The episode is entitled "The Colonel Walks at Midnight" and the basic gist of the story is that Hawkeye claims to have seen Henry Blake's ghost, but nobody believes him.
by Dylan S.
It opens with Hawkeye and B.J. exiting the O.R. after a sixteen hour shift. They are exhausted. They head for the mess tent when suddenly Hawkeye sees something that makes him stop. He stares wide-eyed towards the mess tent as a very familiar figure is walking opposite the mess tent. Hawkeye asks B.J., "Did you see that?!"
"See what?" Asks B.J. "Henry! That was Henry! Henry Blake, the guy who used to be in charge here", says Hawkeye. "You told me he was in a plane crash. He died" "Well he did a pretty lousy job of it," said Hawkeye. B.J. assumes Hawkeye is just tired and so they go in the mess tent for coffee. Hawk asks if anybody else has seen Henry but nobody else has. Just then, over the P.A. the announcer says, "Attention, all personnel. The bad humor wagon has arrived. More wounded. Report to O.R. asap!" So all the doctors return to O.R. As Hawkeye is operating, he happens to glace to the glass window in the swinging door. He suddenly does a double-take and stares at the window in horror as he sees the spectre of Henry Blake staring right back at him. Hawkeye blinked hard then looked again. Blake was still there. By the time he gets B.J.'s attention, Henry had gone. Having Colonel Potter take over for him, Hawkeye dashes out of O.R. to look for Henry, but Blake, or someone who looked like Blake, had gone.
Hawkeye tells everybody what he saw, but they keep telling him that Colonel Blake is dead. Hawk asks Father Mulcahy if there is life after death, and the chaplain replies that he believes every now and then a waning spirit gets trapped in transition, the station in-between this plane of existance and the next. So Hawkeye is now convinced he's seen Henry Blake's ghost. Charles and Margaret enjoy teasing him, saying, "Better watch out, Pierce. Henry's gonna haunt you tonight". That night, Hawkeye could faintly hear his name being called in a ghostly voice. It was Blake's voice. But when Hawkeye looks out the door, the area was completely empty. He awakens B.J. and Charles and asked if they heard anything. They heard nothing.
Hawkeye never believed in ghosts so he checks with I-Corps and asks about the day Blake's plane was shot down. He is shocked to hear that when they dragged the ocean and pulled in the wreckage of the plane, they uncovered the bodies of the pilot and co-pilot, but had never found Colonel Blake's body. Hawkeye is now convinced that Henry is still alive. He gets Klinger to help him and together, they turn the camp upside down looking for Henry but find nothing. That night, Hawkeye still heard his name being called. About now he felt he was going crazy. The next day, Colonel Potter receives a call for Hawkeye. It was I-Corps telling him that just a few days ago some fishermen in Tokyo pulled in a large net full of fish and in that net was the body of a human. I-Corps uncovered the body and had a dentist identify it. It was the body of Henry Blake. Hawkeye was shown pictures of the corpse, slightly eaten by sharks. His spleen exposed. "That's Henry, alright. I'd recognize that spleen anywhere". So Hawk was now convinced that Henry was dead and all that was probably just his imagination. That night, Hawkeye falls asleep peacefully when suddenly, he hears Henry calling him again. The next day, Hawk was a nervous wreck. "I heard him again last night". "Oh, Henry the friendly ghost?" Says B.J. "Why won't you believe me? Henry is not dead. Well first he was dead, then he was alive again but while being dead so he must have been dead when alive and alive when dead. I'm dead serious...Or is that alive?" Said Hawkeye. B.J. just shook his head. "You don't believe me either. Trapper was the same way. I...Trapper. Trap! That's it! Oh Trapper, you're helping me even when you're not here. That's what I'll do, I'll set a trap! I'll capture Henry, or that reasonable fact simile and prove to everyone I'm right! Ha ha ha!" Hawkeye runs from the tent, leaving B.J. to once again shake his head.
That night when the camp was deserted, all had gone to sleep, Hawkeye sprang into action. He set one of Henry's discarded fishing hats on the ground outside his tent. Tied to the hat was a wire that would spring a burlap sack down onto whoever tries to lift the hat. Then, Hawk springs back into his tent and watches. Hours pass. The camp is deserted. That hat still sitting on the dirt ground. Hawkeye beings to grow fatigued, but he kept his vigil. An hour later, he starts feeling very sleepy and begins to drift off...
