M*A*S*H (1982) – The Birthday Girls, Blood and Guts, and A Holy Mess

It’s Margaret’s (Loretta Swit) birthday and she’s headed to Tokyo. The Birthday Girls was written by Karen Hall and first aired on 11 January, 1982. Margaret seems to be desperate to get there, and there may be a new man in her life, though life may have other plans for her.

Back in the 4077th an injured, pregnant cow is brought into camp, and she is almost ready to deliver. While B.J. (Mike Farrell) and Hawkeye (Alan Alda) try to help out Klinger (Jamie Farr) is starting a betting pool on when the animal will give birth.

As things spiral out of control for Margaret, she reveals to Klinger that she wanted to celebrate her birthday her way this year, and not as an excuse for a drunken party at the camp. In the end, the jeep she and Klinger are in breaks down, and she is forced to celebrate in a different way.

She and Klinger have a quiet night sharing stories before getting back to camp to learn that the calf has been delivered, and Klinger is out of a chunk of cash.

It’s a light episode, even Margaret’s revelations aren’t as poignant as they could be. A bit of a missed opportunity.

Blood and Guts was written by Lee H. Grant and first debuted on 18 January, 1982. Watch for an appearance by Rita Wilson!!

Hawkeye is furious when a seasoned war correspondent Clayton Kibbee (Gene Evans) doesn’t so much report on the war but sensationalizes it He comes into camp and seems, initially, to be a great reporter and a good man, but Hawk and the rest slowly get turned around on him.

Kibbee’s article is following six pints of blood donated by civilians back home. He wants to tell the story of how the blood travels and reaches its destination, a solid story, but then Kibbee changes the details of the article to make events sound more exciting. It’s no wonder Hawk is furious.

B.J. has a new hobby when a recovered private gives him a motorcycle, and he and Klinger go to work on it.

Wilson guests as a nurse, Lacey, who is supposed to have a date with Hawkeye, but has an evening with Kibbee instead. So consequently not everyone believes Hawkeye’s take on Kibbee’s story (they’re all charmed by him), that is until the truth finally comes out.

A Holy Mess was penned by David Pollock and Elias Davis and first hit the airwaves on 1 February, 1982. This one puts Father Mulcahy (William Christopher) front and center as he deals with an AWOL soldier, Gillis (Cyril O’Reilly).

Gillis has gotten the Father to provide him sanctuary in the mess tent following church service. He bumps into Hawk and B.J. first, he confides the trouble he’s just come into at home. He’s run from his unit because he’s unsure of what to do and how to proceed, believing his life is ruined.

They believe that Mulcahy can help figure out a way to get the distraught and heartbroken soldier home. But how easy is it going to be?

There’s a b-story about a thankful poultry farmer who is donating a day’s eggs to the camp and how everyone is looking forward to it and the way they are going to have them.

There’s a nice examination of the pain and heartbreak those at war (and on the homefront) go through during combat, and it really lets Christopher shine in a way that he really hasn’t until now.

We’re almost halfway through the penultimate season, but there’s still lots to come with the 4077th.

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