M*A*S*H Episode Review: Give and Take (1983)

Synopsis: Members of the 4077th resort to trades and blackmail to avoid being the charity collection officer while a private (Craig Wasson) learns a painful lesson when the North Korean soldier he shot (Dereck Wong) is placed in the hospital bed next to his.

Review: I ended up watching this episode yesterday evening while my wife/youngest daughter were at dance class and I was waiting until it was time to start dinner. It's an episode I remember seeing once before. But, it had been a long while since I watched it and, because of that, I couldn't remember anything about it. As it turns out, it was actually a pretty decent episode.

OK, to tell you the truth, I wasn't a huge fan of the charity officer part of this episode, mostly because having the various characters resort to trades (and blackmail) was something I've seen from this show before. I think that part of the episode would have been better had Charles (David Ogden Stiers) kept the duty from start to finish and the focus was, instead, on the various excuses for not donating.

The other part of this episode, however, with the private and the North Korean soldier, was one that was very memorable. Watching his gradual change, starting with his enjoyment over shooting the other man to his final realization of what he did, was something that was surprisingly emotional.

In fact, his story ultimately made this episode a lot more depressing than the comical charity collection storyline was able to overcome. Fortunately, it was also one of those stories that really needed to stand out on its own so I was actually glad the comedy didn't overshadow it.

Final Opinion: This is one of the better episodes from the show's later seasons. As I said before, I wish they would have done something different with the charity officer part of the story but, overall, it is still an episode that is worth watching.

My Grade: B


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