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"Roots"
Season 3, Episode 7 (?)
Airdate November 11, 1991
Writer(s) Dennis Koenig
Director Sandy Smolan
Guest star(s)

←   Episode sequence   →
"The Body in Question" "A-Hunting We Will Go"

SummaryEdit

The widow Elaine shows up unexpectedly and gets a cold reception from ex-fiance Joel, until Maggie unintentionally plays matchmaker. The arrival of Chris' brother Bernard conjures up dreams of Africa in Chris, who declares himself to be a "person of color". A new chef makes a culinary impression.

PlotEdit

In the middle of the night, Chris wakes up to the sound of African music outside his trailer. He peers out and sees many drummers and dancers in native African garb, dancing in a circle. After watching for a minute, Chris begins to feel the rhythm and dances along with them. Suddenly, they disappear and Chris is left dancing alone in the middle of a field.

As Joel takes his morning shower, he screams as pieces of plaster from his roof fall on him. He jumps out of the shower and is greeted by Maggie who is working on his roof. Joel complains about the hole in his roof and then decides to run into town. Along the way, he is passed by a car carrying Chris' half-brother Bernard who has returned to see Chris at KBHR. The two of them greet each other warmly and their strange mental connection is apparent as they simultaneously go off to The Brick. Bernard has come to Cicely to bring Chris $36,000, which is half of their father's inheritance, plus interest. Chris refuses the money, saying that his father, who was spiritually a different man from Bernard, would never have left him any money. Bernard is confused, but accepts Chris' decision.

In Joel's office, Adam walks in and demands that Joel lend him a hundred dollars to pay his insurance premium. Joel refuses, and their argument is interrupted by Marilyn's announcement that Elaine, Joel's ex-fiancee, has arrived. Joel is speechless as Elaine enters, and informs him that Dwight, who she left Joel for, has suddenly died. Joel kicks Adam out of the office, and Elaine and Joel are obviously both uncomfortable with the reunion. Elaine tells Joel that she wanted to see him, but was afraid to call, because he might have told her not to come. Joel says that he definitiely would have told her not to, and says that it was a mistake for her to come. Elaine leaves in tears, and Joel sits down in disbelief.

Joel and Adam are having lunch at The Brick, and Joel is pouring his heart out to Adam about Elaine, while Adam appears more concerned about how terrible the food is. Criticism of the food causes Holling to challenge him to do better, a wager ($100 for his insurance premium) which Adam can not refuse. As Adam retires to the kitchen, Maggie runs in to tell Joel that Elaine is in her truck sobbing. Joel obviously does not care and is angry and bitter at Elaine. Maggie sees his behavior as self-centered, and convinces him that Elaine is reaching out for a friend to talk to. Joel relents and the three of them ride up to Joel's cabin together. Things are still very uncomfortable between Elaine and Joel but Maggie does her best to keep Joel acting civil.

At his cabin, Joel finds Elaine crying in the bathroom because she forgot her toothbrush. He offers to let her use his toothbrush but Elaine refuses, knowing that Joel doesn't really want her to. As Joel lays on the couch, he talks to Elaine, who is laying in Joel's bed. Elaine apologizes for their whole breakup and says that part of her wishes she had never met Dwight. Joel is still bitter, and does not accept her apology.

That night, Chris and Joel are cooking hot dogs over a campfire outside Chris' trailer, and Chris asks Bernard about his dreams. While Chris' dreams have been vivid and colorful, Bernard's have been rather bland and mundane. This difference between them piques Chris' curiosity, and he ponders Bernard's situation. As they fall asleep, Chris' dream of African dancers now includes Bernard, who merely stands by watching. Chris and Bernard stand watching the dancers, and speak casually in Swahili. When Chris awakens, he realizes that he must go to Africa.

The next morning, Joel awakens to find Elaine standing shivering by his bed. The bedroom is freezing because of the hole in the roof, and Joel invites Elaine into his bed so she can keep warm. Lying back-to-back, the two of them reminisce about their past relationship, and Maggie bursts in to find the two of them lying in bed together and laughing. She is suddenly uncomfortable and quickly leaves. Later, she talks with Shelly at The Brick, where everyone is thrilled by Adam's culinary expertise. Maggie's jealousy is obvious and she tries to explain away the fact that Joel and Elaine were in bed together. However, Shelly is unable to offer any reasonable explanation.

