Period of Adjustment is the sixth episode of the eighth season of the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H, also the 179th overall series episode. Directed by Charles S. Dubin, the episode, written by Jim Mulligan and John Rappaport, originally aired on October 22, 1979 and was repeated May 19, 1980.


Klinger is catching hell from everyone for not being able to do his new job the way Radar did, while B.J. gets particularly upset after getting a letter from Peg about Radar.  

Full episode summaryEdit

In the immediate aftermath of Radar's leaving the 4077th, things are not going well, especially for Klinger, who still cannot get the hang of his new duties as company clerk. The office is buried in unfinished paperwork, and Colonel Potter has to fend off calls from I-Corps about late or missing morning reports; his frustration with Klinger reaches the point where Potter considers that perhaps the job is too much for him saying, "We can't all be Radars", which doesn't help Klinger's morale.

Klinger then delivers mail to the Swamp, where B.J. gets a letter from Peg describing when she and Erin met Radar on his way home from Korea. Wearing his uniform, little Erin saw Radar and exclaimed, "Hi, Daddy!"; Peg writes that she found it to be funny, but B.J. is not laughing.

During a session in OR, Hawkeye tries to get B.J. to tell everyone about the meeting between Peg, Erin, and Radar, but he doesn't want to talk about it. Later, in the Mess Tent, he sides with Klinger in being fed up with everyone still talking about how great Radar was.

Later that evening, when Charles relieves Hawkeye in Post-Op, he warns him that B.J. is in the Swamp and hitting the booze harder than usual, but Hawkeye only plays it off as normal. In the Swamp, Hawkeye notices that Radar's departure and the subsequent letter from Peg are still weighing very heavily on B.J.'s mind, and B.J. implies that being away from his daughter is worse than what Hawkeye is going through being away from his dad, but Hawkeye sternly reminds B.J. he's been stuck at the 4077th even longer and that "nobody wants out of here more than I do". When Hawkeye firmly asserts that B.J. is wasting his time with the alcohol saying, "it may get you drunk, but it won't get you home", B.J.'s anger explodes; he smashes the still with a chair, punches Hawkeye in the face, and storms out of the Swamp.

Later, Potter and Margaret are looking for Klinger who has been missing since dinner, and stop in the Swamp only to find the still in a shambles and Charles tending to Hawkeye's shiner. When Hawkeye informs them that he doesn't know where B.J. went, they decide to pair up and look for both of them, with Margaret and Charles checking the Officers Club and one end of the camp; Potter and Hawkeye are about to search the other end of the camp before Hawkeye is called away to tend to a patient, so Potter searches alone.

Charles and Margaret go to Rosie's Bar asking about B.J. and Klinger; Rosie kicked them out earlier after they nearly stuck three Marines while throwing darts (and then peanuts and pretzels) at a drawing of Radar they pinned to the dartboard. When asked if she knows where they went, Rosie replies she neither knows nor cares.

During his search, Potter looks in the Mess Tent and finds Father Mulcahy, who tells Potter a story about a previous company clerk who was much worse than Klinger; Mulcahy relates how the young man drove everyone crazy with his frequent questions and his inability to do anything right, but over time the clerk improved, especially after Colonel Blake took him under his wing and helped him to grow into the job. When it dawns on Potter that Mulcahy is talking about Radar, Mulcahy points out that when Potter first came to the 4077th he got the "broken-in model", and suggests that Klinger should be given the same consideration that Blake gave Radar. Potter admits it won't be easy, but he gets the point.

Charles and Margaret meet back up with Potter and fill him in on what they found out- that Klinger and B.J. are together on a drunken spree. After Charles excludes himself from the search, Potter and Margaret decide to go to the orderly room and call the MPs, but when they arrive they hear whooping from Potter's office and find B.J. and Klinger therein, completely wasted and partaking of more booze that they filched after breaking into Potter's liquor cabinet. Potter sends Margaret to get Hawkeye while Potter talks to Klinger alone. Declaring that they should "clear the air", Potter sits Klinger down and tells about when he first arrived at the 4077th, remarking that his first days in command were not easy, but that the people in camp gave him the time to make the job his, and then admits that he forgot that when Klinger replaced Radar.  He tells Klinger that he needs the time to settle in to his new job, and offers his help should Klinger need it. He then declares Radar's office closed and Klinger's open, at which point Klinger passes out.

Hawkeye arrives, puts on his helmet for protection, and cautiously enters Potter's office to talk to B.J., who apologizes for hitting "the best friend I ever had". B.J. then starts tearing up over the reality that he was not the first one that Erin called "Daddy". Hawkeye reassures B.J. that it could have been anybody in a uniform, which B.J. understands, but then he reveals that he's so jealous over Radar's going home that he almost hates him. He also states he's even envies Trapper even though he never met him. B.J. collapses into sobs after Hawkeye quietly promises: "You'll go day we'll all go home."

Epilogue Edit

Days later, and with Klinger's help, Hawkeye and B.J. rebuild the still. In recognition of his resourcefulness and dishonesty in obtaining the parts they needed, Hawkeye and B.J. allow Klinger "the honor of the first belt", but he recoils at the taste. B.J. proposes a toast saying, "Here's mud in your eye," to which Hawkeye responds "Beats knuckles any day."

Research notes/Fun factsEdit

  • When Potter, Hawkeye, Margaret and Charles are about to go searching for B.J. and Klinger, they decide to split up, with Potter, indicating Hawkeye, saying "I'll take the great John L. with me", which is a reference to John L. Sullivan, a champion bare-knuckle fighter before the turn of the 20th century.
  • During his discussion with Father Mulcahy about Klinger, Potter says,"You wouldn't lie to a Presbyterian, would you?". When Potter first arrived at the 4077th he identified as Methodist, even asking Mulcahy if there were any other Methodists in camp; Mulcahy replied there were "two or three", to which Potter remarked, "Good. I hate to sing alone".
  • The IMDB entries for this episode and for Gwen Farrell list her character as Nurse Able, however, as can be seen from the onscreen credits, she is simply billed as "nurse". She could be the nurse who comes into O.R. to say there's one more patient and he looks bad. She is not addressed by name so until some confirmation can be found by looking at the script, there is no basis for concluding that her character here is named Able.
  • Hawkeye instructs Baker to administer Levophed. However, the drug is only introduced to the MASH and approved for use much later, in Season 10 "The Birthday Girls". In that episode, Margaret is responsible for instructing her nurses on how to use the drug properly.
  • This is the second time Hawkeye has been assaulted by his drunken best friend because said friend was missing his family back home. In Mail Call, Trapper John McIntyre also receives a letter from home that makes him so homesick he attempts to desert. When Hawkeye tries to stop him, Trapper knocks him down with his fully-packed duffel bag and tries to storm out of the tent. The situation is defused by the arrival of a recently humiliated Frank Burns, and Hawkeye stuffs Trapper's bag into his foot locker as the two friends laugh over Frank's latest failed scheme.
  • In the opening scene, when they list who is starring in the TV show, the credits continue to show Gary Burghoff, despite his leaving the show in “Good-Bye Radar: Part 2”.

Guest stars/Recurring castEdit

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