In the midst of a widespread flu epidemic, the doctors and nurses of MASH 4077 continue to fulfil their responsibility as medical men and women to save the lives of the wounded. But as the old saying goes, even they are not invincible. The flu quickly travels around the unit, forcing the people, one by one, to succumb to its effects and leading them to take bed rest until only Hawkeye and Margaret are left.
As the amount of wounded arriving increases and as more medical staff are inflicted with the disease, cutting the OR personnel down to a very limited number, the two must work together to keep the camp and the hospital running.
Attention, attention! Symptoms of the flu include the following tropes:
- As You Know: The flu has obviously been going on for a while now, yet the PA Announcer continues to remind the cam about it.PA Announcer: Attention, all personnel. Because of the epidemic, tonight's broken film which has not arrived yet is canceled. A reminder from Colonel Henry Blake - due to the flu, kindly refrain from kissing anyone unless absolutely necessary.
- Bait-and-Switch Comment: After Hawkeye reveals he has the flu, Margaret admits she's worried about him.Hawkeye: You really are, aren't you? (Beat) You know all those nasty things I said to you, all those mean tricks I pulled?Margaret: Yes.Hawkeye: I'd like to get better so I can do them all over again. (gives a "gotcha!" expression to Margaret, who can't help but smile)
- Berserk Button: Frank mistakes Margaret for his wife Louise while he is delirious from the flu. Needless to say, she's not happy.
- Blatant Lies: An ill Henry tries to retake command from the perfectly healthy and capable pair of Hawkeye and Margaret, once again claiming that he is fine.
- Trapper tells Hawkeye the same lie.
- Characters Dropping Like Flies: Not in the death sense, thank heaven, but the flu continually passes from cast member to cast member.
- Deadpan Snarker: Hawkeye thinks out loud that that he may not catch the flu.Frank: Oh? You have your own private immunity, Doctor?Margaret: You're invulnerable to viral infections?Hawkeye: I breathe through my ears.
- Determinator: Even after getting sick himself, Hawkeye refuses to go down until all of the wounded are cared for.
- Fainting: At the beginning of the episode, Henry can no longer stand up.Hawkeye: Stop doing Jolson and get to bed.
- Frank completely passes out whilst performing surgery.
- Foreshadowing: The PA announcer shares the latest headlines at the end of the episode - including a reference to the The Vietnam War.
- From Bad to Worse: It was already at worse within five minutes of the episode starting, and events still go downhill from there.
Hawkeye: Let me tell you something, administration. You know that shot you gave me for the flu?Margaret: Yes?Hawkeye: Well it worked. I've got it.Margaret: Are you sure?Hawkeye: I've got enough nausea to light up the city of Toledo. First I'm hot, then I'm cold, and my knees are in business with themselves. My tongue has gone cashmere and I'd like to find an all-night latrine that takes servicemen.
- Margaret sees Hawkeye giving administrative orders to Radar and she berates him for undermining their agreement about her handling administration and him supervising surgery. He answers why he had just done what he did through the use of a Wham Line.
- Got Volunteered: Even Radar is forced to lend a hand, and he's not happy about it.Radar: How's my fainting gonna help?
- Lampshade Hanging: Margaret asks Hawkeye why he talks in Shout-Out dialogue.Hawkeye: Joel McCrea is in bed. So is Ralph Bellamy and Colonel Andy Devine. Now there's just you and me, Frances Dee and Slim Summerville.Margaret: Why do you talk like that?Hawkeye: I can't help it. I'm part of the movie generation. I spent every Saturday morning and afternoon in the dark.
- Out-of-Character Alert: This episode is the first time that Hawkeye labels Margaret as a friend. Radar is left stunned. Margaret is incredibly moved.
- The Plague: The flu outbreak
- Reality Ensues: Being the only healthy surgeon left at the 4077 thanks to a nationwide epidemic and no assistance on the way means Hawkeye has got to supervise all the surgeries with only a handful of nurses and Father Mulcahy to handle them. The nurses, trained primarily to assist the surgeons, require his guidance for anything beyond simple procedures. Mulcahey and the enlisted personnel pulled into assisting have almost no medical experience, not even knowing what various tools are, slowing Hawkeye down even more.Hawkeye: My kingdom for an intelligent octopus!
- Reflexive Response: Hawkeye investigates why Trapper has suddenly ended up on the ground after the latter had appeared to have recovered from the flu.Hawkeye: What's up?Father Mulcahy: It isn't Trapper.
- Running Gag: Radar tries to find some surgeons that can fill in for their sick ones, only to find each perfect candidate has changed professions.Radar: Okay, Charlie. I'm in the M's now. How about Martin, Robert H.? He's listed as a chest cutter. [beat] He's a paediatrician? Uh, Charlie, we get very few pregnant soldiers here.[...]Radar: Oh hi, Harry. Uh, right. Radar O'Reilly at 4077th? Yeah listen, has your outfit got a Dr. Anthony McDonald, general surgeon? Huh? He changed to psychiatry? That's crazy!
- The gag continues when Hawkeye reveals to Trapper the unit was offered a veterinarian and a gynaecologist.
- Ship Tease: This episode is completely loaded with this trope for Hawkeye and Margaret. Even Henry lampshades it.Henry: Well, Mr and Mrs. 4077th at home...in my office.
- Shout-Out: The title is one to the classic British comedy film series Carry On.
- Sick Episode
- The Starscream: Averted when Margaret accuses Hawkeye of wanting a chance to take command.Hawkeye: Look, I want to command about as much as I want a scholarship to Devil's Island.
- Inverted later when Henry turns the accusation on the both of them, claiming that they're stealing command from him when in all actuality they had to.
- Won't Take "Yes" for an Answer: Margaret insists that she's in charge of camp administration with Henry and Frank out of commission, which Hawkeye agrees to. When she continues pressing the point, he lampshades the trope.
- The Summation: Played for laughs when Hawkeye enters the OR as the only capable surgeon left.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Radar gets a little dose of this when he's called to help in the OR. Despite claiming he'd faint from seeing all of the blood, he ends up doing a great job. In The Tag, he's even the one taking care of Hawkeye.
- Your Cheating Heart: Margaret shockingly learns about the other "other woman" in Frank Burns' life.Frank: [delirious] Goodbye, Nancy.Margaret: Nancy?!Frank: You're the best receptionist I ever had.Margaret: Frank!Frank: Honestly, Louise, we had to work late.