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Recap / M*A*S*H S2 E2: 5 O Clock Charlie

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When the Army moves an ammunition dump close to the 4077, it is targeted by the titular klutz of an aeroplane bomber, 5 O'clock Charlie. Rather than feel threatened, the camp finds his pathetic attempts entertaining and set up betting pools to determine just how far his bombs get from the dump. Frank Burns is not amused and seeks military aid to take Charlie out.


Attention, all personnel! Five minutes to Charlie! Place your bets and review the following tropes:

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  • Big Bad: This is the first episode where Frank Burns truly and irredeemably sets out to be a villain.
  • Bittersweet Ending: With the ammo dump destroyed, Charlie has no reason to stage air raids in the vicinity of the unit anymore, depriving the people of the 4077 of a regular fun activity. On the other hand, Charlie is saved, the ammo dump and the gun are gone, and by the end of The Stinger, Frank is back on friendly terms with Hawkeye and Trapper.
  • The Bet: Frequently set up whenever Charlie arrives.
  • BFG: Frank wants to apply to General Clayton for an anti-aircraft gun to take Charlie down.
  • The Cast Showoff: Corey Fisher, as Cardozo, displays his guitar skills.
  • The Cynic: Cardozo, at first.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Margaret tells Frank to give Hawkeye and Trapper a direct order.
      Hawkeye: Oh do, Frank. We've never ignored one of those.
      Frank: I'm a major. You're captains.
      Hawkeye: That's just an accident of birth.
      Trapper: Yes, we were born majors.
      Hawkeye: Someone switched us in our cribs.
      Margaret: Very funny.
      Hawkeye: It's true. We're twins. Identical majors.
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    • Frank Burns quotes a line from Hermann Goering to prove his point. Given the man's history, Frank was begging for a return snark.
      Henry: Yeah. Well, he also wore tutus and ate whole bakeries, Frank.
    • Frank Burns draws out his gun, not realising it has been switched for a stapler. Hawkeye responds by playfully putting up his hands and offering Frank money.
      Hawkeye: Here's our money, mister. Don't staple us.
    • General Clayton gets steamed when Frank ruins the moment between him and Margaret.
      Frank: There's a war on, General.
      Clayton: I read the papers.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: General Clayton allows Frank the gun after Charlie destroys his Jeep.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Two occupants are seen leaving the showers wearing only towels; one is a woman, the other a man.
    • Then there's Hawkeye's response when he and Radar are asked to count off:
      Radar: [to Hawkeye] Are you one?
      Hawkeye: Yes, are you?
  • Honorary True Companion: Henry considers Charlie as a part of the 4077.
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  • Hope Spot: General Clayton comes to the decision that the 4077 does not require a gun. Then Charlie bombs his Jeep.
  • Human Shield: The Army positioned the dump close to the 4077th specifically to keep the enemy from bombing it, since it's near a hospital. However, this isn't stopping Charlie.
  • I Am Very British: Played with intentionally by Hawkeye and Trapper, who treat Charlie's daily visits like a polo or golf game.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Frank racially mentions a limitation to a oriental thinking ... to three Koreans.
  • Large Ham:
    • Hawkeye and Trapper
    • Frank Burns
  • Malaproper: Henry Blake reading something out loud to General Clayton over the phone
    Henry: The suggestion's been made we could use an oh-four-doubleya-doubleya nug. Yeah, that's right sir. A nug, so that we can...uh, um? What's a nug, sir? Well, a nug is a...
    [Frank flips the book right side up]
    Henry: A gun, sir.
    [Hawkeye and Trapper give Flat "What" expressions]
    Henry: A forty mm gun.
    Trapper: Henry, you gotta be kidding me.
    Hawkeye: We do not need a nug.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Trapper dresses up and acts as a parody of General Douglas MacArthur.
  • Not the Intended Use: Hawkeye and Trapper borrow four dozen bedsheets and requisition 18 gallons of mercurochrome antiseptic to make a giant target for Charlie to aim at. It doesn't work.
  • Oh, Crap!: Hawkeye has a big one when he realises even with everything he and Trapper have arranged to ensure Charlie finally bombs the dump, there is still a chance Frank Burns could shoot him out of the sky.
  • One of the Boys: Even General Clayton takes bets on Charlie's bombing throws.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Doctor Phil Cardoso, the guitar-playing dentist who gives Hawkeye and Trapper philosophical advice on how to handle Frank, was never seen or mentioned before or after this episode.
  • Only Sane Man: Parodied. Frank believes he is this by taking Charlie's attempts at bombing seriously. Everyone else except for Margaret thinks it's all good fun.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Frank wants everyone to take the threat of Charlie seriously. The problem is he takes it too seriously.
    Frank: I want everybody to understand that this is war, and that war is a call to arms.
  • Running Gag: There are two references where characters admit they've borrowed something from the Nazis of World War Two. They naturally get lampshaded.
    Hawkeye: Great. Now we're taking lessons from the losers.
    • Hawkeye and Trapper switch Frank's sidearm for things that are a lot less lethal.
  • Save the Villain: While Charlie is technically not a villain in the narrative, the whole point of the episode is this.
  • Shout-Out: Hawkeye does an impersonation of Jack Benny.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Cardozo the dentist tells Hawkeye and Trapper that trying to take Frank head-on will not work with their current situation and instead relays their attention to the fact the ammo dump is the key factor.
    Cardozo: What you want to do is get rid of the dump. You take away the dump, you take away the gun. You take away the gun, you take away Frank's motivation, and the menace is gone.
  • Tempting Fate: Hawkeye mention to Trapper that their plan to stop Frank fro using the gun has made the ammo dump totally unmissable, even for Charlie.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Frank gets so upset watching Charlie fly away towards the episode's conclusion, he gives his men the order to fire the gun, currently pointed at the ammo dump.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Frank continually gives these out to the other members of the camp for how casually they're treating Charlie's attacks.
    Frank: How can you sit there and let yourselves get bombed?!
    • Hawkeye and Trapper scold Henry for listening to Frank's request for an anti-aircraft gun.
      Trapper: We do not need a gun or a nug.
      Hawkeye: What are you trying to do? Get us into the war?
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: Henry reacts out of sheer disbelief to Ginger's unlikely bet.
    Henry (chortling): Thirty two and a half yards. You're out of your pretty little mind, honey.
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