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Recap / M*A*S*H S4 E1: Welcome to Korea

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A two-part episode. Returning from R&R in Tokyo, Hawkeye is stunned to hear when he gets back that Trapper has gotten his discharge and has left without saying a word or leaving a letter for him. Taking Radar with him, he rushes to Kimpo Airport to see him one final time before its too late. The 4077 also gets a new surgeon as well, BJ Hunnicutt.

Attention, all personnel! Please give a big M*A*S*H welcome to the following tropes:

  • Adult Fear: Having a friend up and leave you behind without warning and not getting closure sucks!!
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Hawkeye and BJ enter the camp in this state after their first adventure together.
  • Aluminium Christmas Trees: Neurapraxia, as Hawkeye explains to Radar after exaggerating its effects to a checkpoint guard, is indeed a real thing and is in fact produced by nerve damage.
  • Artistic License – Military: Played for comedy - Hawk and BJ disguise Radar with a fictional rank, Corporal-Captain, so he can accompany them into the Kimpo Officers' Club. A corporal would be permitted the enter the O Club in the company of two officers.
  • Berserk Button: Hawkeye absolutely despises the lack of caring the farmer seems to show for his two daughters by sending them to check for landmines without protection.
    • BJ is noticably angry when Hawkeye writes off a wounded soldier by saying there's no chance of saving him. He changes his mind rather quickly upon seeing the extent of the damage.
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  • Big Damn Heroes: When a farmgirl is wounded by an exploding landmine, Radar rushes into the field to save her and her sister, oblivious to the strong possibility that if there is one landmine in the area, then there's more
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Jungji" is Korean for "stop". Also, "usan" is "umbrella".
  • Celebrity Paradox: Radar mentions the "8-0-Double Nickel" MASH unit, the 8055th was the unit where Richard Hooker, author of the book the show is based on, served.
  • Comically Missing the Point: At assembly, Frank reprimands Klinger for daring to wear a hat decorated with flowers while in uniform. Klinger's proud response?
    Klinger: It's spring, sir!
  • Continuity Nod: Hawkeye again refers to the fact his grandfather used to sell whiskey and hors-d'oeuvres to American Indians. He also mentions in the same scene the famous source of his nickname.
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  • Covered in Mud: BJ ends up slipping into a puddle while running to Hawkeye to help a soldier wounded in the shellfire barrage.
  • Curse Cut Short: Hawkeye, enraged and frustrated with a callous farmer who has ordered his two daughters to examine a field for landmines, asks Radar the Korean word for "something" when a landmine explodes offscreen.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: When Radar recounts Trapper's reaction to being ordered home, he says Trapper "ran naked through the mess tent with no clothes on."
  • Deadpan Snarker: Frank Burns is delivered quite a few of these from others throughout the episode.
    • The first one comes, surprisingly, from Father Mulcahy when he politely argues with Frank about the length of time the camp took to form assembly and the major accuses him of having a slow watch, to which Mulcahy takes offence.
      Father Mulcahy: Major Burns?
      Frank: Yes, Father.
      Father Mulcahy: I have us two seconds quicker than yesterday.
      Frank: Your watch must be off.
      Father Mulcahy: Hardly likely. It was given to me by my bishop.
    • The second is not so surprising as a hungover Hawkeye returns to camp from leave and makes a mockery of Frank through this trope.
    • Klinger gets the third when Frank is ordering him to clean up the Swamp.
      Frank: What are those earrings doing in your ears?
      Klinger: Just hanging there, sir.
      Frank: Well, take 'em off.
      Klinger: Yes sir.
      Frank: You, uh, got anything crazy on under your clothes?
      Klinger: Nothing crazier than you got under yours, sir.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Frank tries to institute an order that at Movie Night, everyone present will stand at attention when he arrives and when he leaves. Father Mulcahy points out a large hole in that proposal.
    Frank: Uh, well, uh... we're working on that. We'll let you know by the end of the week.
  • The Door Slams You: En route to assembly in the opening scenes, Frank and Radar march across the compound to Major Houlihan's tent. An oblivious Margaret opens the door after Radar knocks, hitting him on the way out.
