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Recap / M*A*S*H S3 E19: Aid Station

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Attention, all personnel! The following tropes can be found at the nearest aid station:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Radar breaks out in giggles while hearing Klinger's story about a previous appointment with a psychiatrist.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Margaret is the only one of the trio to immediately volunteer for the mission.
  • Big Eater: Radar, already having a humongous platter of breakfast to himself, volunteers to take whatever food Hawkeye and Trapper don't want.
    Hawkeye: Your death wish is my command. [beat] Two mounds of mashed potatoes for breakfast?
    Trapper: I think I used to go steady with that tray.
    Hawkeye: We could patent that, you know. Potato falsies.
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  • Bloodier and Gorier: To show the stark difference between the operating room of an aid station and a MASH OR.
  • Book-Ends: The episode starts and finishes with a scene in the mess tent where a number of characters question what kind of food they are eating.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: This is the only trope Hawkeye and Margaret can fall upon when they see the desolate condition the aid station is in and are in shock as a result.
    Margaret: You'd never know this was an aid station.
    Dever: Our red cross got blown off with the roof.
    Hawkeye: I finally make a house call and the house is gone.
    • They do this again when the shellfire comes way too close to the aid station.
      Margaret: Are they getting closer?
      Hawkeye: It's an optical illusion. You can't tell me they'd kill a medical person on a mission of mercy.
      Margaret: They've already killed one surgeon here.
      Hawkeye: I told you, you can't tell me that.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The episode starts off as a comedy, then it gets a little serious when the trouble at the aid station is announced. It goes into full-blown edgy territory when Hawkeye, Margaret and Klinger arrive at the station and see the damage for themselves.
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  • Character Development: At the beginning of the episode, Hawkeye and Margaret are among the people who complain about the conditions at the 4077. By the end, thanks to their visit at the near-destroyed aid station, they toast each other in silence as the other characters continue to complain.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Hawkeye and Trapper, when the PA Announcer issues out the call for an officers' meeting at Colonel Blake's office at 0700 hours.
    Trapper: Is that AD or BC?
    Hawkeye: I don't know. I was never too sure about Henry.
  • Dirty Coward: After Margaret heroically volunteers for the mission, Henry then asks the surgeons who would be willing to go along with her. The room goes quiet, which the colonel comments upon.
    Hawkeye: I don't want anything I say to be misinterpreted.
  • Drawing Straws: Breakfast sausages, actually.
    Trapper: I told you they weren't meant to be eaten.
    • Personnel cards to decide the corpsman
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  • Fire-Forged Friends: Hawkeye, Margaret and Klinger all come off as closer friends to one another after their experiences at the aid station.
    Hawkeye: Major, I gotta tell you something. But if you repeat this to anyone, I'll deny it. [beat] You are my favourite officer in the whole US Army.
    Klinger: Same here, Major. You're aces.
    Margaret: [smiles] Thank you, Corporal. Doctor.
  • Gilligan Cut: After Hawkeye doesn't trust Henry to make the right call on choosing a corpsman for the mission, it is left to a Lottery of Doom with personnel cards and Father Mulcahy being the one to pull the name out.
    Father Mulcahy: Well, here we go.
    'Mulcahy pulls out the card and looks at it
    [cut]
    Klinger: Terrific. I'm knocking my brains out to get sent home. This assignment will get me there in a box.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: "Will you darned foolskis kindly cut the gabble-gabble?"
    Hawkeye: [incredulously] "Darned foolskis"?
  • It's All About Me: Whenever we come back to the 4077th, Frank is complaining about the "deplorable" conditions at the station, while Houlihan, Pierce, and Klinger constantly have to cover their patients from shell impacts and are working in a building with no roof, showing just how petty and self-absorbed Frank is.
  • Jaw Drop: Radar starts outwardly fearing the trio may never come back tot he camp when he hears shellfire during a radio communication with Klinger.
  • Lottery of Doom: The Drawing Straws to decide which of the surgeons and corpsmen will be going to the aid station.
  • Mess on a Plate:
    • A disgusted Frank and Margaret wonder what it is the MASHers are getting served for breakfast.
      Frank: What is this?
      Margaret: Something and eggs. The yellow stuff is the eggs.
