M*A*S*H Episode Review: The Yalu Brick Road (1979)

Synopsis: Almost the entire 4077th comes down with food poisoning after eating tainted turkey for Thanksgiving. Hawkeye (Alan Alda) and B. J. (Mike Farrell) are returning home with the necessary antibiotics but are hindered when they get lost and crash their jeep. To make matters worse, they run into an armed North Korean soldier.


Review: I've seen pretty much every episode of this series. However, I do, on occasion, come across one that I haven't seen in a long while and don't remember as a result. That was the case with this particular episode, which I had an opportunity to watch a couple days ago.

As I've said in the past, the best M*A*S*H episodes are the ones that make full use of their ensemble cast (rather than just focusing on Hawkeye) and this episode falls into that category. While Hawkeye and B. J. are lost and jeep-less, the camp is being run by only three people, Margaret (Loretta Swit), Father Mulcahy (William Christopher) and a very reluctant Charles (David Ogden Stiers).

Margaret, in particular, is the one who really impressed me when I watched this episode. She has a hospital full of sick patients, has no nurses to help her and has to fight to get Charles to pitch in. Yet, she manages to run things quite smoothly, making me wish they would have had an episode that officially let her run the camp for a day.

The part with Hawkeye and B. J. "capturing" that Korean soldier (Soon-Tek Oh) was halfway decent too, mostly because, since they never bothered to take his gun away from him, it was hard to tell what direction that story would take. And, there is even a little bit of suspense when they run into more Korean soldiers later.

Of course, I'm still a little confused about why they didn't just try to get their jeep running again. At least from what the episode showed, it didn't look like it was in that serious of an accident, at least not to the point they shouldn't have at least made the effort before giving up and walking.

Final Opinion: The later episodes of this series aren't always the greatest. But, this one took full advantage of the talented ensemble cast and was fun to watch as a result.

My Grade: A

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