‘M*A*S*H’: How Show Runners Showed the ‘Wounds of War’ in the Final Episode

by Brandi Stillings
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Aired on February 28, 1983, the “M*A*S*H” series finale “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” concluded the 11th season with a two-hour episode. The last show was written by eight people, including star actor Alan Alda, who directed as well.

Capturing the last few days of the Korean War, the finale’s plot features a compilation of several storylines. They wanted to show how each member of the 4077th MASH was affected by the war. It was intended to bring closure to the series.

Show writer Elias Davis went into detail on why they chose to end “M*A*S*H” this specific way.

“What we tried to do was to find dramatic or interesting and comedic ways,” he said in a MeTV video. “And that each of the characters would have an interesting story within that larger overall story. “

Davis further described the process of combining the individual stories to create the final episode.

“It became as many ‘M*A*S*H’ episodes were, though this one had much more because it was longer, multiple pieces that we could weave together.”

“M*A*S*H” star Mike Farrell, who played B.J. Hunnicutt, shared his thoughts on the show’s concept.

“I thought it was brilliant because it showed in each and every case what war cost the characters,” he said in the video.

In addition, Alda, who played the role of “Hawkeye” Pierce, discussed the impactful meaning behind the finale. Even though people were leaving war to go home, they would carry some internal or external pain.

“My hope was to tell a story that showed the war ending and the doctors and nurses going home,” he said to MeTV. “But to show that in some way everybody had been affected by the war. That they were all going home with some kind of a wound.”

‘M*A*S*H’ Characters’ Final Moments

“M*A*S*H” actor William Christopher (Father Mulcahy) followed Alda with an unfortunate end to his story. His character had lost his hearing due to the war.

“I thought it was interesting having Father Mulcahy have that disability and be angry with God,” Christopher said in the video. “God had thrown him a curve. It happens to a lot of people.”

As for the rest of the 4077th MASH team, Hawkeye lost his sanity and ended up in a mental hospital. Major Winchester (played by David Ogden Stiers) witnessed his musician friends being killed. As a result, he lost his love for classical music.

Actor Jamie Farr’s role as Klinger concluded the episode by staying in Korea. Known for consistently trying to get discharged, he decides to be with his new wife, Soon Lee. He helps look for her missing parents instead.

Overall, the “M*A*S*H” series finale was described best by Alda, who said, “it was the end all, end all.”

Outsider.com