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Recap / M*A*S*H S2 E8: The Trial of Henry Blake

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Henry Blake stands on trial for multiple charges made against him and the way he commands MASH 4077. Most of the charges are in fact minor until it is revealed the most major one is lending aid to the enemy, and therefore treason. What seems to be just a hearing to judge whether Henry is a competent commander or not suddenly becomes a verbal struggle for him not to be thrown in the stockade. Or worse....

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Hearing of how badly things are going for their commander, Hawkeye and Trapper jump into action to prove all charges are bogus. Unfortunately, a scheming Frank Burns and Margaret Houlihan, wanting control of the camp on a permanent basis, seek to stop them.


Attention, all personnel! Henry Blake is charged with providing the following tropes:

  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The trial is presented as this in the reverse order. The first three charges are about MASH 4077 holding a Kentucky Derby race, Radar's second job as a salesman and continuing to allow Klinger freedom in both wearing dresses and trying to desert the army. The comes the fourth and fifth charges.
    Gen. Mitchell: Falsifying records, and lending aid and comfort to the enemy.
  • Backseat Driver: Margaret to Frank when they're trying to catch up to Hawkeye and Trapper.
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  • Bait-and-Switch: Hawkeye and Trapper find Frank's orders to have them arrested a laughing matter. The scene cuts to them being in confinement and stripped down to their underwear.
    Hawkeye: This is a clear violation of the Geneva Convention: "No officer should be confined in his underwear unless issued an athletic supporter with suitable insignia."
  • Batman Gambit: When Frank refuses to drop the charges against Henry on General Mitchell's recommendation, Hawkeye threatens to inform his wife about his affair with Margaret.
    Hawkeye: Excuse me, General. Some new evidence has just come to light. Major Burns.
    He hands Frank a slip of paper with the threat written on it. Frank reads.
    Hawkeye: In a minute.
    Trapper: Uh-huh.
  • Big Bad: Frank Burns
  • Big Damn Heroes: Hawkeye, Trapper, Radar, and the best one of them all, Nurse Meg Cratty.
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  • Brick Joke: Klinger's latest plan to get out of the army.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Radar gets a secondary job as a shoe salesman selling wing-tip shoes. By then end of the episode, nearly everyone is wearing a pair.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When asked if he participated in Radar's new sales job, Henry says no, because he can't wear wing-tipped shoes because of his extremely high arches.
    • Henry does it again a moment later.
      Lieutenant Fox: Charge Three states you have a non-com who is a transvestite.
      Henry: Well, I don't pry into a man's religion, sir.
      Gen. Mitchell: A transvestite wears dresses, Colonel.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Henry thinks Hawkeye and Trapper's rescue attempt is not working.
    Trapper: We're here to help Colonel Blake.
    Henry: Yeah, get me life in front of the firing squad.
    • Frank and Margaret interrupt the hearing, earning them a serving of this from both General Mitchell and Hawkeye.
      Frank: General. Request permission to address this hearing.
      Mitchell: Who are you?
      Margaret: Majors Burns and Houlihan, sir.
      Mitchell: Which is which?
      Hawkeye: Doesn't matter. They're interchangeable.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Henry does this when explaining to General Mitchell what a gurney is.
    Henry: General, it's a rolling table that we use to transport patients to and from the various places we have to take them to to and from from.
    Mitchell: To to and from from?
    Henry: Yes sir.
  • Distinction Without a Difference: Frank and Margaret accuse Hawkeye and Trapper of being AWOL.
    Frank: General, this man [Trapper] is A-W-O-L.
    Margaret: So is he [Hawkeye]. They're both AWOL.
    Trapper: That's only because we're absent without leave.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: More like getting it past Frank Burns, as the P.A. Announcer issues out one of the major's orders in this way.
    Announcer: Attention, all personnel. By order of Major Frank Burns, lights out in ten minutes sharp. Anyone not in their own beds will have to spend the night wherever they are.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: After Meg Cratty gives her The Reason You Suck speech to General Mitchell:
    Hawkeye: You're beautiful.
    Meg Cratty: I used to be, sonny.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Played for laughs and a little bit straight. Frank Burns does place Hawkeye and Trapper under arrest and has them confined.
  • Large Ham Announcer: Henry Blake at the derby race.
  • Not So Above It All: Frank and Margaret criticize the big race on Kentucky Derby Day, until it inspires them to have a make-out moment.
  • Running Gag: Henry and Radar often bumping heads as they examine their defence files, or they try to.
    • "A big red bird with fuzzy pink feet"
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Henry Blake establishes this as his motivation for the things he's been criminally charged with.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Klinger does this to an MP named Roy to spring Hawkeye and Trapper out of confinement.
  • Smug Snake: Frank Burns
    Frank: We'll see how funny you charlies are when Frank Burns is number one around here. Permanently.
    Trapper: Just what is that supposed to mean?
    Frank: That's for me to know and for you to find out.
    Hawkeye: Frank, you're begging for a deviated septum.
    Frank: [unaffected] You'll find out.
  • Something We Forgot: Radar at first does not recall the slogan of the shoe company he is working for.
  • The Starscream: Frank Burns
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Hawkeye and Trapper each catch Klinger flying through the air, and immediately return to their respective dates.
  • Unwanted Assistance: Henry's initial reaction to the surgeons' appearance with Meg Cratty.
    Meg Cratty (pushing a pregnant Korean woman forward): This is a sample of Henry Blake's work.
    Henry: Oh, brother, that's all I need!
  • The X of Y: The episode's name
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