Suddenly, he is awakened by the sound of approaching foot steps. The sound of army boots. A dark figure was approaching the tent. Hawkeye lay still watching as the figure bent down to pick up the fishing hat when suddenly the burlap bag falls on him. Hawkeye races out side and grabs onto the person in the bag. "Ha ha!! I got you now, Henry! If you really are Henry!" He heard muffled screams from inside the bag, but had no idea who was really in the bag. "Hey, everyone! Everybody, wake up! I caught Henry! Wake up everybody!!" Hawkeye shouted. One by one, lights came on and all the doctors and enlisted men, in pajamas, stepped outside. Margaret had her hair in pink curlers. "Oh, nice look, Margaret". Says Hawkeye. Klinger was wearing the exact same thing. "What's the meaning of this, Pierce?" Asks Colonel Potter. "Don't you know we men are trying to get our beauty sleep?" "Yeah!" Says Klinger. "You all thought I crazy, but I'm not. I'm not crazy", Hawkeye protested. "Henry Blake, or possible somebody baring a remarkable resemblance, has been haunting me for days, but I got him." Hawkeye removes the bag from his captor to reveal...Father Mulcahy! "Father...You're Henry?" "Oh, no, my son", the chaplain replies. "I've always been me. I just happened to be walking along when I saw that discarded hat on the ground. I took it upon myself to do the good Christian thing and pick it up, when all of a sudden this burlap sack fell on top of me and I was taken prisoner". The rest of the camp just thinks Hawkeye is crazy so they shake their heads and go back to their tents. "Okay so I apprehended the wrong man, but Henry is out there. You believe me, don't you, sir?" "Go to sleep, Pierce" says Colonel Potter. Hawkeye looks around as everybody angrily shakes their heads at him. Charles shakes his head and goes inside. Hawkeye looks longingly at B.J. who just shrugs. Hawkeye is now left standing all alone in the center of the dark camp.
That night, Hawkeye is sleeping soundly when he hears Henry's voice calling him again. "Hawkeye! Hawkeye! Pierce!" It calls. "He's not here," replies Hawkeye as he wraps the pillow around his ears....
After another night of hearing Henry's ghost calling for him, Hawkeye decides to go see Sidney Freedman. Hawk tells him everything that's been happening, and Sidney asks Hawkeye that if he had known in advance that would be the last time he ever spoke to Henry, what would he have liked to say? "Well, I would've thanked him for always being there for me. He treated me like his little brother. I would've liked to tell him what a good friend he was," said Hawkeye.
Sidney Freedman continued, stating that Colonel Blake's death did come as a real shock to everybody because it was so sudden, and that Hawkeye's seeing Henry wandering around and hearing his voice was all in his mind. It often happens to people who lose someone close to them much to soon, they begin to imagine them still being around and can even hear their voices calling them. "But it's really all in your mind. The sooner you accept the fact that Henry is really gone and you accept the fact there's nothing you can do that will change that, the hallucinations and hearing his voice at night will simply go away". Hawkeye decides that makes sense and thanks Sidney for all his help. "You're welcome, and remember, take my advice: pull down your pants and slide on the ice"
"What does that mean anyway?" Hawkeye asks. "I don't know, I just like the sound of it so I say that to everybody I meet," replies Sidney.
Hawkeye remembered what Freedman had said and got through the entire day without seeing or hearing Henry. But late one night, he heard Henry calling his name again. "I'm not hearing that." Hawkeye covers his ears. "Pierce!"
"I can't hear you", says Hawkeye in a mocking sing-song tone. "Henry, you're dead. Accept it." But Henry just kept calling, so Hawkeye got up from his cot, walks out the front door and shouts to Henry's ghost. "Go away! Leave me alone! Geez it's bad enough in LIFE you were a pest! I can't hear you! You're in my mind! I've accepted the fact you're gone, why can't you?! Just give me some peace of mind!!" Hawkeye is shushed from all the surrounding tents. "Pierce! Come to me, Pierce!" Henry calls eerily. "Alright, that's it! Come out here, Henry! If you're really here, come out and face me like a man!! I'm right here!! Are you here to take me away with you? Go ahead!! Bring it on!!!" He hears nothing, but seconds later he is shushed again. Hawkeye just shakes his head and returns to his tent. As soon as he shuts the door, a lantern shines brightly. B.J. and Charles were fast asleep. "I don't remember leaving that on," Hawkeye mutters. In the darkness behind Pierce, slowly the ghostly spectre of a man with wild-eyes and a fishing hat appears. He taps Hawkeye on the shoulder, who lets out a loud yelp and jumps 2 feet in the air. "Aaaahh!! Jesus!"Hawk turns on his feel to the figure now standing in front of him and, not really looking at his face, scolds, "Will you step outside a moment please so I can change my shorts? God. You scared me to death!" "I know the feeling," the figure replied. Hawkeye picks up the lantern and shines it on the figure. "H--Henry?"
