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Recap / M*A*S*H S3 E23: White Gold

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Attention, all personnel. Please check the supply room for penicillin and the following tropes. There may be some missing.

  • Amusing Injuries: The lengths Flagg goes to to make it look like Perkins fought and overpowered him and then escaped involved breaking a telephone receive over his head and charging headfirst into a closet.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Frank maintains that buying penicillin from the black market is illegal. Hawkeye asks him what's worse, buying from the black market or waging a war.
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  • Both Sides Have a Point: In a way, both Flagg and the 4077th's different needs for penicillin are capable of saving lives.
    Flagg: My people need it for barter. They're desperate for it up North, so we use it to buy information.
    Hawkeye: We use it to save lives.
    Flagg: If I get information that'll end a battle sooner and information that will avoid an ambush, I'll save more lives than you will.
  • Broken Pedestal: Happens briefly with Margaret when she learns Colonel Flagg was caught trying to steal penicillin.
  • Call-Back:
    • Upon discovering Corporal Perkins is a stolen identity, Colonel Flagg wonders who the man could be. Henry lamely suggests he could be Perkins in the CIA. Flagg retorts against it because he's Perkins in the CIA. This is not the first time the name Perkins has been used as a gag when Colonel Flagg's around.
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    • Trapper reminds Flagg of the last time he was at the 4077 when he broke his own arm. However, this presents a Continuity Snarl as that was not the last time Colonel Flagg came to the 4077.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: Frank arms himself with a rifle right after Perkins has been captured. Hawkeye throws a Stealth Insult in response, using a remark Trapper had just made (see No-Holds-Barred Beatdown entry).
    Hawkeye: It's still seven against one.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Flagg strongly implies this is what he's going to do to get answers out of Perkins.
  • The Comically Serious: Colonel Flagg
    Henry: It's sort of a joke.
    Flagg: We don't joke in the CIA.
    Henry: Check.
    Flagg: Leave the jokes to the Kremlin.
    Henry: Double check.
  • Conveniently Timed Distraction: An armed Perkins is holding most of the main cast at bay with a rifle, unknowingly backing himself toward Father Mulcahy's tent. When the chaplain emerges to investigate the commotion, Perkins instinctually turns toward him. His back now to the others, he is taken down and restrained by Klinger.
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  • Deadpan Snarker: After Margaret realises too late that Hawkeye and Trapper have caught onto her attraction to Flagg, she makes up the lie that she was just checking his ribs for damage. Hawkeye simply asks if she would like to order some sauce to go with it.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: The real Perkins was killed in action a month ago.
  • Defiant to the End: Hawkeye and Trapper try to get answers out of Perkins as they tend to his injuries. He remains (mostly) quiet.
  • Dirty Coward: When Perkins is holding all of them at riflepoint, Margaret accuses Henry, Trapper and Hawkeye of being this instead of charging forward to take Perkins. Knowing how reckless that is, Hawkeye snarks quietly at her.
    Margaret: Isn't there one man among you?
    Hawkeye: The job's open, Margaret.
  • Exact Words: When Flagg meets Perkins and orders him to get up, he tells the thief that he's only going to give a particular command once. Perkins takes a while to get the hint, leaving Flagg to adopt a Distinction Without a Difference tactic.
    Flagg: Now, I'm only going to say this once. [beat] Get lost.
    Perkins does a suspicious Eye Take
    Flagg: Beat it.
    Perkins does a second Eye Take
    Flagg: Take a powder.
  • Feet-First Introduction: The episode opens this way with Klinger wearing high heels while on guard duty.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Frank gets jealous of the attraction Margaret holds for Colonel Flagg.
  • Implied Death Threat: When Radar sticks up for Colonel Blake, Flagg orders him to be quiet or he'll use him to clean a cannon.
  • Irony: Father Mulcahy is heard giving thanks to God for getting the people of MASH 4077 through another day without too much trouble, just as the thieves are sneaking behind his tent.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": Perkins is trying to escape after being seen by Klinger, but is pursued by Henry Blake and cornered and held at riflepoint by Klinger. Then he snatches the rifle from Klinger and points it at the two of them. The noise the situation created leads the rest of the main cast to investigate.
