|Episode no.||Season 3|
Episode 17 (65th overall)
|Directed by||Gene Reynolds|
|Written by||Robert Klane|
|Original air date||January 21, 1975|
"The Consultant" is the 17th episode in the third season of the television series M*A*S*H. It originally aired on January 17, 1975. It was written by Robert Klane, from a story by Larry Gelbart, and was directed by Gene Reynolds.
Once arriving in Japan, the two cohorts sit at a bar and chum up to a civilian medical consultant, Anthony Borelli (played by Robert Alda, Alan Alda's real-life father). They exchange stories, as Borelli is in Tokyo attending the same conference and has himself served as surgical doctor in both world wars. Trapper and Hawkeye invite Borelli to leave the "cozy locker room in Tokyo" and get some real game in a M*A*S*H unit or aid station. He politely declines and the three part ways.
Back at the camp, Henry is enjoying a soak in a makeshift wading pool that has apparently been engineered by Radar. Frank saunters up and complains loudly that Hawkeye and Trapper did not attend a single lecture at the clinic. Henry avoids Frank by sinking under the water. Then, Trapper and Hawkeye walk out, decked in swimming shorts, flippers and floaties. They jump into the pool, making a big splash.
As Henry broaches the topic of the clinic, a chopper arrives, and it carries Dr. Borelli who has come for a stay at the friendly 4077th. Borelli bunks in the Swamp and prepares for his stay as visiting surgeon. Frank and Margaret are excited to meet the new doctor and Margaret puts on her usual charms.
More choppers arrive, this time with wounded. In the OR everyone is working on patients, including Frank who is about ready to amputate a patient's leg because of a collapsed artery. Borelli intercedes and explains the process of an arterial transplant. For this procedure a new artery is grafted in, resulting in preservation of the limb. In a tense moment, Frank objects because, "Somebody might get in trouble." Eventually, Henry sends Radar to the phones so that they can track down a new artery.
In the Mess, Hawkeye, Trapper, and Borelli sit at one table drinking coffee, while Frank and Margaret sit at an opposite table doing the same. Borelli and Margaret continue to eye each other. Radar barges in, announcing that he found the artery. Trapper and Hawkeye leave to retrieve the artery while Borelli ominously declines to make the trip.
When Trapper and Hawkeye get back to the 4077th, they have Borelli paged to the OR and the two surgeons scrub in. Radar comes into the OR, looking upset and urges Hawkeye to go to the Swamp, where Borelli waits.
In the Swamp Borelli sits with a scared, somber expression on his face, and Hawkeye realizes that the surgeon is drunk and unfit to operate. Borelli reasons that Hawkeye can handle the surgery if Borelli directs him, and Hawkeye grudgingly agrees to go through with the surgery, which is successful.
Later, in the Swamp with tension in the air, Borelli explains how he wasn't prepared for the intensity of the M*A*S*H unit and he had to turn to drinking in order to recover. He says that his old age makes things harder to bear than they once were. He leaves, and Hawkeye sets aside his drink.
Radar, Henry, Frank, and Margaret bid farewell to Borelli on the landing pad, and just before the chopper takes off, Hawkeye walks up the hill and offers Borelli a nonchalant tip of the hat.
- Alan Alda as Cpt. Hawkeye Pierce
- Wayne Rogers as Cpt. Trapper John McIntyre
- McLean Stevenson as Lt. Col. Henry Blake
- Loretta Swit as Maj. Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan
- Larry Linville as Maj. Frank Burns
- Gary Burghoff as Cpl. Radar O'Reilly
- William Christopher as Father Mulcahy
- Robert Alda as Maj. Borelli
- Joseph Maher as Major Taylor
- Tad Horino as the Bartender.
- M*A*S*H Season 3, Disc 3