M*A*S*H

Season 5 Episode 20

The General's Practitioner

4
Aired Unknown Feb 15, 1977 on CBS

Episode Recap

Part One: A jeep pulls up and a colonel gets out and heads for the office. In the OR, after BJ makes a comment about wanting generals to 'strip down to their BVD's and have at it with baseball bats while the rest of us stay home', Frank says that he doesn't have a patriotic bone in his body. Hawkeye said that Frank flunked anatomy because he thinks there are patriotic bones. He asks a nurse for four-oh silk; she says they only have three-oh, and he says he'll take it and she owes him one. Frank says he doesn't understand wanting to fight for his country, then Hawkeye says that this isn't his country. Frank says that if they weren't there, the Communists would take over. Both Hawk and BJ say they can have it. Klinger says that if the Commies want to rule the world 'they should 'try and run Newark. In two weeks they'd end up in the trunk of a Buick.' Radar comes in and tells Col. Potter there is a Col. Bidwell to see him. Potter says he's busy; Radar says Bidwell says it is urgent. Potter starts to curse, then says he will be there when he's finished, which is what Radar says he told Bidwell. In pre-op, Bidwell introduces himself as an I-Corps operations officer and asks who his best doctor is. Potter tells him Hawkeye is and Bidwell says he'll take him to be the personal physician to I-Corps commander Gen. Theodore Korshak. Potter says that Hawkeye is the man if the general was being carried in on a stretcher, but not as a personal physician. Bidwell insists if Hawkeye is the best, Korshak wants him and asks why. Potter says that Hawkeye is a maverick. Bidwell says that he isn't G.I. and Potter says 'He isn't even housebroken.' Bidwell still wants to meet him so Potter invites him into the OR. He has a nurse put a mask on Bidwell's face and tells him that there are soldiers alive because Hawk is there and he doesn't want to lose him. Bidwell asks if the general should settle for second best and Potter asks 'Are you saying we should?' Back in the OR, the discussion goes to war. When Frank says war is hell, Hawkeye says war is not hell and of the two war is worst. Father Mulcahy asks why that is, and Hawk asks him who goes to hell. Mulcahy says sinners do and Hawkeye says that there are no innocent bystanders in hell but almost everyone in war is, except for a few of the brass. Suddenly  the patient he is working on loses his pulse. Margaret, working anesthesia, tells him no pulse, but Hawkeye starts to pound on his chest. He gets adrenaline and bicarb from the nurses and works feverishly to revive the patient. He gets a rib spreader and starts massaging the heart, saying 'Don't let the bastard win!' Soon after, Margaret gets a pulse from the patient and he stabilizes. Everyone except Frank congratulates him. Hawk goes back to work, and Frank says it wasn't the patient's turn. BJ replies that it would be his turn if Frank was working on him. Bidwell gets in the way of the work and Hawkeye tells him to leave. Potter asks him if he's seen enough and they leave. As Potter takes Bidwell back to his jeep, he tells Bidwell that he said that Hawkeye wasn't the man for the general. Bidwell calls him a fine doctor but undisciplined. Potter adds that Hawkeye hates brass and that the only medical attention generals require is a daily high colonic. Bidwell asks Potter what Hawkeye meant when he said 'Don't let the bastard win.' Potter says he meant death, that he is a sore loser. Bidwell says that death is part of life and war, and that they are soldiers. Potter says that when it comes to death, Hawkeye is a sore loser, that he'll always take it personally. Bidwell says that someone could crack up with that attitude and Potter says he's a good man to stay away from. In the mess tent, Hawkeye says that he feels like they are not doctors, but mechanics. He says that doctors fix people so they can go on living, but they fix people so they can go back and get killed. Frank says he is not a mechanic, but a surgeon and a gentleman. Hawkeye says 'He uses the right fork and the wrong knife.' BJ says he says 'excuse me' when he leaves the table after a patient of his dies. Frank says that Hawkeye gave the unit a black eye after the way he talked to Bidwell and BJ retorts that Frank gave it a black armband. Later, a corpsman named Mulligan talks with Radar. He says he heard that Mulligan had gotten his discharge and was going back home to Bitter Creek, Wyoming. He asks Radar to take care of a Korean girl he likes named Mai Ping. Surprised, he agrees and Mulligan takes him to meet her at Rosie's Bar. He leaves and a nervous Radar makes conversation with her. She takes him to his her hut and she shows him something that Mulligan didn't tell him about: their baby, named Lee Chin. They go to her hut and she gives him Mulligan's slippers. In the Swamp, Hawkeye mulls over the human foot. BJ says that he'll take two in his size; Hawk says there are none in his size. Potter comes in and tells them about how Hawkeye had blown his chance to be Gen. Korshak's physician with his attitude in OR. Potter called him rude, crude and disrespectful. BJ calls it the 'triple threat' and Hawk says 'And I wasn't even in my swim fins.' Potter says he was 'absolutely disgraceful, and I think I'll buy you a drink!' However, later Korshak is on his way to the camp. Bidwell says that he won't like Hawkeye, calling him 'a real hardnose.' Korshak says 'That makes two of us.'

