M*A*S*H

The Tooth Shall Set You Free

Season 10, Ep 14, Aired 2/8/82
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  • Episode Description
  • Charles has a serious toothache, but hates the thought of having anything done about it. The doctors suspect prejudice when an inordinate number of black casualties are brought in from a single unit, led by Major Weems.

  • Cast & Crew
  • Elias Davis

  • David Pollock

  • Charles S. Dubin

  • Tom Atkins

    Major Lawrence Weems

  • Jason Bernard

    Major Rockingham

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  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (11)

    • (Hawkeye, Potter, and BJ are trying to get Winchester to see Rockingham willingly) Hawkeye: If you loved him as the tough major in Gone With The Weems, then you'll love him as the firm but fair doctor in A Yank in Korea. Winchester: But, But... Potter: Winchester, you've got two choices; it's either him or the doorknob.

    • (BJ, Hawkeye, Winchester, and Weems are all turning in to sleep in their cots, Winchester continues to moan over his tooth) Hawkeye: Hey Beej, don't forget, tomorrow morning it's your turn to milk Charles.

    • (Charles Winchester is eating a bowl of mashed potatoes in the mess tent. Colonel Potter comes over with a tray of food and joins him.)
      Potter: Ah, mashed potatoes! Now, there's a meal you can sink your teeth into.
      (Charles' tooth is still clearly bothering him. He begins to whimper.)
      Potter: Winchester, are you in excruciating pain or are you just being yourself?
      Winchester: I-uh-I merely slept wrong, sir. It's my jaw.
      Potter: If you don't get that chopper checked, it'll abscess and I'll be out one surgeon.
      Winchester: Sir, I swear to you, there is absolutely nothing wrong!
      Potter: You're lying through what's left of your teeth!
      Winchester: I am not!
      Potter: (calmly) In that case, I owe you an apology.
      Winchester: I accept.
      Potter: Back where I come from, when one man wrongly accuses another, he is expected to atone for it and seeing as how the cook slipped his C. O. a preview of Sunday's dessert, the least I can do is pass it on to you.
      (Potter shoves a bowl of ice cream in front of Winchester's face. Winchester is horrified.)
      Potter: You like ice cream, Winchester?
      Winchetser: (stammering) Oh, gee, uh---no, sir. No, I couldn't.
      Potter: Why not?
      Winchester: Because my mother never let me have desert until I finished all my vegetables.
      Potter: Well, well, seeing as I outrank Mommy, eat this!
      (Potter places the bowl of ice cream on Winchester's tray.)
      Winchester: I'd love to! Oh, look! It's strawberries! It gives me hives.
      Potter: We'll top it off with some calamine lotion. Now, start shoveling.
      Winchester: But Colonel, I---
      Potter: PRESENT SPOON!
      (Realizing there is no use in arguing, Winchester grudgingly takes his spoon and eats a small piece of the ice cream. Potter looks on.)
      Winchester: Mmmm! Satisfied?
      Potter: (surprised) Well, I'll be darned.
      Winchester: If you'll excuse me, Colonel. I think I've had enough. Good afternoon, sir.
      (Winchester calmly walks out of the mess tent.)
      Potter: I guess that molar's on the mend.
      (With that, Winchester lets out a painful scream.)

    • Hawkeye: You got a CO who wants to send the kid home, so much so that he's willing the lie about it. And not only is the kid not grateful, he doesn't even like Weems.
      BJ: Maybe Dorsey's a malcontent, Weems wants to ship him out.
      Hawkeye: No, no. Speaking as a malcontent, he doesn't strike me as the type.
      BJ: So what if Weems feels guilty because he got the kid shot?
      Hawkeye: If that were the case, he'd want to drive Sturdevant home personally. He wants to keep Sturdevant.
      BJ: Sturdevant? He's the white kid, right?
      Hawkeye: How can it be racial? It doesn't even make sense. Sending Dorsey home is the biggest favor he can do for him.

    • BJ: Only 11% of Weems' unit are Negros, they suffer 46% of the casualties. Hawkeye: (disgusted) There were better odds in Uncle Tom's Cabin! BJ: I actually liked that guy. Klinger: He fooled everyone. All the medical units I talked to said "what a great guy Major Weems is, always came to visit his wounded."

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    Notes (1)

    • The closed captioning changes a joke slightly. After Father Mulcahy tells Hawkeye that he lost at checkers, Hawkeye says, "I thought you were the king of kinging." The closed captioning changes his remark to "I thought you were the king of kings", making it a biblical reference.

    Allusions (2)

    • The episode title "The Tooth Shall Set You Free" is an allusion to a quote by Clarence Darrow: "The pursuit of truth shall set you free". There's also a Biblical verse that says, "The truth shall set you free."

    • Hawkeye: What's wrong, Major? You're as white as a sheet. BJ: Seems only fitting. BJ and Hawkeye could have been referring to the Ku Klux Klan because Major Weems had just said some virulently racist things, but possibly also to Major Weems' own race as well.

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