Thoughts on the Final M*A*S*H Episode

The final episode of M*A*S*H was the most watched episode of any series in all of television history.  I just got around to watching it yesterday.   I had spent the better part of two years working my way through the series.   I’m not as good at binge watching as some other folks are, so it took me longer to get through it.  First of all,  I’m not even remotely surprised that Hawkeye had a nervous breakdown.  I’m actually surprised this didnt happen sooner, what with his obvious distaste for the war tjrpigjpit the emtore seroes addictive coping mechanisms of drinking, and sleeping with women who are little better than strangers.  It was good that Sydney was there to help him out while he was on some extended R&R.  This provess was difficult obviously.  I was not entirely surprised by the chicken / baby switch, as they had done that previously with the beer bottle and hte I.V. as Hawkeye was using this imagry to repress what was really going on so he wouldn’t have to remember the horrible details of what actually happened.  I was sure that they would find a better way to quiet the baby rather than strangle it.  They really upped the intensity for their last go around.  I don’t think Hawkeye saw it coming as he was so disgusted by it after.  That was the moment that shocked the entire viewing audience some 35 years ago and still to this day if you’ve never seen it, and you know how much respect for human lives these guys have, being doctors and nurses.

It was too bad that Charles’ orchestra friends had to get taken out as well.  Watching him destroy his Mozart record was unexpected, but understandible under the circumstances, if it was just going to remind him of his new found friends.

I read somewhere that compared to the real time of the Korean War, each episode of M*A*S*H would have been spaced out by about four days.  That allows them to take eleven years to tell a three year story.  That’s enough lead in to my next point.  Klinger meets Soon Li in the second to last episode and marries her in the last episode.  Who marries someone they’ve only known for a week?  War makes men do crazy things though, I guess.

I was kind of hoping for a sneaky return of Col Flagg, but that didn’t happen.  The episode was too serious for him anyway, though I hear they brought him back for an episode of the spin off series, After Mash.

Most people feel a sense of loss when finale episodes hit.  Especially if the characters were treated as badly as those in the Seinfeld finale. Still sad about that one, but I’m getting off topic.   However, I did not want these guys to hav to be trapped in a war zone forever, so I was glad they were all able to make it out in one piece, with the obvious exception of Col.  Blake, and the Padre’s loss of hearing.  At it’s essence, M*A*S*H was comedy and drama with a higher purpose.  It made you lagh.  It made you think.

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