After attempting to arrest Hung Pak and Doo Pak, the mayor and chief of police of Uijeongbu, South Korea, for espionage, Colonel Samuel Flagg was in serious trouble. The brothers Pak filed a complaint with the US government, and while they’d put up with Flagg’s lunacy for years, they couldn’t let this one go without causing an international incident involving the country they were ostensibly there to protect. Flagg was quietly removed from the field, probably shipped Stateside. Because he was the wind, no one at the 4077 would ever know what happened to him. Then again, they didn’t really care. What they cared about was that he was gone.
At least, that’s how it happened in my head. I’ll never know for sure, at least not without going through extralegal methods to track down AfterMASH, wherein Flagg did appear as a character once. (It’s neither available streaming nor on DVD, and while I vaguely remember watching some of it on air, that was, obviously, a long time ago.) I’m curious about the show, and willing to be paid on Patreon or Ko-fi to watch it, but I’m not sure even the episode would be enough to change my personal theory about what happened to him. Even if Flagg denies it, it’s not as though you can trust his word about anything anyway.
This is how humans do things. We don’t know the whole of the story, so we invent more story. I’ve watched M*A*S*H probably literally dozens of times, though these days I tend to start at season four and therefore miss half his episodes. “Rally ‘Round the Flagg, Boys” is his final episode, and given the character, there needs to be a reason he’ll stop showing up at random. So that’s my reason. I don’t even think about it much; I just realized it the last time I watched the episode. I’m sure I have head canon about other shows that I just take for granted and may not even notice isn’t text.
We create things. Some people are storytellers more than others, but we as a species have stories in our blood. I’m sure that, as I am a writer, my head canon is more detailed and more specific than a lot of other people’s, but maybe not. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe that’s where other people develop their creativity. Sometimes, it is fully developed into fan fiction, but fan fiction holds a different place—it’s acknowledged as This Is Not Real. What we’re talking here is “this could be real, but no one ever says one way or another, and I have decided that it is.”
I’m focusing a lot on this one specific example, because that’s what got me thinking about it at all. I’d have to really think to myself about what other examples I have in mind. But I’m sure a lot of you also have examples you can think of in your own viewing. Maybe I’m not the only one who imagines a disgraced Colonel Flagg. It’s certainly satisfying to consider how that violent loon might have gotten his comeuppance, admittedly something that doesn’t happen all that often on M*A*S*H, which seemed generally aware of how seldom anyone in authority got the punishment they deserved.