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Henry Blake's Death Didn't Drastically Change MASH, But This Season 1 Episode Did
2024/03/07

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Henry Blake's death is often cited as the moment that changed MASH, but its transformation into a dramedy began with a season 1 outing. MASH evolved in many ways during its first few years, moving from a sitcom with a not so subtle anti-war message into a medical drama that happened to be funny. This mix of laughter and darkness would have a big impact on the TV shows that came after, with Scrubs being the most obvious example. Showrunner Larry Gelbart and star Alan Alda were both behind this push toward a more dramatic tone in later MASH seasons.

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Of course, it was the death of Blake during MASH season 3 that became the show's most infamous moment and informed its more dramatic tone moving forward. Blake had been a popular supporting player on MASH for years, and his abrupt demise shocked audiences. It was also one of the first times on American television that such a major figure was killed off. For many devotees, the season after Blake's death is considered the highlight of the entire show, as it fully embraced blending humor and drama.

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MASH Season 1 Episode "Sometimes You Hear The Bullet" Changed The Show

This MASH episode also featured a young Ron Howard

Blake's passing in "Abyssinia, Henry" was undeniably a turning point, but "Sometimes You Hear The Bullet" is the episode that really informed what MASH became. In this outing, Hawkeye is visited by a childhood friend called Tommy Gillis (James T.

Callahan), a soldier who is also working on a book called You Never Hear the Bullet. In the finale, a badly wounded Gillis is brought into surgery, where he quickly dies despite Hawkeye's best efforts.

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