M*A*S*H (1979) – Preventative Medicine, A Night at Rosie’s, and Ain’t Love Grand

Does Hawkeye (Alan Alda) go too far in this episode? It’s a relevant question, and a big one for the show. Preventative Medicine was written by Tom Reeder and first aired on 19 February, 1979.

While Klinger (Jamie Farr) delves into ‘voodoo’ as a new way to get his Section 8, talk goes around the camp about the casualty rate of one Colonel Lacy (James Wainwright), who talks a good talk, but is a dangerous man on the field. Potter (Harry Morgan) goes so far as to send a letter to I-Corps, asking them to reassign the officer.

When he shows up at the 4077th to ‘check’ on his men, he runs afoul of Hawk and B.J. (Mike Farrell) and the surgeons have a hard time dealing with him, and his easy dismissal of his casualties. Hawk hits on the idea of making Lacy sick, and laying him up in post-op for a few hours, but then goes a step too far… if he performs an unnecessary operation on Lacy, he can keep the officer from the front for a two week period, which could see him getting a reassignment to somewhere less combative.

There’s a great scene between Hawkeye and B.J. as they argue over Hawk’s plan, and what it means. He could save a hundred lives tomorrow if he lays Lacy up now… but Lacy is just a symptom.

Hawk does the wrong thing for the right reasons… he’ll hate himself for it, but did he do right? And the moment at the end of the episode with him and B.J. is incredibly poignant.

A Night at Rosie’s was written by Ken Levine and David Isaacs and first aired on 26 February, 1979.

Hawkeye rolls into Rosie’s Bar one morning, and after meeting an AWOL soldier, Scully (Joshua Bryant), refuses to leave. As more and more of the camp come looking for Hawk, and then B.J., and everyone else, the party gets really out of control.

Potter is less than impressed, but a quick conversation with Hawkeye and B.J. set things to right. The camp needs a night like this to blow everything off, and just forget the war. In fact, Scully, Hawkeye and B.J. declare Rosie’s its own sovereign nation and refuse to return to the camp – at least for the duration of the party.

It’s a goofy episode, more about letting everyone blow off some steam, and give them all a respite from the constant deluge of the war and casualties. It also allows for a nice emotional rest after the previous episode.

There’s some great stuff with Klinger, and a completely soused major who has no idea how he got there or where he is.

Ain’t Love Grand was written by Levine and Isaacs, and was directed by Mike Farrell, with an original airdate of 5 March, 1979.

With B.J. worrying about one of his patients, he and Hawkeye begin to get on one another’s nerves, and are constantly sniping each other. On the flipside, Klinger and Charles (David Ogden Stiers) both have affairs of the heart, which leave them busted up by episode’s end.

Klinger romances a nurse, Deb (Kit McDonough) from a neighboring MASH unit, while Charles begins a relationship with a working girl, Sooni (Sylvia Chang).

This is Farrell’s first directorial effort, and he does some very nice work with it, showing how the line of friendship between Hawkeye and B.J. can be marred by their professional obsessions, and their personal habits, and he also handles the love stories really well, putting both Charles and Klinger in vulnerable and believable positions.

Next week, we finish off season 7 and jump into season 8 of M*A*S*H!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s