Check-Up was the sixth episode of Season 3 of the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H, also the 55th overall series episode. Written by Laurence Marks, and directed by Don Weis, it first aired on October 22, 1974.


Trapper gets an ulcer and a ticket home. Unfortunately, his going-away party is spoiled by a new Army regulation which forces him to stay.

Full episode summaryEdit

It's time for physicals at the 4077th. Frank, Hawkeye, and Trapper are assigned to do the physicals for all the enlisted men while Margaret screens the nurses. The officers have to do physicals on each other – Hawkeye is thrilled to do Margaret's physical, but Trapper doesn't want Frank - or anyone else - anywhere near him.

Trapper is in noticeable pain, but doesn't let on to Hawkeye. It must be painful, for Trapper tosses his martini and instead fills his glass with antacid. Henry gives Radar his physical. His tonsils need to come out (but not for a few more seasons) and his glands check out fine. Henry has him strip to the waist and is surprised to see Radar is wearing four shirts (Radar's folks said the skin is the “devil’s slipcover”) and has an anchor tattoo on his right arm.

Margaret's physical is uneventful. She is pronounced to be fit, but Hawkeye tells her rather callously to stop grazing between meals and lose ten pounds. Now it's Trapper's turn for a physical, but he won't let Frank touch him. Hawkeye senses something is up and gets Trapper to admit he has an ulcer, but does not want to be treated at the 4077th. Hawkeye reminds Trapper if he has a hole in his belly, that's his ticket home. An x-ray confirms a 1.2cm ulcer and Henry tells Trapper he is on his way home.

Trapper starts to pack his stuff and is looking forward to sleeping on clean sheets and eating non-powdered food. Hawkeye starts to get choked up and gives Trapper a sincere thank you for making this experience bearable and for being honest and open. A misting Trapper manages a “No charge.”

Just before Trapper leaves for his going-away party in the Officers’ Club, Radar brings him a message from HQ informing him to report to Tokyo General for three weeks of therapy. Trapper is baffled with the news and Radar updates him the Army does not let people go home for ulcers anymore. After the three-week therapy, Trapper will be most likely reassigned to another unit, but he can also elect to stay at the 4077th if he's willing to get treatment there.

Trapper attends his party, where a drunken Margaret again admits she finds him attractive and frequently watches him. Hawkeye gives Trapper an eloquent toast and he opens gifts from the enlisted men, nurses, and hospital staff. Trapper is touched by the outpouring of emotion, but shocks all by announcing he isn't going home after all and he's staying at the 4077th. Next day, he starts his therapy in post-op under the care of Hawkeye, who is delighted to have his old friend back.

Research notes/Fun factsEdit

  • There is an extended sequence during the party where Klinger dances with Nurse Kellye while everyone watches. Henry Blake also tries to chat up Nurse Stevens. Neither nurse is credited.
  • When Henry Blake is making announcements on the PA, he lists the evening's films as Godzilla and the Bobby Soxer plus Ma and Pa Kettle Have a Baby. While the titles are obviously fictional for comic effect, the first Godzilla movie (titled Gojira in Japan) was not released until late 1954, and the film was first shown (in a heavily revised form) in the US in early 1956.
  • The appearance of Radar's tattoo is soon forgotten after this episode; in Season 6's episode "Images", Radar spends most of the episode debating whether or not to get a tattoo, while the doctors try to talk him out of it.
  • During the party, Henry is drunkenly chatting up a nurse, and Trapper comments that they could do an appendectomy on him without anesthetic. They already took Henry's appendix out back in Season 1 ("The Longjohn Flap").

Guest stars/Recurring castEdit

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