  • Don't Ask, Just Run: Hawkeye, BJ and Radar are walking along a country road among a smattering of locals. Lost in conversation, they suddenly look up and realize everyone else on the road has suddenly disappeared. BJ is puzzled, but Hawkeye and Radar instantly realize an enemy ambush is imminent.
  • Downer Ending: The first part, despite doing everything possible to make it to the Air Base in time. Hawkeye is unable to say goodbye to Trapper, arriving at Kimpo a mere 10 minutes after the flight left.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Frank criticizes the camp forming assembly taking two seconds longer than it did the previous day.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: Because of the massive hangover he is trying to get rid of by soaking himself in the shower, Hawkeye is completely ignorant of the urgency in the news Radar is trying to give to him. It takes Radar to spell it out bluntly to get the point across.
    Radar: I just wanted you to know we couldn't reach ya. We really tried.
    Hawkeye: What'd you need me for? You have Frank Burns and trusty Trapper John, champion of the oppressed and molester of registered nurses.
    Radar: He's gone, Hawkeye. He got his orders. He's been shipped stateside.
    Hawkeye: What?
    Radar: Trapper's gone. He got his orders.
    Hawkeye: Trapper went home?
    Radar: Uh, well he's on his way.
    Hawkeye: What the hell are you talking about? How? When?
    Radar: Well, he found out about three days ago.
    Hawkeye: Why didn't you call me?!
  • Drink Order:
    • Two bourbon and water and a grape Nehi at the Kimpo Airport Officers Club
    • Two sake with beer and a grape Nehi at Rosie's bar
  • Drives Like Crazy: Hawkeye, trying to make it to Kimpo Air Base in time to see Trapper off. Also Radar, apparently all the time.
    Hawkeye: Move over, Radar.
    Radar: Why?
    Hawkeye: Because you drive like I spit.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: in the tag of the episode, the PA Announcer breaks the fourth wall and introduces the newly-restructured main cast of the show, revealing at the end of it a surprise sneak preview of the following episode where another new main character would be introduced.
    PA Announcer: And reporting for duty as new commanding officer, at 1600 hours, 19 September 1952, Harry Morgan as Colonel Sherman Potter, regular army. (beat) God help us all.
  • Epigraph: As the episode opens, the audience is given the following two quotes:
    "I will go to Korea", General Dwight D. Eisenhower
    "A terrible place" General Raymond W. Bliss
  • First Day from Hell: BJ's first day is pretty rough. He's an accessory to a general's jeep being stolen, gets attacked by guerrillas while changing a flat tire, gets caught in a mortar attack, and has to watch a girl be wounded by a landmine and taken to a crude field hospital. This is just between the airport and the 4077th. It's notable that the last stop they make before finally getting to the camp is a bar.
    Hawkeye: Don't forget this is your first day of school. The worst part is you'll get used used to all of this.
  • First-Name Basis: Hawkeye and BJ are on this within a minute of meeting each other.
  • Foreshadowing: When BJ loses his hat during the jeep ride, Hawkeye remarks "Your cookies will be next!" Which is exactly what happens when BJ gets his first taste of field medicine.
  • Forgot About His Powers: For a split second, Radar forgets that he can speak Korean when Hawkeye demands him to tell the farmer not to bring the family ox with them.
  • Freudian Slip: After Frank forgets himself and snaps at Father Mulcahy.
    Margaret: Frank!
    Frank: Oh. Sorry, Father. Sorry, Mother... Margaret.
  • Got Volunteered: BJ expresses himself being drafted to serve in Korea in this regard.
    BJ: Two months ago, I'm in residency in Sausalito. Little house in Mill Valley, Peggy's eight months pregnant. And they draft me. Five weeks' training at Fort Sam Houston. Bunch of doctors stumbling around in the dark, totally lost. Some idiot shooting live ammo over your heads.
    Hawkeye: American Plan.
    BJ: Then one night, Peggy and I are at the Top of the Mark - her first night out since having the baby. We go home. Our babysitter, Norma-Jean, says there's a message. (beat) The message: in two days, report to Travis to ship out. Next thing I know, here I am.
