Margaret's Marriage was the 122nd episode of M*A*S*H, the 25th and season finale episode of Season 5 the show, which originally aired on CBS-TV on March 15, 1977, followed up by a repeat on August 30, 1977 (M*A*S*H's last official fifth season telecast on CBS). It was written by Everett Greenbaum and Jim Fritzell, and directed by Gene Reynolds.
Pressured by Frank, Margaret decides to marry Lt. Colonel Donald Penobscott at the 4077th. When Donald arrives in camp, he is treated to a bachelor party and a practical joke while the nurses give Margaret a bridal shower.
Full episode summary
After Margaret's not-yet-scheduled marriage becomes the topic of discussion in the O.R.,, Margaret calls Donald Penobscott, wanting to set the date. Penobscott agrees, and says he is on his way to the 4077th. Margaret is thrilled, Frank is worried, as Margaret mentions Penobscott also wishes to settle things with Frank.
A day later, Penobscott (Beeson Carroll) arrives, and announces they want to get married as soon as possible. Frank walks in, and when he takes one look at the tall, strapping Penobscott, he runs in the other direction, fearful of what Penobscott's intentions are.
Penobscott gives chase, eventually pinning Frank to the compound. In the middle of kicking and screaming, Penobscott surprises everyone by thanking Frank for inspiring Margaret to finally ask about getting married, and he wants Frank to the best man.
The nurses throw Margaret a shower, and Klinger shows up with a surprise gift - a beautiful wedding gown, which Klinger claims his uncle Zak used to "get out of World War I." Houlihan is moved to tears by Klinger's generosity.
Meanwhile, at the bachelor party everyone gets hammered, even Father Mulcahy and Radar. When Penobscott passes out on B.J.'s bunk, B.J. gets a devilish idea - he suggests he and Hawkeye put Penobscott in a full body cast, and tell him he broke his leg overnight. Hawkeye says "That's too cruel - that's vicious!" B.J. agrees: "I know - it's perfect!"
The next morning, Penobscott waits at the altar (in the Mess Tent) in, yes, a full body cast. Margaret looks beautiful in Klinger's wedding gown. The ceremony starts off fine, but has to be rushed to its conclusion when wounded arrive.
Margaret does triage in her wedding gown, and then assists Col. Potter in O.R., who comments "Hell of a wedding for you, kid." Penobscott asks to watch his wife at work, so he is propped up by Father Mulcahy so he can see. But even though he's a self-described "combat veteran", he gets sick when he sees a patient spurt blood all over B.J. during an operation.
After surgery is over, everyone gathers on the upper chopper pad to see Margaret and Penobscott off. After the rotors start whirring, Hawkeye and B.J. admit the whole "breaking a leg" thing was a joke - but Margaret can't hear what they're saying. They decide to call her in Tokyo and tell her the truth, so as not to ruin their honeymoon. B.J. wagers that Houlihan will probably rip the casts off with her bare hands.
Everyone wanders off, except for Frank, who watches Margaret's chopper fly off. All by himself, he says, to no one in particular, a quiet "Bye, Margaret."
Later that night, Potter, Hawkeye, and B.J. sit up with Frank, knowing he'd be in rough mental and emotional shape, but he insists he's fine. They start to think about what the newlyweds might be up to at the moment, and before long, the four of them are headed to the showers - cold ones.
Guest stars/Recurring cast
- Beeson Carroll as Lt. Col. Donald Penobscott
- Judy Farrell as Nurse Able
- Patricia Stevens as Nurse Baker
- Lynne Marie Stewart as Nurse Clark
- Kellye Nakahara as Nurse Kellye
- Uncredited appearances:
- There are a few ¨lasts¨ in this particular episode:
- This is the final episode appearance of Larry Linville as Maj. Frank Burns. Lawrence Lavon Linville died of pneumonia after complications from cancer surgery on April 10, 2000, at age 60.
- Supposedly, this was going to be Loretta Swit´s final episode with her Major Houlihan character being written off of the series. However, this was Larry Linville´s last appearance and this meant that two of the main cast (like in Season 3) would have left at a season´s end. Her character was brought back for the remainder of the series, despite Swit wanting to leave at the end of Season 8 to pursue another popular character role.
- This is also the last episode before the end credits are seen at an episode´s end just before the closing credits, and the last episode to use its traditional layout of an act transition just before the end credits.
- In syndication, this episode ends by shows Frank saying "goodbye" to Houlihan; the part where everyone takes showers at the end is usually cut out.
- Frank mentions that Margaret had been in the army for 18 years. Assuming she spent time in nursing school before joining the army, this would make Margaret about 39 -- and Loretta Swit was coincidentally 39 when this episode was made. (This would also indicate that Margaret served in the army through the entirety of WWII.)
- Klinger says the wedding dress he gifted to Margaret was used by his Uncle Zak to get out of World War I. WWI ran from July 1914 to November 1918, and the Korean War from June 1950 to July 1953. Assuming this episode takes place roughly in the year 1952, that would make Klinger's dress about 36–37 years old.
- While drunk at Penobscott's bachelor party, Penobscott comments that Klinger's wearing earrings, and Col. Potter tells him that Klinger is a gypsy. Klinger tried to get out of the Army (yet again) by claiming to be a lost gypsy king earlier that season in "Hawkeye Get Your Gun."