shells, b) they didn't think that one guy was worth using the ammunition, c) they were so confused by the fact a Brit wanted to get hit they couldn't decide what to do, or d) none of them were that decent a shot.
  • Red Herring Mole: "Mister Smith", who speaks with a HEAVY German accent. Also leads to this:
    George: You haven't seen any suspicious-looking characters that might be German spies, have you Smitty?
    Smith: Nein!
    George: NINE!? Cap's got his work cut out for him, then!
    • Of course, Smith does turn out to be a spy... a British spy, who developed "a teensy bit of an accent" from working undercover in Germany for so long; Blackadder realises that the Germans aren't dumb enough to send such an obvious spy, but Capt. Darling doesn't, tries to arrest Smith, and ends up being chewed out by Gen. Melchett for his incompetence.
  • Shout-Out: There are references in Nurse Fletcher Brown's name towards One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, the actress Louise Fletcher who plays Nurse Ratchett and Alonzo Brown who plays Dr Miller.
  • Something That Begins with "Boring": The game of I Spy at the beginning between Baldrick and George driving Blackadder to distraction.
  • Status Quo Is God: The end of the episode sees Blackadder given the permanent role of head of Operation Winkle meaning he'll be leaving the trench potentially for good. However, since he'd got the wrong person sentenced to death and ended the episode racing to inform the General before Captain Darling, we can assume that the job offer got rescinded as the next episode sees him back in the trench.
  • Uncertain Doom: Whether Blackadder and Darling vindicate Mary before she meets her end by firing squad is never revealed.
  • Wham Line: George intoning "Oh well, lots of exciting stuff to put into my next letter to my Uncle Hermann in Munich..."


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