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Season 4 Episode 9

Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler?

Aired Unknown Nov 07, 1975 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
53 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler?
Intelligence officer Colonel Flagg, and psychiatrist Sidney Freedman, grapple over the fate of a wounded officer, Captain Chandler, who claims to be Jesus Christ. Perhaps the most poignant scene is when Radar asks Chandler to bless his teddy bear.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • The epitome of the word 'dramedy'

    Although my enjoyment of MASH tends to be skewed in favor of the more zany and irreverent aspects of the show, one cannot dispute the amazing power of 'Qou Vadis, Captain Chandler'. MASH was a spectacularly funny show, but it was its ability to so perfectly straddle the line between comedy and tragedy that made it truly legendary. While numerous examples of this abound during the run of the series, 'Quo Vadis' is perhaps one of the best. Between the gut-wrenching pathos of Alan Fudge's character and the witty sparring between Freedman and Flagg, this is probably one of the best examples of how potent television can be when comedy and drama are mixed in the correct proportions. Truly an epic piece of television.moreless
  • A wounded bombadier thinks he is Jesus Christ.

    As a reaction to the horror of war, it is quite a plausible idea to think someone could forget their own identity. It is a thought that is touched on in another episode of MASH, "The Billfold Syndrome". The thought of soldiers not wanting to kill is liberally spread throught the run of the series, especially between seasons 5 through 8. As for the episode, it is one of the best ever written. The interplay between Flagg and Freedman is highly enjoyable. The one thing that confused me a little was the reaction of Burns and Houlihan, in that the the supposed "blasphemy" bothered them so much. We know Frank is supposedly religious (though never lives up to it), but Margaret? Radar was the star however, bringing Chandler 2 cups of juice, and the moment at the end when he asked "Christ" to bless his teddy bear ("Christ", in turn, blessing Radar) was a great example of the power of faith. Overall, a fantastic episode.moreless
  • A wounded soldier claims that he is Jesus Christ and while Frank and Margaret are obviously upset, the others try to help the man. Sidney is brought in to evaluate this soldier while Flagg crashes party.moreless

    A wonderful episode in that it succesfully handles an extremely controversial subject but maintains a lighthearted quality with Colonel Flagg providing most of it. But the crux of this episode comes solely from the struggle of a man who snapped under the pressure of the war. The sheer pain that this character eminates when he asks why he would bomb his children is profound and wrenching. The fact that this Captain Chandler continues to believe that he is Jesus in reaction to the tragedy is sobering. He could not hold onto his own identity amidst the death that he was directly causing. In fact, the only way he escaped was to become someone who could not kill. In most episodes of M*A*S*H characters either adapt to life-changing situation (ie losing a leg), survive intact, or some cases die. But in this episode, Chandler does not survive intact, does not die, and he cannot adapt because Chandler is buried so deep or erased in the persona of Christ. To see the permanemt psycological affects on this man is a harsh reality that is rare in TV. Again, M*A*S*H continues with producing a memorable moment: Chandler blesses Radar's bear, Walter (Radar himself), and the entirety of the 4077th before boarding a bus and leaving. The moment, which could have been too melodramatic, is simple and surprisingly elegant.moreless
Alan Alda

Alan Alda

Captain Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce

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

Larry Linville

Larry Linville

Major Franklin Delano Marion Burns (Season 1-5)

Loretta Swit

Loretta Swit

Major Margaret J. "Hot Lips" Houlihan

Alan Fudge

Alan Fudge

Captain Arnold Lawrence Chandler

Guest Star

Allan Arbus

Allan Arbus

Sidney Freedman

Recurring Role

Edward Winter

Edward Winter

Lt.Colonel Flagg

Recurring Role

Kellye Nakahara

Kellye Nakahara

Kellye (uncredited)

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (17)

