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) shown. (Photo by: Philipe Antonello / Hulu)

Yossarian the cynic

Between these two events, we’re briefly shown Yossarian being trained as a bombardier—the one actually in charge of physically dropping the bombs on target.

Yossarian, when alone with the other troops or Scheisskopf’s wife, is also shown to be a complete pessimist. For him, there are more reasons to be negative about the world around them than positive. Who cares if you’re in good health now, you’ll be dead eventually, Yossarian says with a smile.

He looks at the military parades that they’re forced to do as the brass just trying to humiliate soldiers by making them do something pointless.

That’s when he decides to try to get out of it by faking an appendix issue. The doctor, Doc Daneeka, sees right through him and tells him to try faking a liver problem next time. Daneeka also warns Yossarian to pick his battles carefully, there are things much worse than parades out there.

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Catch-22 then jumps to two months later.

Yossarian is the lead bomber on a run over Italy. They’re being shot at and everyone is yelling at him to hurry up and drop the bombs so they can leave. But Yossarian, after glancing over at his friend Dunbar in the next plane, takes his time and gets the job done right.

After, he takes heavy, shaky breaths. It’s a very tense scene.

Back on the ground at their base in Italy, a ticker shows Yossarian going from 10 missions left to nine missions left.

At the base, Yossarian bunks with Orr. To their dismay, they’re brought a new guy, Mudd, to room with them. Mudd looks scared to death. Mudd asks Yossarian where the administration tent is, and Yossarian tells him.

Yossarian realizes that he told the kid the wrong tent and tries to yell after him to correct it. “Tries” meaning he yelled from bed, it wasn’t worth getting up.

It’s not until dinner that Yossarian learns that Mudd had gone into the briefing room and was sent on a mission. During that mission, his plane went down and Mudd died.

Yossarian tries to piece together the gravity of the situation and where his fault lies as he stares at Mudd’s bags back in their tent—bags that haven’t even been unpacked. This breaks Yossarian, he’s done. He says he can’t fly anymore missions.

Others try to say that the war is already won, so just keep flying. But, Yossarian points out, if the war is won, why fly at all?