China Beach (1990): S03E13 – Souvenirs


Introduction

China Beach is an American dramatic television series set at an evacuation hospital during the Vietnam War.

The title refers to My Khe beach in the city of Đà Nẵng, Vietnam, nicknamed “China Beach” in English by American and Australian soldiers during the Vietnam War. The ABC TV drama aired for four seasons, from 1988 to 1991.

Outline

Dodger discovers a dead infant in a burned village and tells McMurphy he’s leaving, as his tour is long over – and surprises her with the declaration he is bringing his son back to the US with him. She warns him that parenting the baby will be difficult and getting adoption approval from the US embassy and the South Vietnamese government even harder, but Dodger is set in his decision. However, he immediately hits roadblocks at both government offices, rejected by the South Vietnamese government and told the adoption process could take weeks, if not months. With few other options, McMurphy brings him to K.C., who requests payment to help get his baby out of the country. Dodger prepares to enter the bush again to reach a village and fulfil K.C.’s request against McMurphy’s wishes. Before he leaves, he sends away Boonie, who tries to join him on his quest. In the ashen ruins of the village, he finds a golden necklace K.C. was seeking. Exiting the bush to a lively USO show, the normally stoic Dodger gets emotional at the thought of leaving Vietnam and the memories of his time there. He returns to China Beach and finds Boonie has thrown a party to celebrate his impending departure; Boonie also gives Dodger the Navy Cross he had received for his actions on their patrol together. K.C. gives him back the necklace he had retrieved for her, having had a change of heart requesting payment for her help. While awaiting a helicopter for his departure, McMurphy urges Dodger to stay the course as he adjusts to life away from Vietnam and to not come back. McMurphy tells him she will visit him when she returns stateside, but he tells her not to before telling her he loves her. The two share a tearful embrace as he boards the helicopter to leave China Beach. Back in the US, he disembarks a train in his hometown, his son in his arms. The episode is intercut with interviews of real-life Vietnam veterans (many featured in the season 2 episode “Vets”), who discuss topics related to Dodger’s exit from Vietnam such as the bureaucracy underpinning the war, the camaraderie between soldiers, treating maimed and orphaned children, and the transition from Vietnam to civilian life in the US.

China Beach Series

You can find a full index and overview of China Beach here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 17 January 1990.
  • Running Time: 46-47 minutes.
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

Video Link

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