A Purple Heart for Gruber Recap

Somewhere in the South Pacific – 1943

A Japanese soldier attacks Gruber. Gruber throws him to the ground, raises his knife... and tells Tinker to stop filming. Fuji, wearing the soldier's outfit, gets up and Gruber assures him that he did a good job acting. Once Fuji goes to change into his PW outfit, Gruber tells Tinker that he's going to give the films to Miss Gronski, who lives next door to his mother. Gronski's son got a medal and has been bugging Mrs. Gruber about it, so Gruber wants to show her something she can show to her neighbor.

McHale calls over to tell them to get the gig ready because they're heading to the base in ten minutes. He goes in to get the requisition ships from Parker, who is worried he doesn't have enough requisition ships. McHale points out that a liberty ship is coming in for the first time in four months and Parker shouldn't worry about regulations. Parker points out that there's a shakedown in one hour, and McHale tells him the boat is all his if he isn't back by then. Eager to take command, Parker sets the alarm clock and practices giving orders in the mirror.

Fuji takes the ironed laundry to the gig and reminds Gruber to get some laundry soap. McHale comes over and Gruber hides the ironing, and they go to the base.

In Binghamton's office, Binghamton and Carpenter go over the recon photos looking for a Japanese sub. Binghamton admits that he sent for McHale, just as Gruber brings in Binghamton's clean laundry. The captain pays him and warns that McHale will be up on charges if he discovers that McHale stole a government washing machine. Binghamton hands over his uniform whites and says that he needs them for the admiral's visit in two days, and Gruber assures him that he'll handle them personally… for a slight extra charge. As Gruber leaves, McHale comes in and asks to borrow the gig because he has a rush job. McHale agrees and tells him to send it back.

McHale enters Binghamton's office and the captain explains that an enemy sub has established a base in their area. Binghamton tells McHale to go out and find it, and then asks where he got a washing machine. McHale has no idea what he's talking about, and Binghamton dismisses him.

Gruber returns to the island and tells the crew about the rush job. Parker's alarm goes off and he tells the crew that they're going out. They board the 73 and head out, but none of the crew are particularly enthusiastic. Once Parker is done, Gruber and Happy put Binghamton's laundry in a barrel full of holes, mix in some soap and bleach, and tow it behind the 73.

Nearby, the Japanese sub has its periscope up and spots the 73. They fire a torpedo and Gruber spots it coming. He yells a warning, and Parker tells Christy to take evasive action. The torpedo misses the boat... but hits the laundry drum. Clothes fly everywhere, and Gruber cuts his fingertip. The engines stop and Parker insists on checking the fantail. Meanwhile, Gruber figures that his injury is worth a Purple Heart. He and Happy go to clear the rope from the propeller, and Parker arrives so that Gruber can show him his "injury."

Back at the island, McHale complains that the crew scuttled the ship with the laundry. He orders Parker inside and tells the others that they'll be going after the sub. Inside, McHale is furious that Parker let the crew put something over on him. Gruber comes in and thanks McHale for the Purple Heart citation he's going to put in for him. McHale says that he can't tell Binghamton and the Bureau what happened, but Gruber tells him that he already told his mother what happened and sent a picture of himself to the Brooklyn Eagle. McHale orders him out and says that he'd better start thinking about what he's going to tell Binghamton about the uniform. Parker points out that Gruber is entitled to a Purple Heart, and says that he didn't mention the laundry... when he sent in the citation as Acting Commander. Willy comes in to report that Binghamton wants to see McHale and Parker immediately.

Later at the base, Binghamton orders Parker to report what his position was when the incident happened. He says that letting the sub get away could mean a court-martial for the 73 crew. Carpenter comes in with a message from the admiral congratulating him on the action between the 73 and the sub, and confirms the sinking... because of the clothing strewn all over the ocean. Binghamton wonders why they didn't tell him that they sunk the sub, and warns that if Parker hadn't sunk the sub then it would have been his neck. McHale quickly gets Parker out before he blabs the truth.

Back at the island, McHale goes over the maps with the crew and figures where the sub base is. They have to get it before the Japanese commander finds their base, and the Navy thinks that it's already destroyed. The 73 heads out, and McHale figures that the Japanese commander will only take a sure shot. They stop to make the commander think they've stopped for repairs, and McHale tells the crew to use their tools to make as much noise as possible. Meanwhile, Gruber tells his teammates that he'll get his Purple Heart.

Willy picks up propeller noise and they spot the periscope. The sub shoots a torpedo rather than move in closer, and McHale discovers that the engine won't start. The crew grabs oars and starts stroking, and the torpedo just misses them. They get the engine going and go after the sub, dropping depth charges and putting a hole in the sub's bow. It surfaces and the crew abandons ship, and McHale says that someone else will have to pick them up because they can't tell anyone what they did. He reminds them that they sunk the sub a day ago, and they'll have to say that they were out fishing.

The next day, Binghamton calls McHale in and tells him that a destroyer picked up the Japanese crew. He has also approved Gruber's citation, and McHale hands over Binghamton's laundry but says that Gruber apologies for using Binghamton's uniform jacket. It's I shreds, and McHale says that Gruber was wearing it when he got hit. Everything else is shredded as well, and Binghamton assumes from the damage that Gruber is dead. McHale assures him that Gruber isn't before leaving.

Written by Gadfly on Dec 21, 2016