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Recap / M*A*S*H S2 E17: For Want of a Boot

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In the midst of a snap of cold and rainy weather, Hawkeye is in need of a new pair of boots due to one of them having a big hole and has been enduring the long wait it is taking the army to deliver. He decides enough is enough and goes to the supply sergeant to ask why they haven't arrived yet. Zelmo Zale informs that there is a long queue of requisitions that Hawkeye's new boots are a part of. Upon learning that Zale wants some bridgework done but the camp dentist won't do it, Hawkeye strikes a bargain with him to speed up the process in exchange for persuading the dentist to give Zale a check-up. Then the dentist wants something, and somebody else who can get that something wants something that they want, and so on and so forth.

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These tropes were not part of the deal, but here you are

  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Henry Blake
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Frank asks Margaret why other people do not like him. Margaret struggles to find an answer, only to offer him some wine instead.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Frank notices that the birthday card he received from his wife is missing and is furiously gobsmacked when he finds out Hawkeye stuffed it into his boot.
      Hawkeye: I don't know how to tell you this, Frank, but your wife's card is having a thing with my right foot.
      Frank: That's it! I want that card out of your boot pronto! And that's an order!
      Trapper: You better do what he says. He could revoke your feet.
    • Henry discovers from Radar's snooping that Major Houlihan is preparing a bad report about him and his style of command to General Mitchell.
      Henry: Boy, that gripes my cookies! What she got against me? I've never done a thing to that woman!
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    • Radar blows up at being reminded he's short.
  • Birthday Episode: For Frank Burns.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Nurse Murphy will not go out with any man at the camp unless there is the free use of a hair dryer involved.
    Trapper: And that's all there is to it?
    Murphy: Listen, for a hair dryer, I'd even go out with Radar O'Reilly.
  • Break the Cutie: Broken already, but three nurses want a transfer out of the unit due to how hard Major Houlihan has been cracking down on them.
    Henry: The Queen of the Bedpans strikes again!
  • Chain of Deals
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Hawkeye asks Radar what has just been delivered to the camp at the start of the episode.
      Radar: Oh, it's probably a mistake. Five thousand diapers and five thousand pairs of rubber pants.
      Hawkeye: Well, you're all set for winter.
    • Due to the weather turning icy cold, Hawkeye and Trapper wish the war would end so they can be nice and warm back home.
      Hawkeye: I'd give ten bucks for this war to be over.
      Trapper: Put me down for ten.
      Hawkeye: Twenty dollars. How could they turn us down?
      Trapper: We could even go to twenty five, but don't tell them that in the beginning.
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    • Hawkeye tries to explain to the dentist why he need to give Zale the bridgework by showing him the hole in his boot.
      Futterman: I don't do shoes. You'll have to get them filled somewhere else.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Hawkeye mentions his home is in Vermont.
  • Every Man And Woman Has Their Price: Every time Hawkeye and Trapper try convince someone along their Chain of Deals, the person they're talking to turns them down once. On the second try, the people name their price.
  • Flat "What": The way Hawkeye and Trapper react to Futterman telling them that he is not in love with a girl, but with Japan.
  • Get Out!: Henry is already in a bad mood after learning Major Houlihan has been conspiring against him again and tells Hawkeye and Trapper to leave the office the moment they announce their arrival.
    Hawkeye: Are you in, Henry?
    Henry: I'm in enough to ask you to get the hell out.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Frank's "Go peddle your papers"
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Futterman the dentist tells Klinger to give up his wearing-dresses-to-get-out-of-the-army scheme.
    Futterman: Klinger, when are you gonna wise up? You've been trying to get out of the army for six months by wearing dresses. What's it got ya?
    Klinger: Two proposals and a hurt letter from a Peeping Tom.
    Futterman: Who was it?
    Klinger: I don't undress and tell.
  • Large Ham: Hawkeye in his desperation to get a new pair of boots.
    • When everything falls apart, Hawkeye really loses control.
      Hawkeye: Do you know what I did?! How I degraded myself? How I grovelled, how I humbled, how I cheapened myself? All for a pair of miserable army boots? I swear to you, as dedicated as I am to the sanctity and preservation of the human life, if I had a gun at this moment, I would send my head across the tent.
  • The Last Straw: Hawkeye rage-breakingly iterates to Margaret that he will not help to throw a party for Frank Burns, even if it means he doesn't get his new pair of boots.
    Hawkeye: I have just run out of hypocrisy! My dignity tank is getting dangerously low! You expect me to drag twenty screaming people to a party for Frank Burns and paint smiles on their faces? And presents? [pause] Half this camp spends its time sticking pins in little Frank Burns dolls. I will debase myself just so far for a pair of boots! HA! A party for Frank Burns?!
    Hawkeye storms outside, stepping his damaged boot into a puddle, and stops
  • Noodle Incident: In their promise to Margaret that they will never torment Frank ever again, Hawkeye and Trapper mention a series of pranks they have done to him, such as stuffing meatloaf into his pyjamas, adding an extra number to his dog tags, and painting nail polish and mascara on him while he was sleeping.
    • Klinger refers to yet another prank the two have played on Frank: gluing his head to the pillow.
  • Overused Running Gag: The signing and initialling of paperwork between Henry and Radar resurfaces after a long absence.
    Henry: Radar, tell me the truth. Do you understand any of this?
    Radar: Uh, I try not to, sir. It slows up the work.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Margaret tells Hawkeye and Trapper exactly why she continues to try to have Henry Blake removed from command.
    Margaret: Henry Blake is a sham commander, a farcical administrator, and a spineless, irresponsible, lecherous old beanbag.
    Hawkeye: Margaret, we're not going to get anywhere if you keep holding back.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Radar very stubbornly insists he will only go out with Nurse Murphy.
  • Spanner in the Works: Despite evidence to the contrary, Frank refuses to be one of the people responsible for getting Klinger out of the army. This brings the Chain of Deals crashing down, link by link.
  • Surprise Party: Margaret press-gangs Hawkeye and Trapper into throwing one of these for Frank Burns on his birthday.
  • The Tag: Downer Ending. Hawkeye still has not got a new pair of boots, and so is using a golf club bag as one until he does.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...:
    • Hawkeye uses the birthday card Frank got from his wife to fill in the hole at the bottom of his boot.
    • Frank has hot water bottles stuffed inside his jacket to remain warm during the cold snap.
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