Larry Balmagia turns up the heat on the 4077th with his script for The Moon Is Not Blue. First airing on 13 December, 1982, the story finds the unit in the midst of a heatwave, and a wounded general issuing a standing order that as long as he’s in camp there will be no alcohol imbibed by anyone.
As everybody tries to deal with the heat (and lack of booze) in their own way, Hawkeye (Alan Alda) and B.J. (Mike Farrell) not only peddle some placebos but try to get their hands on a newly released notorious film to spice things up a bit.
And while the placebos make work for those that take them, making an interesting commentary on mind over matter, the duo’s effort to hunt down a copy of the film and dealing with the redtape to get it plays out like a comedy of errors.
We also see how everyone’s need for alcohol allows them to function in a war zone, and that’s a helluva statement.
It’s fun, playful, and the placebo thing is very cool, but overall it just plays like a fairly regular episode, which feels odd especially with the way they’ve been able to really balance their dramatic and comedic stories over the past couple of seasons.
Run For The Money was penned by Elias Davis and David Pollock from a story by Mike Farrell, Davis, and Pollock, and it first debuted on 20 December, 1982.
The 4077th find themselves squaring off against the 8063rd when a footrace is organized, and when the camp’s ringer doesn’t turn out to be who they think he is, Klinger (Jamie Farr), Hawkeye, B.J., and Houlihan (Loretta Swit) turn to Father Mulcahy (William Christopher).
The Father runs for leisure, but he sees the possibility of raising money for one of the local orphanages that really need some help, so he agrees. But there’s no way he’ll be able to beat the runner from the 8063rd. Or is there?
It’s a joyous, and honest episode that just embraces the feel-good nature of the series, as well as the desire to help others.
And, as always, it’s always nice to see Father Mulcahy get a chance to shine, and even his sense of right and, helping doesn’t come down to imposing his beliefs on others, he seems able to celebrate everything.
I also like that while all this is going on Charles (David Ogden Stiers) is interacting with a patient who suffers from a stutter. The reveal as to why he’s so compassionate to this patient is a surprise, but it’s nice to see Charles helping others (y’know besides saving their lives on the operating table).
U.N., the Night, and the Music was written by Davis and Pollock and directed by Harry Morgan. It was first broadcast on 3 January, 1983.
Members of a UN team come to the 4077th on a tour, and each of them have a lasting (at least for this episode) effect on members of the camp. Charles meets an Englishman (George Innes) who is more of a snob than he is (but also not all that he appears), Houlihan meets a delegate (Dennis Holahan) from Sweden who has a bit of a problem, and Potter (Morgan) learns the beauty of yoga from another (Kavi Raz), much to Klinger’s surprise
Meanwhile, one of B.J.’s patients (played by David Packer who will always be that brat from V for me) is truly suffering and to fight a deadly onset of gangrene, has to take the young soldier’s leg.
This one was fun, light, hinted at some heavier drama with B.J. (and I love how that resolves itself) and there are some delightful little character beats.
Hard to believe it’s almost all over…