M*A*S*H (1979) – Guerilla My Dreams, and Good-Bye Radar: Part One, and Part Two

The wonderful Mako guest stars in the first episode up this week, Guerilla My Dreams, which was written by Bob Colleary, and first aired on 1 October, 1979. Alan Alda pulls double duty this week, taking on the role of director as well as that of Hawkeye Pierce.

Hawk and B.J.’s (Mike Farrell) friend Scully (Joshua Bryant) ends up back in the camp, much to Houlihan’s (Loretta Swit) delight, though he arrives wounded. Accompanying him alongside the other injured is a Korean woman (Haunani Minn) who is accompanied by a group of MPs, and a lieutenant, Peck (Mako) with a nasty reputation when it comes to ‘interviewing’ those he believes are guerilla soldiers.

This puts him at odds with most of the camp right from the off. Why are they working to save her life, and heal her wounds, if he only plans to torture her. In fact, most believe that she’s probably not even a guerilla.

But what if Peck, despite his horrific methods, is right? Does that make the things he does right? There are a lot of moral questions at work in this episode, and gives the viewers something to think about.

It’s a sharp episode, and is also the first time the phrase ‘son of a bitch’ is used on national television.

Good-Bye Radar: Part One sees the departure of Gary Burghoff from the series. In fact, sharp-eyed viewers realized he hasn’t been around much for the past handful of episodes, as Burghoff was ready to move on from the show, and asked his character to be written out, letting Klinger (Jamie Farr) slide into the position of company clerk.

Radar is attempting to get back to the 4077th after his two weeks leave, and has to interrupt a romantic connection that he makes with Patty Haven (Marilyn Jones). He makes it back to the camp to find that the generator is busted, the aux genny is gone (stolen) and the entire camp is living without power.

He works to fix the situation, but then Potter (Harry Morgan) comes to see him with some pretty harsh news. He’s getting a hardship discharge, his Uncle Ed has just died, and his mother can’t run the farm on her own.

This is a great episode for Burghoff, written by Ken Levine and David Isaacs. It first aired on 8 October, 1979, and set up the character’s exit nicely, and we’ll see his departure in the very next episode…

Radar’s Goodbye: Part 2 was also written by Levin and Isaacs, and aired on 15 October, 1979. Despite the discharge, Radar, seeing the state the camp is in, begins to debate whether he should stay.

Klinger, working to settle into Radar’s shoes, finagles a generator, even as Radar reveals he’s staying. Which causes an angry uproar between him and Hawkeye who insists that the young man go home, Potter argues that Radar has done his duty, and he slowly begins to realize that it is time for him to leave.

Which, of course, leads to a sequence of very poignant goodbyes, amidst prep for a party, which never gets a chance to happen because, of course, incoming wounded.

This also causes a wonderful regret for Radar and Hawkeye to take place. Because while everyone else had a chance during triage to make quick good-byes, Hawkeye was already with a patient, and they never really get to clear the air before he leaves. Even if both sides know how the other feels, there’s still that sense of regret in the air, made all the more poignant with the last scene, and the reveal of a gift Radar left for Hawk.

Season eight continues next week…

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