M*A*S*H

Season 7 Episode 14

Dear Sis

1
Aired Unknown Dec 18, 1978 on CBS
9.1
out of 10
User Rating
54 votes
3

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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Dear Sis
AIRED:
Father Mulcahy writes a pre-Christmas letter to his sister, who is a nun. He recounts his frustrations at not being more effective at the 4077th.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • A strange side-story for Father Mulcahy

    8.0
    Though this is is a great episode, I can't help but think the side-story of Father Mulcahy punching the wounded soldier is kind of silly. I mean, a soldier is being an idiot and refuses treatment from anyone but a doctor, and then punches Father Mulcahy. Mulcahy punches him back, but the guy throws a temper tantrum even though he threw the first punch, just because he was wounded in the leg. What a whiner. besides that, great episode. I love how they made Charles seem more of a down-to-earth guy rather than his usual pompous and arrogant self.moreless
  • Alan Alda writes and directs this fantastic holiday-themed episode.

    9.8
    It's Christmas time at the 4077th, and Father Mulcahy is writing a letter to his sister. He begins to vent his irritation (or more like frustration) at not being a bigger influence at the M*A*S*H unit. He lists example after example. No one comes to his weekly sermon. He tries to help out a patient and thinks he has helped him calm down, but instead Nurse Houlihan was the real source of the calming. He tries to help one of Radar's mother's calves -- but instead it is Charles to the medical rescue.



    Finally, Mulcahy's frustrations grow to a fever pitch, and he ends up taking his frustrations out on a patient (in the form of a powerful punch to the face).



    What Father Mulcahy does not realize, but the rest of the unit already understands, is that his help is more subtle and much more powerful. Mulcahy is a comfort and a source of small but very powerful joy to the unit. For example, when Winchester proclaims his anguish regarding being at the 4077th rather than at home for Christmas, he suggests to Radar to contact Winchester's mother to bring him something from home to ease his suffering.



    The sheer joy and happiness in Winchester's face when he receives a cap that he wore in his youth from his mother is a testament to Mulcahy's influence. By the way, this was one of the most powerful scenes I have ever seen on TV. David Ogden Stiers pulled off a doozy of a performance in this episode.



    There were other notable performances in this episode. Alan Alda was especially subtle in this episode and has a great scene with William Christopher near the conclusion of the episode. And although his writing and direction is often a little melodramatic (and even a little pompous), he often supplied the goods to make a powerful episode. Dear Sis is a clear success in his repertoire.



    Loretta Swit and Harry Morgan also supply effective performances. Actually, most of the cast is much more modest and "softer" than usual -- providing an atmosphere of warmth and melancholy that are particularly atmospheric and appropriate for the themes this episode creates and expresses.



    But the big kudos go to William Christopher, whose performance as a pensive, conflicted, and somewhat guilt-ridden Father Mulcahy make me wish he had more screen time during his career on M*A*S*H. This was probably one of his best performances on the series.



    When Hawkeye toasts the modesty and the influence Mulcahy has for the 4077th, everyone quiets down and nods their appreciation. And then...the song. Give Us Peace.



    Dona nobis pacem, pacem.

    Dona nobis pacem.



    Amen.moreless
  • The episode is well written and well acted. It is one of the very few in the series that is Father Mulcahy-centric. It contains two of my favorite quotes in all of the MASH series - . . . .moreless

    10
    The episode is well written and well acted. It is one of the very few in the series that is Father Mulcahy-centric. It contains two of my favorite quotes in all of the MASH series - see the quotes for this episode by Charles and Hawkeye. William Christopher does a superlative job portraying the lovely character that Father Mulcahy is. Father Mulcahy tries to help so much and feels that what he does is so little, that he is of little use to the MASH unit. However, Charles' reaction to a simple, thoughtful Christmas gift from home of a childhood cap that Father suggested be sent, gives Father a small boost. This boost is furthered by Hawkeye's heartfelt toast to Father Mulcahy, which is cheered on by the whole unit. I highly recommend everyone watch this episode. It is one of the series best.moreless
Alan Alda

Alan Alda

Captain Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce

David Ogden Stiers

David Ogden Stiers

Major Charles Emerson Winchester III (Season 6-11)

Gary Burghoff

Gary Burghoff

Corporal Walter Eugene "Radar" O'Reilly (Season 1-8)

Harry Morgan

Harry Morgan

Colonel Sherman T. Potter (Season 4-11)

Jamie Farr

Jamie Farr

Corporal/Sergeant Maxwell Q. Klinger

Loretta Swit

Loretta Swit

Major Margaret J. "Hot Lips" Houlihan

Lawrason Driscoll

Lawrason Driscoll

Lt. Forrester

Guest Star

Patrick Driscoll

Patrick Driscoll

Patient

Guest Star

W. Perron Page

W. Perron Page

Driver

Guest Star

Jo Ann Thompson

Jo Ann Thompson

Nurse

Recurring Role

Kellye Nakahara

Kellye Nakahara

Kellye

Recurring Role

Jeff Maxwell

Jeff Maxwell

Igor

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Father Mulcahy: It doesn't matter whether you feel useful or not when you're moving from one disaster to another. The trick, I guess, is to just keep moving.

    • Charles: You know, I never had much use for men of the cloth. They're so religious. Especially that Irish crowd in Boston. But you're different, Father. You are a credit to, uh, your kind of person.
      Father Mulcahy: Thank you, Major. I'll take that as a compliment.
      Charles: Of course you will. That's how I meant it.

    • Hawkeye: (speaking to those attending a party) Ladies and gentlemen, if you'll raise your eggnog, I'd like to propose a toast. To someone who's too modest, too utterly simple a man to know how much strength he gives us just by the decency of his life among us - Father John Patrick Francis Mulcahy.

    • Charles: (to Father Mulcahy) You saved me, Father. You lowered a bucket into the well of my despair, and you raised me up to the light of day. I thank you for that.

  • NOTES (1)

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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