Season 11 Episode 16

Goodbye, Farewell and Amen

Aired Unknown Feb 28, 1983 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (22)

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out of 10
183 votes
  • Remarkable, but not perfect.

    This is the touchstone with which the quality of other finales is measured, and it is a remarkable show, but not a perfect one. MASH was a success because it had wonderful characters, great comedy and its satire made some good points. There is plenty to laugh at in this episode. But what makes it so special is the way the relationship between the characters struck the viewer with such power. Rarely have you empathized so much with the emotions the characters went through as they said goodbye to a horrible situation, and to each other. The emotions felt real, for which we should applaud the actors' talents. Potter's goodbye to Klinger stands out as a good example.

    The writers didn't always take the easy way out. Charles Winchester's apparent coldness and ingratitude make sense, and bring tension to the story, but would have been avoided by lesser writers.

    At the heart of the episode there is of course the relationship between B.J. and Hawkeye. The idea of B.J. leaving during Hawkeye's absence, without saying goodbye, brought the show back to the reality of military life. These things happen; relationships that seem meant for life are more fleeting that expected, and it's hard for people to accept that.

    My only problem with the episode is the first half hour. Hawkeye's breakdown was not necessary. As an example of the horrors of war it seemed over the top. (Winchester's experiences with the Chinese musicians achieved the same goal a lot better.) Worse, it weakened a character who, for eleven seasons, had stood up to army and the war. It felt as if the war won in the end.
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