So my husband and I have this fantheory about MASH...
You know how it’s a huge joke that the Korean conflict only lasted a few years, while MASH lasted for eleven? Well, I made a crack to my husband that it, like so many other stupid fantheories, was purgatory. the actual 4077th really was destroyed in a bombing, no survivors, fairly early on in the conflict. And the staff just never knew.
When the casualties came in, they were soldiers and occasionally civilians who had died in battle. The ones who died at the unit were near-death experiences, waking up in a hospital in reality later with strange stories of a really hairy nurse and a doctor in Groucho Marx glasses. Those 98% or so who survived and were sent on to Seoul for recovery? And the people who got their orders and were sent home? They were just sent on to the afterlife. We almost never heard back from them.
And when the “war” was over and the unit closed, well, that was the staff being sent on too. Maybe Hawkeye’s breakdown over the not-chicken at the end had something to do with finally being able to let go of the horrors and move on. Margaret’s failed marriage was her finally coping with the fact that she’d never managed to have a husband in life… and maybe that this wasn’t such a bad thing. Maybe Sidney Freedman was secretly an angel, sent to help them deal with their fates.
My husband went quiet when I made that joke. Then he suggested that the unit was destroyed by Five-O-Clock Charlie. Headcanon accepted.