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Recap / M*A*S*H S1 E23: Ceasefire

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The news that a ceasefire has been arranged reaches the ears of Colonel Blake, then onto Hawkeye, Trapper and Radar, and finally, the rest of the camp. Naturally, the MASHers of the 4077 celebrate the end of the war. Revelry runs through the compound. Hawkeye toasts to the end of the war and has to break things off with every one of his love interests when they each reveal they want to make plans with him for a future back in the States. Radar makes a scrapbook for everyone to sign. Frank and Margaret drink themselves stupid. Klinger puts on a bargain sale for the dresses he made and bought in his ongoing efforts to prove he's crazy. Unfortunately, there is one scrooge against every party of hope and faith; Trapper does not believe the ceasefire will go through and will not raise his own hopes until he hears that it is officially put into effect.


Everything culminates when the unit is greeted with the arrival of General Clayton as they all throw an end-of-the-war party.

Attention, all personnel, attention! The peace talks have negotiated the following tropes:

  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    • Except for Frank, Margaret and General Clayton, everyone laughs at Hawkeye's slideshow.
    • Trapper is not irritated at all by Hawkeye drenching his hair with beer.
  • Amusing Injuries: When Hawkeye claims he's married, an angry Nurse Cutler believes him, takes up a bedpan, and strikes him over the head.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Played with by Henry about resuming with regular life back home.
    Henry: In a few days, I'll be back home, tripping over kids' roller skates again, cursing out the crab grass, fuming about my income taxes, being impossible with my receptionist, turning grey over my wife's checking account, and loving every minute of it.
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  • Berserk Button: It's all fine for Margaret to mention Frank's wife, but the moment he does... Look. Out.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Hawkeye isn't quite sure if he heard Henry say the word 'ceasefire'.
  • Call-Back: Margaret mentions among the many things Frank has back home, his two cars and his country club. And his wife of course.
  • Chewing the Scenery:
    • Hawkeye is overcome with joy about the news of the ceasefire.
    • Frank Burns comes running into Henry's office after hearing from Radar about the ceasefire.
      Frank: Hey Colonel, did you hear? There's a ceasefire! Effective immediately!
    • Margaret, when she's drunk.
  • Commitment Issues: Hawkeye.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Radar answers the phone before it rings even once.
      Trapper: Did you hear a bell?
      Hawkeye: His head's in a different time zone.
    • Hawkeye lampshades Henry's standing up and sitting back down as he's on the phone to General Clayton.
      Gen. Clayton: Henry, are you sitting down?
      Henry: [gets up] No sir.
      Gen. Clayton: Maybe you'd better.
      Henry: [sits down] Yes sir.
      Hawkeye: He's giving you callisthenics over the phone?
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    • Trapper turns down writing an entry in Radar's scrapbook. He changes his mind after Hawkeye snarks him one.
      Trapper: I'll sign it when the real ceasefire comes.
      Hawkeye: His liver's where his heart oughta be.
      Nancy: What's where his liver ought to be?
      Hawkeye: Onions.
      • Although he did it, what Trapper wrote deserved another snark.
        Hawkeye: [incredulously] "Compliments of a friend"?
    • Hawkeye asks Private Gilbert, a patient he treated if he's trying to louse up the ceasefire.
      Private Gilbert: Uh, to tell you the truth, it would have been nice if they could have stopped the fighting before somebody aimed at me, sir.
      Hawkeye: Next time, hide behind a tree with an officer. [examines clipboard] Alright, I'm giving you a direct order. Start getting better immediately or I'll operate again, this time blindfolded and sober.
      Private Gilbert: I think I'm starting to feel better already, sir.
      Hawkeye: Keep trying.
  • Downer Ending: Obviously, the ceasefire falls through.
  • Due to the Dead: Father Mulcahy brings the celebrations to a standstill to remember the soldiers, doctors, nurses and civilians who perished in the war.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Hawkeye mentions again his home is in Vermont.
  • Foreshadowing: Trapper thinks that the ceasefire will fall through and sticks to that thinking the entire episode. The PA announcer also repeatedly reiterates that the ceasefire is not official yet.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Clayton confirms his source about the ceasefire.
    Gen. Clayton: I've just been on the phone with CinComPac. Is that good enough for ya?
    Henry: He got it from CinComPac.
    Hawkeye: I don't care if he got it from NimComPoop! The fighting's over!
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: The staff perform a drunkenly off-key rendition of "Auld Lang Syne" at the farewell party.
  • Hope Spot: The entire episode. Hawkeye describes it best:
    "It was a glimpse of daylight at the end of the damned tunnel."
  • I Regret Nothing: Hawkeye tells Trapper that he will always make the same bet that a ceasefire will work out, once another comes around.
    Hawkeye: So I blew fifteen hundred bucks in IOUs. Gave up three nurses for an imaginary wife and family. Clayton's got my butt in his gun sight. But my hopefulness remains intact.
    Trapper: Good for you.
    Hawkeye: Would you mind turning the other way? I'd hate for you to see a grown man cry.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Margaret tells Frank once they're both home not to worry about her and that she won't interfere in his family life. It slides directly into an aversion the more the episode goes on.
  • Just Between You and Me: This is how Henry wants the news of the ceasefire kept between himself, Hawkeye and Trapper and Radar. Hawkeye and Trapper are there to listen. Radar has already gone off to tell everybody.
  • Malaproper: Frank keeps trying to find the right word for Margaret's (false) promises:
    Frank: Margaret, you're a real prince. I mean, cess. Cessprince. Princess.
  • Missing Time: While in the OR, Hawkeye asks Margaret what day it is. Her answer prompts Trapper to mention they've been in surgery for three straight days.
  • Oh, Crap!: Henry tells Radar to tell the person on the phone that he doesn't want to talk right now because he's beat. Radar reiterates that at once to General Clayton.
  • Reality Ensues: Klinger is just as jubilant as nearly everyone else about the ceasefire, but then realises that he's stuck with a dozen dresses.
  • Role Reprisal:
    • General Clayton, not seen since the "Tuttle" episode.
    • Marcia Strassman returns as Nurse Margie Cutler, for one final time.
  • Running Gag: Radar discussing with Henry about the signing of papers makes a return after a brief absence.
  • Series Fauxnale: Contrary to popular belief (and in spite of very real doubts at the time about the show's future beyond its poorly-rated first season), Word of God is that this episode was not originally written as one of these.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Sadly, Trapper's done his history. Most real-life ceasefires never work out to a peaceful conclusion.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: The PA announcer tells the camp to disregard the rumours of a ceasefire and return to their duties, while he's celebrating the ceasefire himself.
    PA Announcer: Attention, all personnel. Any rumors regarding a ceasefire are not official. All personnel are ordered to continue regular duties until further notice. [pauses] Uh, honey, mine was the Scotch and water.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: General Clayton is left steamed by Hawkeye's slideshow presentation of him romancing Margaret.
    Gen. Clayton: If there wasn't a ceasefire, Pierce...
  • Took a Level in Cynic: Trapper John McIntyre
  • We Really Do Care: Henry affirms this about the farewell note he wrote for Radar in his scrapbook.
  • What Is Going On?: Trapper and Radar react like this when they discover Klinger's fashion sale.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: The false cease-fire is basically this for the entire 4077.
  • Your Cheating Heart: A hypocritical Frank admonishes Margaret after photographic evidence is shown of her cheating on him with General Clayton at the ceasefire party.

"Attention, all personnel. We just got a communiqué from TV Tropes. There is no ceasefire."


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