  • Hero Stole My Jeep: After having their own Jeep stolen at the airport, Hawkeye, BJ and Radar steal another one that belongs to a general. When Frank is found by military personnel to be in possession of that Jeep at the end of the episode, they arrest him.
  • Historical In-Joke: Discussed between Frank and Margaret when Frank laments about the antics Hawkeye could have gotten up to in Tokyo.
    Frank: Oh, Margaret. Whatever happened to good old meat-and-potatoes Christianity?
    Margaret: Whatever happened to Aimee McPherson?note 
    Frank: The poor soul went up in her plane and was never heard from again.note 
    Margaret: Frank, that was Amelia Earhart.
    Frank: Oh yeah.
  • I'm Not Here to Make Friends: Frank Burns states he's not around for kindness.
    Radar: Oh, I've heard that, sir.
  • Implied Death Threat: Hawkeye gives one to Radar after he comes back to the 4077th from leave, tired, hungover and not in the mood to hear Radar going at the bugle.
    Hawkeye: Just one note, Radar, and I'll show you a new way to play that thing.
  • Indy Ploy: How Hawkeye deals with a suspicious general who doesn't approve of Radar being in the officer's club; he pins his own captain's bars on Radar and quickly makes up a story that the army is testing a new rank: "Corporal-Captain." BJ is duly impressed.
    Hawkeye: [to a suspicious colonel] We're here making a survey. Want to see if everybody likes it. We're asking everybody in Seoul.
    BJ: Coleman Hawkins, right?note 
  • Infant Immortality: Averted horrifically when BJ discovers the true age of one of the soldiers he, Hawkeye and Radar had just been conversing with has been killed in the barrage of shellfire.
    BJ: He's twelve years old.
    Hawkeye: [sadly] He'll never make thirteen.
    • This is another Shout-Out, this time to The Roaring '20s in which Humphrey Bogart plays a cold-hearted World War I soldier. When his buddy spares a German opponent because he's just fifteen, Bogie shoots the kid and says "he won't be sixteen." Seconds later, word comes that the Armistice has been signed and the war is over.
  • It's All About Me: When Frank Burns states to Father Mulcahy that he's finding the lack of respect in the unit to be disgracefuly, the father reminds him that the camp members are all young people under a great deal of stress. Frank can only think about the stress command has on him in response.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Frank has Margaret forcibly remove the hat Klinger is wearing to assembly from him. Klinger keeps a Stiff Upper Lip.
      Klinger: Don't forget to water the flowers.
    • Frank refuses to allow Hawkeye to leave the camp to say goodbye to Trapper at Kimpo Airport.
      Hawkeye: Frank, I lived with the guy for over a year. He's my best friend.
      Frank: You're exaggerating his importance.
  • Large Ham: Hawkeye
  • Manchild: Frank suggests he could forge an autograph from MacArthur on his picture of the famous general. Margaret of course vocally takes offence, which Frank complains to.
    Frank: Oh gee, Margaret. Ever since I've been commanding officer, you don't let me do anything.
  • Missed Him by That Much: Hawkeye misses Trapper's plane by ten minutes.
    • The unseen sniper puts a hole in the Jeep seat mere inches from BJ.
  • Mood Whiplash: This two-part episode is certainly guilty of some of these moments but the worst has got to be where Hawkeye, BJ and Radar meet with a troop of soldiers on the drive back to the 4077 and ask if any one of them are from the three's respective home states. Then, without warning, mortar shells start to fall, turning what was currently a friendly, heartwarming moment in a primarily comedic episode into one of the bloodiest and most graphic scenes ever featured in the entire series.
  • Naïve Newcomer: BJ doesn't know what he's in for in Korea, though he learns quickly.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: Hawkeye is affected that his best friend left without even leaving a note.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Hawkeye makes a point of paying his rickshaw driver double his fee.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: We don't actually see the wounds on the soldier that make BJ sick.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Apparently, Radar tried to get Hawkeye on the phone to inform him about Trapper's imminent departure for a period of twenty-four hours that the captain was at the time unavailable to answer. Before he's told why they were trying to call him, he explains he was at an unlisted geisha.
    • Radar refuses at first to let Hawkeye accompany him on the drive to Kimpo Airport because Frank will find out and put him through something embarrassing and crazy, going on to mention a couple of the things Frank has already done.
