(03x24) 072 - Abyssinia, Henry

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Big Daddy O'Reilly
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(03x24) 072 - Abyssinia, Henry

Post by Big Daddy O'Reilly »

Well... what more can we say about this episode that we haven't already? It was bittersweet from beginning to end: on the one hand, you're happy for Henry to be going home and not have to be a part of the war anymore, but on the other hand, you're sad to see him go because he was such an intergral part of the M*A*S*H cast, not to mention a very funny and amusing character.

And who wasn't shocked and aghast at learning his plane was shot down? The first time I saw this episode, it almost felt like a slap in the face when Radar came in and deliver those now infamous words, "Lieutenant Colonel Henry Blake's plane... was shot down... over the Sea of Japan. ... It spun in... there were no survivors..." I was so shocked and stunned by that, I couldn't even react, I kind of had what they refer to on TV Tropes as a Heroic BSOD.

Of course, let us not forget all of the controversy that surrounded this episode too: Larry Gelbart and Gene Reynolds swear that they wanted to take the opportunity of Henry's departure to show the horrors of way in a way that had never been done in television history, and let people know that unfortunately, not everybody made it home from Korea... HOWEVER, there's been specuation and rumors swirling around, even to this day, that the death of Henry was all a ploy cooked up by the producers AND the network to get rid of McLean Stevenson once and for all, because they say he was such a meddler.

At least in the end, Mac got the last laugh with his appearance on THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW, as Henry, floating down the river in a smoking raft, waving his arms and yelling, "I'M OKAY! I'M OKAY!" Or did he?

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Re: (03x24) 072 - Abyssinia, Henry

Post by edmund0901 »

I couldn't understand the notion of Henry's plane being shot down. I understand the point trying to be made that not everybody made it home safe but it would be more realistic if Henry had been killed going to or at an aid station performing his medical duties. Why would a plane be shot down that wasn't involved in combat and would have been departing Korea flying away from the mainland and I don't even think that the Chinese or Koreans had any MIGS capable at that time of shooting down planes.

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Re: (03x24) 072 - Abyssinia, Henry

Post by kkt »

We were generally stronger in the air, but we lost some too. And if they didn't want to take on fighters, going after a military transport plane might be a target they could handle.

A lot of the soldiers were superstitious about getting killed just as they were about to leave or even on their way home. Lots of people got killed doing mundane things, not just combat, aid stations, etc. Traffic accidents were a big killer, there as in civilian life. Crazy 19-year-old enlisted drivers, in tippy jeeps, with no speeding tickets to be had, over terrible roads...

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