Goodbye, Cruel World was the 21st episode of Season 8 of the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H, also the 194th overall series episode, Directed by Thad Mumford and Dan Wilcox and directed by Charles S. Dubin, it originally aired on February 11, 1980.
Hawkeye and Dr. Sidney Freedman realize that a highly decorated Chinese-American war hero is only brave because he is trying to die in battle, and try to deal with his suicidal bravery. Meanwhile, Klinger decorates his quarters with some tchotchkes from home, but the resulting ridicule drives him to forge Colonel Potter's signature on his own discharge papers and attempt to desert.
Full episode summaryEdit
One of the wounded is Sgt. Michael Yee, a bonafide war hero. Hawkeye works on him, and is amazed at the sheer number of wounds Yee has suffered.
Later, in Post Op, Hawkeye gives Yee (Clyde Kusatsu) the good news: he's going home. But instead of being overjoyed, Yee seems stunned, and even a little upset over the news.
After the delivering the news, Hawkeye and Margaret leave Yee alone, and we see Yee pound his fist in frustration. Potter and Klinger call an impromptu meeting in Klinger's office - he has filled the room with items from home, all of them with an Arabic flavor. Potter puts it up to a vote from the doctors, but Klinger is less than happy when they all break down in guffaws over Klinger's version of good taste.
Later, Nurse Kelleye tells Hawkeye that Sgt. Yee tried to kill himself by slashing his wrists. Hawkeye, Margaret, and Potter check in on him, and the damage is so extensive that he requires surgery to patch it all up.
Meanwhile, Klinger, angry at being laughed at, decides to pull a scam ending in him being discharged home. He fakes letters from Col. Potter (working hard to perfect Potter's distinctive signature), his mother, and a family priest, planning on sending them into I-Corps. B.J. discovers the plot, and tries to talk Klinger out of it. Klinger pretends to go along, but then after B.J. leaves, resumes his plan.
Sidney Freedman arrives to talk to Sgt. Yee. He looks over Yee's record - he also served in WWII, and while he had a solid record there, it's nothing like the list of courageous acts Yee has attempted in Korea. Sidney talks to Yee, and subtly puts him under hypnosis. Later, Yee awakens, and he's shocked to learn that what he thought has just been a few minutes was actually two hours.
Hawkeye notices Yee, post-hypnosis, is twitching his arm like mad, and wonders if Yee is stable. Sidney insists that he is, telling Hawkeye that Yee is racked with guilt because he's fighting in a war against an Asian enemy--"he has to kill Chinese to be a good American, then he has to kill himself to be a good Chinese." He planted a hypnotic suggestion in Yee's mind to twitch his hand every time he feels guilty, instead of committing an act of violence against himself.
Sidney also surmises that all those acts of bravery on Yee's part were part of the same behavior. Later, Yee is released from the hospital, where Sidney will keep working with him until he's shipped home.
Meanwhile, Potter apologizes to Klinger for not letting him put up any of his personal items and hurting his feelings. He tells Klinger he can put up any one piece, and also gives Klinger a three-day pass. Klinger, now feeling guilty about setting his plan in motion, hot-foots it to I-Corps, where he has to bluff his way out of it with a Colonel. He pretends to be Radar, telling the Colonel that "this Klinger fella" is pulling a scam, and the whole thing should be forgotten.
Once home, Potter reveals he knew about it the whole time, and even gives Klinger some helpful tips about how to better forge his name.
Guest stars/Recurring castEdit
- Allan Arbus as Major Sidney Freedman
- Clyde Kusatsu as Sergeant Michael Yee
- Philip Bruns as Lt. Colonel Burton D. Hedley
- James Carroll as Courier (as James Lough)
- Kellye Nakahara as Nurse Kellye
- David Cramer as Aide
Research notes/Fun facts Edit
Col. Potter tells Klinger that his newly-decorated room looks like "Polly Adler's parlor." Polly Adler was a madam and brothel owner in New York from 1920 to 1944.
Judging by the end of the episode, it is obvious Col. Potter was aware that Klinger was trying to desert over the earlier argument over his office area. Thus it stands to reason that Col. Potter, after making his compromise with his clerk, alerted the Colonel at I-Corps that Klinger would be likely coming to retrieve the forged discharge papers and requested that he play along with any ploy he may use to do so.