General Hospital (Blackadder)

General Hospital (Blackadder)

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"General Hospital" is the fifth episode of Blackadder Goes Forth
Blackadder Goes Forth
Blackadder Goes Forth is the fourth and final series of the BBC situation comedy Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, which aired from 28 September to 2 November 1989 on BBC One....

, the fourth series of the BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 sitcom Blackadder
Blackadder is the name that encompassed four series of a BBC1 historical sitcom, along with several one-off instalments. All television programme episodes starred Rowan Atkinson as anti-hero Edmund Blackadder and Tony Robinson as Blackadder's dogsbody, Baldrick...



The episode opens with George and Baldrick playing "I spy
I spy
I spy is a guessing game usually played in families with young children, partly to assist in both observation and in alphabet familiarity. I spy is often played as a car game....

", to Blackadder
Captain Blackadder
Captain Edmund Blackadder is the main fictional character in the fourth and final series of the popular BBC sitcom Blackadder, Blackadder Goes Forth...

's great annoyance and boredom. However, the game is interrupted when a bomb lands on their trench after George says 'I hear, with my little ear, something beginning with B!', injuring George and sending him to the field hospital, where he meets the sweet-natured Nurse Mary Fletcher-Brown (to whom Edmund takes a dislike, owing to her soppiness). The visit is cut short as Blackadder is ordered to General Melchett's HQ. There, Melchett and Captain Darling act suspiciously, explaining that there is a German spy who's been leaking the British battleplans back to the Kaiser, although Blackadder expresses surprise that the army has battleplans. Melchett explains that they do, all directed according to the grand plan. When Blackadder makes a guess of the plan — "Continue total slaughter until everyone's dead, except Field Marshal
Field Marshal
Field Marshal is a military rank. Traditionally, it is the highest military rank in an army.-Etymology:The origin of the rank of field marshal dates to the early Middle Ages, originally meaning the keeper of the king's horses , from the time of the early Frankish kings.-Usage and hierarchical...

Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig
Field Marshal Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig, KT, GCB, OM, GCVO, KCIE, ADC, was a British senior officer during World War I. He commanded the British Expeditionary Force from 1915 to the end of the War...

, Lady Haig, and their tortoise
Tortoises are a family of land-dwelling reptiles of the order of turtles . Like their marine cousins, the sea turtles, tortoises are shielded from predators by a shell. The top part of the shell is the carapace, the underside is the plastron, and the two are connected by the bridge. The tortoise...

 Alan" — this leads Melchett to believe that this leak is worse than everyone thought. The leak has been traced to the field hospital, and Melchett orders Blackadder to discover the spy and gives out a suggestion for methods of interrogation: get a hold of a Cocker Spaniel, tie the suspect down on a chair with a potty
Chamber pot
A chamber pot is a bowl-shaped container with a handle, and often a lid, kept in the bedroom under a bed or in the cabinet of a nightstand and...

 on his head, then pop his todger
The penis is a biological feature of male animals including both vertebrates and invertebrates...

 between two floury baps
A biscuit is a baked, edible, and commonly flour-based product. The term is used to apply to two distinctly different products in North America and the Commonwealth Nations....

, and shout "Dinnertime, Fido!" He also states that if Blackadder succeeds he will be head of a new intelligence network, Operation: Winkle (to winkle out the spies). After Blackadder leaves, Darling expresses his mistrust and asks to go along in order to keep an eye on him. Melchett goes along with the idea and shoots Darling in the foot to give him a cover story.

Blackadder and Baldrick return to the hospital and tell George about the spy and the three come up with ideas. Blackadder has Baldrick watch "Mr. Smith", an injured soldier with a thick German accent who shares the room with George, although he is no more suspicious of him than anyone else. Darling shows up and, after Edmund makes several cutting remarks about his injury, expresses his lack of confidence in Blackadder's abilities, to which Edmund replies that he'll begin interviewing suspects right away. Immediately the scene changes to show Blackadder interrogating Darling in Melchett's recommended method, and asks him a couple of questions (one of which is when Darling answers the name of the German head of state, Blackadder accuses him of being on "first name terms with the Kaiser
Kaiser is the German title meaning "Emperor", with Kaiserin being the female equivalent, "Empress". Like the Russian Czar it is directly derived from the Latin Emperors' title of Caesar, which in turn is derived from the personal name of a branch of the gens Julia, to which Gaius Julius Caesar,...

