M*A*S*H (1979) – Period of Adjustment, Nurse Doctor, and Private Finance

Though gone, Radar casts a long shadow over the 4077th, and it has a profound effect on both B.J. (Mike Farrell) and Klinger (Jamie Farr). Period of Adjustment was written by Jim Mulligan and John Rappaport, and first aired on 22 October, 1979.

While the camp comes down on Klinger constantly for not being up to Radar’s level as the company clerk, B.J. receives a letter from his wife, Peg, about Radar’s arrival in San Francisco, and his daughter Erin’s reaction to the young corporal.

These things push both characters too far, Klinger hasn’t been given the time to learn the job, and B.J. is missing his little girl growing up, her first steps, and words. Both of them tie one on, and turn the camp into an uproar, with B.J. decking Hawkeye (Alan Alda) and smashing the still he crafted with Trapper.

When the appropriate parties catch up to them, dialogue is had, and both characters are served wonderfully, though your heart truly breaks for B.J. missing his family as he does, and missing all those firsts of his little girl.

As the episode ends, Klinger is given permission to find his own way into the role of Company Clerk, and B.J., knowing he’s still stuck there for awhile yet, works with Hawkeye to craft a new and improved still. Relationships are patched up, but the ache remains.

Nurse Doctor was written by Sy Rosen from a story by Thad Mumford and Dan Wilcox. It was first broadcast on 29 October, 1979.

Lt. Gail Harris (Alexandra Stoddart) has seven weeks left at the 4077th. At the end of her tour, she’s resigning her commission to go to medical school to become a doctor. As such, she often bothers some of the doctors in the OR with procedural questions, which puts her at odds with her superior, and Head Nurse, Houlihan (Loretta Swit).

Harris has had Father Mulcahy (William Christopher) help her with her studying, but has also developed a bit of a thing for her, something he can’t reciprocate. And when he rebuffs her, he seeks advice from Hawkeye, who attempts to help Harris, who then deduces that Mulcahy talked to him.

She asks for an immediate reassignment, but instead, Potter denies it, and comes up with a plan, both Houlihan and Hawkeye will help with her studying, because she has the skills and knowledge to succeed, and Mulcahy will continue to provide friendly support.

All of this takes place during a major water shortage in the camp which requires everyone to not shower, or cook with water, and yet somehow Charles (David Ogden Stiers) is still clean…

Private Finance was written by Dennis Koenig and first debuted on 5 November, 1979. When an injured soldier comes into the 4077th, he makes Hawkeye promise to send his stuffed money belt home to his parents should he die.

Unfortunately, he passes during surgery, and Hawk must now go about arranging to send the money home, while learning, along the way, that the cash, over $9000 was probably ill gotten, and done through criminal enterprises in the black market.

At the same time, Klinger is having trouble with a local Korean family, when he stops the young daughter, Oksun (Denice Kumagi) from turning tricks at Rosie’s Bar. Her mother, Mrs. Li (Shizuko Hoshi) misunderstands what she sees when she spies Klinger attempting to help her out financially. So begins a vendetta that sees Mrs. Li determined to avenger herself upon Klinger.

When Potter and Houlihan dig into the Li situation, they find a destroyed family simply trying to get enough money to move away from the warzone safely, and start a new life, and recover from the wounds the war has left upon them.

Coincidentally, Hawkeye hears from the dead soldier’s parents, who are very religious, and want nothing to do with money gained a way that the son they remember would never have done… so what to do with the money…?

More next week as I continue my tour of duty at the 4077th.

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