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Recap / M*A*S*H S6 E5: The Winchester Tapes

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Charles dictates a letter home to his parents, begging them to get him home while reporting on the camp's antics to build his case. Hawkeye gets an invitation for a night of debauchery with a nurse in Seoul. Klinger tries faking fainting spells to get a discharge.

Attention, all personnel! Major Winchester's recorded letter contains the following tropes:

  • Agony of the Feet: Charles mentions contemplating shooting himself in the foot, but changes his mind after remembering how much he enjoys the Debutantes' Cotillion.
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  • Analogy Backfire: While explaining how a patient should tell his pills apart, he uses the alphabet, his pain pills being purple. It breaks down when he tries the same with sleeping pills - "W for sleep".
  • Apology Gift: To allegedly make up for being snippy with Radar in post-op, Winchester brings him a case of grape Nehi. It really serves as a bribe in order to get Radar contact Winchester's former commanding officer to get him transferred back to Tokyo General Hospital. When Radar refuses, Winchester takes the case back. And then he takes the one bottle that Radar had opened.
  • Bribe Backfire: To take the Officer of the Day duty blocking Hawkeye's weekend away, he offers to compensate Winchester for a recent investment loss. Then he finds out it's four thousand dollars.
  • Brick Joke: In one scene we see B.J. inexplicably cleaning a rubber chicken. At the end of the episode, Winchester finds the chicken jammed in his teapot as a prank.
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  • Continuity Drift: Winchester mentions a nephew Felix who is discharged for fainting spells. However, as time goes on, we learn that he only has one sibling, his unmarried (and presumably child-free) sister Honoria.
  • Description Cut: While Charles complains about the weather being too cold or too hot, the scene cuts to enlisted men warming themselves at a brazier and Klinger mopping his brow with a handkerchief.
  • Do Wrong, Right: Charles corrects Klinger on how to faint correctly as part of his new discharge ploy.
  • Genius Bonus: When B.J. is preparing his prank, Hawkeye sees Charles coming and says, "Clap hands, here comes Charley!" This was the title of a popular song from the 1930s that, while little remembered now, would have been well known to the characters at the time the show was set.
  • Playing Sick: After learning that one of Winchester's relatives has been discharged for fainting spells, Klinger decides to try it out.
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  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Crossing over with Screw the Rules, I Have Money!. Charles begs his father to talk to Senator Griswold, "After all, you paid good money for him!"
  • Skewed Priorities: Charles is ranting to Colonel Potter about how the Colonel hasn't tried to get him transferred out of the 4077th. Potter's main priority is that he's out of umber so Charles needs to stop changing the color of his face while he's yelling.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Charles ends his tape to his parents with, "Get me the hell out of here!" after speaking very formally up until then.
  • Troll: B.J. pranks Charles by replacing his uniform first with one that is far too large to make it look like he's losing weight, causing Charles to start eating more. That of course leads up to a uniform that is too small and making it look like Charles has put on too much weight. Finally, Hawkeye asks what would be coming after that and B.J.'s response is, "Starting tomorrow, he gets taller."
  • Voiceover Letter: Charles' dictation of his letter serves as a voiceover for some scenes.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Once again Hawkeye is making preparations for R&R and every time he's about to leave, more wounded are brought in. When the wounded finally stop coming, he's far too tired to go and falls asleep.
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