M*A*S*H episode
MASH 4x24 Deluge.gif
Hawkeye, Mulcahy and B.J. enjoy only a brief respite in the midst of a barrage of wounded in the episode "Deluge".
Season 4, Episode # 24
Number (#96) in series (256 episodes)
Guest star(s) Lynne Marie Stewart
Kario Salem
Albert Hall
Anthony Palmer
Lois Foraker
Tom Ruben
Network: CBS-TV
Production code: G-516
Writer(s) Larry Gelbart & Simon Muntner
Director William Jurgensen
Original airdate February 17, 1976
IMDb logo.png IMDB Deluge
Episode chronology
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"The More I See You" (G‑524) "The Interview" (G‑525)
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"Dear Ma" (G‑516) "The Gun" (G‑517)

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List of all M*A*S*H episodes


Deluge was the 96th episode of the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H, and, also the 24th episode of the fourth season of the series. Written by series co-creators Larry Gelbart and Simon Muntner, and directed by William Jurgensen, it first aired on February 17, 1976.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

The Chinese Army joins the war, killing any hopes the 4077th has about a speedy resolution and homecoming.

Full episode summary[edit | edit source]

A massive deluge of wounded hits the 4077th, and all the various cases are intercut with actual black and white Newsreel footage from the time - some of it important and newsworthy, some of it silly, like a ping pong-playing cat.

In addition to the casualties, landmines start to explode, set off by the extreme weather changes outside. News breaks that China has ruptured the U.N.'s front line, kicking off "an entirely new war."

The news gets so bad that orders are sent for all the nurses to be shipped out temporarily. But Margaret refuses to leave, even in the face of great danger. She feels so strongly she walks in in the middle of Col. Potter taking a shower, demanding she stay: "I was born to serve, Colonel, you must let me!" Potter reluctantly agrees.

Tensions start to flare, with Frank prattling on about how he's happy the Chinese have entered the war, and now the U.S. can "obliterate them all."

The intense load of casualties pushes the 4077th's supplies to absolute limits, forcing the doctors to operate bare-handed when they run out of rubber gloves and even resorting to Klinger's sewing kit after using up all other suture materials.

To make things worse, a carelessly-tossed cigarette starts a fire in Pre-Op, which Radar and Klinger struggle to put out. They finally do, arriving in O.R. just in time for a bomb to go off just outside, blowing out the O.R.'s windows and causing all sorts of chaos.

Eventually, the deluge subsides, leaving everyone exhausted. Potter walks in on Margaret as she is showering (leaving a bewildered Frank waiting outside), thanking her for staying.

Research notes/Fun facts[edit | edit source]

  • Although the inter-splicing of news footage seems masterfully done, Larry Gelbart has claimed it was actually an afterthought. When the preliminary cut had been done, Gelbart and Reynolds found that the episode was too short. As it was not practical to shoot further original material, vintage newsreel footage belonging to 20th Century Fox was spliced in.[1] If this is true, B.J.'s "Dagwood" callback and the "dance sequence" montage with Radar and Hawkeye mimicking the moves of the dance contestants, are extraordinarily fantastic pieces of editing luck.
  • The story of the Pingpong playing cat Dagwood actually happened-in August 1951! see[1]
  • B.J. is seen removing disposable sterile latex surgical gloves. These were not developed until the 1960s.
  • Where is Albert Hall? He is billed as "Corporal" but doesn't seem to show up anywhere. (it's possible he's the unnamed burn patient, who has no lines.)
  • Timeline fix. In early Season 4 the timeline was quite consistent with earlier Seasons and fixed at late 1952. For example, in "The Late Captain Pierce", earlier in the season, Dwight Eisenhower is now President-elect and tours Korea (historically accurate - he visited Korean in late November 1952). But during one of this episode's Newsreel snippets, Harry Truman is still in office. And P.A. announcement mentions the Chinese entering the war, which took place on November 27, 1950. In fact, the final clip of the MovieTone newsreel is dated "MCML" - 1950. The Chinese "rupturing the lines" could have been any of their offensives in early 1951. What must have happened is the writers realized that the timeline was advancing too far into the Korean War and there wasn't much of the war left for who knows how many more seasons. So the timeline has been quietly reset or done away with. This reset of the timeline first took place around "Smilin' Jack" which also mentions a Chinese offensive and the Battle of the Imjin River (early 1951).

Guest stars/Recurring cast[edit | edit source]

Uncredited appearances by:

  • Todd Susman as the P.A. Announcer
  • Roy Goldman as the soldier to whom Klinger tells his recruitment story
  • The stock footage includes appearances from Joe E. Brown, Bob Hope, Milton Berle, Danny Kaye, Douglas Macarthur, Winston Churchill, Harry S Truman, Rita Hayworth, and Mel Allen (voice narrating the exploits of Dagwood).

Gallery[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Elsig (Larry S. Gelbart), "Deluge," alt.tv.mash, October 6, 1998,URL
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