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Recap / M*A*S*H S2 E21: Crisis

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As in Real Life, in a war when one faction overtakes a new piece of territory, it is very likely that that territory contained one of the other faction's supply routes, meaning that the military units on the other end of the route will barred off from getting supplies until their commanders either create a new one or take the territory back. To their horror, the people at MASH 4077 discover themselves in that situation. The camp is put on immediate red alert, with special duties handed out to all the officers to supervise the rationing of whatever supply there is left. As the crisis goes on, the 4077's resources are slowly whittled down...


Attention, all personnel! Due to the supply line being cut, Col. Blake has ordered the heavy rationing of the following tropes:

  • The Ace: All Hawkeye has to do is say "Ten-hut", and everybody is on their feet. This allows him to steal a now-empty seat up front.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: When Henry announces that the 4077's supply line has been cut, Frank Burns asks a perfect example of this trope.
    Frank: Who did that?
    Henry: The other side, Frank.
    Hawkeye: We can't do everything ourselves.
  • Blatant Lies: Frank discovers Igor and another non-com warming their hands as they're burning what is obviously the drawers from Henry's desk.
    Frank: Where did you get that wood, soldier?
    Igor: Uh, my sister sent it to me, sir.
    Frank: Oh.
  • Brick Joke: Henry's loud snoring.
  • Can't Believe I Said That: When things are getting too rowdy in the Swamp, Father Mulcahy suggests that maybe he should go sleep in the nurses' tent instead. Eye Take follows.
    Father Mulcahy: What am I saying?
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  • Continuity Nod: Frank Burns continues to use Margaret Houlihan as a mouthpiece to lodge complaints to and against Henry.
    Henry: You're in very good voice today, Frank. Be sure to wind him up for the question period.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • After the officers are given their emergency duties, Hawkeye offers to trade his maintenance and general services responsibilities for Margaret's supervision of the nurses.
      Margaret: Down, Pierce.
    • When Father Mulcahy is moved into the Swamp, he takes note of the sleeping arrangements.
      Father Mulcahy: This is quite a hotel you have here.
      Hawkeye: This is where the Ritz hit the fan.
      Father Mulcahy: Where do I sleep?
      Hawkeye: On anything that doesn't move. And if you pray in your sleep, please try to mumble.
    • Hawkeye and Trapper launch into this again when Klinger also moves in.
      Klinger: Hi. This is where I'm supposed to be tonight.
      Hawkeye: I'm not so sure. You either need an escort or you have to wear a necktie.
      Klinger: Where do I park it?
      Trapper: Do you like to read at night?
      Klinger: Yeah.
      Trapper: Take the cot next to Frank. He gives off a glow.
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    • Henry reveals he is a loud snorer after he has been relocated to the Swamp.
      Hawkeye: Oh lovely.
      Trapper: Henry, you're joking?
      Henry: Joking? Hehe he. I could be on the Olympic snoring team. I snored the siding half off of my house. I even got a fan letter once from the seismograph people at Fordham.
      Hawkeye: How are we supposed to sleep with that?!
      Henry: Well, if it gets too bad, just do what my wife does.
      Hawkeye: What's that?
      Henry: Hold me close.
    • Frank Burns keeps snapping at everyone to be quiet and go to sleep on the second night of the crisis. Hawkeye snarks in response.
      Frank: Speaking of noise, why don't you shut your yaps?
      Hawkeye: Martha, we're going to have to move. The people upstairs are impossible.
  • Distinction Without a Difference: Frank spins off a long tale as to how he got his hands on the baked ham. Margaret correctly summarises it as him swiping it.
  • Emergency Authority: Margaret suggests that the camp should go on immediate red alert, with power being distributed between the higher ranking members. In spite of Hawkeye's warning, Henry agrees.
    Hawkeye: Watch it, Henry. This is how they got the tsar.
    • Frank abuses his new authority of being the food supply officer during the crisis to get a baked ham for himself and Margaret.
      Hawkeye: Hello hello hello.
      Trapper: What is it?
      Hawkeye: Mr. Minuteman has climbed down the Washington Monument long enough to do a little Valley Forge gorging.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Margaret realises just after lights out that there is someone in the nurses' tent who shouldn't be in there.
    Margaret: Good night, girls.
    Nurses: Good night, Major.
    Klinger: Good night, Major.
    Margaret: KLINGER! OUT!
  • Failed Future Forecast: Regimental predicted that the 4077 would not be getting any casualties in during the time of the supply shortage due to the fighting occurring far towards the north. Since we're talking about this trope, guess what happens...
    PA Announcer: Attention, all personnel. Incoming wounded. Heavy casualties expected inside the hour. All personnel on full alert.
    Frank: They said there weren't going to be any casualties!
