Monster M*A*S*H
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The Kids was the 81st episode of the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H, and, also the ninth episode of the fourth season of the series. Written by Everett Greenbaum and Jim Fritzell, and directed by Alan Alda, it first aired on October 31, 1975.

Synopsis[]

The 4077th takes in Nurse Cratty's Korean orphans during a shelling attack, including a pregnant girl with a bullet wound. But Frank accuses one of the orphans of stealing his newly (and dubiously) awarded Purple Heart.

Full episode summary[]

The 4077th receives an urgent message from Nurse Cratty, who runs an orphanage thirty miles north of camp. They're being shelled and have to evacuate, so Potter agrees to let them bunk at the 4077th.

As Hawkeye and B.J. set up extra cots in the Swamp, Frank shows up wearing his newly-arrived Purple Heart, earned when he had "shell fragments" removed after a sniper attack. The captains are infuriated, and Hawkeye reminds Frank those were eggshell fragments and he suffered no real wound. Frank is unmoved, stating his record shows “shell fragments” and he's entitled to the decoration.

Nurse Cratty arrives in camp with a truckload of young orphans. The kids are cleaned up and given physicals, and one enterprising youth gambles fifty cents off Frank, while another child is convinced Klinger is a woman.

Two kids bunk down in the Swamp, but before bedtime, Hawkeye and B.J. each tell them a story. Hawkeye tells a story of a “bad bad major” who took an award he didn't deserve, but B.J. comes through with an utterly charming telling of Androcles and the Lion, complete with fantastic facial expressions and voices. The kids fall asleep before B.J. finishes, so he stops, but Hawkeye has been hanging on every word and demands he finish. Cratty arrives for a nightcap, worried a pregnant woman in her care has not returned from a family visit at a nearby village. (This scene is usually edited out of syndicated reruns.)

She doesn't have to wait long. The pregnant woman stumbles into camp and passes out in Klinger's arms, suffering from a gunshot wound, courtesy of a local sniper. She's rushed into the operating room where B.J. and Cratty perform an emergency C-section to save both mother and child. As the baby is delivered successfully, Father Mulcahy asks those gathered to pray for the mother. He notices Klinger with head bowed, and comments that he thought the corporal was an atheist. Klinger replies, "I gave it up for Lent."

The night hours have no loss of excitement: a paranoid Frank looks for children who might be stealing from him, a child prodigy entertains on the O-Club piano, and Radar sings a gentle lullaby to a slumbering child. Wounded arrive and a sniveling Frank is ordered by Potter to scrub up (because he's too busy searching for "thieves" to help in OR), so Father Mulcahy uses his boxing experience to cajole the major into the scrub room.

Later, Frank is frantic, for his Purple Heart is missing from the Swamp. Margaret helps him look, but is soon preoccupied with a peepshow of MacArthur in the nude. Frank chases the “Slicky Boy” he suspects, but B.J. corrals him and shows him where his Purple Heart went: Potter is pinning it to the blanket of the newborn boy, just as Margaret arrives and Potter asks where the Purple Heart came from. She tells Hawkeye she knows where the decoration came from, but gives a knowing grin of approval. Nurse Cratty and the kids return north next day, with one child almost absconding with Radar's teddy bear. The whole camp gathers to give them a proper sendoff.

Research notes/Fun facts[]

  • Anomaly: Colonel Potter has never met Nurse Cratty, having just arrived to the area at the same time as B.J. (who famously asks "What's a Nurse Cratty?"). Yet when Cratty and the kids arrive at the camp, Potter greets her as if they've known each other for years.
  • This episode marks the second time that Frank applied for and received a dubious Purple Heart medal, and the second time his tentmates stole it and gave it to someone else. The first instance was in "Sometimes Your Hear the Bullet".
  • This is also the second time we've met Nurse Cratty, although she was played by a different actress last time (Hope Summers), back in Season 2 ("The Trial of Henry Blake").
  • Father Mulcahy mentions to Klinger that he thought the Corporal was an atheist as they pray for the pregnant Korean girl. Klinger told him so in an oft-deleted scene in an earlier episode, "Alcoholics Unanimous".

Guests/Recurring cast[]

Uncredited appearances:

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