This episode begins with a chance to see what daily life is like inside the O.R.–even though Frank Burns is ranking surgeon, he’s clearly out of his depth. Everyone on the medical staff seems to turn to Hawkeye for help and advice.
After a particularly nasty blow-up between Hawkeye and Frank, Henry realizes the 4077th can’t keep going like this, so he has to appoint a chief surgeon.
Henry calls Frank and Hawkeye to his office. Contrary to army protocol, he skips over Frank and names Pierce as Chief Surgeon. Frank is enraged and forces Henry to admit that, “when the heat’s on”, Hawkeye is the best surgeon in camp.
Frank and Hot Lips decide to go to General Barker, and complain about this breach of the rules.
When Barker arrives at the 4077th, Frank and Hot Lips tell him that there’s a wounded man waiting to be operated on. He storms off to go find “Chief Surgeon Pierce.”
He finds Hawkweye, Trapper, Capt. Kaplan, and Ugly John playing cards! He demands Hawkeye operate–now.
Hawkeye refuses the order, saying medically its not the best idea while the patient is still in shock. He’s having a nurse give the patient some blood and get him better ready for surgery, and expects to operate around 3am.
Barker doesn’t like that answer, so he storms off to find Henry, only to find that the whole camp seems to be jumping, even this late at night–Radar is reading comics while drinking Henry’s brandy, Spearchucker and Nurse Ginger Baliss are playing Strip Dominoes, and the camp’s night sentry, Cpl. Klinger is wandering around the camp in a WAC uniform!
Once Barker finds Henry, they meet Hawkeye and Trapper in the O.R., now that the patient is ready for surgery. Barker is impressed by Hawkeye’s surgical skill, and grudgingly admits he was wrong, and Hawkeye was right.
Barker tells Henry to ignore Frank from here on in, and marvels at how anything gets done in this madhouse.
Original Air Date: October 08, 1972
Directed by: E.W. Swackhammer
Written By: Larry Gelbart
Season 1 – Episode #4 – Disc 1
Henry Blake: The job will be a killer.
Frank Burns: I can adjust.
Henry Blake: I hope you can. I’m giving it to Pierce.
Hawkeye: Oh, thanks.
Frank Burns: *What*? You can’t! I won’t stand for it!
Henry Blake: Frank, the one thing that will get you nowhere with me is impersonating my wife.
Frank Burns: Well, what about rank?
Hawkeye: Can I help it if I’m not as rank as you?
Frank Burns: This is unheard of!
Henry Blake: Face it, Pierce is the best cutter in the outfit. He’s certified in chest and general surgery. Frank, in case you haven’t read the papers, there’s a war on. We’re here to patch guys together. We can’t be so GI we lose patients!
Frank Burns: Are you implying that he’s a better doctor?
Henry Blake: Yes, when the heat’s on!
Henry Blake: [Col. Blake has just appointed Hawkeye as chief surgeon] Hawkeye, don’t let me down.
Hawkeye: [wearing his underwear and bathrobe] Would I do anything to disgrace this uniform?
Gen. Barker: May I make a suggestion about Major Burns?
Henry Blake: Yes, Sir.
Gen. Barker: Give him a high colonic and send him on a ten-mile hike.
Capt. McIntyre: With full pack.
Gen. Barker: Good touch.