M*A*S*H Episode Review: “38 Across”

by StevenHelmer

A review of the season 5 television episode that first aired in January, 1977.

Synopsis: In an effort to kill boredom, Hawkeye (Alan Alda) tries to complete a crossword puzzle and, before too long, has almost the entire camp involved. When he gets stumped on the final clue, he calls up a friend of his (Oliver Clark) in the Navy for help. However, there is a miscommunication and his friend, believing Hawkeye needs him to provide his help in person, makes an emergency trip to the 4077th with an admiral (Dick O’Neill) in tow.


I never have enough time at lunch to start watching a movie so, once again, I ended up killing the hour watching this show on Netflix instead. And, after some consideration, I ended up picking this particular episode because I had never seen it before. Overall, I thought it was pretty decent.

I think the thing that I found most interesting about this episode was the way something as simple as a crossword puzzle would end up being so consuming and I loved the emphasis on that simply because it showed how combating boredom could be such an important thing. And, when combined with Frank Burns (Larry Linville) trying to complete that marble puzzle he received, the entire episode probably could have centered around that subject without anything major being added.

The part with Hawkeye’s friend, Tippy, showing up with the admiral did, however, prove to be an entertaining choice, especially when they tried to find a fake emergency for the admiral to help with, only to have Klinger (Jamie Farr) nearly mess things up worse.  I, personally, loved the way this story was given a little more drama by having Tippy explain the headaches they went through to get to the camp in the shortest amount of time ever. Had it been an easy journey, I’m not sure if it would have been as entertaining.

Of course, the episode did end up being a little predictable toward the end (when they conveniently had to head to the operating room). But, at least up until that point, it was pretty funny. And, I had to admit, I liked the admiral’s reaction when he learned why they were called in the first place.

M*A*S*H TV Season 5

As the fifth season opens, the Chinese are getting too close for comfort and the 4077 has been ordered to bug-out. Unfortunately, Hawkeye, B.J. and Margaret are in the middle of...

View on Amazon

Final Opinion

The ending probably could have used a little more work, mostly because it was similar to several other episodes of this show. However, overall, I thought this was a funny episode that was entertaining to watch and did not regret my lunch-time choice today.

My Grade: A

More By This Writer

Love Poems for My Wife

When Steve first met Cynthia back in 2000, he knew she was the woman for him and proposed to her just three months after their first date. Married to her since 2003, he has ofte...

View on Amazon

Updated: 08/18/2016, StevenHelmer
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?



You might also like

MASH Episode Review: “Mulcahy’s War”

A review of the season 5 television episode that first aired in November 1976.

MASH Episode Review: "Alcoholics Unanimous"

A review of the season 3 television episode that first aired in November 1974.

Final Thoughts From the Pretty Little Liars Episode "Pretty Is...

Thoughts from the season 5 television episode that first aired February 17, 2...

Disclosure: This page generates income for authors based on affiliate relationships with our partners, including Amazon, Google and others.
Loading ...