This episode is what the comedy of M*A*S*H is all about. Trying to make a little fun in the middle of a bad situation. With the harrows of war, many of the M*A*S*H personnel just want to be able to laugh from time to time.
In this episode, Charles decides to wage "prankster war" on his comrades. Seizing opportunities on both sides, he decides to aid both Hawkeye and B.J. in pulling pranks on Houlihan while also aiding Houlihan in retaliating. Many of the pranks are quite clever and certainly humorous. I was especially amused with the jokes played on Margaret. The flowers to the ace helicopter pilot was a winner, but the helicopter dummy-in-the-closet prank was a gem.
Although, admittedly, I loved the blatant prank Houlihan pulled on Hawkeye and B.J. even more. She boldly goes into the showers and steals their clothes, leading to a quiet (and nude) return from the two doctors. They return home to the cheers of the nurses on the 4077th staff. Nice touch.
David Ogden Stiers pulls off another of his magical performances here as the skullduggerous Winchester. His aiding of both sides was a clever way for him to reign supreme on all of them. Stiers certainly portrays the joy and slyness of Winchester to a tee here. It was a pleasure to watch his plan in action.
Although in the end, the final joke was played on him, it was fun to see Charles get the upper hand for almost a full episode.
The other plot of the episode involved Father Mulcahy's (futile) attempts to get promoted. The army continued to turn him down, time and time again. Mulcahy often did not get much screen time in the series, so it was nice to see an episode now and then focus on his small, but important, role -- both in the series and for the M*A*S*H unit. William Christopher was quite good at portraying a somewhat authoritative, somewhat nervous, somewhat thrill-seeking, entirely genuine religious leader. His performance in this episode showed off his talent, and it was a pleasure to see.
I also like the lesson here. Army promotions should be the last thing on anyone's mind. They have an important job to do -- all of them -- and that always comes first.
Another solid episode of M*A*S*H. I would expect no less.