    Hawkeye: Frank, if I were you, I'd sue North Korea for every penny they've got.
  • From Bad to Worse: The supply crisis was already bad enough for the MASHers, but when they unexpectedly get wounded in, they have to ration things down even further.
    Hawkeye: I knew all this was too good to last.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • Henry nominates Radar as the housing officer.
      Henry: Now before this is over, we may have to double up or triple up to save heat. Radar will decide who sleeps with who.
      Trapper: Radar. I'd like to see you right after the meeting.
    • Radar later informs Henry that they are now out of writing paper. The colonel asks him if people have been burning them for fuel as well. Radar stutters, eventually saying, "Uh, not right off."
  • Hypocritical Humor: Radar asks Colonel Blake if he will be serving drinks at the meeting in the beginning of the episode. Henry denies that but slugs down a drink for himself before everyone else arrives.
    Henry: Radar, this is not a social function. It's probably the most serious meeting I've ever had to call. This is going to take all of my resources to guide us through these rocky waters. This'll be a real test of my leadershipmanship. So [gulps down drink] No booze.
  • Implied Death Threat: Trapper warns Frank not to have the rifle with him when he's sleeping.
    Trapper: And don't get in bed with that gun. That's an order!
    Frank: A captain can't give a major an order!
    Hawkeye: Then it's a threat.
    Frank: Well that's different. This was a great war until you guys showed up.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Hawkeye explains why he's helping Trapper investigate Margaret's tent.
    Trapper: That hotplate has to go.
    Margaret: Who says so?
    Hawkeye: He does. He's in charge of heat.
    Frank: And just who are you?
    Hawkeye: I'm his helper. He doesn't like to heat alone.
  • Ironic Echo Cut: Henry puts Father Mulcahy in charge of the up-keeping of morale. The chaplain starts by setting up a not-so-well received bingo game.
  • I Take Offence to That Last One: Parodied when Radar is reading a list of things the unit will not be getting for a while and Hawkeye and Trapper interrupt to enact this.
    Radar: Fruit, vegetables, assorted food, fuel oil, blankets, bandages, linen replacements, toilet paper.
    Trapper: Uh-oh.
    Hawkeye: That hurts.
    Radar: No mail call, no electrical parts, no flares, no winter clothing, no playing cards, no shuttlecocks.
    Trapper: That does it.
    Hawkeye: How do they expect us to fight a war without shuttlecocks?
    Trapper: If they can fly wounded in here on choppers, why not supplies?!
    Henry: If Regimental's right, the fighting shifted to the north and we won't be getting any casualties.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Trapper comments on Henry's speech at the emergency meeting.
    Henry: All right, people. I'm gonna give it to you straight. Starting right here and now, we're all going to have to put our shoulders to the wheel, our noses to the grindstone. We've got to hunker down and pull together, all for one and one for all.
    Trapper: Welcome to the Henry Blake Cliché Festival.
    Henry: I happen to be serious, McIntyre.
    Hawkeye: Then stop talking in samplers.
  • Nervous Wreck: Frank brings a rifle into the Swamp, paranoid that the enemy is about to come marching through due to them cutting the supply lines.
  • Nominal Importance:
    • Hawkeye and Trapper start cutting up magazines and catalogues to use as toilet paper.
    Trapper: Shall we leave in the staples?
    Hawkeye: Damn the staples! This is war; everyone has to live dangerously.
    • It is decided to burn the film reel that would have been shown for Movie Night. Let's hope it didn't lead to that film being lost.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Trapper notices that Frank made a joke in the OR. Hawkeye would like a second opinion on that.
  • Pet the Dog: One of the few instances of early-series Margaret heaping nothing but praise and support on the nursing staff for sticking through the current crisis. She even mentions nominating several of them for commendations.
  • Rapid-Fire "No!": Henry is grateful when the crisis is at an end and the supply line has been re-established as the episode is concluding, now he just wants everything was stolen from his office replaced. All that's left is a first aid kit, the telephone and his skeleton model. Yep, that's it.
    Henry: I'm talking to you from deep inside a real big empty.
  • Restrained Revenge: Angry at Radar for selecting the Swamp first for new bunking arrangements, Trapper snatches his clipboard from him and throws it into the burning stove.
    Trapper: By order of Captain McIntyre, heating officer.
  • Running Gag: Throughout the episode, more and more things are stolen from Henry's office to be used for fuel. By the conclusion, the office is ninety-nine percent empty.
  • Shout-Out: Hawkeye references Three Little Pigs when Frank refuses him and Trapper entry into Margaret's tent.
    Frank: You can't come in!
    Hawkeye: Then we'll huff and puff, and we'll blow your nurse down.
  • The War Room: Henry's office becomes one of these when the colonel calls all of the senior surgical staff and Father Mulcahy to a meeting there.

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