      Radar: He's crazy. He's always feeling my toothbrush to see if it's wet. Wakes me up at night and inspects me in my shorts.
  • Running Gag: A short one at the start where Radar forgets he has to march behind Frank and then behind Margaret.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Radar has one at the beginning where he's asleep dreaming of life back at his childhood farm and then he's woken up by Frank Burns who sternly reminds him that, as the company clerk it is Radar's duty to wake his commanding officer every morning.
      Radar: Oh! Korea!
    • Radar screams loudly when the "Corporal Captain" subterfuge is nearly discovered by a passing general.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: The one thing Frank Burns has against the United Nations is that "it's full of foreigners".
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Jamie Farr as Klinger.
  • Put on a Bus: Trapper John McIntyre has already shipped out for home by the start of this story. Hawkeye just missed him.
  • Random Events Plot: The second half of the episode (or the second part in syndication) becomes this after Hawkeye, BJ and Radar encounter in succession a security checkpoint, a family of farmers risking their daughters' lives by investigating a field for landmines, an ambush from enemy guerrillas, and a barrage of shellfire before finally reaching the relative safety of the 4077.
  • Reflexive Response: After being told by BJ he's married, Hawkeye asks the newcomer if he brought his wife to Korea with him. BJ smiles and says:
    Thought I'd come ahead and check it out.
  • Seamless Spontaneous Lie: Hawkeye manages to bypass a security checkpoint by having Radar pose as a contagiously ill patient.
    • Later, the lie seems to be on the verge of falling apart when they meet the same guard on the return journey. The guard is quick to recognise Radar, now apparently healthy and in the driver's seat, and to notice they are in a different Jeep. Before the lie fully unravels though, Radar suffers a "relapse" and causes the guard to panic and send them on their way.
  • Shout-Out: When abdicating the driver's seat to Radar for the return trip to the 4077, Hawkeye tells the company clerk to follow the Yellow Brick Road.
  • Shown Their Work: "Jungji" and "Usan" are respectively the actual Korean words for "Stop" and "Umbrella".note 
  • Skewed Priorities:
    • The MATS administrator at Kimpo Airport is more concerned with a missing shipment of pickles and pimientos for a general rather than managing the day-to-day running of the airport.
      Hawkeye: Who's in charge of this delicatessen?
    • The Korean farmer clearly values his ox and the viability of his land for farming than the lives of his two daughters, whom he has sent into a field to prod the ground for landmines.
  • Special Effect Failure: The wounded soldier that causes BJ to vomit is lifted far too easily to be anything but a stuffed dummy.
  • Super OCD: Radar keeps his bugle in the filing cabinet under 'B'. Frank wonders if he does that for his clipboard as well.
    Frank: Your clipboard's under 'C' of course.
    Radar: No, 'K'.
    Frank: I'd like to know what you're doing in this man's army.
    Radar: Me too, sir.
  • Tempting Fate: Frank believes Captain Hunnicutt's arrival will be a welcome change from all the stuff he and Margaret have had to put up with from Hawkeye and Trapper.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: With Frank in charge of the 4077, that goes without saying.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Hawkeye and Radar's nonchalant reaction to the barfight at Rosie's. Notably, Radar gets up out of his chair and walks out of the way just as the two fighters crash through his seat and the table they were drinking at.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: BJ has one after he sees a horrifically wounded soldier.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Played for laughs when Hawkeye resorts to using this to guilt-trip Radar to let him come along on the drive to the airport.
    Hawkeye: Radar.
    Radar: I can't.
    Hawkeye: (beat) Who lets you develop the nurses' chest x-rays? Hm? Who stayed up with you the night your earthworm farm was wiped out?
    Radar: If anybody asks, I'm completely ignorant.
    Hawkeye: I'll swear to that in court.
  • Wham Shot: As they are replacing a flat tyre for their Jeep, Hawkeye, Radar and BJ wave hello to passing travellers walking along the road. When the Jeep is raised up for the replacement, Hawkeye takes a second look in their direction ... only to find the passersby have vanished.
    Hawkeye: Uh-oh, Andy.note 
    Radar: [looks around and realises the danger] Holy smoke.

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