Charles hires Kwang, who's actually a North Korean Army spy, unknowingly to be his "houseboy" in "Dear Comrade" in Season 7 of M*A*S*H.
| Season 7, Episode # 12 |
Number (#159) in series (256 episodes)
|Guest star(s)||Sab Shimono|
|Director||Charles S. Dubin|
|Original airdate||November 27, 1978|
|← Previous||Next →|
|"Point of View" (T‑415)||"Out of Gas" (T‑411)|
|"Major Ego" (T‑412)||"An Eye For a Tooth" (T‑414)|
Dear Comrade was the 12th episode of Season 7 of the M*A*S*H TV series, also the 159th overall series episode. The episode, which was written by Tom Reeder, was directed by Charles S. Dubin. The episode originally aired on CBS-TV on November 27, 1978.
A North Korean Spy infiltrates the 4077th and poses as Charles' houseboy, in order to observe and report on 4077th's efficiency and success to his superiors.
Full episode summaryEdit
Hawkeye and B.J. return to the 4077th after some days of R&R in Tokyo and present Winchester with a gift that they say he definitely needs: a wig. But Winchester has the last laugh on them when they find the Swamp not the same as it used to be--it is clean and tidy! Winchester introduces them to Kwang (Sab Shimono), a Korean man whom Winchester has hired as a houseboy.
Wounded arrive and the doctors rush off. We then learn, from Kwang's voiceover, that he is not what he seems: he is actually a Korean spy. He narrates a report to his intelligence chief, saying that he has secured a post as a "a grinning lackey" to "an American capitalist fool"--namely, Winchester and hopes to observe the secret of the 4077th's efficiency and success at treating wounded soldiers.
At first, Kwang is shocked and dismissive about the 4077th. He says the OR is chaotic, and their behavior off-hours (which includes drinking and gambling) is "decadent." They are "soft and weak-willed", supplied with a lot of food but constantly whining about the quality of it.
Meanwhile the doctors are stumped by a rash that has infected several wounded soldiers. Nothing they try seems to work. They call a dermatologist but he is more concerned about his golf and doesn't want to be kept off the dance floor and doesn't give the MASH any useful advice. The rash gets worse and the patients are scratching so severely they are tearing their stitches.
Kwang marvels that the American doctors, with all their advanced training and medications, cannot figure out how to treat a simple rash. So Kwang offers his own remedy--a concoction of boiled tree bark which stinks to high heaven. The doctors are none too keen because of the stench but Post Op is not short of volunteers for a trial and the remedy works!
Later that night, Kwang completes his report to his superiors and prepares to leave. He concludes that the success of the 4077th is valid but their methods are so unorthodox that the North Korean hospitals would find it impossible to duplicate. The idea to abduct Winchester for information is not practical either--he is too much trouble to be worth the effort.
As he's leaving, he's stopped by Hawkeye, B.J., and Potter who thank him for the remedy and present him with an official commendation from the U.S. Army for his contribution. They invite him to the Officers Club for a drink.
Kwang is touched, and lies to his commanders, saying he needs to stick around and observe the 4077th some more--in reality, getting drunk with all of them in the Officers Club. Hawkeye, B.J., and Potter notice that Kwang's english has mysteriously improved over the course of the night, which he chalks up to the whiskey.
A second plot line is about Hawkeye winning a jeep at poker--except that the loser, a supply Sergeant named Cimoli, doesn't deliver a jeep but a 75mm howitzer instead. Potter wants Hawkeye to get rid of the gun but it proves more difficult than it seems.
Research notes/Fun factsEdit
- Actor Sab Shimono who plays Kwang would return to the series, in Season 8 "Back Pay"
- Another episode in the almost overused "Letter home" format (see M*A*S*H TV series narrative formats). But this one is an innovative one. The narrator is not one of the regular cast, nor even a member of the 4077th but actually an enemy! Still, it is interesting to hear a view from "the other side". The remark about the abundance of food is especially poignant.
- Hawkeye makes a joke about B.O. Plenty, a character from Dick Tracy. Tracy was still in most newspapers in 1978, not so much nowadays.
- Gary Burghoff does not appear in this episode.
- David Dozer plays Groves, who is the Corporal delivering the howitzer to Hawkeye. In Season 9 "Depressing News", he also plays delivery man, this time, delivering tongue depressors. He is also the despatcher in "Good-Bye Radar
- Welch is the patient who tells Margaret that Kwang's remedy is working. That leaves Latimer, who must be the patient who Potter advises not to scratch so much and he replies, "Working on it."
Guest stars/Recurring castEdit
- Sab Shimono as Kwang
- Larry Block as Sergeant Cimoli
- Robert Clotworthy as Private Welch
- David Dozer as Groves
- James Saito as Korean Soldier
- Todd Davis as Latimer
- Laurie Bates as Surgical Nurse (see Lieutenant Laurie)
- Dennis Troy as Corpsman #1
- Wayne Long as Corpsman #2
- Uncredited appearances by:
- As befits a spy's report, this episode has many good views of different areas of the MASH.
- Dennis Troy and Wayne Long rated credits as Corpsmen #1 and #2 but they don't seem to show up anywhere in the episode.