Catch-22 season 1 premiere recap: Introducing the Catch-22

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Catch-22 — Episode 101 — Yossarian and his friends train to be flyers in California before being shipped to an Army Air Force base on the Italian island of Pianosa. Nineteen perilous missions later, YossarianÕs only hope is to meet the mission quota Ð twenty-five Ð and be sent home before heÕs shot down. But a new Colonel (Cathcart) takes command and immediately raises the mission quota. Yossarian realizes he has to get himself grounded or sent home by any means necessary. Yossarian (Christopher Abbott), Clevinger (Pico Alexander), Scheisskopf (George Clooney), and Major (Lewis Pullman), shown.(Photo by: Philipe Antonello / Hulu)

The premiere episode of Catch-22 combines wit and sarcasm with horror and devastation to tell the story of Yossarian, a bombardier who just wants to go home.

This first episode of Catch-22 serves as an introduction to Yossarian, a bombardier who had joined the air force because he knew it required a lot of training. Since he knew he’d eventually have to go to war anyway, he had hoped that he’d be in training so long that the war would be over by the time he was ready to fly missions.

No such luck. We spend the majority of this episode with Yossarian, 16 missions into his 25 mission requirement. Once he hits 25, he gets to go home. Well, if he survives.

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Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, this episode opens briefly on a naked Yossarian walking through an air force base, covered in blood as voice over shows that he’s reliving some real horrors.

Then, Catch-22 moves back in time to Santa Ana Army Base and Yossarian’s Flight Training school.

You quickly get a sense of who Yossarian is watching him deal with the bureaucracy of training. He’s definitely the keep your head down and shut up type (while making sarcastic comments under his breath).

Unfortunately, Yossarian finds himself by Clevinger in formation and boy does the officer in charge (Scheisskopf, played by George Clooney) had Clevinger. Clevinger winds up getting himself and Yossarian in trouble with Scheisskopf twice.

First, when Scheisskopf was yelling at their unit for their inability to march properly during military parades. When Sheisskopf asked (rhetorically, as Yossarian points out) what he was doing wrong, Clevinger raises his hand.

You can tell by the smirk on Scheisskopf’s face that he’s ready to punish Clevinger, that’s when Yossarian snaps and yells at Clevinger to shut up. So, of course, they’re both punished.

The second time is during the next military parade when Yossarian’s unit is being evaluated. Clevinger, perhaps due to heat or exhaustion, starts to waver. He collapses on the ground and the next thing we see are Clevinger and Yossarian being read their charges.

(One charge includes “stumbling without authority”—so, yeah, they don’t like Clevinger.)

Scheisskopf tears into Clevinger (which is only made funnier by the fact that Scheisskopf barely yells at Yossarian, but Scheisskopf also doesn’t know that his wife is sleeping with Yossarian). The two men are punished again.