M*A*S*H (1983) – Strange Bedfellows, Say No More, and Friends and Enemies

Mike Farrell gets behind the camera and settles into the director’s chair again in Strange Bedfellows which was written by Karen Hall and debuted on 10 January, 1983.

Charles (David Ogden Stiers) is suffering from a seasonal allergy and his snoring is keeping both Hawkeye (Alan Alda) and B.J. (Farrell) awake. It’s complicated by the fact that Charles refuses to believe he snores!

In another part of the camp, Colonel Potter (Harry Morgan) is excited as his son-in-law, Bob (Dennis Dugan) is in Korea on a business trip and he is swinging by the 4077th to see his father-in-law. A happy reunion is marred by the Potter’s discovery that Bob has had an affair.

Potter wrestles with the idea of whether to reveal this to his daughter, and his young grandson, if he should simply confront, or simply leave things alone.

Morgan portrays a real struggle for Potter, and you know the character wants to do right by everyone in his life. And it’s a very tough decision for him to make. His instinct is to protect his daughter, but can he do that by ruining her married life, or can he make Bob see the truth of the situation?

Farrell handles the comedy and the drama equally well, though the comedy plays fairly broad. That may be a part of the script as opposed to actual direction, however.

I’m really enjoying these character stories we’re being given even as the end of the series is now drawing incredibly close.

Say No More was penned by John Rappaport and first debuted on 24 January, 1983.

Houlihan (Loretta Swit) is intent on getting to Seoul to see Dr. Chesler (James Karen) during a medical conference, but a sudden onset of laryngitis could throw a wrench in the works. Or maybe there’s help in the most unlikeliest of places, in the form of Charles?

Meanwhile, a General Collins (John Anderson) arrives in camp to see over his wounded son (Michael Horton), who is under Hawkeye’s care. His fellows describe the injured soldier as a hero, and while Collins oversees operations from a temporary command post at the 4077th, things take a turn for the worse.

As Hawkeye and the General commiserate, the doctor thinks that maybe tragedy and loss have finally opened up the General to the horrors of war. But has it really, or is he a soldier through and through?

There is a real moment when you feel the General could be on the cusp of change, and then the reveal that he’s just as dedicated a soldier as he is a father, and the viewer has the realization that war is just going to keep happening, no matter who’s son it is.

Friends and Enemies was directed by Jamie Farr who was working from a script by Karen Hall. It first aired on 7 February, 1983.

With B.J. suffering from an ingrown toenail, he really doesn’t want to be cooped up with Charles who just got a new shipment of chamber music records. So he plays Charles and Margaret off of one another. He sabotages Charles’ record player just as Margaret gets one, so he concocts a plan… but how long until it backfires?

Meanwhile, an old friend of Potter’s Woody Cooke (John McLiam) shows up amongst the injured. It seems he took command of a unit and led them into a truly disastrous encounter. Hawkeye and he come into conflict when the surgeon tries to bring information to his attention about the things Cooke did.

Will his long friendship blind him to what is really going on? Or will he see the truth and be able to do the hard but the right thing?

We’re coming up on the end. Next week we take on the last two episodes of the series, and then in two weeks, it’s the hour and a half finale that it feels like everybody who was alive at the time watched…

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