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M*A*S*H episode
“Dear Peggy”
BJ writes Peg MASH episode 4x11
B.J. writes his wife Peg about life at and the characters he works with at the 4077th in "Dear Peggy".
Season 4, Episode # 11
Number (#83) in series (256 episodes)
Guest star(s) William Christopher
Jamie Farr
Ned Beatty
Network: CBS-TV
Production code: G-509
Writer(s) Everett Greenbaum & Jim Fritzell
Director Burt Metcalfe
Original airdate November 14, 1975
IMDb logo IMDB Dear Peggy
Episode chronology
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"Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler" (G‑513) "Of Moose and Men" (G‑503)

(broadcast order)

(broadcast order)

"Smilin' Jack" (G‑508) "Hey, Doc" (G‑510)

(production order)

(production order)

Season 4 episodes
List of all M*A*S*H episodes

  

Dear Peggy was the 83rd episode of the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H, and, also the 11th episode of the fourth season of the series. Written by Everett Greenbaum and Jim Fritzell, and directed by Burt Metcalfe, it first aired on November 14, 1975.

SynopsisEdit

B.J. writes a letter home to his wife, and Father Mulcahy gets a visit from one of his rigid superiors.

Full episode summaryEdit

BJ writes his third letter in a week to his wife, Peggy, filling her in on what’s going on in camp. He relates a story from the O.R. where Frank gives up on a patient, Davis, after losing a pulse. BJ yells he has to do something and takes charge of the operation, relegating the major to aspirating the patient. BJ is able to revive the patient, which earns a snarky comment from Frank.

In post-op, BJ is watching Davis, but is distressed there is no improvement. Also distressed is Father Mulcahy, who seems rather jumpy in post-op. He tells BJ he’s nervous about an impending visit from Colonel Maurice Hollister, Divisional Chaplain, aka “The Attila the Hun of chaplains.” BJ tells him not to worry, for Hawkeye thinks he’s one of the best chaplains in the army.

Back to the letter, BJ tells Peggy about Hawkeye, who he calls “one of a kind” and admits they’d all go nuts without him. With that, he relates a story of Hawkeye wanting to break the record for most people squeezed into a Volkswagen. German autos are scarce in Korea, so he substitutes a canopied jeep. Frank and Margaret object to the stunt, but Hawkeye talks Margaret into being the record-breaking person stuffed in the jeep. The record is broken and a commemorative photo is taken just as Colonel Hollister (Ned Beatty) arrives to sneer at the event. His condemnation is heightened when he sees one of the jeep-stuffers emerge: Father Mulcahy!

Next morning, the mess tent is packed for Father Mulcahy’s service and everyone gives him exaggerated congratulations and compliments afterward. Everyone, that is, except Frank and Margaret, who instead tell Hollister they “get chills in the presence of a real spiritual leader.” Ouch. Hollister goes on to dress down Mulcahy for not having the crowd in the palm of his hand and lack of aggression.

BJ returns to the letter and tells how Colonel Potter wanted local Koreans to help with hospital duty, so the medical staff was drafted to teach them English. Frank starts teaching locals some medically relevant phrases, but soon reverts to having them chant anti-Communist phrases. Hawkeye takes over, but doesn’t take it seriously either, having the Koreans recite insults of Frank.

Davis still has not improved, but Hollister insists Mulcahy write a letter to the boy’s parents telling them everything will be OK. As Hollister leaves, Davis is rushed back into surgery because it seems Frank never bothered removing all the shell fragments the first time around. Hawkeye and BJ operate on Davis and he pulls through, much to the Father’s relief. When Frank mouths off, Hawkeye points to the Koreans who regale the major with “You tell him, ferret face!” in their own wonderfully clipped English.

Interspersed in this episode are three attempts by Klinger to escape camp. First, he disguises himself as a Korean peasant woman, hiding his face in a rice hat. When he is brought by the MP's to Col. Potter, however, Potter easily discerns it's him, noting that "Korean women aren't known for hairy knuckles." Second, he is brought in for trying to escape via one of the rivers into the sea, using a self-inflatable raft. Finally, at the episode's end, he is brought back disguised as a tree, his cover having been blown by a urinating dog.

Research notes/Fun factsEdit

  • Hawkeye reads about Elizabeth Taylor getting married to someone "Ni...". Taylor married Conrad "Nicky" Hilton May 6, 1950. But this is a bit of old newspaper which Peggy had used to stuff a parcel, so it could have been some time ago.
  • Timeline fix. Hawkeye thinks "Ni..." is Vice-President Richard Nixon. Nixon was elected with Eisenhower on November 4, 1952. So this places the timeline somewhere Nov-Dec 1952 or early 1953.
  • This timeline is still plausible for Season 4 given that Potter took command on September 19, 1952 about 7 episodes ago. But it advances the story very far and doesn't leave much of the Korean War (which ended in July 1953) for the rest of the seasons. That's why the timeline will be quietly reset or abandoned later in season 4.
  • When Mulcahy confesses to writing a letter to Pvt. Davis' parents under Col. Hollister's behest, two of the Koreans observing look at each other in surprise, as if they actually understood what Mulcahy said.

Guests stars /Recurring castEdit

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