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Recap / M*A*S*H S3 E3: Officer of the Day

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When Henry Blake is away and Frank Burns is in command of the outfit, Hawkeye takes on the duty and responsibilities of Officer of the Day, supervising and handling the menial tasks that the company commander or clerk do not. (Although with Radar around, you'd think that'd only be a little amount). Said duties include examining Korean civilians and suggesting if they need surgery, being in charge of the MP guards and signing various bits of paperwork. MASH being MASH though, things take a bit of a turn when Colonel Flagg arrives with a wounded prisoner.


These tropes were handled by Troper of the Day

  • Absentee Actor: McLean Stevenson does not appear in the episode.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Colonel Flagg misremembers Hawkeye's last name as being Perkins, leading to a short but funny exchange between the two.
    Flagg: Perkins. Captain Perkins.
    Hawkeye: Pierce.
    Flagg: That's what I said. Captain Pierce.
    Hawkeye: Right, Perkins.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: Frank wants a soldier on report for simply not being clean-shaven enough.
  • Amusing Injuries: Frank Burns catches his finger when examining a soldier's rifle.
    Soldier: Are you all right, sir?
    Frank: [whimpers] Mm-mm.
  • Answer Cut: When being told that it's Hawkeye's turn to be rostered on as Officer of the Day at the end of morning inspection, Frank calls for him to step forward. Then he realises the captain is absent and that he should have known better. Hawkeye is quietly asleep in his cot.
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  • Ask a Stupid Question...: In spite of the man dozing right in front of him, Frank asks Trapper if Hawkeye is doing just that.
    Frank: Is he sleeping again?
    Trapper: No, Frank. He heard so much about rigor mortis, he thought he would try it.
  • Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: Played for laughs when Hawkeye gives his orders to the camp guards.
    Hawkeye: Be loyal, be brave, be true. And keep your white flags handy at all times.
  • Badass Pacifist: Hawkeye blatantly tells Frank he will carry all sorts of things, but never a gun.
    Hawkeye: I'll carry your books, I'll carry a torch, I'll carry a tune. I'll carry on, carry over, carry forward, Cary Grant, cash and carry, "Carry Me Back To Old Virginny". I'll even hari-kari if you show me how, but I will not carry a gun!
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: Averted here. Hawkeye will not carry a gun under any circumstances.
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  • Berserk Button: Radar really loses it when Igor accidentally shoots his trusty bugle with the ceremonial cannon.
  • Blatant Lies: Mr. Yu's sons pull this over and over again as they try and go on a stealing spree across the camp, including attempting to steal the camp radio by saying that "someone" said they could have it.
  • Brick Joke: Hawkeye gets nervous about Radar asking him to sign something official due to how many times Henry Blake copped the flak for it when either the reason for the signing goes wrong or Radar is just plain manipulating him.
    Hawkeye: I'm not signing anything. You're not putting the war in my name. For all I know, Henry didn't keep up the payments.
  • Call-Back: The events of A Smattering of Intelligence are referenced when Colonel Flagg comes by.
    Flagg: Four, maybe five months ago here on an investigation, right?
    Hawkeye: Right, we still have one of your hidden mikes in our latrine. We thought we'd make an album.
  • Continuity Nod: Korean civilians are still being labelled by the army as Local Indigenous Personnel
  • Disproportionate Retribution: When Klinger fails to wear appropriate military uniform at morning reveille and badgers him for temporary leave, Frank gives an order for all of Klinger's wardrobe to be burned.
    Klinger: Burned? Sir, a man has a right to his own trousseau.
    Frank: Shut up!
  • Distinction Without a Difference: When catching Hawkeye trying to get some sleep while he is supposed to be on duty, Radar warns him not to do it. Hawkeye answers him back with this:
    I'm not sleeping, I'm inspecting the insides of my eyelids.
