M*A*S*H (1975) – Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler, Dear Peggy, and Of Moose and Men

Radar (Gary Bughoff) gets a first name in this episode, Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler that was written by Bret Prelutsky that first aired on 7 November, 1975. Hawkeye (Alan Alda) and B.J. (Mike Farrell) have an unusual patient that causes the arrival of both Flagg (Edward Winter) and Freedman (Allan Arbus).

After flying bombing missions for two years, a captain (Allan Fudge) has finally broken, he’s lost his own personality, and believes that he is Jesus Christ. He has a calming effect on most of the camp, though both Frank (Larry Linville) and Margaret (Loretta Swit) take exception to his claims. Father Mulcahy (William Christopher) engages him in enlightening conversations, and Klinger (Jamie Farr) sees a new avenue to pursue a Section 8.

While Christ, actually a captain named Chandler, speaks calmly and peacefully, you can tell that he is haunted by the things he’s done, and that he’s just finally disconnected from it all, unable to deal with the horrors he’s inflicted on the Koreans.

I quite like this episode, and while Flagg may be a bit of a tool, I always enjoy when Sidney Freedman is on the scene. He’s a great addition to the main cast, and this story works as entertainment, but also has that deeper level that I may not have caught onto when I was a kid, but can totally see and appreciate as an adult.

And Radar’s scene with Chandler at the end of the episode is just wonderfully touching, there’s a solemn feeling to it, that makes it feel very important, and it’s all in the performance.

Dear Peggy was penned by Everett Greenbaum and James Fritzell and had an original airdate of 14 November, 1975. B.J. is writing a letter home to his wife, Peggy, and gives us a look at happenings around the camp, from long shifts in the O.R. to Hawkeye and the camp goofing off and trying to break a world record by stuffing people into a jeep.

Father Mulcahy, meanwhile, is having problems with the arrival of a superior officer, Colonel Hollister (Ned Beatty), who is there to make sure that Mulcahy is properly tending to the the religious needs of the 4077th, and making sure the strictures of the bible are being followed in the olive drab environment.

The camp supports Mulcahy, who may not be everything Hollister wants, but is undeniably an important facet of the camp.

Through it all, Klinger attempts to find new ways to escape the Army, and it’s one disguise after another, which all tend to get him caught but Potter (Harry Morgan) doesn’t seem overly worried about the corporal.

There’s also a fun bit where Hawkeye teaches some Korean men, who are helping out in the recovery wards some helpful, and less than helpful phrases, which pays off at the climax of the episode.

This is just a fun slice of life episode that doesn’t have any real big themes other than Mulcahy’s service to the camp, and it ends up being one of those ones that allow you to laugh all the way through – except during an operating sequence that sees B.J. saving one of Frank’s patients after he gave up on him.

Of Moose and Men features a guest star appearance by Tim O’Connor in this episode written by Jay Folb which first debuted on 21 November, 1975.

Hawkeye is in a bit of trouble for disrespecting a superior officer, Colonel Spiker (O’Connor), who wants to press charges but finds himself on Hawk’s operating table before he has a chance to carry out his threat.

Frank, meanwhile, is wandering around, worrying that the Koreans are planting bombs everywhere (even in his toothpaste) and makes a number of demeaning remarks about them – but we know he’s a racist, and an ass, so his racism causes him to be laughed at.

B.J. has an interesting case on his hands, Sgt. Zale (Johnny Haymer) comes to him for help when he learns his wife is having an affair back home. While B.J. is first intent on giving aid to the sergeant, things change pretty quickly when he learns that Zale is having an affair himself with one of the local women.

A very entertaining trio of episodes this week, and it should come as no surprise that I will be re-upping for a trio more next week!

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