U.N., the Night and the Music was the 250th episode of the M*A*S*H television series, and the 10th of Season 11. Written by Elias Davis & David Pollock and directed by Harry Morgan, the episode aired on January 3, 1983.
Three U.N. delegates come to the 4077th, and each makes a lasting impression on the members of the camp.
Full episode summary
The 4077th is being paid a visit by three U.N. delegates - Captain Ramurti Lal from the Indian Army, Dr. Randolph Kent from England, and Per Johannsen from Sweden; the three are visiting to take a 24-hour observation of how a MASH unit operates. Upon meeting the three of them, Margaret (along with the other nurses) becomes instantly smitten with Johannsen, who is tall, blonde, and exceptionally handsome.
With Johannsen and Lal staying in the VIP Tent, Kent bunks in the Swamp, and Charles, sensing that Kent is a man of class and refined taste, takes an instant liking to him. But Kent's tastes prove to be more refined than even Charles'; he thinks nothing of belittling his preferences, mocking his taste in wine, art, and vacation destinations. But instead of being insulted, Charles continues trying to curry Kent's favor. Their back and forth dialogue eventually earns an observation from Hawkeye, saying "I don't believe this. I'm in Korea, but I'm fighting the Bore (Boer) War."
Potter goes to the Supply shed to get an aspirin for his headache and finds Captain Lal standing on his head. He explains to Potter that this is how he meditates to relieve stress, and offers to teach the technique to Potter, which he accepts. Later, Klinger, who is nursing a stiff neck, finds Potter in his office meditating while standing on his head, and Klinger soon takes it up as well.
Meanwhile, Johannsen talks with Hawkeye in private about Margaret's interest in him; he confides in Hawkeye that while he would normally be thrilled at such attention, he was recently wounded, which caused nerve damage that left him impotent. Ashamed, he asks Hawkeye to run interference for him with Margaret. Hawkeye agrees, much to Margaret's unknowing fury, especially after he breaks up a tête-à-tête between the two in the Officers Club.
After watching "the upper crusts toasting each other" in the Swamp, and "the head nurse trying to 'yump' on someone's 'yiminy'," Hawkeye, desperately looking to find some sanity in the increasing madness in camp, goes to talk to Colonel Potter in his tent, only to find him and Klinger practicing their meditation alongside of Captain Lal. Giving up, Hawkeye muses, "Why fight it? I might as well go crazy and be inconspicuous."
Margaret follows Per to his tent to try again, but uses the pretense of apologizing for Hawkeye's behavior. He nervously lets her in and they soon develop a rapport, exchanging stories with one another and making each other laugh, but when she tries to make a move on Per, he awkwardly rejects it to her confusion. When Per finally levels with her and tells her what he told Hawkeye, Margaret understands and apologizes for putting him in such a difficult position, and she immediately offers to stay and talk and get to know one another better, an offer Per happily accepts; they later move to Margaret's tent when Per realizes that Captain Lal will be coming back soon.
Meanwhile, back in the Swamp, an inebriated Charles has finally had enough of Kent's derision, and tells him that no matter how high-classed his family is, he's still a snob. Kent laughingly reveals to Charles that he comes from a family of indentured servants. His father is the butler for an esteemed family, and Kent, once old enough, became their chauffeur, which financed his medical school. Kent's family, by way of his father's employment, got to experience many of the finer things that Charles takes for granted. Immediately sensing his assumption, Kent decided to bide his time, waiting for the right moment to point out to Charles his haughty notion that only people of wealth or breeding have any taste or class. He puts Charles in his place by saying (in a Cockney voice) "Well, mate, you 'ave been outclassed by the son of a bloody butler!" Hawkeye, overhearing all this while standing on his own head, finally falls off the sanity wagon and dissolves into hysterical laughter, falling over against his cot.
The next morning, the three reps depart. Per and Margaret plan to see one another again, Potter and Klinger thank Lal for his yoga tips, and Winchester suggests Kent drive the jeep, stating, "After all, he's a professional." After they pull away, Hawkeye remarks to Margaret that she and Per evidently had a nice evening, which Margaret confirms before thanking Hawkeye for "trying to be a jerk".
B.J. has to spend some extra time on one of his patients, a Private Lumley, who came in with a leg wound badly infected from lying in a muddy ditch for at least a day. Later in Post Op, Lumley remarks on how badly his leg still hurts, and then asks why he's getting so much attention, but B.J. tells him he'll be just fine. However, Lumley's leg continues getting worse and B.J. has to take him back into the OR for a follow-up, but to no avail. Eventually gas gangrene sets in and B.J. has no alternative but to amputate the leg. Afterward, B.J. tells Father Mulcahy that deep down he knew he would have to remove the leg but couldn't bring himself to face it, much less tell Lumley. Mulcahy reminds B.J. that he can't always know.
B.J. finally tells Lumley, who reveals that he had a feeling all along that he would lose his leg from all the attention he was getting. Lumley then asks B.J. to not tell his wife, as he enjoys dancing on Saturday nights while his wife prefers to stay home; he tells B.J. that if his wife finds out he has a wooden leg she would hide it just to keep him at home.
- Dennis Holahan, who played Per Johannsen, and Loretta Swit would marry in December 1983, almost 11 months after this episode aired. They divorced in 1995.
- An edited version of the theme from Seasons 3-4 is used along with the same five shots as used in the opening credits for Foreign Affairs.
- The mantra that Klinger and Potter are chanting in the tent while Captain Lal is meditating is an actual Buddhist mantra: Oṃ Maṇi Padme Hūṃ. The meaning was explained (in part) by H.H. Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama, this way: "Thus the six syllables, "om mani padme hum", mean that in dependence on the practice of a path which is an indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech, and mind into the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha."