M*A*S*H

Season 7 Episode 21

Rally Round the Flagg, Boys

1
Aired Unknown Feb 14, 1979 on CBS
9.3
out of 10
User Rating
45 votes
1

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Episode Summary

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Rally Round the Flagg, Boys
AIRED:
The sinister Colonel Flagg pops up at the 4077th again, playing his usual spy games, convinced that Hawkeye is a communist sympathizer, after he saves the life of a North Korean soldier. Also, an American soldier is less than impressed.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Edward Winter, adieu.

    9.2
    "Rally 'Round the Flagg, Boys" is one of the best episodes of the season. Comedically, it probably is the best. All thanks to Lt. Col. Flagg, a conniving, pessimistic, paranoid, overzealous man in green who constantly accuses the 4077th of wrongdoing with flashy lines and zero substance.



    M*A*S*H had, by this point, long transitioned into its dramatic phase, but occasionally it continued to dabble with comedy more than drama. This episode (which was directed by star Harry Morgan) was a clear example of this. There was line after line of breezy quips and harsh zingers. From Hawkeye's wonderful "cards" monologue to Flagg's insistence on using colors in his description of "good" soldiers versus skullduggerous soldiers, this episode was inundated with intelligent, rhythmic dialogue. This episode sort of makes me nostalgic for the old M*A*S*H days, which were often as colorful as this episode feels. When M*A*S*H focused on the comedy at the expense of moral/dramatic provocation, it was consistently funny. By this point in the series, you could no longer count on this consistency (comedically), so instead a particularly funny episode was a rare treat rather than a frequent pleasure.



    That is not to say that the dramatic side of M*A*S*H was not a personal preference. On the contrary, I prefer the dramatic side of M*A*S*H, which would turn full bloom in the last few seasons of the show. On the other hand, the show often flourished with a combination of both. And I guess that's something to celebrate.



    Back to the episode, this one was a keeper because of the superb guest appearance of Edward Winter as the perilous Flagg. He had a strange knack for combining quirky spookiness with hilarious paranoia. His straight-faced accusational looks were as great of punch-lines as his stinging dialogue. Winter has the perfect hold of dry humor, which makes many of the revelatory moments in the episode uproarious. When Flagg is finally one-upped by Winchester et al., the resolution is particularly effective because of Winter's performance. M*A*S*H comedy is dependent on actor performance, and Winter succeeds admirably in this case.



    This would be Winter's last appearance on the show. What a shame. He was one of my favorite recurring characters. But he went out with style, as comedic and reprehensible as stylish can be. This is one of the best episodes of the season.moreless
Harry Morgan

Harry Morgan

Colonel Sherman T. Potter (Season 4-11)

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)

Jamie Farr

Jamie Farr

Corporal/Sergeant Maxwell Q. Klinger

Loretta Swit

Loretta Swit

Major Margaret J. "Hot Lips" Houlihan

Neil Thompson

Neil Thompson

Basgall

Guest Star

Bob Okazaki

Bob Okazaki

Doo Pak

Guest Star

Jerry Fujikawa

Jerry Fujikawa

Hung Pak

Recurring Role

James Lough

James Lough

M.P.

Recurring Role

Edward Winter

Edward Winter

Lt.Colonel Flagg

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (1)

    • This entire episode has a glaring plot hole. The whole point of the situation was that Hawkeye operated on a seriously wounded North Korean first, and only then dealt with an American soldier hurt nearly as badly. It's indicated that Pierce took at least two hours for the North Korean. B.J. later states that the American soldier was "Hawkeye's patient" which implies that Hawkeye operated on him, as well. What on Earth were the other three surgeons doing for those two hours? We see B.J. working on the loud-mouthed soldier with the minor injury while Hawkeye is still working on the North Korean. That seriously wounded American soldier should have been one of the first four patients in OR, probably with Charles operating on him.

  • QUOTES (19)

    • Potter: (about Flagg) Well, that's counterintelligence if I ever saw it.

