First off, let me just say that M*A*S*H is one of my favorite shows and you can often catch me wathcing those two-hour marathons every day on the Hallmark Channel. But there's one episode I rarely watch and it's "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen". I know it's blasphemy among most fans to consider this series finale to be anything less than perfect, but I find it little more than a pandering rehash of ideas better explored in other episodes. What really kills it for me is the overdose of irony. Back in season three, "Abyssinia Henry" used irony for devastating effect. After that, the show used it over and over again. Margaret's getting married? Here comes the wounded. Radar's farewell party? Here comes the wounded. In this episode, we have Maragaret ditching the army, Klinger staying in Korea, and Charles' love of music destroyed. Admittedly, Charles' tragic story is extremely touching and provides the strongest (and, oddly enough, the funniest) subplot, but it's still part of the problem. However, I don't find any irony in Hawkeye's breakdown. After all, Sidney Freedman had already made two visits with Hawkeye in "Hawk's Nightmare" and "Bless You Hawkeye". And in "Heal Thyself", when the temporary surgeon goes insane, Hawkeye admits that the temp's then-apparent strength of mind scares him. He knows he could be next, so it wasn't any big surprise to find him locked up. And when he got out, I hated the bit with the tank. First of all, that's exactly the kind of behavior one would expect from the always impulsive Hawkeye. For Potter to question his sanity is appaling, especially if you remember that the colonel actually requested a tank to act as a "watchdog" in "Hey Doc". The only reason I rate "GF&A" a 7 rather than a 2 is because even with all its faults, you can't deny the effort put into this by the cast. They buy into into the emotional hokum, so we accept it, no matter how contrived. I also give props to the final shot. In itself, a great finish to a magnificent series. Too bad most of what preceded it was hackwork.
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