    • (Major Burns and Major Houlihan are talking to Colonel Potter about Captain Chandler who claims to be Jesus Christ.)
      Houlihan: Colonel, we're speaking of our Saviour.
      Burns: We want to be sure--
      Houlihan: That certain parties---
      Burns: Don't help that yellow-backed hoodwink the U. S. Army in which, I for one, so proudly serve!
      Houlihan: We so.
      Potter: You're referring to--
      Burns: Pierce and Hunnicutt.
      Houlihan: Is who he's referring to.
      Potter: Oh, you've hated them since they stuck a turtle in your shorts.
      Burns: Well, this has nothing to do with that!
      Potter: What is it you think they're planning to do?
      Burns: Well, who knows? All these bleeding-heart liberals are the same! Let a man claim to be an underdog and they will do anything they can for him!
      Potter: You regard Jesus Christ as an underdog?
      Burns: Well, he didn't exactly run roughshod over the Greeks.
      Houlihan: (correcting him) Romans.

    • Flagg: His name is Chandler, Arnold T. He's a bombadeer with the 128th. His plane was shot down two days ago, at which time he recieved his alleged wounds.
      Hawkeye: (to BJ) I told you they were alleged wounds. That's why I gave him all that alleged plasma.
      Flagg: (threatening) You're lucky I got a sense of humor!

    • Hawkeye: Goes against my training to say 'take two aspirin and go get yourself killed'. What would Hippocrates say? What would Socrates say? (to nurse) And what would you say if I asked you if you wanted to go in the linen closet for several minutes of heavy breathing?
      Frank: Are you gonna knock it off?
      Hawkeye: That's what I'm trying to find out.
      Margaret: Disgusting!
      Hawkeye: (sighs) Oh, Lord. (to patient) Sorry, I wasn't talking to you.

    • (Flagg is trying to bully Col.Potter into giving him Chandler)
      Flagg: I either want Chandler's highly trained thumb up there pushing the button, or I want to get him for dereliction of duty.
      Hawkeye: Why don't we just remove his thumb and send that over to the 428th?
      Flagg: Colonel.
      Col. Potter: Colonel?
      Flagg: When can I have him? Give me a medical decision now. The last C.O. they had here couldn't make a decision without a month's warning.
      Col. Potter: I'm not fond of personal abuse, Colonel. I was in this man's army when the only thumb you cared about was the one you had in your mouth!

    • (Frank is saying Hawkeye and Hunnicutt are trying to help Chandler get out of the army)
      Frank: I'm telling you, those two hotshots will do anything they can to give the red, white, and blue a black eye.
      Col. Potter: Horse hockey. Pardon my French. As long as I'm in charge around here, which will be another seventeen months, two weeks, six days-- there will be no shenanigans. I do not approve of carrying tales. Evidence is one thing. Innuendo is another!

    • (Frank, Margaret, and Col. Potter are talking about Captain Chandler)Z
      Margaret: Just what do you intend doing about it, Col. Potter? It's an outrage.
      Frank: Something has to be done about this person calling himself Christ.
      Col. Potter: Why?
      Margaret: (shocked) WHY? Did you say "Why?"
      Col. Potter: It wasn't him. It must've been me. Oh come off it Major. Who's this fella hurting?
      Frank: (sounding angry) He should be court-martialed for cowardice!
      Margaret: (sounding angry) And blasphemy!
      Frank: And blasphemy!
      Margaret: And cowardice!
      Frank: And cowardice! The effrontery of the man! A mere captain claiming to be... him.
      Col. Potter: But I don't see how that pertains. If a man says he's Christ, he might just become a better Christian. I mean, if I had a horse who was convinced he was Man O' War, I don't know that I'd want to set him straight--if you get my drift.

    • (Hawkeye and BJ erupt in laughter after seeing Klinger, who's dressed up as Moses!)
      Klinger: Sir, can you get Dr. Freedman back here, the psychiatrist?
      BJ: On what grounds?
      Klinger: I'm Moses, right?
      BJ: (chuckles some more) Freedman's in Tokyo, Klinger.
      Hawkeye: You take the first left in the road, and then when you come to it, you part the Sea of Japan!
      Klinger: Oh, ye of little faith!
      BJ: That's Matthew.
      Klinger: Maybe I'm him then! I'll be anyone to get out! Moses, Matthew, Doc, Grumpy, Sneezy, (walks away) Bashful, Dopey, Happy...

