MASH Episode Review: "Private Charles Lamb"

by StevenHelmer

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

Synopsis: When the 4077th treats a group of Greek soldiers, they are invited to join in on their Easter celebration. However, when Radar (Gary Burghoff) discovers the main course is a lamb, he decides to take matters in his own hands and rescue the animal before the kitchen staff gets its hands on it, creating problems for Henry (McLean Stevenson) when they discover the lamb is missing.


My wife was out running some errands today so I had time to watch this episode when I was home at lunch. Up until this point, I had seen bits and pieces of it. However, I had never actually had the chance to watch the entire episode. And, for the most part, I thought it was somewhat interesting.

The part with Radar and the lamb really wasn’t anything overly surprising considering the show established, quite some time ago, that he is obsessed with taking care of animals (though I’m still not sure why he is shown eating meat, I would think he would be a vegetarian) but still manages to be somewhat funny, especially when he tricks Henry into signing an emergency discharge for the animal. It’s actually one of those fun jokes that disappeared from the series after Stevenson left and the detail-oriented Colonel Potter (Harry Morgan) was added.

I’m still a little confused about why Frank Burns (Larry Linville) was so opposed to the Greek dinner considering it was one of those cultural exchanges that really doesn’t seem too out of place. While, obviously, he is on the show primarily to object to the wacky things the rest of the camp does, this objection seems a little weak, even for him.

The part of him accidentally hearing a confession from a soldier (Ted Eccles) that purposely shot himself in an effort to get sent home was something that was more in line with what I would expect from him and, to be honest, I was a little disappointed that part of this episode didn’t get more attention, with him giving up his case against the other soldier so easily (to avoid getting in trouble for accidentally impersonating a priest). I think I would have much rather seen the writers make this a bigger part of the episode than have him rant about the Greek celebration.

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Final Opinion

I thought Frank Burns wasn’t used properly.  But, other than that, thought it was a decent episode overall with some predictable, but still funny, twists. I’m glad I finally had a chance to watch this full episode as a result of that.

My Grade: B

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Updated: 05/03/2019, StevenHelmer
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