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27 November 2010 @ 10:26 am
Episode 6.17 Tea and Empathy Discussion Post  
Episode 6.17 Tea and Empathy

Plot synopsis:
Father Mulcahy finds himself in a religious predicament after he recalls the confession of a corporal trafficking in stolen medical supplies which the 4077th desperately needs.

original air date: January 17, 1978

original episode discussion post:
aura218aura218 on December 3rd, 2010 08:16 am (UTC)
freddy simpson sold the pharmacy
This episode of MASH is brought to you by the letter P .... for Professional Ethics and the testing thereof.

Opening triage, Charles: "I'd rather not commit myself at this time." That's just evil. 'I'd rather not say if you're going to live or die because I'm afraid you may sue me.' Or whatever. And yet, when Hawkeye snaps at the good Father over the suction, Charles is shocked at Hawkeye's callousness. There's often a gulf between how Charles is written and David's natural acting instincts; I like that the writers evolved Charles as complex and layered but never *nice*.

Anyone else think this British tea subplot is kinda weird and random? The tea and that major both seem to be drawn from a Tarzan cartoon.

This is one of my favorite Mulcahy eps. His moral quandary shows him in a v human light - his obligation to his professional ethics, to God, and to his unit and the men he sees suffer daily. Divulging the secret of the penicillin to Potter isn't an ivory tower scripted guideline he was taught in priest school..He's supposed to show compassion, but with whom should his compassions lie? What makes him a good man? What will God say when he shows his life up on the big jumbotron outside the gates of Heaven?

Meanwhile, BJ is testing his own professional ethics: he must watch a man suffer in order to cure him. BJ's young, he wasn't in practice very long before he was drafted, not long enough to have much experience with drug addicts. He made the decision to keep the patient at the MASH through withdrawal on his own. He could have deferred to Potter or Hawkeye, or sent the patient to the evac. In fact, the evac probably can better care for a withdrawing morphine addict. But the evac wouldn't have kept tabs on the patient as well as one doctor in one small hospital; and deferring to another doctor is just weak. I'd be quaking in my stethoscope if I was Beej -- from my own self-doubt and the bullying the jonesing patient was laying on him.

Margaret and Charles getting caught in the compound: a cute interlude.

Brit postop soldiers: Listening to the letters is painful, it's like Dick van Dyke's chimney sweeps reading from a 60s Mobil travel guide to London. Which is possibly the main research source to writing this scene. On the other hand, every time there was an American in Are You Being Served, he wore a ten gallon hat, cowboy boots, and owned a ranch. in New York.
timberwolf63: aldatimberwolf63 on December 4th, 2010 09:53 pm (UTC)
Re: freddy simpson sold the pharmacy
Anyone else think this British tea subplot is kinda weird and random?
Aw, I quite like it, mainly for the conversation at the end between Hawk and the British guy outside of post-op. Especially: "There are times when it's better to slap a hand rather than hold it." "The story of my love life." "Ah... small wonder." LOL!
mosinging1986 on December 5th, 2010 01:27 am (UTC)
Re: freddy simpson sold the pharmacy
"There are times when it's better to slap a hand rather than hold it." "The story of my love life." "Ah... small wonder." LOL!

Ha! I think I missed that bit the first time around!
mosinging1986 on December 5th, 2010 01:26 am (UTC)
Hey, I'm from Toledo - half my mail comes from Death Row!
Hawk can be pretty brutal to poor Father Mulcahy sometimes. He did apologize this time, but it's not the first time he's said something along the lines of, "YOU CAN'T HAVE HIM YET!"

I want BJ to be my doctor. He's so sweet and supportive, even when he's denying the guy his fix.

I love Fr. Mulcahy in Sneeky Mode.

They're still pushing Margaret/Charles, eh?

Potter is adorable, promising Klinger he'd get him the material to replace his skirt.

As much as I love Hawkeye, it's nice to see his self-righteousness taken down a peg or two once in a while. It's annoying when he shoots off his mouth before knowing all the facts.
aura218aura218 on December 5th, 2010 11:24 am (UTC)
Re: Hey, I'm from Toledo - half my mail comes from Death Row!
Here's my take on it: Hawk and Mulcahy are two characters who epitomize the MASH theme that these are all people who would never have been friends in the real world. It's Hawkeye's inclination that he, as a man of education and science, is somehow 'better' or more important than a priest. And if he hadn't been drafted, Mulcahy would have gone through life thinking of doctors as overly earth-bound men who operate on the vessel, while priests have a higher calling. Sometimes, Hawkeye's arrogance does slip through when he deals with Mulcahy, who I think Hawk sees as superfluous in the operating room unless he's doing corpsman duties. It's Mulcahy's mettle that has forced Hawkeye to respect him.