Monster M*A*S*H

  Hepatitis is the 117th episode of M*A*S*H, the 20th in the fifth season of the show, which originally aired on CBS-TV on February 8, 1977. It was both written and directed by Alan Alda.

Plot Synopsis[]

The 4077th has an outbreak of hepatitis and Hawkeye needs to inoculate the reluctant staff while dealing with severe back pain.

Full episode summary[]

Father Mulcahy comes down with Hepatitis, so the doctors snap into action to make sure it doesn't sweep through the camp. Col. Potter talks to the cook, B.J. tends to Father Mulcahy, and Hawkeye has to give everyone in camp a shot of gamma globulin.

That's a big enough job, but it's made more complicated by the fact that Hawkeye is having back trouble - the pain is getting worse and worse, leaving Hawkeye stooped over. First, he gives a shot to Frank (who is nothing but trouble, of course, first getting aggravated, then paranoid). Then he visits Klinger in the kitchen. Hawkeye has to literally pin Klinger to a wall for his shot (Klinger is angry because he has gotten KP for a month after punching his mortal enemy, Sgt. Zale, who dared to criticize the Toledo Mudhens [Toledo's home baseball team]).

Next stop is Major Houlihan, who is upset that her fiancé's mother is welcoming her into the family "but in a left-handed sort of way" with off-handed remarks about other Houlihans that worked for them. When Hawkeye goes to give her the shot, he drools over her exposed tush. This, understandably, enrages Hot Lips, and she barks at Hawkeye for ogling her, demanding respect. Hawkeye, realizing he was out of line, apologizes, and suggest Margaret use the same attitude with her future mother-in-law.

Hawkeye then visits Radar, who confides that he's been feeling insecure about how he's different than most of his other friends, who like to get drunk and consort with the various girls in town. Hawkeye gives him some wonderful, tender advice, telling him he carries "a piece of Iowa with you wherever you go," and how one day, he'll meet the one special woman he's been waiting for his whole life. Radar is comforted, and thanks Hawkeye, only to have Hawkeye ask him to drop his pants.

Wounded arrive, and a particularly difficult case is among them - one soldier's stomach is almost entirely gone. Hawkeye recommends B.J. take the case, since he has been reading up on the necessary procedure, which puts him one up over the rest of them.

Working from a text book, B.J. pulls the soldier through, the surgery having gone flawlessly. Later, Hawkeye finds B.J. - still in need of a shot - celebrating in the Officers Club, drunk and giddy that he pulled off the operation. B.J. gets so tipsy he collapses over a table, so Hawkeye pulls his shorts down in front of everyone and gives B.J. the shot.

Hawkeye then goes to Col. Potter's to receive his own shot. They share in the office, and Potter gives Hawkeye some advice about his back trouble: he believes Hawkeye is angry about news from home; a doctor back in Crabapple Cove is cleaning up, despite his average medical skills, because he has no real competition. Potter reminds Hawkeye that he only really has to worry about competing with himself. Potter kindly adds, "And for you, that's tough enough."

Potter then suggests sending the quack back home an anonymous letter. Hawkeye smiles, starting to feel better, and suggests telling him he saw him cheating. When Potter suggests threatening a malpractice suit, Hawkeye laughs, and when he mentions a paternity suit, Hawkeye guffaws, "Doctor, doctor, I can walk!"

In a closing scene usually cut out of syndicated airings, a now-upright Hawkeye wakes up a hungover B.J. the next morning. He chastises B.J. for not getting enough exercise, stating that the cure for a hangover is getting "the blood out of your keister and into your brain," which he promptly demonstrates by standing on his head next to B.J.'s cot. As B.J. tells him to knock it off, Hawkeye eventually falls backwards, feet first, onto the very aggravated B.J.

Research notes/Fun facts[]

This isn't the only time Hawkeye would let his feelings about his past affect him in the present. In Season 9's "Bless You, Hawkeye," an encounter with a mold-soaked soldier triggers a traumatic childhood memory he had repressed for years, manifesting in constant sneezing and eventually hives. It took a visit from Army psychiatrist Sidney Freedman to figure this out so Hawkeye could confront his demons and heal himself.

Guest stars/Recurring cast[]

Uncredited appearances by:

External links[]