Synopsis: Hawkeye (Alan Alda) is offended when a visiting sergeant (Paul Jenkins) arrives in camp with a young woman (Virginia Ann Lee) in tow as his personal servant, known as a "moose." He devises a clever way to purchase the young woman so she could be set free. However, his plan backfires when she doesn't understand and wants to be his servant instead.
M*A*S*H Episode Review: "The Moose"
A review of the season 1 episode that first aired in October of 1972.
I haven't had an opportunity to watch an episode of this series in what seems like ages. I was finally able to, however, a couple days ago, and this was the episode I was able to watch.
I'm normally not a huge fan of the first season of this show, mostly because it was still trying to find a balance between being original and being related to the movie that inspired it. However, this particular episode was actually one I did enjoy.
I think a part of the reason for this was the young woman, Young Hi (Lee). She was so innocent and eager to please, it was hard not to laugh when watching her, despite the fact the episode made it perfectly clear she was essentially a slave who could be bought and sold.
The way Hawkeye won her, in a poker game, was a little predictable and I do find it hard to believe the sergeant didn't notice the way Hawkeye was sitting or the ear piece that connected him to a spying Radar (Gary Burghoff). But, that scene did have its moments too, especially when Radar was "obstructed" by a passing nurse.
I did find I wasn't a huge fan of Young Hi's brother, Benny (Craig Jue), just because the whole cute kid acting like an adult thing never really worked for me. Plus, it was a bit of an overkill given the fact Young Hi herself was just a kid.
The other thing I found I didn't like about this episode is we never really find out what happens with Young Hi. Yes, she decides to assert herself and refuse to be a moose any more. But, what happens next? Her refusal likely meant she would be disowned by her family and I know she didn't stick around the camp. And, that happy ending loses some of its luster if she ultimately ended up becoming a prostitute because she had no other means of supporting herself. It would have been nice to have a little more closure than what this episode gave us.
This is one of the better Season 1 episodes from this series and, despite some flaws, is one that is worth taking the time to watch if you haven't seen it.
My Grade: B
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