"). Then, Darling's humiliation intensifies when he fearfully reveals his past as a British citizen after Blackadder threatens to set the Cocker Spaniel on him. When Darling says he is as english as Queen Victoria, Blackadder replies 'So your father's German, you're half German and you married a German.' He is finally let go when he simply says that he's not a German spy and as the interrogation is interrupted by Nurse Mary; Darling staggers out, swearing revenge, only to crash into something along the way. Mary reveals that her soppiness is just her bedside manner (or "fluffy bunny act" as she calls it) and that she's smarter and more cynical than Edmund initially suspected, and the two enter into a sexual relationship.

At one point, in the hospital, George asks Smith if he knows any suspicious characters who might be German spies. Smith answers "Nein" and an astonished George misinterprets it as nine suspects, speculating that Blackadder has "got his work cut out for him."

Eventually Edmund's investigation ends and he brings Nurse Mary along to HQ to talk with General Melchett about the spy and the leak which, Melchett explains, has gotten much worse (the Germans were even able to send him a reminder the day before that he was due to change his shirts). Mary says that she suspected Darling because of his "pooh-poohing" — a court-martial
A court-martial is a military court. A court-martial is empowered to determine the guilt of members of the armed forces subject to military law, and, if the defendant is found guilty, to decide upon punishment.Most militaries maintain a court-martial system to try cases in which a breach of...

 offense somewhat similar to insubordination
Insubordination is the act of willfully disobeying an authority. Refusing to perform an action that is unethical or illegal is not insubordination; neither is refusing to perform an action that is not within the scope of authority of the person issuing the order.Insubordination is typically a...

— causing Melchett to relate to Blackadder a story of a Major who got pooh-pooed and poo-poohed it, leading evantually to the regiment having to be disbanded, as well as Smith (which Blackadder dismisses as too obvious). Edmund says that Mary herself is the spy, a fact he verified over their time together: first, George reveals that she speaks German and helped him with the German words in his letters; then, she reveals to Blackadder her knowledge of tank
A tank is a tracked, armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat which combines operational mobility, tactical offensive, and defensive capabilities...

 movements; finally, she doesn't recognize that out of "Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

, Cambridge
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

, and Hull
University of Hull
The University of Hull, known informally as Hull University, is an English university, founded in 1927, located in Hull, a city in the East Riding of Yorkshire...

", only two are great universities (to which Melchett replies "That's right. Oxford's a complete dump" - see Notes below). Baldrick leads Mary away to a firing squad. Smith enters the room, followed by Darling, who tackles him and claims he's the spy, which he admits at gunpoint. However, Melchett reveals that the man is a British spy: Brigadier-General Sir Bernard Proudfoot-Smith, the finest in the army and the one who tipped him off on the spy in the hospital. Smith explains that his accent is the result of spending so much time undercover in Germany. Melchett rewards Blackadder by making the head of Operation: Winkle, denounces Darling as a "complete arse
The buttocks are two rounded portions of the anatomy, located on the posterior of the pelvic region of apes and humans, and many other bipeds or quadrupeds, and comprise a layer of fat superimposed on the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius muscles. Physiologically, the buttocks enable weight to...

," and he and Smith leave to watch Mary's execution. George enters the room and unwittingly reveals himself as the leak when he remarks that the relative he's been writing to is, in fact, his Uncle Hermann in Munich, to whom he even recently wrote about Melchett's shirts. Darling smugly asks Blackadder if he wants to tell this to Melchett, and the two race out of the room past a confused George.