"Yes, Pierce, it's me. It's about time I got your attention".
"Henry? What the hell were you doing scaring me like that? If you wanted to talk to me, why didn't you just come here and visit me? I'm always home, except when I'm needed back at the office."
"Come on, Pierce, in life I had a hard enough time getting your attention. Plus, taking into account all the jokes you played on me, I thought I'd play a few on you and scare the jeepers out of you. I guess I succeeded", Blake smiled.
"Well, Henry, um...Glad you're back. Pull up, uh, a cot. Can I get you some ghost milk or perhaps some ANGEL food cake? Or maybe, uh, pudding in a CLOUD". "No thanks, Pierce. I can't stay. I have to go soon. I have to cross over. Walk with me".
Hawkeye and Henry's ghost walk outside into the dark, empty courtyard.
"Cross over? What do you mean?" Asked Hawkeye.
"I've been hanging around in transition for a year and a half and now I have to cross over into the next plane of existance. I've been avoiding it for so long, I guess I didn't feel I was ready to go".
Hawkeye tells Henry about all that's been happening since Henry departed. He told him about how Trapper left without saying goodbye. Henry sympathized, stating he didn't either. Hawkeye tells him about his new friend B.J. Hunnicutt, and Colonel Potter, "Who bares a striking resemblance to General Steele, I think". Henry chuckles. Hawkeye tells him how Burns was promoted to Lt. Colonel and shipped stateside. And about Charles Winchester, and about Radar being sent home and how Klinger finally stopped wearing dresses. Henry listened, intently. Then he stops and faces Hawkeye. "Thanks for bringing me up to speed. There's another reason I came back here. It was to talk to you. Nobody else can see or hear me. I chose you personally, Pierce".
"Out of everybody in this crazy outfit, you're the only one I've ever really trusted and felt real close to. I've got to tell you that what happened to me could happen to any one of you. If you think the horrors we saw in the O.R. and the near-attacks we've faced were bad, that's just the beginning. There is far worse out there, Pierce. Far worse. You can't even comprehend it. You must be ready for anything. This war won't last forever."
"Don't worry, Henry. I know all that already".
"You do? Then what the hell did I go to all that trouble for?"
"I don't know, but it was beautiful, really. A regular Henry Wadsworth Blake-fellow"
"Well, I must go now, Pierce. Take care of these rogues. OH and tell my wife I love her."
Hawkeye, brimming with tears says, "I will, Henry".
"So long, Pierce. Out of all the men I've ever had the privilege to command... you're the only one who never listened to me. I could never understand why." Henry smiles. They attempted to hug, but Hawkeye's arms go right through Henry.
"I'll never forget you, Henry...No matter how hard I try". Hawkeye still brimming with tears and even Henry was getting choked up.
"Goodbye, Henry", Hawkeye says in a low voice. Henry gives him a small salute. Hawkeye returns it. Then, Henry turns and walks away slowly into the night. Suddenly he stops and turns around, "Oh, Pierce, one more thing!" Suddenly Henry begins to fade away. "No, not yet, damn it! Oh, Pierce listen, there's something important I've got to tell you. On the verge of the Korean War's end, to avoid serious artillery vengeance, you must remove the..." Before Henry could finish his sentence, he vanished into thin air.
"Henry! Henry, wait. What does that mean?! Henry! Henry, come back!" But Henry was gone. Just then, B.J. came from the tent to see what was going on. Hawkeye tells him that he had seen Henry again. Half asleep, B.J. asks what he said. Hawkeye replies, "Oh, he just stopped by to say hi. Oh, and your great grandmother says hi too". B.J. waves towards the sky, then the two walk back inside the tent.
The next day, Hawkeye, B.J. and the others are in O.R. operating on patients. Hawkeye happens to glance towards the wall and there, sitting on a chair, was Henry Blake's discarded fishing hat. Hawk smiles then looks upward. "How am I doing, Henry?" He asks. "Please give me a sign". Suddenly, the patient Hawkeye had operated on came to and lived. Hawkeye again turns skyward, "Thanks again".