|“Plan F: Goodbyeee...”|
|4, Episode 6|
|Written by||Richard Curtis & Ben Elton|
|Directed by||Richard Boden|
|Guest stars||Geoffrey Palmer|
|Original airdate||2nd November 1989|
|List of episodes|
After spending considerable time in the rain-filled trench and noting "something's in the air," which George thought was Baldrick, Captain Blackadder's trench gets a phone call from General HQ; an assault has been ordered for the next day, at dawn. Realizing that this could well be the end, Blackadder plans to escape the war by feigning madness. Using a method he'd picked up during the colonial wars, he puts his underpants on his head and sticks two pencils up his nose. While waiting for Melchett to arrive, Baldrick asks Blackadder how the war started. Blackadder responds that while, officially, the war kicked off when the Archduke of Hungary got shot he feels that it was just too much effort for everyone involved not to have a war.
Melchett finally arrives to check on Blackadder, remarking before he goes in that he had to shoot an entire platoon that pretended to go mad in the exact fashion Blackadder is attempting. Blackadder overhears and narrowly escapes Melchett's punishment by pretending he's relating a story of how troops feign madness to Baldrick, replete with the visual aids he'd prepared earlier. Melchett offers George the chance to return to HQ and watch the action from there, but George refuses eager to get stuck in.
After Melchett leaves, Baldrick suggests another alternative: that Blackadder ask Field Marshal Haig to get them out; Blackadder initially finds the plan absurd, but then remembers that he saved Haig's life during the colonial wars and decides to call in the morning. George, Baldrick and Blackadder discuss the war. George asks why Blackadder, a professional soldier is so keen to leave. Blackadder fondly remembers simpler times, when the army's main enemies were usually natives whose main weapon were spears remarking how fifteen years experience as a soldier did little to prepare him for THIS war. Baldrick recalls how he felt like a hero when he signed up, before then discussing the football match on Christmas day (with Blackadder insisting he wasn't offside). Baldrick also notes how many of his animals friends he's lost and, getting frustrated, asks why both sides can't just stop fighting and go home, to which George replies: "It wouldn't work because, there, well, now, you just get on with polishing those boots, all right? [...] I think I managed to crush the mutiny there, sir."
Back at General HQ, both Melchett and Darling are unable to sleep and discuss the upcoming battle. Melchett reveals that he always thought of Darling as a son (not a favourite son, more the bastard child nobody really likes), and has a surprise for him: a front-line commission. Darling pleads with Melchett to reconsider, but the general misinterprets his fear as enthusiasm. It's also possible that Melchett was deliberately pretending to be obtuse having privately decided it was time for Darling to stop receiving favourable treatment, while Blackadder (a hero of an earlier African battle) was required to fight. The following morning, Blackadder calls Field Marshal Haig and reminds him of his debt; Haig is irritated but decides to help (on the condition Blackadder never speaks to him again) and suggests an old trick that never fails - that Blackadder should stick a couple of pencils up his nose, underpants on his head and pretend to be mad. Haig then declares the debt repaid and hangs up. At this moment Darling arrives, and both his and Blackadder's enmity dissipates instantly as both realize they're in the same poor position. George tries to cheer everyone up, only to realize that he's actually quite scared.
The men are called to the trench to prepare for the big push. There is a brief moment of hope when the British guns stop firing, but Blackadder remarks that the hope is misplaced, and the guns stopped because "not even our generals are mad enough to shell their own men: they think it's far more sporting to let the Germans do it." Baldrick comes up with his most cunning plan yet in order to escape that involves the splinter in the ladder, though Blackadder sadly says it will have to wait remarking "Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here."
Blackadder concludes by wishing his squadmates good luck, and they charge over the top. The sequence enters slow motion as the Blackadder theme is played slowly on piano, gradually drowned by a slow, monotonous booming resembling cannon fire. The series ends as the mud of no man's land and the four characters fade into a tranquil field of poppies, with only birdsong disturbing the peace.
In the original ending (first mentioned in an interview and later shown in the documentary "Blackadder Rides Again"), the cast and the other soldiers charge over the top and a few seconds afterwards the whole group began violently (and rather unconvincingly) shaking (while getting shot by Germans). Baldrick is the first to die from the cast and falls down near Blackadder and Darling and George (with very amusing faces, albeit unintentionally) slowly die next. Soon after everyone is dead and the firing has stopped, Blackadder, who only pretended he was dead, gets up again and goes back to the trench for safety, thus surviving the war.
- Captain Blackadder - Rowan Atkinson
- Private Baldrick - Tony Robinson
- Lieutenant George - Hugh Laurie
- Captain Darling - Tim McInnerny
- General Melchett - Stephen Fry
- Field Marshal Haig - Geoffrey Palmer
- The radio version, lacking the iconic fadeout into monochrome and then into a field of poppies, instead repeats one line for each of the charging characters; "We've had some good times, some damnably good laughs, eh?" for George, "I thought it was going to be such fun." for Baldrick, "But, eh, I don't want to go..." for Darling and "Good Luck, everyone." for Blackadder.