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Recap / M*A*S*H S1 E8: Cowboy

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"We've got another delivery from the Cowboy."

Another chopper comes in for a landing at the 4077 helicopter pad bearing more wounded, one of which is the chopper's own pilot, the eponymous Cowboy. Later on, after surgery, Hawkeye has a conversation with the guy where he learns the pilot believes that there may be troubles with his wife back home and promises to try to arrange some temporary leave for him. There's only one problem; the person who can get the ball rolling, Henry Blake, is in a sour mood due to the continuing war and the mounting pressures and responsibilities of running the camp and has been lashing out at everybody, particularly Trapper who wanted to use Henry's Jeep to take a nurse on a date. When Hawkeye meets with Henry to discuss the possibility of Cowboy getting leave, Henry turns him down flat.


Hawkeye endeavours to cheer Henry up to get him back to his loose and lazy self so he doesn't come down so hard on people anymore. But that task itself becomes complicated when someone at the camp develops a bad grudge against Henry.

Bad enough to want him dead. Don't worry, it's still a light-hearted comedy.

Attention, all personnel! We have another delivery of tropes from the Cowboy!

  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Hawkeye does not take being woken up abruptly very well.
      Radar: Hawkeye.
      Hawkeye: I'm gonna count to one and then you'd better be out of here.
      Radar: Sir, I hate to wake you -
      Hawkeye: How would you like me to take out your tonsils? Through your ear?
      Radar: You're needed in surgery.
      Hawkeye: That figures. Ten minutes sleep a week oughta be enough for anybody. I'd give anything to be able to see the inside of my eyelids.
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    • One scene later, in the O.R.
      Father Mulcahy: Not the Cowboy again.
      Hawkeye: Same guy, different shoulder. I'm thinking of putting in zippers.
      Father Mulcahy: Is he gonna be alright?
      Hawkeye: Unless somebody shoots him in here.
    • Henry gets a few lines of his own.
      Hawkeye: We're worried about you, Henry.
      Henry: Welcome to the club.
      Hawkeye: Do you realise if anything happens to you, Frank Burns takes over?
      Henry: Boy, your unselfishness is touching.
  • "Dear John" Letter: Averted, thank God.
    • Also Played For Laughs
  • Distinction Without a Difference: Trapper when he is accused of pilfering Henry's Jeep.
    Trapper: No sir, I was not pilfering. I was stealing.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: A superior officer won't let you go home for an admittedly important reason? Apparently fragging him is the first and best solution.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Invoked. Henry believes someone is trying to kill him as payback for not relenting on a previous request.
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  • Entertainingly Wrong: After the second attempt on his life, Henry immediately suspects Trapper and goes to accuse him at the Swamp.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The Cowboy is introduced flying some wounded men into the camp. After safely landing and making sure they're taken care of, he collapses from his own shoulder wound.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The attempts to kill Henry Blake in this episode are played for comedy. Come Abyssinia, Henry...
  • Funny Background Event: As an irritated Henry is discussing about the signing of papers after banning Trapper from using his Jeep to take a nurse on a date, Trapper is seen angrily threatening to throw a baseball at Frank Burns for ratting him out to the colonel.
  • Jump Scare:
    • Someone unseen shoots at Hawkeye, Henry and Ho-Jon as they play golf
    • In-universe. The officers' latrine is blown up and Hawkeye ducks for cover.
    • Played for laughs. Henry jumps once more at the end of The Stinger.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Cowboy reacts to his wife's letter in a non-verbal emotional form of this.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Henry as the Jeep runs through his tent
    • Henry and Frank have a shared one when the colonel's chair explodes, right when the latter was going to take temporary command.
    • Trapper, when he and Hawkeye discover who has been trying to kill Henry, and he realises that the colonel is all alone on an airborne chopper with the guy. Henry gets one too when the same thing is revealed to him.
    • There are two in the scene where Cowboy is told the contents of his wife's letter.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Subverted with Cowboy. While it is what people call him, his real name is revealed as John Hodges.
  • Post-Victory Collapse: The Cowboy marks his first appearance by delivering the wounder soldier he's carrying in his chopper to safety, then passing out from having been shot twice in the shoulder himself.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Done twice in the same scene. Thankfully though, due to the well-timed arrival of a letter, the murder is not carried out.
    It'll only break your fall!
    Neither was you not letting me go home.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Apparently, this is not the first time the Cowboy has visited the 4077 as a chopper pilot or as a patient.
  • Sanity Slippage: Henry suffers a bit of this after the first and second attempts on his life.
  • Tempting Fate: Henry at Hawkeye's improvised golf course, stating "I'm really starting to unwind." A second later comes the startling gunshot.
  • Threat Backfire: Trapper and Frank trade blows of this trope over Trapper wanting to use Colonel Blake's Jeep for casual reasons rather than official.
    Trapper: Frank, you're sucking around to become a hit-and-run case. MOVE!
    Frank: Over my dead body.
    Trapper: Great! I-dea!
    Frank: I dare you.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Cowboy believes this is going on with his wife back home.


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