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Recap / M*A*S*H S2 E9: Dear Dad...Three

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Hawkeye Pierce writes a third letter to his father, updating him on the more recent comings and goings happening around the 4077. Such incidents include teaching a racist patient a lesson he will never forget, a viewing of home movies that Henry Blake's family has sent him, a staff meeting, friction between Frank Burns and Margaret Houlihan, a few sessions of OR and the fun times at happy hour, all in a mixed-up order.

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Dear Dad, these tropes also happened...

  • Aggressive Categorism: A wounded Condon refuses to have an infusion of blood from a non-white person due to his racial tendencies. Hawkeye and Trapper decide to teach him a lesson using a combination of Color Me Black and a tragic real-life story involving this version of the trope.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Henry has one too many drinks at Happy Hour.
  • Artistic License – History: The story Hawkeye and Trapper tell about the death from car accident of Dr. Charles Drew, the black doctor who invented the separation of blood plasma. The popular story is that the hospital refused to treat him because of his race; however, according to one of the passengers in the car, Dr. Drew was beyond treatment - and a blood transfusion would have killed him faster.
  • Berserk Button: Frank, Frank, Frank. If you want your relationship with Margaret to continue unhindered, stop reminding her about your wife!
    Frank: Margaret, if I wanted this kind of aggravation, all I have to do is open one of my wife's letters.
    Margaret: I am sick to death of being reminded that you're a married man!
    Frank: Well how do you think I feel? It's not my fault I'm married. She trapped me.
    Margaret: Ha! I'll bet!
    Frank: She did. She did so! She said she liked me.
    Margaret: And that trapped you?
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  • Bomb Disposal: As Hawkeye explains in his letter, sometimes the 4077 gets wounded soldiers who have had grenades shot into their bodies. And some of them don't explode on impact.
  • Book-Ends: Early on in the episode and at the end, there is a session of Happy Hour.
  • Card Games: Frank and Trapper play one of these at the start of the episode.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Frank misunderstands what Margaret is getting at when she's talking about how much he seems to value her.
    Margaret: Frank, be honest. Do you really think of me as a bag of desirable bones?
    Frank: Of course, Margaret.
    Margaret: I have a mind, Frank. A mind and a brain.
    Frank: Oh, of course you do. Let me kiss your brain.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Hawkeye describes the OR in this manner.
    Hawkeye: Even though we don't get along personally, we do have a professional animosity. The OR continues to be a funny place, if you can learn to laugh as you throw up. It's like smorgasbord in a slaughterhouse. Everything looks so bad.
    • He does a very similar thing later in the mess tent.
      Hawkeye: Coming to you from the mess tent now. Not a bad place to eat if you like cold dishes like steak, lamb chops, stew, soup, coffee.
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    • Hawkeye has a low opinion of the staff meetings the officers have to hold every month.
      Hawkeye: At the London Zoo, every day at four o'clock, they have the chimps' tea party. The MASH equivalent is our monthly staff meeting. The Pentagon says it's necessary, but our meetings could prolong the war by years.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Frank's is revealed to be Marion.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Radar shows Henry an X-ray of a patient waiting in the scrub room to alert him to something serious. Henry assumes that it is because the soldier has a grenade in one of his pants pockets. Then Radar tells him what the X-ray isn't showing.
    Radar: He's not wearing any pants, sir.
    Henry: Holy cow! Collins, take over. Jones, you assist him.
  • Happier Home Movie: McLean Stevenson shows his acting chops with Henry Blake watching a home movie his wife has sent him of one of their kids' birthday party.
  • Narrating the Present
  • Oh, Crap!: Hawkeye has one at the episode's conclusion when he thinks Condon has entered the Swamp with the intent of shooting him with his rifle.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: We learn that Henry Blake ended up in Korea thanks to this.
    Henry: This guy's a one-star general. Patient's in pain. Guess what his orders were: "Give him a coffee enema."
    Mulcahy: Oh, my word.
    Henry:Then I had to open my big mouth and say, "With cream and sugar?"...I was on a plane for Korea in 12 hours.
  • Ship Tease: Trapper and Ginger
  • Shout-Out: Hawkeye beats off a rendition of Rudyard Kipling's famous poem, Gunga Din while he is operating.
    • Trapper imitates the pop-cultural stereotype servant Igor is believed to be.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Frank and Margaret, in the middle of an impending breakup, slap each other in turn. This instantly changes their minds.
  • Sore Loser: Frank Burns, although Trapper did admit that he cheated.
  • Truth in Television: Condon's racist request was actually quite common during the Korean War
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Frank and Trapper are this at the best of times, and I mean best.
    Frank: Just don't talk to me for the rest of the war!
    Trapper: How about the next war?
    Frank: That'll be okey-doke with me, fella.
    Trapper: Fine. We don't talk for this war and World War Three. Moron.
  • Voiceover Letter
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