M*A*S*H

Season 1 Episode 17

Sometimes You Hear the Bullet

1
Aired Unknown Jan 28, 1973 on CBS
9.1
out of 10
User Rating
76 votes
4

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Episode Summary

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Sometimes You Hear the Bullet
AIRED:
Frank throws his back out whilst spending the evening with Margaret, and ends up in traction. He promptly applies for the Purple Heart, having been 'technically' wounded at a frontline unit. Tommy Gillis, an old friend of Hawkeye's, is writing a book about the war, and pays him a visit. Later, Tommy is brought into the camp, seriously wounded, and Hawkeye can't save him. A 15-year-old kid is in the hospital to have his appendix out. He joined up to be a hero back home, but Hawkeye has him sent home, giving him Frank's purple heart.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • goofs

    4.0
    RON Howard Was actually 18!!!

    Synicated prints have the part of hawkeye giving Pvt Wendel frank purple haeart
  • frank gets a purple heart for hurting his back while his with hotlips. and a 14 year old boy wants to go back to the front so he can impress a girl from his home town.moreless

    10
    frank hurts his back while his with hot lips. and a 14 year old boy played by a young ron howard is wounded and wants to go back to the front. hawkeye will not send him back because he is too young and dosent want to see him dead. frank applys for a purple heart. which he dose'nt deserve. an old friend of hawkeye a writer comes to say hello to hawkeye they then say goodbye. later on the wounded arrive one of them is hawyeyes old friend. the promblem is that he cant save his friend and he dies. he then deceiceds to save the young boy by giving him franks purple heart and sends him home.moreless
  • One of Hawkeyes childhood friends comes to the 4077th to write a book on the war. Later returning baddly wounded and Hawkeye couldn't save him. Meanwhile Hawkeye also must deal with a 15 year old boy who lied about is age to enter the war and Frank beingmoreless

    10
    This is truly the greatest episode of M*A*S*H ever made. Do not get me wrong, this was, in my opinion, the best show ever made and this is the greatest single episode in history. When Hawkeye loses one of his oldest friends, it prompts Col. Blake to give him some of the best advice he had ever given. The first rule of war is young people die. The second rule is doctors cannot change rule number 1. If that does not make chills go down your spine nothing will. But of course no episode of M*A*S*H would complete without some comic relief given to us as Frank applies for a Purple Heart after injuring his back with Hot Lips. Of course, Hawkeye always makes things as right as possible, steals the medal to give to a 15 year old boy being shipped back to the states. This is a truly defining episode in a great series.moreless
  • This is it, the episode that made M*A*S*H the greatest show on American T.V.

    10
    For the most part, this episode seemed like most of the others, but it soon becomes the episode that defined the series. The writers did a great job introducing Hawkeye's friend Tommy Gillis and presenting his as loveable and friendly as Hawkeye himself, who did not come here to kill but to write about the war, albeit as a soldier. The show then takes a turn when Tommy returns to the 4077 as a patient, seriously wounded, and despite Hawkeye's best efforts, dies on the table. For the rest of the episode, Hawkeye is heartbroken over the death of his friend; and the episode does an excellent job of making us fell his pain right along with him.moreless
Gary Burghoff

Gary Burghoff

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

Larry Linville

Larry Linville

Major Franklin Delano Marion Burns (Season 1-5)

Loretta Swit

Loretta Swit

Major Margaret J. "Hot Lips" Houlihan

McLean Stevenson

McLean Stevenson

Lt. Colonel Henry Braymore Blake (Season 1-3)

Alan Alda

Alan Alda

Captain Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce

Wayne Rogers

Wayne Rogers

Captain John Francis Xavier "Trapper" McIntyre (Season 1-3)

James Callahan

James Callahan

Tommy Gillis

Guest Star

Ron Howard

Ron Howard

Wendell Peterson

Guest Star

Fred Lerner

Fred Lerner

Patient #1

Guest Star

Lynette Mettey

Lynette Mettey

Lt. Nancy Griffin

Recurring Role

John Orchard

John Orchard

Ugly John

Recurring Role

William Christopher

William Christopher

Father John Patrick Francis Mulcahy

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (4)

    • The time frame for Hawkeye & Tommy's friendship couldn't be right. They were in fourth grade when they met so if you figure the age would be about 10 + 15 years = 25 - Hawkeye wouldn't yet be out of Medical School... 4 year college degree + 4 years of Med school = 26 and he sure wouldn't have had time to do a 4 year residency in thoracic surgery.

    • In reality, instead of receiving a purple heart, Frank would have been discharged from the military for throwing his back out. Back problems were grounds for automatic disqualification from military service during the Korean War.

    • When Hawkeye is looking for Wendell he exits the Post-Op Ward, but when the camera shot goes outside we see Hawkeye exiting again.

    • Hawkeye lifts Wendell's arm, takes his pulse and lays his arm down by his side again. In the next shot, Wendell's arm is across his chest.

  • QUOTES (12)

    • (Frank Burns is about to get his Purple Heart. Meanwhile, Radar looks in the medal box and notices that something is wrong.)
      Henry: 'And because said injuries were sustained at a MASH unit in a zome of armed combat, the Secretary of the Army hereby declares that Franklin D. Burns, Major, U. S. Army reserves...'
      Radar: Uh, sir?
      Henry: '...shall be awarded the Order of the Purple Heart.'
      Radar: Uh, sir?
      Henry: May I have the medal, please?
      (Radar gives Henry the medal box and Henry opens it up.)
      Henry: Frank, here is your purple earring. (Everybody looks stunned.)
      Henry: Earring?!
      (Meanwhile, Hawkeye is pinning a Purple Heart on Wendell just as he is getting ready to leave the MASH unit.)
      Hawkeye: I guess you didn't know that having your appendix out at a line unit qualified you for the Purple Heart?
      Wendell: No, I sure didn't. Gee, you really got it for me fast, Hawkeye.
      Hawkeye: Well, there are ways.
      (Hawkeye shakes Wendell's hand.)
      Hawkeye: Give my love to Bernice.
      Wendell: I will.
      Trapper: Have a good trip, Wendell.
      Wendell: (correcting him) Walter.
      Trapper: Both of you!
      (Wendell gets in the jeep and is driven off. As soon as he leaves, Hot Lips is walking a wobbly Frank out of the Post-Op.)
      Hot Lips: Out of the way there! Move!
      Hawkeye: Well, aren't we grumpy today?
      Hot Lips: Well, what do you expect? Somebody's stolen Frank's medal!
      Hawkeye: It's not everybody who wins a purple earring.

