Scuttlebutt Recap

Binghamton is inspecting the crew and then tells them that he reads them a communication from Comfleet reading them a commendation for their performance in a recent operation. Despite that, Binghamton tells them that he considers them brigands before dismissing them.

Tinker goes to see Nurse Betsy Gordon and gives her a flower that he stole from Binghamton's garden. She tells him that their date is off but he reads her their commendation letter. Betsy isn't impressed and says that she's now dating a fighter pilot who has been shot five times. The pilot comes in and sweeps her off her feet. Tinker gives the flower to another nurse and leaves.

On the island, Gruber asks McHale to lend the crew the 73 so Tinker can make time with Betsy. They also want to take photos of Tinker "rescuing" McHale from the Japanese: Fuji, dressed as a soldier. McHale refuses to do it and orders them all out of the hut. Later, the crew tells Gruber to do something because Tinker is still upset. Parker comes in with a "loose lips" poster and puts it up before leaving, and Tinker starts singing. His singing exasperates the crew, and Gruber gets an idea. He figures that they give Betsy a hero by spreading the word that Tinker has been picked for a dangerous mission from which he won't come back. The 73 is going out to test a secret weapon, and they make sure Betsy falls for Tinker before they go.

The crew goes to the infirmary and peer through the window to confirm that Betsy is there. However, after they drop down, Nurse Loretta takes over. Outside, the crew start talking loudly about the 73's new "secret mission." They then lift Tinker back up to the window, but Binghamton comes by and interrupts them. Meanwhile, Loretta starts calling around and she tells a visiting enlisted man, Ryan. Parker soon hears Ryan telling the other crew about the 73's "secret mission." He goes to the officer's club and tells Carpenter, and Carpenter tells Binghamton. Binghamton is upset that no one has told him about it, and calls McHale in. The CO fawns over him and starts talking about no one hogging the glory. However, he soon loses his temper and demands to know the truth.

Admiral Rogers comes in and asks Binghamton if he wants to take on a special assignment. Rogers then explains that Admiral Walsh with Special Weapons needs a new refrigerator, and sends Binghamton to get it while he talks with McHale privately. Binghamton and Carpenter go to the outside window and peer in, but can't hear because the window is shut. McHale is pointing to a map and telling Rogers where the best marlin fishing is for a visiting Senator. They come out and Rogers swears McHale to secrecy, and then takes him to his ship for dinner.

Later, Parker has McHale read a letter that he's written to his mother saying he might not come home. He asks McHale to send it just in case, and McHale has no idea what he's talking about. He finally realizes that Gruber is responsible and confronts him and the others. They say that their plan is working, and McHale is furious that they've been spreading scuttlebutt.

The Japanese soon hear the rumor and a Japanese admiral plans to launch a major attack on Taratupa.

Later, Binghamton calls Parker in and orders him to talk. As Parker refuses to talk, Carpenter spots a Japanese reconnaissance plane over the island. Parker has run out, just as Ryan comes in with a coded message from Comfleet. Carpenter decrypts it and discovers that it's asking where the refrigerator is. Binghamton calls McHale, who says that it's just a single recon plane and he has no idea what it's looking for. Binghamton tells him to be prepared to leave on a mission in an hour. Once he hangs up, Binghamton tells Carpenter that he's going to send the 73 with the refrigerator because no one told him to keep McHale available. When the orders come through, Binghamton will pick the captain for the mission: Carpenter. He promises that if Carpenter survives, he'll be there when the photographers arrive.

Tinker and Betsy prepare to go to an isolated spot, but Virgil runs up and says that they have to leave a day early. Tinker refuses to go and climbs a tree, but Virgil pulls him down and carries him to the gig. The crew load the refrigerator onto the 73, but the crew figure there's a secret weapon inside. Ryan pulls up and pays off everyone's gambling debts to Gruber, and says a final goodbye to the crew. McHale and Parker come back and the crew asks McHale where they're really going. Their captain insists that they're delivering a refrigerator, and yells at them to get moving.

The 73 heads out and McHale continues insisting that it isn't a secret mission. A pack of Zeros flies overhead and open fire, and subs pop up out of the water on both sides. One sub fires a torpedo and Christy takes evasive action. The engines conk out because they're carrying too heavy a load, and McHale orders them to toss the refrigerator overboard. They get away and the Zeroes attack the floating crate. A sub gets in their way and they fire on it, sinking it. Meanwhile, the Zeroes blow up the refrigerator... and ice cubes rain down. Parker figures that it's a secret weapon that fires ice cubes.

Later, the crew prepares Tinker for his date now that he has a Bronze Star. However, Betsy is with an officer with several ribbons, and the two of them take off. The crew comes over to offer their consolations, and Gruber figures that they can spread some new scuttlebutt. McHale shuts him up before he can get it out.

Written by Gadfly on Jan 4, 2017