M*A*S*H (1975) – Aid Station, Love and Marriage, and Big Mac

Aid Station written by series developer Larry Gelbart and Simon Muntner is an exemplary episode that first hit the airwaves on 11 February, 1975.

The entire camp is unhappy with the state of everything, though it is the food and coffee that most of the complaints are centred around. The O.R. is packed, and wounded keep coming, but Hawkeye (Alan Alda), Houlihan (Loretta Swit) and Klinger (Jamie Farr) get a new perspective when they draw the assignment to help out at a front line aid station that has been bombed out, and lost their surgeon.

The trio find a completely different world. They are under constant attack even as they work together to save lives, finding a way of working together that never happens at the 4077th.

There’s also some great moments when they are preparing to leave for the front, and are working around the possibility that they may not be coming back.

Watching how different things are, the characters appreciate what they have when they get back to camp, and it hints at character changes coming for, at the very least, Margaret Houlihan, who knows her relationship with Frank (Larry Linville) will never go anywhere, and will never be appreciated by him the way she was by Hawkeye and Klinger when they all worked together at the front.

It’s a great episode, and also shows that for all their wisecracking, every single one of the doctor’s in the 4077th wants nothing more than to save lives. Loved this one!!

Love and Marriage features a guest appearance by the wonderful Soon-Tek Oh. Written by Arthur Julian, this episode first debuted on 18 February, 1975.

Mr. Kwang (Oh) has been working in the 4077th, and getting under Frank’s skin, something Hawkeye and Trapper (Wayne Rogers) are more than okay with, and befriend the young medic, who reveals that he was forcibly recruited and didn’t get to say goodbye to his wife, who is on the verge of delivering their first child.

When a signed leave pass causes some problems in the camp, Kwang goes awol until he is captured and returned to the 4077th where Hawk and Trap plead for him, and Hawkeye and Radar (Gary Burghoff) head out to bring Kwang’s wife to him so he can be united with wife and child.

Meanwhile a young private (Dennis Dugan) wants to get married to a local woman, but Hawkeye and Trapper smell a con, or at least trouble, and are less than happy at what they find when they do a little digging. This side of the episode is a little sour and bitter, but balances out with the happy ending of Kwang and his family.

And for once it seems Radar is in a little bit of trouble as Colonel Blake (Mclean Stevenson) realises that Radar has gotten him to sign countless things, including Kwang’s three day pass, without his awareness. I’m sure by the beginning of the next episode this will mostly be forgotten, and things will carry on as they were for just a few more episodes more as the end of the third season is coming and will give us the first real shake-ups of the cast.

Big Mac is the final episode for the week. Written by Laurence Marks, and first airing on 25 February, 1975, this one is a bit of a goofy episode that shows the excitement that sweeps through the camp when word comes down to the 4077th, that General Douglas MacArthur is going to be visiting and inspecting the camp.

While most of the camp is thrilled, Hawk and Trapper take it all in stride, focusing on their job instead of making the camp more presentable, which is what Frank is worried about.

The entire unit is briefed on behaviour and expectation when MacArthur arrives, and Klinger sees this is a really good opportunity to finally get his Section 8. Quarters are prepared, the camp is given a complete makeover, and there are even rehearsals, with Radar standing in for the general, to make sure everything goes according to plan, and regulation.

But, of course, with all this hard work going into the camp for this illustrious visit, you just know something is going to go awry.

Next week, we come to the end of the third season, and prepare to say goodbye to a few cast members, and prepare for some new arrivals…

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