    • Charles: Thank you, Tin Man, I'll get to Tokyo on my own.
      Flagg: I meant to Boston.
      Charles: Mass--Massachusetts?
      Flagg: Fort Devons. Nine to five. Make that four thirty. And then it's home every evening to Wellesley, where you still live with your Mom and Dad and your sister On-or-ree-ah.
      Charles: That's Hon-nor-ria!

    • (Winchester is exiting the mess tent as Flagg is hiding behind the trash cans)
      Flagg: Major...major!
      Winchester: Not funny, whoever you are!
      Flagg: Whoever I am is me, Colonel Flagg.
      Winchester: Hello. Goodbye.
      Flagg: Hold it, Major! Don't make me make you listen to this!
      Winchester: Aren't you the tyrant?
      Flagg: I've got a proposition. Pierce is hiding something. Find out what it is and name your price!
      Winchester: One, you cannot afford my price and, two, what are you talking about?
      Flagg: Don't kid with me! I have no sense of humor.
      Winchester: You could've fooled me.
      Flagg: Pierce is the rottenest apple in this sleazy barrel! I've always thought he was a Communist sympathizer and this business with the North Korean proves that he's a Comm-symp or worse. Problem is, I don't have the proof. You're his bunky, get it!
      Winchester: (chuckling For a man with no sense of humor, you are awfully funny.
      Flagg: Do you believe that I can break your leg with this finger?
      Winchester: Strangely enough, I...I...I do.
      Flagg: Bright boy.

    • (Winchester is setting Flagg up by planting a note at the wounded North Korean's bunk)
      Winchester: Hello, what have we here?
      Flagg: That's for me...whatever it is.
      Winchester: Perhaps it's a note from his superiors excusing him from further questioning!
      Flagg: It's a diagram of a camp.
      Winchester: Looks like this camp.
      Flagg: Looks like this camp.
      Winchester: There's a circle around my quarters.
      Flagg: Pierce's quarters...Ah-so...a little rendezvous! What's this at the bottom? A circle with two arrows in it.
      Winchester: A...clock.
      Flagg: A clock!
      Winchester: Ten o'clock.
      Flagg: Ten o'clock! Yes, I think I can fit that into my schedule.

    • Col. Flagg: Fact! You want out of Korea.
      Winchester: Fact, everybody does.

    • (Col. Potter walks into his office and sees Flagg at his desk)
      Potter: Ahh, pony pucks!

    • Col. Flagg: Potter, you got a wounded Commie officer and as usual you fail to report it.
      Radar: Oh no sir. We did report it.
      Col. Flagg: You mean I worked over my informant just for the fun of it?
      Father Mulcahy: Oh my Lord!
      Col. Flagg: Good cover, but who are you?

    • Charles Winchester: Pierce has a big mouth and he's always butting into other peoples' business, but that makes him obnoxious, not a spy.
      Col. Flagg: Doesn't wash. I'm obnoxious, and I'm a spy.

    • Col. Flagg: Don't play dumb, you're not as good at it as I am.

    • (Col. Flagg leaves)
      Potter: I apologize for this, gentlemen. Can you imagine that idiot thinking we were a spy ring?
      (Winchester laughs softly)
      Hawkeye: Charles, did you have something to do with this?
      Winchester: Of course not, wouldn't waste my time...unless I could get a good laugh out of it.
      (Both Hawkeye and Winchester start laughing)
      Hawkeye: You set him up!
      Joo Pak: I don't get it.
      Potter: The major will explain while he plays.
      Hawkeye: While he plays?
      Potter: I want a partner with something up his sleeve.
      Winchester: Gentlemen, it was an amazing story...the moment I saw Flagg, I knew he was trouble. So I had to find his weak spot. And I did, right above his neck.