  • Dreadful Musician: Radar's at the bugle again.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Radar mentions that he has a brother.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Frank is quick to notice that Klinger is wearing fingernail polish and earrings at morning reveille, but he doesn't see the man is wearing high-heeled shoes.
  • Flat "What": How Hawkeye and Trapper respond to Flagg wanting them to save the life of the Korean he shot so he can get him to Seoul and have him interrogated and executed over the weekend.
  • Implied Death Threat: Colonel Flagg is at it again when warning Hawkeye and Trapper not to get in his way.
    Flagg: If I lay a charge of obstructing military justice on you, you're gonna have a snootful of trouble.
    Trapper: What could they do? Send us to the front?
    Hawkeye: We're at the front. Maybe they'll put us in front of the front.
  • Insistent Terminology: Hawkeye disputes using the word gook to describe a wounded prisoner Flagg has brought in.
    Flagg: I got a wounded gook here.
    Hawkeye: You got a wounded person here. Who wounded him?
    Flagg: I did.
  • Juggling Loaded Guns: While inspecting a man's rifle, Frank holds it up and looks into the barrel, not bothering to check if it's loaded.note 
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Hawkeye critiques a report Radar delivers to him in this way.
    Hawkeye: Very good, Radar. Your report is concise, informative and makes no sense whatsoever.
  • Laughing at Your Own Jokes: When Radar explains to Hawkeye what's expected of him as Officer of the Day, he mentions a bed check, and adds, "You'll probably want to handle that personally", at which point he starts giggling.
  • Martial Pacifist: Margaret tries to play this trope.
    Margaret: If I didn't hate violence, I'd kick you.
  • Mathematician's Answer: As Hawkeye is forced to treat several Koreans who each successively give him the same ID card that says Kim Luck, this exchange happens.
    Hawkeye: Can you identify yourself?
    Kim Luck #2: This is me.
  • Noodle Incident: Mr. Yu's two sons were previously caught stealing from the 4077th.
    Hawkeye: They were here a couple of months ago. They stole a 20-pound ham.
    Trapper: They didn't?
    Hawkeye: And the refrigerator it was stored in.
  • Rage Breaking Point: When getting Frank and Margaret to intercede on his behalf fails spectacularly, Flagg drops any semblance of peaceful talk and arms his gun.
    Flagg: Right! I have had it with you fruitcakes. [Racks the slide on his pistol] That's my boy in that hospital. I caught him and he's mine. I'm taking him to Seoul.
  • Running Gag:
    • Klinger wants temporary leave so he can go to Seoul for a few days. Frank Burns refuses to grant it at the beginning of the episode, so he starts cooking up a few schemes by going AWOL. He is consistently caught by the camp guards and brought to Hawkeye, dressed up in a different outfit each time.
    • All of the Korean civilians registering for surgery in this episode all answer to the name of Kim Luck.
  • Saying Too Much: Frank does this as he is explaining to the unit at reveille why talking to Major Houlihan about any problems they may have is the same as telling them to him.
    Frank: Talking to the major is the same as talking to me since we are intimate at all times.
  • Shout-Out: The camp guards' password is Betty Boop.
  • Spanner in the Works: Hawkeye and Trapper put themselves between Colonel Flagg and the young North Korean prisoner he wants to see executed. Flagg retaliates by getting Frank and Margaret involved.
  • The Tag: Trapper surprises Hawkeye and Radar with the new pinstripe suit that Sang Yu was designing for him earlier in the episode.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: At the beginning of the episode, Frank orders Igor to fire the ceremonial salute. Igor tries to let Frank know something about the angle, but the major demands he fires. Igor accepts the order and steels himself for what's about to happen. See Berserk Button entry.
  • Trigger Happy: Colonel Flagg shot the North Korean prisoner he brought in for medical treatment without hesitation.
  • Visual Pun: Hawkeye tries to prove he's Olivia de Havilland by pointing at his Officer of the Day banner.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Hurt a teenage would be more of the case here, but Colonel Flagg wants a wounded sixteen year old North Korean medically treated at the 4077 so he can take him to Seoul for interrogation and later execution.

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