"A Kodiak Moment"
Season 1, Episode 7 (?)
Airdate August 23, 1990
Writer(s) Steve Wasserman and Jessica Klein
Director Max Tash
Guest star(s)

←   Episode sequence   →
"Sex, Lies, and Ed's Tape" "Aurora Borealis"


After his brother dies, Maurice realizes he has no heir to the Minnifield empire and asks Chris to become his son. Meanwhile, Shelly tags along when Holling and Ed go after an elusive brown bear, and Joel is not amused when Maggie takes over his out-of-town childbirthing classes.


As the morning starts off, Maggie is making her mail rounds and enters Joel's office with a shipment that happens to be of bagels form New York City (where Joel is from). She is irritated because she had to make a long flight just to pick them up but Joel tells her she has been well paid and even gives her a bagel (which she promptly throws back at him). Joel's assistant, Marilyn, tells him he has a phone call from Pete Gilliam (the man in charge of his contract with the State of Alaska) "on line 1" (the office only has one phone line). Pete informs Joel he will be teaching a hygiene class in Boswell. Joel asks Marilyn to go with him to assist him in teaching the class but she refuses, prompting Joel to take back the bagels she has been hoarding.

Next, two military men arrive at Maurice's office to inform him that his brother Malcolm is dead. Maurice accepts the news with a quiet sadness. In The Brick, at about mid-morning, Joel asks Maggie to fly him to Boswell to teach the hygiene class. Suddenly, Ed enters, and tells Holling that Jessie's back. Shelly discovers that Jessie is a bear that attacked Holling years earlier, and they've had a rivalry ever since. Holling leaves to begin packing his gear for the hunt, and Ed follows.

In Boswell, Joel and Maggie show up to the hygiene class, only to discover that it is actually a prepared childbirth class. Joel gives them four words that they need to know to prepare themselves: "I want my epidural." Back in Cicely, Maggie tells Joel that he is teaching the class wrong, they they should be preparing for childbirth instead of resorting to risky drugs. As a result, Maggie teaches the next childbirth class, while Joel sits cynically by.

As Holling finishes packing, Shelly decides that she wants to come along. Holling warns her of the risks, but she is willing to accompany them anyway. When they arrive and set up camp, Shelly and Holling immedaitely begin fooling around in the tent while Ed cooks a hot dog.

In his office, Maurice decides that he needs an heir to his fortune, and offers Chris the opportunity, since both of his parents are dead. Chris decides to give it a try, and has dinner at Maurice's that night. However, the distance of the table reflects the difference in the personalities; Maurice is a military man, while Chris is an ex-convict. Maurice tries to warm Chris to him, and gives him money to go out with, but Chris is uncomfortable with the whole situation, and even suffers impotence as a result. Finally, as Maurice is trying to teach Chris croquet, Chris becomes frustrated and walks off, relinquishing his place in Maurice's will.

In the woods the next morning, Ed is preparing to pack up camp and go after Jessie, but Holling and Shelly are still messing around in the tent. Ed finally sits back down and waits for them. Once, Holling comes out of the tent and acts like he is preparing to leave, but he ends up back in the tent with Shelly. Ed reads a comic book and, later, Shelly comes out and tells him to get ready to go. Eventually, Ed discovers that Jessie has left the area, and Holling is upset at having missed his chance, but it is too late.

At the childbirth class, one of the women starts going into labor, and Joel is forced to deliver a baby. On the flight back, Joel and Maggie talk about the experience and their thoughts about kids. The entire experience ends up bringing them closer together.

Driving back from the woods, Holling and Shelly are asleep, and as Ed stops to relieve himself, he spots Jessie out in the woods. Ed tries to wake Holling up, but he and Shelly are sound asleep. However, Ed does manage to get a photograph of Jessie before he leaves.

That night, Maurice shows up to Joel's cabin to compliment him on the delivery and also tell him about what happened between he and Chris. Maurice informs Joel of his plans for the future: he plans to live forever. Joel laughs, but Maurice is dead serious. Maurice drives away and Joel looks up as it begins to snow.


Joel: There are four words you need to know to adequately prepare yourself for childbirth. Take notes here, ladies:

Maurice: Do you know what the motto of the state of Alaska is, Joel?
Joel: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it'?
Maurice: No. "North to the future." That's my motto too. The compass point to opportunity. The direction for tomorrow.
Joel: A caribou in every pot; a snowmobile in every garage.
Maurice: Space, to build, room to grow.
Joel: You are the man for the job, Maurice; a general on the battlefield of history. If anyone can pave Alaska, it's you.
Maurice (chuckles): Kind words, son. But the Minnifield empire will not bear fruit in one man's lifetime.
Joel: Yeah, I hear it didn't work out with you and Chris. I'm sorry. You know, maybe you could start a trust: The Minnifield Foundation. It worked for the Rockefellers; the Gettys.
Maurice: No...I've come up with something else, Joel.
Joel: Really? What's that?
Maurice: I've decided to live forever.
(Joel laughs)



  • The episode name is wordplay on the slogan "a Kodak moment" because Ed photographs of a kodiak bear.
  • Chris is temporarily homeless after a tree falls through his trailer. He lives in KBHR until the "spring thaw".
  • Chris is originally from Wheeling, West Virginia (revealed when he's in the Caddie with his date Kerry).
  • Maurice's Cadillac was a gift from a dealership in Houston (age established as 52 before final version).
  • Holling has not shot anything with a gun since 1988. He put down his gun after he shot off two of Jesse's toes and dreamt every animal he ever killed was coming after him, packing heat. Jesse first appeared in the summer of 1984 and tangled with Holling, leaving 133 stitches down his back. Now he just takes photographs of animals.
  • Alaska's state motto is "North to the future".
  • Shelly's earrings: dice (when she offers bagels to Maggie).
  • Boswell is about a 6-hour drive from Cicely.
  • In the scene where Maggie is teaching the class on birthing techniques and one of the helpers goes into labor, Joel is reading a news magazine which he takes over and kneels down with next to the woman. She says "It's time." Joel says, holding up the magazine, "No, it's Newsweek." In that very issue of Newsweek that Joel is reading and displaying (July 18, 1990, page 64), Northern Exposure got a very, very favorable review, while Time never even paid attention to the show. When Time finally reviewed the show ("A little too flaky in Alaska", May 20, 1991, page 64), it wasn't as positive as Newsweek.[5]


  1. Maggie delivers a box of bagels to Joel.
  2. Maurice gets the information that his brother has died.
  3. Maurice asks Chris to be his son.
  4. Chris and Kerry in the backseat of Maurice's car.