MASH Episode Review: “Too Many Cooks”

by StevenHelmer

A review of the season 8 premiere that first aired in September of 1979.

Synopsis: Colonel Potter (Harry Morgan) develops a short fuse after receiving an angry letter from his wife and is unable to reach her by phone. Meanwhile, the entire camp makes an effort to keep a wounded private (Ed Begley, Jr.) from returning to the front lines so they can keep him in their kitchen after discovering he is a much better chef than he is a soldier.

Review

I had an opportunity to watch this episode yesterday evening while eating dinner and waiting for the kids to go to bed. It was the first time I had seen this particular episode and, overall, I have to admit it was much better than I was expecting it to.

I won’t say this is the first episode I’ve seen with Potter showing a lot of raw emotion. However, in the past, he’s always tapered it off a bit. This time around, his anger over his wife’s letter definitely had him crossing lines I had never seen him cross before and it really did sink in just how tough war is on marriages, both for those who are serving in them and those who are sitting at home. It really made me wonder, especially when Margaret (Loretta Swit) gave her heartfelt speech, just how my parents’ marriage survived given the fact my dad was a soldier for more than 40 years.

At first, I wasn’t really sure if I was going to be a fan of the newly-discovered chef. But, as the episode progressed, I did find I liked this part of the story. Part of the reason for this is I liked how the camp managed to take things to extremes by running the mess tent as a fancy restaurant with Klinger (Jamie Farr) controlling the seating arrangements. While this was, admittedly, a bit much, it did give the episode quite a few light-hearted moments that helped offset the depressing nature of Potter’s marital troubles.

I also found I liked the way this episode ended. While, granted, it should have been something that was somewhat predictable, it still ended up having a nice twist that I didn’t expect and, honestly, worked really well with the rest of the episode.

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Final Opinion

I had some doubts about this one when I started watching it. But, overall, this proved to be a good episode that I was glad I took the time to watch. I do recommend it if you get a chance to see it.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 07/01/2015, StevenHelmer
 
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