    • Potter: Well, Dr. Freedman, what's the diagnosis?
      Sidney: He's Christ.
      Potter: If you look closely, you may notice I'm not laughing.
      Sidney: Okay, he's not Christ. But he's also not Chandler.
      Flagg: Psycho-analytical double talk.
      Sidney: The man's a victim.
      Flagg: (sounding annoyed) Bucking for a ticket stateside. All we have to do is stuff the guts back in him.
      Hawkeye: Frank builds the cross, and he's the nail salesman.
      Sidney: You're a victim too, Flagg. But you're such an unbelievable example of walking fertilizer, it's hard for me to care. (to Colonel Potter) Colonel, some men lose an arm, or a hand or a leg. Chandler lost himself. He's not playing a game. He spent two years dropping bombs on people who never did anything to him, until finally something inside this kid from Idaho said, 'Enough! You're Christ, you're not a killer. The next bomb you drop, you drop on yourself.'
      Potter: What do you suggest, Doctor?
      Sidney: I think that with a lot of the right kind of help, we may be able to turn him back into Arnold Chandler. We'll never be able to turn him back into a fighting tool. And it's my professional advice that we don't try.

    • Flagg: I've got to nip this rotten apple in the bud! This sort of action's contagious. One man decides he's not gonna fight, it catches on, the next thing, you know what you've got on your hands?
      B.J.: Peace?

    • (Klinger enters Radar's office wearing a dress and a flowered hat, singing 'The More I See You')
      Flagg: You!
      Klinger: What?
      Flagg: This is the Army, soldier!
      Klinger: I get that feeling, too.
      Flagg: Hey!
      Klinger: What?
      Flagg: The next time I see you, Tinkerbell, you'd better be in uniform and as GI as General MacArthur, you hear me?
      Klinger: Loud and clear, Mary.
      (salutes Flagg, starts singing again and leaves)

    • Radar (about his teddy bear): I know he's not real, but we're very close.

    • Sidney: Tell me, is it true that God answers all prayers?
      Chandler: Yes. (a tear runs down his cheek) Sometimes the answer is no.

    • Sidney: He's what Freud used to call "spooky."
      Hawkeye: On the other hand, if Flagg wasn't mean, rotten, and crazy, he wouldn't have any personality at all.

    • Sidney: I'd like to go on talking to you, Flagg, but with your schizophrenia I'd have to charge you double time. Now if you'll excuse me, I've already kept Jesus waiting five minutes.

    • (talking about Flagg)
      Sidney: He's got a few bugs in his filter.
      Potter: A little locoweed must have gotten mixed in with his feed. He always carry on like that?
      BJ: I think he's been sniffing his invisible ink.

    • Flagg: You are very smart, Freedman.
      Hawkeye: I told you.
      Flagg: You're only saying Chandler flipped out so I will have you busted and you can return to your safe, cozy civilian practice.
      BJ: He's on to you, Sid.
      Flagg: You're not smart, Freedman, you're dumb, very dumb! But you met your match in me! (BJ chuckles)

    • Flagg: Major Freedman?
      Freedman: Yeah?
      Flagg: Col. Flagg, We played poker once.
      Freedman: Oh, sure. With Intelligence right?
      Flagg: I have nothing to do with intelligence.
      Freedman: Better, you won't get worry lines.

  • NOTES (7)

    • In this episode, Klinger temporarily stops wearing women's clothing to dress up as Moses in yet another unsuccessful attempt to get his Section 8.

    • Watch the birdie, starting with this episode, Flagg is a full Colonel, not a Lt. Col.

    • For the first time in the series, we learn that Radar's name is actually Walter.

    • This a unique episode in that there is no laugh track [The DVD edition has no option for 'no laugh track', and has no laugh track]- apparently CBS felt that any laugh track associated with this particular story line might be considered blasphemy.

    • When Col. Flagg introduces himself to Freedman he tells him that they played poker together once. Would this be in episode #37 "Deal Me Out" when he went under the name of Captain Halloran?

    • After an unsuccessful sojourn in the Friday night slot, the show returns to Tuesday nights, @ 8:30.

    • This is the first of 8 episodes written by Burt Prelutsky. The last is episode 132.