On KBHR, Chris declares himself to be a "person of color", and he announces to Cicely his intent to travel to Africa using the money provided by Bernard. Meanwhile, Maggie enters Joel's office with a hurt wrist, obviously a sympathy ploy to get attention from Joel. However, Joel is uncaring and merely asks how the injury will affect his roof work. Maggie is enraged and Joel misses her innuendos that he and Elaine slept together. Maggie's departure leaves Joel in confusion.

That night, Elaine and Joel are having dinner at The Brick, joined by Maggie who is obviously out of place. She tries to convince Elaine to join her at the dump to watch the bears, but Joel and Elaine say they are tired, and Maggie uneasily watches them leave. Returning to Joel's place, Elaine finds her "second wind" and they begin kissing passionately, dropping to the floor.

Chris again dreams about tribal dancers, but they are joined by a king who turns out to be Bernard in a mask. Bernard tells him that Chris has been having his dreams and the two wake up simultaneously. Chris hypothesizes that, somehow, the two of them "got their wires crossed", and so Bernard is actually the one who needs to go to Africa.

The next morning, Maggie is sitting at the bar in The Brick, depressed. Adam serves her a Virgin Mary and tells her to go home, throw up, and she will feel better. Playing the bartender role, Adam begins psychoanalyzing Joel using information which he cannot possibly know about Joel. Maggie argues his analysis and Adam turns to analyzing her instead. Not only does he know her full name but he also knows personal facts about her childhood and her father, to Maggie's confusion. He concludes that Maggie will end up old and alone, with lots and lots of cats.[1]

At Joel's place, Elaine and Joel talk about how great the sex was, and Joel realizes that they finally have closure to their relationship. At the same time, they both know instinctively that the relationship is over and Elaine appears regretful.

At Joel's office, Maggie finds him staring out the window, deep in thought. Maggie tries to convince Joel that Elaine is after his money, but Joel responds by telling her that Elaine is gone. In a rare moment of total honesty between them, Maggie asks Joel if he's okay, to which Joel replies, "I'm fine...thanks for asking." He smiles warmly and the two of them leave the office and walk down the street together.

QuotesEdit

Chris: Einstein said "God doesn't play dice with the universe", but I don't know...maybe not as a whole, but I think he gets a pretty big kick out of messing in peoples' backyards.

MusicEdit

TriviaEdit

  • Chris' dad was a "bum" (deadbeat) but Bernard's dad was dependable, solid, and upwardly mobile. It's been three years since their dad died.
  • Joel got an "A" in histology.
  • Joel's truck isn't working and Maggie's re-roofing his cabin.
  • Eve is in Geneva getting lamb's blood treatment since her bilirubin count is "all screwed up".
  • Dwight died of a heart attack and had history of coronary artery disease.
  • Joel's not-to-be forgiven category: dismemberment of emotional well-being, annihilation of any hope of future happiness.
  • "Milt" is Elaine's dad here (in "Russian Flu" it is Charles Schulman; maybe it's really Milton Charles)
  • The State of Alaska pays Joel's rent.
  • Bernard is driving a Volvo 240 wagon because he sold the Harley as it "just wasn't [him]".
  • Shelly's earrings: plates and silverware (Shelly and Maggie discuss why Joel and Elaine were in bed together)
  • Swahili language lessons: kesho (KAY-sho) "tomorrow", jambo (JAH-mbo) "hello"

ReferencesEdit

  1. This entire scene is wonderful and pairs up two characters who heretofore have had little interaction. Their personality conflict puts Maggie's entire range of personal problems into sharp focus and makes her realize her feelings for Joel.
  2. Drumming dance in Chris' dream
  3. Bernard explains their dad's will and gives Chris the check.
  4. Joel sits with Adam at The Brick, complaining about Elaine and Adam complaining about the food.
  5. Maggie asks Shelly what it means that she found Joel and Elaine in bed.
  6. At The Brick: Adam tells Chris where to eat in Africa; Joel and Elaine talk.
  7. Holling pays Adam for winning the bet.
  8. Endng: Bernard leaves; Maggie and Joel walk down the street.

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