Season 9, Episode 203: Taking The Fifth
Original Air Date: 1/19/81
Written by: Elias Davis & David Pollock
Directed by: Charles S. Dubin
The doctors in OR are frustrated by their lack of progress--ever since the Army banned the use of Curare, a powerful sedative, it takes much longer to perform any sort of surgical procedure.
Klinger gets a visit from a friend from a Canadian unit named Colin (Charles Hallahan) who loves the high-quality chow at the 4077th, much to Klinger's amazement. He particularly loves the fruit cocktail they served at lunch. Before Colin leaves, Klinger gives him a jar of it as a gift. Colin is so touched he gives Klinger a bottle of French wine in return.
Klinger gives it to Hawkeye in return for the $5 he owes him, but when Winchester sees what Hawkeye has, his eyes light up, recognizing it as a very fine, vintage bottle. He turns to Klinger to see if he can get any more, offering to pay $20 a bottle.
Coincidentally, Col. Potter finally gets so sick of not using Curare that he arranges a trade with the Canadian unit to get some, demanding Klinger come along for the ride ("If people start shooting, I want your nose to hide behind"). Klinger sees this as an opportunity to score more of the wine, and make himself a tidy profit in the process.
The drive to the Canadian unit goes off without a hitch, but on the way back the jeep's radiator boils over. With no water on hand, they're stuck--unless they use the wine. Klinger doesn't want to lose his investment, but when artillery starts to fall all around them, desperation sets in and, smashing the bottles open, they fill the jeep with the wine.
They eventually make it back with the Curare, where Klinger offers to drain all the wine out of the radiator and sell it to Winchester at a discounted rate. Unsurprisingly, he passes. Everyone else, though, is happy having Curare to work with again, making sessions in OR go much smoother.
Fun Facts: There's a B-plot in this episode about Hawkeye putting up an ad on the bulletin board, proposing a sort of contest to see what nurse will spend an evening with him. By this point, a lot of Hawkeye's rougher edges had been sanded down, so this sort old-school plot seems a little out of place.
Favorite Line: Colin marvels at how good the 4077th chow is, inspiring the cook to ask, incredulously: "Head wound?"