    • (After putting his back out in Hot Lips' tent, Frank Burns is dumped in the middle of the camp by Hot Lips while she erases the mud tracks from her tent. Hawkeye and Trapper come to help.)
      Hawkeye: What's the matter, Frank?
      Frank: It's my---
      Hot Lips: His back. It's his back.
      Trapper: How did it happen?
      Frank: Well, I---
      Hot Lips: (points to the right) He fell on his way to the shower. (points to the left) He was coming from that direction. From his tent, I guess. (points to the right) Going in that direction. (points to the left) The showers.
      Hawkeye: Were you directing traffic at the time of the accident, Officer?
      Hot Lips: Don't get snippy, Captain! Trapper: Frank, do you have a history with your back?
      Frank: Oh, it goes out every few years. Last time was V-J Day in Times Square when this big sailor hugged me.
      Hawkeye: Let's get him to the Post-Op and string him up. Maybe traction will help.
      Frank: Oh, traction helps. Usually a day or two in traction---
      Trapper: Now, wait a minute, Frank. I'm the doctor here.
      Hawkeye: I thought I was the doctor here.
      Trapper: Actually, we're ALL doctors here. Even the patient's a doctor here.
      Hawkeye: Here, here!
      Hot Lips: Will you clowns act like professionals? That man is hurt! He's probably in shock!
      Hawkeye: He'll be in divorce court if you don't erase the tracks from your tent.

    • Hawkeye: How old are you?
      Wendell: 20... Well actually, I'm 18.
      Hawkeye: For someone who's both 20 and 18 you look awfully 16 to me!

    • Wendell: I'm a Marine. We're the best!
      Hawkeye: I'm a coward. We're the worst.

    • (Hawkeye turns Wendell in)
      Wendell: I'm never gonna forgive you for this! Not for the rest of my life!
      (Hawkeye turns and looks at him)
      Hawkeye: Let's hope it's a long and healthy hate.

    • (talking about Wendell)
      Trapper: You know, I'd swear this kid is really a kid.
      Hawkeye: I guess if they're tall enough to reach the trigger, they're old enough to enlist.

    • Trapper: Tommy Gillis, you're a genuine lunatic. Come back and see us soon.
      Tommy: Right. We'll split a nurse.

    • (Henry finds Hawkeye after Tommy dies)
      Henry: Pierce, is there anything I can do to help?
      Hawkeye: This is the first time I cried since I came to this crummy place. I don't understand that.
      Henry: Well, Gillis was your friend. I mean, it's only natural that you'd, uh...you know...
      Hawkeye: Henry, I know why I'm crying now. Tommy was my friend and I watched him die and I'm crying. I've watched guys die almost every day, why didn't I ever cry for them?
      Henry: Because you're a doctor.
      Hawkeye: What the hell does that mean?
      Henry: I don't know. If I had the answer, I'd be at the Mayo Clinic. Does this place look like the Mayo Clinic? Look, all I know is what they taught me at command school: There are certain rules about a war, and rule number one is young men die, and rule number two is, doctors can't change rule number one.
      Hawkeye: Do you believe that?
      Henry: I don't know. Do you?
      Hawkeye: I don't know, but I know one doctor who can keep one young man from dying in one war.

    • (Hawkeye doesn't like having his date interrupted)
      Hawkeye: Hot Lips, if you don't get out of here, I'll shoot you.
      Radar: It's not Hot Lips, it's Radar.
      Hawkeye: Radar, if you don't get out of here, I'll shoot Hot Lips.

    • (In Post-Op)
      Frank: What are you doing here, Pierce?
      Hawkeye: Well, I have a stethoscope fetish. This is the only place I can wear one without attracting attention.

    • Tommy: I'm keeping my country safe from the Communist menace!
      Hawkeye: You used to be a Communist!
      Tommy: Then I'm keeping my country safe from me!
      Trapper: Oh, I'll drink to that.

    • Hawkeye: (About Frank) Henry, you're not going to endorse this idiot's application, are you?
      Margaret: That's Major to you, Captain!
      Hawkeye: Henry, you're not going to endorse this major idiot's application, are you?

  • NOTES (2)

    • In January 2007 TVLand added M*A*S*H* to its nightly line-up. To make room on their schedule to do this, they removed the show Happy Days. In a cute ad, they addressed this, comparing the two shows in various ways (i.e. Both shows set in the 50s featuring some actors with 70s haircuts, Fonzie and Hawkeye both going from sinner to saint during the run of the show, etc.). They use a shot of Col Blake (making a toast) saying "Happy Days!", and the announcer again states that TVLand hopes people will understand the change. Then as the end shot in a very clever touch they use the clip of Happy Days star Ron Howard from his guest appearence in this episode saying "I'll never forgive you for this!"

    • Larry Gelbart has identifed this episode as the first to show the potential M*A*S*H had to rise above the 'Zany adventures Doctors have at the front' label that critics at the time were using to dismiss the show.

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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