    • (Flagg and two MPs are raiding the 'spy ring')
      Col. Potter: Flagg, put your gun down. I don't know how your nimble brain cooked up this goofy plot, but you just bought yourself a peck of trouble.
      Col. Flagg: Says the ring-leader?
      Col. Potter: Do you even know who these two gentlemen are?
      Col. Flagg: I'll get to that when I'm ready ... alright. Who are you?
      Joo Pak: I am Joo Pak.
      Col. Potter: The mayor of Uijongbu.
      Hawkeye: (pointing to the other Korean) And this is his baby brother Hun Pak, chief of police.
      Winchester: Ohhhh! That's right, I remember now. That's who they are.
      Military Policeman: Colonel, I think you've made a little mistake.
      Col. Flagg: I never make little mistakes.
      Hawkeye: You're gonna lose your magic decoder ring for this, Flagg.
      Military Policeman: Sorry folks. Let's go. We should have known this was another of Col. Flagg's red herrings.

    • (Two Koreans walk into Pierce's 'spy ring')
      Col. Flagg: Have you ever seen those men before?
      Winchester: Yes. But we've never been formally introduced. We'll call them Mr. X and Mr. Y.
      (Col. Potter walks into the 'spy ring')
      Winchester: I don't believe this. Maybe we should wait in case MacArthur shows up.
      Col. Flagg: After tonight, every kid in America will wish he were me! All right, let's move in!

    • Flagg: You're mine. Your butt's in my sling.
      Hawkeye: All right, take me, I'm yours.
      Flagg: I knew it, you're one of THOSE too!

    • Hawkeye: In other words I can't handle myself?
      B.J.: I thought I just said that.
      Hawkeye: It must be wonderful being as perfect as you.
      B.J.: I didn't say that. I just meant it wasn't necessary for you to have blown up at him the way you did.
      Hawkeye: Sure, you would've gone over and thanked him for the kind words.
      B.J.: You want me to apologize for being more rational than you are?
      Hawkeye: Excuse me I feel a tantrum coming on.

    • Hawkeye: (Flagg accuses everyone in the Swamp as spies) He's got us guys. We might as well confess. I'm Joe Stalin. Mao Tse-Tung, Marshall Tito, and you already know Lenin. What can I say, we couldn't get a room at the Kremlin.

    • Flagg: You took a yellow red before a white American, which is pretty pinko.
      Hawkeye: You're even boring in technicolor.

    • Hawkeye: I'm reminded of a story, you've probably heard it. The king and queen of this country were playing golf with five clubs. Their son Jack remarked how strange it was that they only had two hearts between them. And just then his sister Little Deucy and her dog Tre started singing 'Four Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend,' whereupon the whole family beat her to death and buried her with two spades.

    • Flagg: This doesn't add up. That map...the evidence...
      Winchester: You of all people should know never to trust a North Korean.
      Col. Potter: Flagg, you'll pay for this, right through your twitchy nose.
      Hun Pak: I got a lot of big contacts at ICORP. They'll fix your wagon.
      Flagg: I see it now...this is bigger than all of you! This is a major conspiracy, and I'll get to the bottom of this even if I have to go right to the top!

    • Flagg: I'm gonna give you a chance, Pierce. Why did you do it?
      Hawkeye: Oh, I don't know. Why does anybody do it?
      Flagg: Now you've done it!
      Hawkeye: Well, you'll have to clean it up. I'm in a hurry.

  • NOTES (4)

    • In the final scene of the episode, Mulcahy suggests to BJ that he take up needlepoint. However, BJ already does needlepoint, as witnessed in the episode 'Inga', that aired earlier in the season.

    • When Hawkeye mentioned Flagg bringing in a wounded prisoner and wanting him to be operated on before he was executed, he was referring something that happened during the episode "Officer of the Day."

    • Although this is Colonel Flagg's final appearance on the series, he does make one more appearance on the short-lived AfterMASH.

    • The seventh and final appearance of Edward Winter as overzealous Army Intelligence agent Colonel Sam Flagg. Apparently, Hung Pak followed through on his pledge to "fix (Flagg's) wagon" with his contacts at I Corps.

  • ALLUSIONS (1)

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