|“Follies of the Living-Concerns of the Dead”|
| Season 10, Episode # 11 |
Number (#224) in series (256 episodes)
|Guest star(s)||Kario Salem|
|Original airdate||January 4, 1982|
|IMDB||Follies of the Living-Concerns of the Dead|
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Follies of the Living-Concerns of the Dead was the 11th episode of Season 10 of the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H, also the 229th overall series episode. Written and directed by Alan Alda, it originally aired on January 4, 1982.
While Klinger is sick, he communicates with the ghost of a dead soldier.
Full episode summaryEdit
Klinger comes down with a mysterious illness, causing him to have a very high temperature and even fits of delirium. All the doctors are working on it, but none of them can quite seem to figure out what's wrong.
In the meantime, wounded arrive, and one of those brought in is DOA--a young man named Weston. As Weston body is put off to the side, we see what can only be called Weston's ghost rise up from it. Klinger is somehow able to see Weston, and communicate with him, but of course no one else can. Is Weston even there, or is a figment of Klinger's fevered imagination?
We follow Weston as he wanders through the camp, watching everyone else deal with their petty problems--Hawkeye and Winchester argue over which nail each of them gets to hang their clothes on in the Scrub Room, B.J. and Margaret squabble over which fork B.J. likes to use in the Mess Tent, etc.
Weston can't quite accept he's dead, because he says he "doesn't feel dead." He gets upset when he sees his friend Hicks shed tears over his death, uncomfortable over Hick's glossing over all of his faults, just because he's dead. He watches B.J. and Father Mulcahy go through this personal effects, like his wallet, which he fondly recalls getting for the first time. While watching Hawkeye, B.J., and Winchester get drunk, Weston starts to feel different--he says that it starts to look like "everyone is made up of little dots."
Finally, Weston walks across the compound, and we hear random snippets of conversations taking place all over the 4077th--some of them serious, some of them silly.
On a road outside the camp, Weston is greeted by another soldier who is also dead. He points down the road, partially covered in fog, and they walk down it together, along with some other recently dead. They continue walking until they're out of sight.
The next day, Klinger wakes up, his fever having broken. Everyone is happy to see him better, and he asks about Weston--"Where is he? Did he get what he wanted?" No one knows what Klinger is talking about, and as the rest of them argue over whose shift it is in Post Op, he's left to lay back in bed, pondering what exactly happened.
Definitely one of M*A*S*H's most audacious episodes--when you think about it, here's a show that presumably exists in the real world, the world of you and I. And yet here it is, telling us there are, in fact, ghosts, and at least some form of afterlife. Pretty heady stuff.
For most of the episode, you could chalk up all the Weston scenes to Klinger's feverish imagination, brought on by his illness. But the final scene with Weston takes place after Klinger has gotten better, so you know that its not a figment of Klinger's imagination.
One of Klinger's feverish, non-sensical ramblings is "A mouse has four paws, but he doesn't wear a belt." Tracy and I use that all the time, when we're talking about someone or some thing that's a non-sequitur.
There's a brief scene in OR where Hawkeye and Winchester are working together on a patient. For once, there's no jokes or insults, just the two of them working together. You get a really good sense of what a crackerjack team the 4077 doctors are, since even two people as different as Hawkeye and Winchester work together flawlessly.