Dr. Pierce and Mr. Hyde was the fifth episode of Season 2 of the TV series M*A*S*H, also the 29th overall episode of the series. Written by Alan Alda and Robert Klane and directed by Jackie Cooper, it originally aired on CBS-TV on October 13, 1973.
Three straight days without sleep causes Hawkeye to start to act very erratically. After sending President Harry Truman a rude telegram, things come to a head when he attempts to drag the camp latrine to North Korea - with General Clayton inside.
Full episode summary
After a long session in the O.R., Hawkeye tries to get some sleep but every time he settles down, more wounded arrive, and they keep arriving. Henry orders him to stand down and get some rest, but Hawkeye is more concerned about treating the patients.
After three days of continuous surgery with no sleep, Hawkeye begins to behave erratically. He wanders around the camp at night making observations and then wakes Trapper up to tell him that he has made an important discovery: there is a war going on. He next goes to Radar and gets him to send a telegram to President Truman asking "Who's responsible?"
The next morning, Hawkeye tells the chopper pilot O'Brien that he must not fly anymore. He tells O'Brien his new idea to stop people being wounded. When O'Brien lifts off, his stretchers are empty, but when he lands, his stretchers are filled with injured soldiers. So if "nobody goes up, nobody gets hurt." They're interrupted by the arrival of even more choppers.
After surgery, Hawkeye continues wandering around the camp and crashes Frank Burn's lecture to the enlisted men. Hawkeye demands that Frank answer his question about why North Korea should want to make war. Frank blabbers off a made-up answer that half of North Korea have probably never seen a bathroom and probably want one - and if they can't get it by subversion, they mean to get it by war.
Unfortunately, Frank's crazy answer gives Hawkeye ideas. He starts taking photographs of the latrine, intending to send the photos to the North Koreans. Trapper and Radar try to sedate him with a hypodermic, but they end up jabbing the needle into Frank Burns instead.
Trapper wants Henry to do something about Hawkeye, but Henry has his own problems: General Clayton has found out about the telegram to President Truman and is going to find out who sent it.
Trapper tries to sedate Hawkeye by drugging his martini, but the drug doesn't seem to work. Hawkeye is still awake and he starts working on his next plan, which is to attach a chain to the latrine and tow it behind an ambulance to North Korea.
Meanwhile, General Clayton arrives in the camp. Despite Radar's protestations, Clayton steps into the latrine just as Hawkeye starts up the ambulance, and the General ends up being trapped in a traveling latrine bound for North Korea.
Back at the Swamp, Trapper explains to Henry that a few yards down the road Hawkeye fell asleep at the wheel when the sedative finally took effect. Hawkeye then mumbles in his sleep, and Henry asks why Hawkeye did such a stunt. Trapper explains that Hawkeye had taken an oath to never sit around and let people die. Henry reminds Trapper that they all as doctors had taken that oath, and that if they were smart all three of them would be in the next latrine to North Korea.
Research notes/Fun facts
- The title makes reference to the novel "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" by Robert Louis Stevenson.
- Hawkeye is quoting an old Vaudeville routine when he says "Slowly I turn, step by step, inch by inch..." It was made popular in modern times by Abbott and Costello, the Three Stooges, and other films and TV shows.
- After the part where General Clayton is trapped in the traveling latrine, Hawkeye is shown finally getting some sleep at last. This last scene is usually not shown in syndicated versions.