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Season 7 Episode 22

Preventive Medicine

Aired Unknown Feb 19, 1979 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
40 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Preventive Medicine
Colonel Lacy is reckless and his men keep getting wounded and ending up at the 4077th. Hawkeye is determined to stop him even if it means doing something unethical. Meanwhile, Klinger plays the part of a voodoo practitioner to try and get out of the army.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

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  • This is one of most unfavorite episodes with a preachy BJ. Yuck!

    Every time I think of my most unfavorite MASH episodes, this is one of the ones that I think of. I love season 7, but I hate this episode. This show cases the preachy BJ Hunnicutt. Both Hawkeye and BJ moan about the war all the time, but Hawkeye does something about a butcher colonel, by taking him out of action with an appendectomy. BJ acts so holier-than-thou about Hawkeye's surgery, but Hawkeye does something about the war with his action. He doesn't kill the Colonel, just Incapacitates him for a while. Hawkeye does an operation, and the Colonel comes out of it okay. The fact is that he comes out of it better than some of the men that he sends in battle with a 20% death or injury rate. The Klinger side story is not even funny. Best not to show this episode all together.moreless
  • While I give this episode a marginally \"great\" rating, this is probably one of the most disappointing and unsuccessful episodes of the season.

    \"Preventative Medicine\" has a good premise and a fairly effective resolution. But the counterbalanced comedy was not well done and seemed to make the episode more offbeat than poignant.

    Tom Reeder wrote the episode. He had written a few episodes by this point in the season, some good and some not so good. And while I find most of his storylines engrossing, valid, and creative -- his methods are a bit underhanded, contrived, and short-sighted. I like that he has Hawkeye take out a healthy appendix in Colonel Lacey to prevent him from going back to war. I like that Hunnicut is outraged by his tactics. I like that he asks Hawkeye the burning question: \"What about his replacement?\" And I like his final dagger: \"You treated a symptom. The disease lives merrily on.\" All of these are good points and make for an effective series of events.

    In fact, if this were all the episode was about, this show would be a \"no doubt\" winner in my book. And while I think a counterbalance of comedy is warranted in this episode, it\'s the delivery that fails to work here.

    Klinger\'s storyline, for example, seemed tired and unfunny to me (The best lines, as usual, were given to Potter). Although it provided an offbeat look for Klinger (and that\'s saying something), by the end it seemed more style than substance to me. The final scene of the episode, between Mulcahy and Klinger, seemed totally out of character for the episode, especially after the dramatic final scene between Hawkeye and Hunnicut.

    While this is my major beef with the episode, another is the overdone \"rejection\" of Colonel Lacey. Margaret\'s seemed especially heavy-handed and morally driving rather that dramatically effective. And Hawkeye\'s annoyance, while necessary, seemed just as reprehensible as Lacey himself. Well, maybe not -- but the point is that I found it much over-emphasized. Give us a point; don\'t stick it down our throats.

    The main reason this episode gets a \"great\" rating from me, however, is the wonderful dichotomy given to Colonel Lacey. Yes, he does seem gentlemanly on the outside, but he\'s much more dangerous because of it. His desire to win and \"do battle\" is much more sinister when facaded by his seemingly congenial personality. I found his character to be quite effective.

    Great, but marginally so.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

James Wainwright

James Wainwright

Colonel Bingham Lacy

Guest Star

Larry Jenkins

Larry Jenkins

Pt. North

Guest Star

Jeff Maxwell

Jeff Maxwell


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (5)

    • BJ: What the hell do you think you're doing?
      Hawkeye: Taking out that guy's appendix in there. You gonna get into your whites or what?
      BJ: You're talking about removing a healthy organ.
      Hawkeye: No, I figure his appendix is about as sick as his mind.
      BJ: Doctors aren't supposed to take bodies apart. They're supposed to put them together.
      Hawkeye: Why, so guys like him can take them apart again? You heard him. He's gonna take those kids up that hill tomrrow and send them back to us in pieces.
      BJ: That man is crazy. That doesn't make this right. Some things are wrong, and they're always wrong.
      Hawkeye: Fine, it's wrong. But there are gonna be a hundred boys still alive tomrrow. Go tell them how wrong it is.
      BJ: (outraged) Damn it! Why don't you just stab him? Cutting into a healthy body is mutilation!
      Hawkeye: (chuckles) Don't give me that. There aren't doctors back home who do unnecessary operations? You never heard of that? And for what? For a few bucks.
      BJ: Alright, suppose you get him relieved of his command. What about the guy they send to replace him?
      Hawkeye: He's gonna be better than this guy. He's gotta be.
      BJ: You don't know that for sure, do ya?!
      Hawkeye: So I'll take them one at a time! What have I got to lose?
      BJ: Just your self-respect, that's all! You're a doctor of medicine. You cut into a healthy body, and you're gonna hate yourself for the rest of your life!
      Hawkeye: (angry) I hate myself right now! I hate me and I hate you, and I hate this whole life here! And if I can keep that maniac off the line by a simple appendectomy, I'll be able to hate myself with a clear conscience.
      BJ: All right. You wanna play God, you do it alone!
      Hawkeye: Fine. If you're gonna keep talking about it, put a mask on. I don't wanna run the slightest risk of infection.
      (cuts to the SWAMP, where Hawkeye walks in wearing a bloody apron)
      BJ: So?
      Hawkeye: It was pink and perfect, and I tossed it in the scrap bucket. At least he won't be sending us any more customers for a while.
      BJ: (disappointed) Uh-huh. Radar was just in here. In about 10 minutes they're sending us a batch of wounded.
      Hawkeye: 10 minutes?
      PA Announcer: Attention, attention, all personnel.
      BJ: Time flies.
      PA Announcer: Sorry, folks. Triage in the compound. Looks kinda heavy.
      BJ: You treated a symptom. The disease goes merrily on.
      (Hawkeye looks disgusted)

    • Radar: Hey!
      Klinger: Un gawa! Moo Goo Gai Pan! Hear me, oh Spirits of Darkness! (Points to Potter) That's the guy.

    • Klinger: Father, I gotta talk to you--very important.
      Mulcahy: Certainly. What about this evening after Vespers?
      Klinger: No, no no. Now! It can't wait, Father. You've got to take these from me, they're dangerous in my hands.
      Mulcahy: What is that that smells like a dead chicken?
      Klinger: Oh. This dead chicken. Father, I hate to admit it, and I hate myself for doing it, but I've dabbled in...the occult.
      Mulcahy: I see. Still, that doesn't seem strange from you.
      Klinger: You don't understand! I put this--in this--and wham! I gave Colonel Lacey appendecitis! But I didn't mean to. It was meant for Colonel Potter. Please, you gotta take this from me before I injure somebody else.
      Mulcahy: Klinger, that was just a coincidence. But, if it'll make you feel better...everything but the chicken.
      Klinger: Oh, O.K. I'll give that back to the cook.

    • Col. Potter (About Klinger): Send in the boogie woogie bugle beak.

    • Col. Potter: Sometimes when a man's anxious to stick out a glad hand, it's because he's got something up his sleeve.

  • NOTES (1)

    • This is the second time that Hawkeye takes out a relatively healthy appendix to keep a reckless officer out of action. He did the same thing to Colonel Flagg.