|Season 2, Episode 7 (15)|
|Airdate||May 20, 1991|
|Writer(s)|| Diane Frolov|
← Episode sequence →
|"War and Peace"||"The Bumpy Road to Love"|
The curse of Maggie strikes again, and Rick is struck dead--by a falling satellite. Two newcomers have more in common with Maurice--including a love of show tunes and gourmet cooking--than he'd like to admit. Shelly feels like a third wheel as Holling enjoys a reunion with an old gal from Nome.
Maggie is flying in her plane with Rick, testing him for renewal of his pilot's license. Their close personal relationship is evident in their conversation. However, as they're making their final approach, Rick fails to notice that the signal light is red and Maggie looks at him with concern.
Chris in the Morning informs the residents of Cicely that Shelly is posting the breakfast specials sign on The Brick's door. Then he goes on to explain that NASA's Comsat 4 satellite is in a decaying orbit and compares this to the comet which destroyed the dinosaurs many years ago.
Meanwhile, Maurice is showing a house to two men looking to open a bed and breakfast. After a bit of haggling, step back and briefly discuss the price with each other, getting a bit too close to each other when they talk, which causes Maurice to give them odd look. When they return towards Maurice, he agrees on a sale price of $46,500 for the house, although his asking price was $55,000. Both parties appear to be happy with the deal and Maurice welcomes his new residents.
At The Brick, Maggie is a bit embarassed as she watches Holling and Shelly behind the counter, who are barely keeping their hands off one another. Rick storms in, sees Maggie, and tells her that the FAA pulled his license because Maggie told them that he was color blind. Maggie explains the dilemma she was in and how it was such a difficult decision, but Rick doesn't seem to understand. She feels responsible for him, and doesn't want anything to happen to him while he is flying. It is apparent that her concern is primarily fueled by the death of her previous boyfriends.
In Dr. Fleischman's office, Rick is having his eyes examined. Joel explains that there is nothing that can be done about Rick's color blindness, and then wonders aloud how Maggie could be so heartless to her own boyfriend.
Later that evening at The Brick, Rick is drinking heavily at the bar, while Holling is at a table having a great time talking and laughing with a woman named Anita, obviously a visitor to Cicely. When Holling introduces Shelly to Anita, Anita mistakenly believes that she's Holling's daughter, a mistake which obviously disturbs Shelly and starts her thinking about their age difference. Joel comes in and begins talking to Maggie, who is sitting in one of the booths. He asks her why she did it, and Maggie angrily informs him that, as a certified flight instructor, she had to tell the FAA of Rick's condition. Joel, who has apparently chosen to overlook Maggie's obvious ethical standards, sees this instance as an example of Maggie's continuing competition with men. When he brings up the O'Connell Curse, Maggie reacts violently and is then confused when she finds that Rick has left.
Out in the woods, Rick is alone by a campfire sitting and thinking. A nearby owl watches him. A loud rushing sound is heard, Rick looks up and an impact is heard, followed by smoke rising up in front of the owl.
The next day, Joel drives out to an area in the woods bracketed by police cars and an ambulance. He rushes out with his medical bag to meet Ed and Maurice who are standing nearby. Ed informs Joel that a satellite fell on Rick and, as they look into the crater, Maurice notes that Rick and the satellite have fused from the force of the impact. Joel is dazed by the whole situation and reluctantly accepts the task of telling Maggie.
Back at The Brick, Joel comes in to see Maggie, who is concerned becuase Rick never came home last night. Joel has a somber, almost childlike look on his face as he joins Maggie. Maggie knows something's wrong, and Joel tells her a joke to soften the impact of his news. Nevertheless, Maggie is stunned both by the news and by Joel's clumsy attempt to sugarcoat it.
At Maurice's house that evening, Maurice is cooking dinner with Ron and Erick, the two men who purchased his house. They are listening to show tunes and all three men have an obvious flair for cooking. Over dinner, the two men discuss their previous business and personal experiences together and Maurice starts to wonder about their relationship. As they hold hands, they inform Maurice that they feel they have a lot in common with him, and Maurice is horrified.
After The Brick closes, Holling and Anita are still sitting and talking, and Shelly is unsuccessful in her attempts to join in on the conversation. Later in bed, when Holling wants to snuggle, Shelly is very cold and obviously disturbed by the depth of Holling and Anita's relationship.
At Maggie's house, she is working on a diorama of Rick wiping off an airplane windshield. Gary, a friend of Rick's, shows up with oatmeal raisin cookies and then says that he'd like "first shot" at Maggie and he's not afraid of her curse. Maggie is enraged, and throws Gary out, after he tries to get back his crescent wrench set he claims he lent to Rick.
