M*A*S*H: Season 3, Episode 24

Abyssinia, Henry (18 Mar. 1975)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy | Drama | War
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Reviews: 4 user

Henry finds out he's been discharged from the army, and everyone at the 4077th prepares to say goodbye to him as he heads for home.


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Title: Abyssinia, Henry (18 Mar 1975)

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Episode cast overview:


Lieutenant Colonel Henry Blake finally receives his discharge from the Army, and the entire 4077th wishes him a fond farewell. In the famous final scene, it is revealed at the end that his transport plane was shot down over the Sea of Japan and he was killed in action. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | War





Release Date:

18 March 1975 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone Sound Recording)


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The title uses the world "Abyssinia" as a comic corruption of the phrase "I'll be seeing you". See more »


In the scene where Col. Blake is saying goodbye to the staff, he goes over to kiss Margaret. In the initial shot, Margaret has her right arm bent up so she can hold her hat on. The next angle, shot from behind the pair, shows Margaret's right arm over Henry's shoulder and her hand on his back. Then the view switches back to the original angle and her hand is back on her head. See more »


Maj. Frank Marion 'Ferret Face' Burns: [as the company assembles to see Henry off] Does the Colonel wish to review his troops?
Henry Blake: No, I just want to say goodbye.
See more »


Referenced in Casualties of War (1989) See more »


In a Little Spanish Town
Music by Mabel Wayne
Hummed by Wayne Rogers
See more »

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User Reviews

Henry Blake, We Hardly Knew Ya.
20 October 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Another long, noisy O.R. session, in which Trapper, Hawkeye and Father Mulcahy show off their knowledge of showtunes, Frank yelling at them to shut up and Henry yelling at everybody to shut up, the monotony was quickly broken up by some good news. Radar came in with news of Henry's discharge. He'd gotten all his "points" (which hasn't been in existence since World War II) and he'll be going home. Needless to say, Henry Blake was a very happy man and everybody was happy for him. Frank and Hot Lips were happy too, mainly because Frank would finally be taking command of the 4077th, even though his promotion and assignment hadn't come through yet, he still thought it best to count his chickens before they hatch. So as Henry packs up his office, he comes across a few old treasures, such as a previously misplaced jar of mayonnaise he'd accused some chaplain of stealing, and a picture of he and Radar together when he removed his appendix. The two take some time to reflect on all they'd been through, not fully expressing their feelings in words, but rather tokens: an en-scripted shell casing from Radar and a vintage rectal thermometer from Henry. After that, he's able to call the family in Bloomington to give them a heads up that he's on his way home. The call doesn't last long, unfortunately, but they got the message.

The following night, Hawkeye, Trapper, Henry and Radar go to Rosie's and get juiced, and after Henry goes out to use the little boy's tree, the gang bring out a surprise they'd prepared for him: a brand new pinstripe suit custom made in Seoul, and an unofficial discharge ceremony, taking away his rank of lieutenant colonel and naming him Mister Dr. Henry Blake once again. Next morning, Frank has everybody fall in formation, already starting to run the place as if it were an army camp. Henry trotted out of his tent in his brand new suit to say goodbye to everybody, especially his friends, then he plants a big smacker right on Hot Lips' lips and they all follow him up to his chopper. Before he can board, he sees Radar standing at attention and giving him a salute. Henry tells him to behave himself or else he'll come back and kick his butt before giving him a big bear hug and boarding his chopper. Everybody waved until Henry disappeared over the hills. So now he's on his way home, back to his family, back to his practice. All is well once again... or is it? A few days later during another O.R. session, a crestfallen Radar comes in and delivers news that Henry's plane was shot down over the sea of Japan and that there were no survivors. The room grew quiet, minus an instrument drop, as the sudden and harsh realization that their good friend and colleague never made it home and was gone. Before the credits, we get a montage of "Henry's greatest hits," showing various moments in the show where he acts like a goofball, having fun with his friends, just showing Lt. Colonel Henry Blake as the man he really was.

Very little else I can say about this episode. It's very well done, well acted, written, directed, everything. That was a very ballsy move on the producers' part to kill off a major character in a comedy show, but I commend them for their efforts. This was not only McLean Stevenson's final episode, but Wayne Rogers' as well, and he was treated far worse by the producers and network than Stevenson was. Trapper didn't even get a goodbye episode, he'd already left at the start of Season 4. A lot of people have mixed feelings about this episode, whether or not you think it was a good idea to kill off Henry in such a way or not, you have to admit they did it in a pretty decent fashion. I definitely recommend this episode, and as for Season 3 in general, it has some good episodes like Officer of the Day, Adam's Rib, Life with Father, Springtime, Mad Dogs and Servicemen and O.R., it also had it's share of pure crap like White Gold, House Arrest, Alcoholics Unanimous, Payday and Big Mac. Henry may have been a buffoon of a commander, but he was a good doctor and a great character, one of my favorites.

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