    • Hawkeye and Trapper have a similar moment just after them at their table.
      Hawkeye: This looks familiar.
      Trapper: I once cut that up in med school.
      Hawkeye: I know. They're little Italian cigars. I'll have mine after the theatre.
    • Klinger comes into the mess tent and asks what's for breakfast.
      Trapper: Last night's dinner.
      Klinger: Great. That was yesterday's lunch.
  • Mood Whiplash: Hawkeye tells Trapper if the worst happens at the aid station, then he has to retrieve a letter from Hawkeye's locker. The letter is said to be Hawkeye's will. Then it turns funny.
    Hawkeye: I leave everything to the Benjamin Franklin Pierce Memorial Brothel.
    Trapper: [laughing] I'll deliver it in person.
    • At the end, Hawkeye, Magaret, and Klinger are reflecting on their time at the Aid Station when Klinger pulls out a woman's hat with veil and announces:
    Klinger: "Okay, time for the army again!"
  • Motive Rant: Margaret has an elaborate one where she talks to Frank about her choice to live a life in the army that is moving and hilarious at the same time.
    Margaret: Well, I'm a married man too, Frank - married to the army. I don't want the future you offer - meeting behind garbage cans and behind laundry trucks. When the war's over - and nothing good lasts forever - you'll have to go home to your wife's boney arms. I'll still be in the service. I'm an army brat, Frank. My father was a colonel, my mother was a nurse, and I was conceived on manoeuvres. The army's in my blood. I need its discipline, its traditions. I thrill to the sight of a precise parade. I could faint from looking down at my own brass. That's why I volunteered, Frank - to serve the army I love. And don't you worry. I'm coming back, coming back to you for whatever time we have left together, because I'm not just Major Margaret Houlihan, army nurse. I'm also Margaret Houlihan...frail, vulnerable, sensitive female. And if you touch one nurse while I'm gone, I'll cut your hands off!
    gives Frank a Big Damn Kiss
  • Noodle Incident: Klinger recalls a time when he nearly achieved his goal of getting a discharge.
    Klinger: I came that close to a Section Eight discharge. Then I saw the shrink's coat - white fox, full length. He only wore it on leaves. It's not easy when the doctors are nuttier than you are.
  • Reality Ensues: Aid stations in wartime are much closer to the front than a MASH unit, so expect things to be far less pleasant. It's a chain: Aid stations stabilize a patient enough to send them to the MASH, who then stabilize them enough to send them to an actual hospital.
  • Reflexive Response: Margaret claims at the officers' meeting that it shouldn't be too much to ask for military discipline at breakfast. Trapper, that's your cue.
    Trapper: I can't throw up and salute at the same time.
  • Running Gag: Everyone back at the 4077th is out of their minds with worry about Hawkeye, Margaret and Klinger. Frank and Trapper have taken to snapping at each other every chance they can get.
  • Serious Business: Henry weathers all the usual wisecracks from Hawkeye and Trapper and complaints from Margaret and Frank at the officers' meeting due to the reason why he called it.
    Henry: I Company aid station sustained heavy shelling. MASH 4077 to provide trained personnel until replacements arrive.
  • Ship Tease: Hawkeye and Margaret, notably when the Jeep they and Klinger are in gets a flat tyre.
    Hawkeye: Is this more clever than saying "I've run out of gas"? I had to arrange an entire Korean War but I finally got you alone.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Radar and Klinger use Grumpy and Snow White as radio callsigns.
    • Henry asks Trapper who is currently sleeping in the absent Hawkeye's bunk.
      Trapper: Goldilocks. Her number came up.
    • Henry mentions that the film for Movie Night featured Sherlock Holmes.
  • Take That!: Klinger condemns Stalin, Truman, or whichever political leader for not preventing the war.
  • That Reminds Me of a Song: Hawkeye, Margaret and Klinger sing "The US Field Artillery March" as they drive back into camp.
  • Visual Pun: The doctors drawing brown breakfast sausages out of a bedpan to determine which one gets a shit duty.
  • Wham Line: The trope is used to demonstrate just how dire things are at the aid station.
    Henry: Their surgeon's been killed. They need a new cutter, scrub nurse and a corpsman.
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