“Germ Warfare” - Airdate: December 10, 1972
PLOT: A North Korean patient needs AB Negative blood, and the only possible donor is Frank. Hawkeye and Trapper procure the pint of blood, but when the patient seems to have hepatitis, they fear Frank may be the source, and endeavor to keep him away
FRANK BURNS ABUSE:
-has his blood stolen.
-has his poop stolen.
-handcuffed to Houlihan against his will.
-Spooky Theremin music during blood donation scene.
-Hawkeye imagines Lt. Dish naked and drinking coffee.
Hawkeye and Trapper steal Frank Burns’ blood as he sleeps. That’s what the episode hinges on. Without his permission, without his knowledge, they stick a needle in his arm, and drain a pint of blood in the middle of the night. There’s worse behavior coming, grosser moral lapses within Pierce, but stealing Frank’s blood is the first strong candidate for the sickest antics, and most fucked-up thing Hawkeye does with his medical training.
Frank demonstrates some antipathy for the North Korean patient, and we are familiar with his ingrained distrust of the enemy, but Hawk and Trap simply take for granted that Frank won’t be willing to donate his blood to a man he considers a prisoner. So they don’t even ask; they don’t even notify Frank that he’s the only possible donor in camp, or point out the potential for decency, Christian duty and Hypocratic oath fulfillment, all of which might play to Frank’s icky sense of pseudo-piety. To dodge the bullet before it’s fired, Frank isn’t hatefully racist as other designated Bad Guys, but naïve, with misplacing trust in institutions that make him feel powerful. Frank could be as easily manipulated as Col. Blake, but too much of the time Pierce is bedeviling him for revenge or amusement. Pierce’s constant bullshit puts Frank on guard, and this entire amateur vampire scheme could have been avoided if Pierce weren’t constantly thinking he can teach Frank a lesson.
There’s an interesting coda to “Germ Warfare”, in which Hawk and Trap seem to realize they’ve done something dubious and bring Frank a bouquet of flowers as a sort of apology. Frank is sitting in the Swamp playing checkers with the POW, and seems to shyly forgive Pierce and McIntyre’s transgression. Does he realize their hearts were in the right place? That he was part of something positive? That he has a capacity to help people that he did not recognize before?
Tuesday, March 06, 2007