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Recap / M*A*S*H S4 E6: The Bus

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Upon returning from a medical convention, the bus breaks down and Hawkeye, B.J., Col. Potter, Frank and Radar are left stranded.

M*A*S*H 4077, repeat M*A*S*H 4077! We are stranded with the following tropes:

  • Berserk Button: Hawkeye, blaming himself for Radar's disappearance, will not take any comments that the corporal may be dead lying down.
    Hawkeye: You talk about Radar in the past tense one more time, and I'm gonna show you how to be a tail gunner.
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  • Big "SHUT UP!":
    Hawkeye: This your first trip?
    Frank: Oh, shut your gizzard.
  • Bottle Episode: The whole episode is set in the Korean countryside, with only Hawkeye, B.J., Frank, Potter and Radar (and, eventually, a wounded North Korean soldier) around and a broken down bus to keep them sheltered.
  • Call-Back: When Radar reveals to Colonel Potter that they're lost, he suggests to the colonel that they should pull over. At the same time he speaks the suggestion, the colonel orders it. For some, this may bring tears when they remember why the moment is this trope.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Rather than snark at Frank himself once the major starts testing wind direction to tell them where they are, Hawkeye leaves the opportunity to Potter.
    Colonel Potter: What are you doing?
    Frank: The breeze is coming from that direction.
    Colonel Potter: Thank you. Now all we have to do is trade the bus for an airplane.
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  • Dirty Coward: Frank, as per usual. He forces Radar to come with him to search for a village, and makes him go in front of him to be a human shield.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Hawkeye's early opinion of Radar driving the bus along the bumpy road.
    Hawkeye: Easy, Radar. My head's coming off at the dotted line.
  • Enemy Mine: Frank tries to establish a truce with Hawkeye for the remainder of the trip back to the 40777.
    Frank: Pierce. Uh, do me a favour. We're all in this together. I know you don't like me.
    Hawkeye: That's just an ugly rumour started by someone who heard me say I don't like you.
    Frank: 'Til we're back safe, uh, no jokes. Okay?
  • Entertainingly Wrong: When a North Korean soldier is seen approaching the bus, it is believed he wants the MASHers to surrender to him. Why is it this trope? Well...
    Colonel Potter: He's surrendering to us!
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  • False Reassurance: Frank gets concerned about having to walk a hundred yards alone in the wilderness. Potter tells him to take one of the enlisted men with him.
  • Friendship Moment: B.J. refuses the gun Frank offers him when he goes on guard duty and treats their prisoner with a warm manner.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Frank and Hawkeye in the opening scene.
    Hawkeye: Radar, I don't remember this road being this terrible.
    Frank: There's nothing the matter with the road, Pierce. You're just being punk. Hahahaha.
    Hawkeye: Me? I'm in fine fettle. I've never felt fettler.
    Frank: You're telling me you're not hungover?
    Hawkeye: Oh, that's what it is! I thought somebody painted a base coat of fuzz on my tongue.
    Frank: Well, don't think I didn't see how much you drank at the medical conference. You were disgusting.
  • Hope Spot: There is a moment where Radar seems to be about to get the engine going and Hawkeye, Colonel Potter and B.J. gather, waiting on edge for the triumphant noise of ignition. Then the engine fails.
    Radar: No soap, sir.
  • It's All My Fault:
    • Radar gets this way when Hawkeye incidentally blames him for getting them lost as he was the driver. This leads him to leave to go find help.
    • Hawkeye blames himself for Radar going missing.
  • Jerkass Realization: Although he takes offence that Frank had to be the one to point it out to him, Hawkeye apologises to Radar for suggesting their getting lost was his fault.
  • Jump Scare: While trying to repair the bus, Frank gets hit with an electric shock that throws him back.
  • Laugh Track: This episode is notable for not having canned laughter throughout the whole episode.
  • Large Ham: Hawkeye. Frank Burns even more so, especially when he gets his hands on a walkie-talkie.
  • Let Me Tell You a Story:
