To Market, to Market (1.2)
*So, yeah, this episode is from the first season.
*Biggest laugh in this episode is a brutal edit to the title sequence where the camera cuts away from Hawkeye just before Lt. Dish appears over his shoulder. You can see the top of her head begin to appear and then they cut away.
*So, as this one opens Hawkeye and Trapper operate on a wounded 2-star general. There’s a near foul-up because they’re out of hydrocortisone. Turns out the black market hijacked the shipment.
*Spearchucker gets a mention in dialogue. I wonder if he’ll actually appear.
*So, the new shipment of hydrocortisone arrives. Only the truck is empty, the supplies having been stolen again, somehow without the driver even knowing this time. There is a “hilarious” *BOING* sound effect when Hawkeye and Trapper look in the back of the truck and see that it’s empty. Do they have to do one of those every episode? Hope not.
*McLean Stevenson and Gary Burghoff just keep stealing the show. HENRY: (lovingly polishing his desk) “Bet you don’t know what kind of wood this is.” RADAR: (not even looking) “It’s oak.” HENRY (still polishing) “Nope, it’s oak.” I mean that doesn’t really pop on the page, but they kill it.
*G. Wood makes a vocal appearance when Hawkeye backs Henry into calling General Hammond on the phone about the hydrocortisone. But Hammond won’t send them any more, since the requisitions already show that they received their shipment. Luckily Radar is able to track down some hydrocortisone that a black marketer known as Charlie Lee happens to have. So, Hawkeye and Trapper head to Seoul to talk to him.
*Charlie Lee is played, marveleously, by Jack Soo, who classic television fans will remember from his brilliant deadpan work on Barney Miller.
*So, he has the meds, but he wants $10,000 dollars, which, given the rate of exchange in the Pilot, would require raffling off five nurses. Hawkeye and Trapper try to figure out something to trade with him, but he has everything. And then Hawkeye comes up with an ace in the hole: Henry’s fancy antique desk.
*What’s kind of amusing is that Hawkeye borrows liberally in his sales pitch to Charlie Lee from the speech that Henry gave earlier. Of course, Hawkeye wasn’t in the room when Henry gave that speech. Of course, knowing Henry, he’s given that speech a million times, so that’s not such a problem.
*Jack Soo is able to make you buy this. He sits there in his fancy sweater and his flashy bandanna and you believe, “Hmm, this is a gangster who would definitely say yes to a deal that got him a fancy desk.”
*So, Hawkeye and Trapper bring Charlie to the 4077th disguised as a Korean general so he can inspect the desk himself. McLean Stevenson once again proves that he deserves the MVP award by slamming his thumb in the drawer and greeting the “general” with his thumb in his mouth.
*So, they arrange for Charlie’s truck to come back at 0600 the next morning, so Hawkeye and Trapper go to Henry’s office at 0500 to figure out how to get the desk out of Henry’s office. However, Frank and Margaret are both suspicious so Frank tries to follow them and then Margaret hears a noise in the office and they both enter.
*Pretty good scene here. Hawkeye and Trapper hide under the desk and have to endure about thirty seconds of really awful romantic discussion. The two of them then leave, but Frank locks them into Henry’s office.
*The truck arrives but Radar can’t get the door unlocked. This leads to a sharp cut to the outside of the office and then the back wall falls off. Hawkeye and Trapper carry the desk out, but then, of course, Frank is coming. So Frank walks around a corner to find Hawkeye and Trapper kneeling at the desk, which they have covered with a tarp, hands clasped, eyes heavenward. “Early mass,” Trapper deadpans. It’s a good moment. I mean, it’s very sitcommy, but pretty clever.
*All the shenanigans have made the driver of the truck nervous and he’s booked out of camp, so Hawkeye shouts, “Get O’Brien.”
*Frank, meanwhile, still suspicious, has gone to rouse Henry. The two arrive on the scene just in time for a helicoptor to roar by overhead, Henry’s desk dangling from a long, long line. Hawkeye and Trapper stroll by nonchalantly.
*Okay, so the shot of Henry and Frank and the helicopter with the desk. That is kind of legitimately comic genius.
*So, Charlie Lee brings by the hydrocortisone. Henry wanders by as Charlie is chatting with Hawkeye and Trapper. “You got a relative that’s a general?” Henry asks. “We all look alike,” Charlie replies.
*Odessa Cleveland gets another mention in the cast list as Ginger. Who was she related to, I wonder?
*Well, it’s better than the Pilot. By quite a bit. I mean, it’s a farcical episode, especially the last seven minutes or so. But I’ll take it. I mean, I laughed a few times. It’s an improvement.
** ½ out of **** stars.
Michael O’Hurlihy, Burt Styler
MASH Episodes, by Quality:1. To Market, to Market
The Abridged MASH
To Market, to Market