Synopsis: Major Houlihan (Loretta Swit) returns from a temporary assignment in Tokyo with some big news, she met a Lieutenant Colonel, fell in love and is now engaged. This, predictably, does not go over well with Frank Burns (Larry Linville), who slowly starts to lose his mind and, out of jealousy, tries to prove his worthiness by arming himself and leaving camp in search of the enemy.
MASH Episode Review: “Margaret’s Engagement”
A review of the season 5 television episode that first aired in September 1976.
I was running a bit behind at lunch and didn’t have time to find a movie to watch when I got home so, instead, I turned on Netflix and ended up watching this television episode. I’ve seen bits and pieces of this before but, up until today, had not seen the episode in its entirety. As it turns out, it was actually pretty good.
I think the thing that really impressed me about this episode was, even though Burns, ultimately, behaved as expected, the writers were clever about it and, instead of having everything come out at once, had him go insane in spurts. There were times when he would seem like he would go on a rampage and other times when he was a little too friendly toward people. And, because of that, even though it was pretty obvious he wasn’t taking the news of Houlihan’s engagement very well, it was hard to tell what direction they writers would have that insanity take, especially with her rubbing her engagement in his face at every possible moment.
Another thing I really found I liked about this episode was the way Radar (Gary Burghoff) was the one to swoop in and save the day. As I’ve said in the past, one of my biggest complaints about most episodes from this series is the way they always find a way to put the focus on Hawkeye (Alan Alda) instead of taking advantage of a talented ensemble cast. So, whenever someone else has a chance to be the hero, it is always a bit refreshing.
I also found I enjoyed the ending of this episode. Even though it doesn’t completely resolve the issue and, as I know from seeing future episodes, Burns isn’t completely over her, I do like the way the episode manages to give at least partial closure by ending with him getting the last laugh.
When I started watching this episode, I figured it would end up being very predictable. That, however, was not the case and I think the writers did an excellent job of keeping the viewer guessing a bit. I definitely enjoyed watching this episode as a result.
My Grade: A
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