    • Colonel Potter recounts another time he got lost decades ago during World War One.
      Colonel Potter: World War One, Argonne Forest. Lost and hungry then, too. Couldn't find my outfit. After three days, I was ready to eat my socks. Nothing to do but wait.
      [The camera zooms in on Potter]
      B.J.: At least everything turned out all right.
      Colonel Potter: Right. I was taken prisoner, they shaved my head and beat me to a pulp.
      [Silence falls; Hawkeye, Potter and B.J. look around nervously]
    • B.J. suggests an exchange of stories to break up the monotony of their tense night lost in the wilderness, nominating everyone's respective first loves as the subject. He, Potter and Frank are the only ones to contribute.
  • Nerves of Steel: Colonel Potter is the only one to keep a cool head when Radar vanishes and he reins in Hawkeye and B.J. from going out to look for him in the dead of night.
    Colonel Potter: Hawkeye, we're none of us going wandering around out there. Unacceptable procedure. Also stupid. I won't have it.
  • Nominal Importance: Played for laughs when Frank and Radar go off to search for any villages that might be nearby and Frank tells Radar to stay ahead of him.
    Radar: Why me?
    Frank: Well, you present less of a target. Anyway, they love to pick off officers. We're the cream of our generation.
    Radar: I'm sort of the cream of my family, sir.
    Frank: Besides, I can cover you better from the rear.
    [Frank pulls out a gun]
    Radar: Ahh! My rear would feel a whole lot safer if you were in front of it, sir.
  • Oh, Crap!: Hawkeye, when he realises it's his turn to tell a love story that happened to him and decides to go check on Radar who is outside on a toilet break. A second, more dreaded one occurs a moment later when he can't find Radar.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    Colonel Potter: A simple "crapped out" will be sufficient, Major.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Frank hides his emergency stock of choclates from the others all episode long. After Radar discovers it, he pretends that he only just remembered he has it and hands them out.
  • Shout-Out: Hawkeye jokes that he came across a little girl in the woods.
    Hawkeye: I met a little girl with a basket for her grandma.
    B.J.: Wearing a red riding hood?
    Hawkeye: Actually, she was with seven little dwarfs.
    B.J.: She's in the wrong woods.
    Hawkeye: Or the wrong story.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Colonel Potter mentions that someone anonymously accused Radar of selling tickets to the hole in the nurses' showers. Hawkeye gives Frank a Death Glare.
    Frank: Well, it wasn't me.
    Colonel Potter: Why would I think it was you?
    Frank: Because I know people think that's just the kind of thing I might do.
    Colonel Potter: Well, why did you do it?
    Frank: Because I felt it was my duty.
    Colonel Potter: I thought you said you didn't do it.
    (beat)
    Frank: I thought I did too.
  • Take That!: In-universe. Frank makes a sarcastic comment towards Potter's leadership and moans about what he would do if he were still in command.
    • B.J. quickly argues, recalling just how mediocre Frank's leadership was.
      B.J.: I spent a week with you in command, Frank. You lost me when you rigged the toilet seats to rise to attention.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone:
    • Frank criticizes Hawkeye for his behaviour at a medical conference they have all just been to, labelling it as disgusting. B.J. then asks Frank what he thought of his behaviour.
      B.J.: What about me, Frank?
      Frank: You weren't so bad.
      B.J.: Really? I was trying to be disgusting too.
    • Frank, of all people, defends Radar from Hawkeye directing blame toward the corporal.
      B.J.: Radar's radar is jammed.
      Hawkeye: If it wasn't, would we be here?
      Frank: Oh, sure, Pierce. Blame it all on O'Reilly.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: B.J. sympathetically asks Frank what's on his mind at the start of the episode. Hawkeye groans loudly in response.
    Hawkeye: For God's sake, why?
    B.J.: Looked important. His forehead's all puckered up.
    Hawkeye: So are all my innards.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Frank falsely believes the North Korean is pretending to surrender so he can initiate a kamikaze attack.
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