M*A*S*H

Season 4 Episode 12

Soldier of the Month

3
Aired Unknown Nov 28, 1975 on CBS

Episode Recap

Col. Potter has a meeting with the senior staff during lunch in the mess tent. He says that the doctors have to keep working around the clock until they can figure out what is causing the fever that is going through the camp. He also says that more patients could be coming down with it. They have no idea how to treat it except with supportive care. Potter says that Father Mulcahy is in Seoul doing research on it while he is on R and R. He also says that HQ has a theory that the fever is spread by rat-borne fleas and mites. He asks for volunteers for a control officer who would be responsible for all rats on the base and Hawkeye nominates Frank. Potter also says that morale is a problem and that the War Department has started a Soldier of the Month contest in which the winner would get 6 days of R and R in Tokyo. The candidates would be judged on dress and deportment, and the finalists would take an oral quiz on American history. Frank, as second in command, would be in charge of the contest. Later, in post-op, Hawkeye and BJ see that fever patients are being hydrated with 1000 cc's of fluid by Frank, despite their kidneys are shut down because of the fever. Hawkeye orders that they be sent to the 121st EVAC hospital, where the kidney machine is, because of renal failure. Then Mulcahy arrives back from Seoul and tells Hawkeye and BJ that the fever is called hemorrhagic fever. He found research of Russian and Japanese soldiers coming down with the same fever, with the same symptoms, in northern Manchuria in the late 1930's. Back then the doctors were just as perplexed as the MASH doctors are now. There is no cure, and the only treatment is common sense medicine. Mulcahy also says that they must be careful to restrict fluids, which confirms Hawkeye's suspicions. Later, the quiz and answers arrive and Potter puts them in the company safe. He offers to help Radar with studying for the quiz, but Radar gets them confused with the Bible. Klinger helps Frank put mouse traps out for catching the rats, just for buttering Frank up for the contest. However, one of them gets his knuckle and he quits. Hawkeye then finds the mouse trap that Frank designed and ridicules it. Frank then finally gets sick from the fever. That night, Klinger breaks into the safe, gets the quiz and writes the answers on his body. Meanwhile, Hawkeye and BJ visit Frank in post-op and find him delirious from the fever. He tells them that his mother smacked him when he got sick and also when he got well. When they tell him to rest, he says that no one ever liked him. He even confesses that he is 'dating' Margaret. The quiz takes place, with Radar, Klinger, Zale, and Igor the finalists. Hawkeye and BJ give the quiz in place of Frank. Klinger says that he is in full uniform, even down to his skivvies. Radar gets the first couple of questions right, and Hawk and Beej comment on the positions that Klinger takes; he does them to read the answers that he wrote on his body. Meanwhile, Margaret convinces Frank to dictate a will to Father Mulcahy. Back at the quiz, Radar is getting more questions, Zale says he knows state capitals, and Klinger answers a question, but he says the answer backwards, which exposes his cheating. Frank dictates his will, in which he leaves his money, car, and house to his wife, the profits to his prescription kickbacks to his kids, and the ledger they are in, and to Margaret, his clothes. However, Margaret is sitting at the desk and hears everything. Later, Radar prepares to leave for Tokyo as the winner of the contest and Frank goes to the latrine for the first time since he got the fever. Margaret thanks Hawkeye and BJ for saving Frank's life. Potter warns Radar to be careful in Tokyo. Frank has a successful trip to the latrine and feels much better, so Margaret leads him between two tents and punches him in the jaw for his leaving her his clothes. A few days later, a drunk Radar is brought back to camp by an MP. He also has a list of charges against Radar, including drunk and disorderly, trying to drink the ink at a tattoo parlor, and swimming 50 laps in a eight-foot hothouse tub.
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