Part Two: Klinger is in the kitchen. Radar comes in and takes some eggs. Klinger greets him and he tries to hide the eggs, but Klinger tells him there is a new invention called the bag. He gives him a bag and tells him to take all he wants. He asks Radar how he likes being a father, and he says that he's not the father, but sort of a foster uncle. He then takes a head of lettuce but it breaks some of the eggs and he asks if kids like their eggs scrambled. BJ accompanies Radar down to Mai Ping's hut. He tells BJ that he worries a lot about the baby. BJ calls him a good father. Radar says that he isn't the father, but BJ says he's still a good one. Radar asks him what it's like being a real father and he says 'You worry a lot.' Radar says he really worries when he doesn't get a chance to see the baby. BJ asks if he is involved with Mai Ping and he says they are just friends. BJ says he envies Radar because he has a family. Radar is surprised because BJ is an officer and a doctor. BJ says that having a father is better than both of those things. Radar says that he appreciates him coming along to give the baby a checkup. He says that sometimes the baby cries, and asks if it could be because he's hungry. BJ says 'Could be, there's a lot of that going around.' Radar points out the hut and they cross the road; a moment later, Korshak's jeep passes by. It comes into camp and he and Bidwell come into the office. Potter is drinking a toast to his wife when they enter. Korshak asks for a drink, then asks about Hawkeye. Potter says that he hates generals more than 'watered gin and earaches pit together.' Korshak says that he hates them too, that there isn't one that's 'worth his weight in Spam.' He asks to see Hawkeye now. BJ gives Lee Chin a clean bill of health. Mai Ping says that the baby looks like Radar. He says maybe in the eyes. Korshak asks if Hawkeye is a real pistol and he says 'Only when I'm loaded.' Korshak says Potter said he was the best and Hawkeye says he drinks; Potter replies 'Only in groups of one...or more. Korshak asks him about his medical background and he gives sarcastic answers. Korshak insists he wants him but Hawk says he's not interested. Korshak says he has enough ribbons and medals to cover the wall. Hawkeye tells him to bring them because they'll liven up the place; Potter says he's not moving his pictures. Korshak grabs his stars and says that people don't hand them out, that he got them by not taking no for an answer. Hawk grabs his collar and says there would be a medical insignia there. He asks how he got that, and Korshak says 'By working your butt off?' Hawk says yes, and asks him if he would let him do what he was trained to do--be a doctor. Korshak asks to see him in action, so he gets a complete physical. Margaret assists; Hawk tells the general that his blood pressure is very high and he says to blame it on Margaret. She asks if he knows her fiance', Donald. He says he knows a Penobscot: no neck and one eyebrow. She says that is him. Hawk asks where his one eyebrow is and Korshak says it's over both. Then they goo to do x-rays of his lungs. Meanwhile, Radar is holding the baby when Mulligan comes back. She goes to her and he says he got to Seoul when he realized that he couldn't leave them. They say they love each other and kiss. Mulligan thanks Radar and he says that he didn't do much, just took care of the baby. He puts his teddy bear in the crib, gives Mulligan back his slippers and shakes his hand. He goes to leave, but Mai Ping stops him and gives him back the teddy bear. Radar says thanks, the baby waves at him and he leaves. Back at camp, Korshak says he'll give up everything except his cigars and Scotch. Hawk says that he should sign up with him as long as he can come back after his funeral. He insists that he is headed for a stroke soon, six months at the outside. He says that he's overweight without the medals. He says there are two ways to avoid it, to either check into the hospital in Tokyo and get himself in shape, or sit on a land mine. Korshak says that if he's trying to scare him, he's not succeeding. Hawk says that he's lucky, that unlike most of the soldiers that come through the camp, he has the choice to live or die. Korshak insists he has a war to fight. He tells Hawkeye to pack. He starts to leave but Hawkeye stops him. He tells the general that if he takes his advice he can live to be an 'old Korshak' but he doesn't need him to count his calories. He says that he can save a lot of kids if he stays in camp. He says that the brass always says the men come first and asks if they do or not. Korshak says they do and tells Hawkeye to stay. He says he can take orders too and Hawk orders a corned beef on rye with mustard. Korshak laughs, calls him a pistol, and leaves. Hawk yells 'Don't forget the ribbons for the wall!'
Epilogue: In Potter's office, Frank asks for his recommendation for Korshak's personal physician. Potter gives it, and so do Hawkeye and BJ. Frank asks Potter if he could write the general a letter outlining his qualifications. Potter agrees, pulls out a sheet of paper and asks what they are. Frank talks about his thriving practice back home; Hawk says they're thriving because he's not there. Frank then says he has a splendid war record, so Hawk reminds him of the time he dropped bubble gum in a patient. He and BJ then go through all of his mistakes. Frank whines that the colonel is writing it all down but he says it may help. Hawk mentions Margaret also.

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