  • Mr. Exposition: The MP guard reveals Perkins' identity.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Trapper is not opposed to this after Perkins held a gun against them all.
    Henry: I'll deal with this. No need for a mob scene.
    Trapper: I don't know. Seven against one seems fair.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Hawkeye, Trapper and Klinger vs. Colonel Flagg in the supply room. Father Mulcahy's Reaction Shot really helps this as well as the hilarity.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Klinger is adamant that he cannot let Henry pass since the colonel did not give him the correct password. This drives Henry to fury and he threatens to make sure Klinger's stay in the army will last a whole lot longer if he's not allowed through. Given the fact Klinger is trying to get out of the army, he caves.
    Henry: If I don't get to the latrine, something will happen that hasn't happened since I was six. If that happens, you'll be in the army until you're a little old whatever-you-are in correction shoes and support stockings. Now blow!
    Klinger: Yes sir.
    • Henry gets the dangerous feeling that Colonel Flagg may be more crazy and malevolent than he has been before.
  • Overly Long Gag: The thieves sneak behind a total of four tents and overhear, in order, Father Mulcahy uttering a prayer of thanks, Hawkeye and an unnamed nurse on a date, Trapper asking his date when her roommate (Hawkeye's date) would be getting back, and finally another date between Frank and Margaret. By the end of the gag, Perkins rolls his eyes.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": Henry gives Klinger the password from the previous week, thinking this trope is in play. He then whines when he is Instantly Proven Wrong.
  • Reflexive Response: After the MPs bring Perkins in, Frank loudly suggests he should be flogged.
    Hawkeye: What are you, the British Navy?
  • Role Reprisal: Wait, do we know Captain Goldberg as someone else in the series. If so, we should put this entry in You Look Familiar ... Oh, it's Colonel Flagg in disguise. Never mind.
  • Running Gag: Goldberg, Perkins, Flagg. Which is which?
    Trapper: Gee, the next time you come here, I wish you'd pass out programs.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Frank suspects Hawkeye and Trapper have been putting something in his coffee, which causes him to cut his date with Margaret short.
  • Speak in Unison: After Perkins is captured by Klinger, everyone's questioning as to who he is and what they should do with him overlaps one another.
  • The Starscream: Flagg is apparently aware of a plot being masterminded by the CIA to overthrow the President of the United States.
  • Stealth Insult: Hawkeye tells Flagg that he should take a rest at a place with a soft bed, soft chair, and soft walls. For once, Flagg doesn't get it.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Hawkeye tells Flagg the only he will be leaving the 4077th with any penicillin is over his dead body. This earns him a Death Glare from the menacing CIA man.
    Hawkeye: Ha. Let me put that another way.
  • The Villain Knows Where You Live: Colonel Flagg infers that he'll go after Henry's family if the colonel interferes with him taking Perkins into his custody.
    Flagg: Don't cross me, Colonel. We know where your family lives.
    Henry: Hey. I'm an American too, fella.
    Radar: Yeah.
  • Wham Line: Hawkeye suspects Perkins and his gang of thieves of trying to steal the penicillin so they could sell it on the black market. Remaining silent up until that point, Perkins quietly refutes the accusation.
    Perkins: I didn't sell the stuff.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Margaret scolds Hawkeye and Trapper for bothering Flagg.
    • Henry rips into Frank with an epic one after knowing the major left Perkins alone with Flagg.
      Henry: Frank, how can you be such a peabrain?
      Frank: Well, Flagg wanted to get on with his torture and, you know, three's a crowd.
      Henry: I'll not have anyone tortured at the 4077th, Frank. We're a hospital!
      Frank: We're also army.
      Henry: You're army! I bet if I cut you, you'd bleed khaki.
      Frank: And proud of it.
      Henry: Well, how proud are you gonna be if I... How are proud are you gonna be if I charge you with deserting your post?
      Henry: He's a superior psycho. His head's so twisted he's gotta screw his cap on.
  • White and Grey Morality: Perkins and his friends have been stealing penicillin from the 4077 and other medical units because the Army won't supply the frontline medical stations with the required amount of the drug.

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