Chris is on the radio talking about Rick and how he might be the next step in human evolution and merging with machines. Maurice motions him to his office and gives some gourmet cooking equipment to Chris in an attempt to rid himself of things stereotypically associated with a homosexual, which Chris points out might be an overreaction and that he might be a closet homosexual.
Shelly is at the library (the book section of Ruth-Anne's store) looking for history books about the 1950s. Later that night in bed with Holling, Shelly comments on his grey hair, wondering how he got it that color. Holling tells her it's because he's old, giving her an odd look at her seemingly random comment about his hair.
At the house Maurice sold to Ron and Erick, they are taking measurements when Maurice comes in and tells them the deal is off without any reason at first, then tells them his vision for Cicely doesn't include San Francisco, hair dressers, interior designers, florists, or dog groomers. The guys don't give in, offering Maurice increasingly larger amounts of money for the house until they reach the asking price of $55,000, which Maurice begrudgingly accepts.
At Rick's funeral in the church, the coffin is missing because, as Chris explains to the people in attendance, it needed adjustment to fit the fused satellite. In his eulogy, Chris talks about Maggie's past boyfriends and how they died in various ways and that he doesn't believe in the curse, trying to get everyone else to agree with him. However, just then the doors open and the coffin is awkwardly brought in, narrowly missing poking and hitting people as it is carried down the aisle in front of the podium where Chris is standing. Gradually, some people smile, then snicker, then a chuckle, and a laugh--soon, everyone is cracking up because of the absurdity of the coffin with a satelite sticking out of it.
Later at The Brick, Shelly is serving Holling dinner dressed up as a typical 1950s housewife and serves him a martini. She attempts to make small talk with him about various 1950s events but all Holling really wants to do is cuddle. She rambles on about other events as Holling just looks at her in wonderment. She gets upset that Holling isn't responding and discussing these things with her.
The next day at the general store, Ruth-Anne tries to give Maggie some advice about her curse when a woman walks in and asks Maggie over to dinner but she really wants Maggie to just date her husband so he will die.
At The Brick, Shelly is chopping lettuce and trying to ignore Holling talking to her but he explains to her that he doesn't care about her mind--he just wants her for her body, which makes her instantly forgive him.
Outside KBHR, Maurice explains to Chris about how he gave in to his greed over Ron and Erick's offer for the house, and his concern for a homosexual invasion in Cicely. Chris points out the military traditions common between Maurice and gay men which makes Maurice stop and think.
Later at The Brick, Maurice, seemingly accepting of Ron and Erick gives them home renovation ideas about their new bed and breakfast. Joel walks toward Maggie past several men gathered near her table which she is sitting alone at, smoking and drinking alcohol. He notes how he hates when she smokes and threatens to show her a picture of a smoker's lung sometime. She tries to get rid of him by mentioning her curse, which he doesn't believe and causes him to spout statistics to her in an attempt to be rational. He sits down next to her and reassures her about his genuine concern for her well-being, telling her he's not afraid of her--even telling everyone in the bar. Then he asks her to dance, giving her a choice between inviting back the Dark Ages or moving forward. She accepts and they dance, with others joining in (including Ron and Erick, which gives concern to Maurice). Maggie is impressed with Joel's dancing and the episode ends.
Chris: When I heard about Rick, first thing I thought was, "Klaatu barada nikto"--those immortal words which toggled off the robot Gort in The Day the Earth Stood Still. You know, when that movie was made, robots were just stuff of fiction. But, hey, not anymore, with artificial intelligence and robotics, bio-implants--not only are we making smart machines, we're becoming smart machines. So what's all this got to do with Rick, you ask? Well, I'm just thinking he might be the next step in this evolutionary process. Dig this: Yesterday, when NASA's sweet flower of the imagination married Rick, he crossed the line between man and machine. He became the future: Homo movus, the new man. Think about that.
Chris: Hey, boss, what's up?
Maurice: I brought you some things from home. I'm not going to be needing 'em anymore.
Chris: Oh, yeah? Thanks.
Maurice: Yeah. Pasta maker, Cuisinart, soufflé dish.
Chris: Wait a second. This is all your gourmet stuff.
Maurice: From now on, I'm sticking to barbecue. Fondue pot. Boy, I've had some good times with this baby.
Chris: Maurice, I don't have a kitchen.
Maurice: Well, you might someday. And let me just say this: all the great chefs in the world were notorious womanizers, real skirt-chasers. You know what I'm talking about?
Chris: No, I don't think so.
Maurice: Well, they were. Do you like, Judy Garland? How 'bout Gwen Verdon?
Chris: All right. What's goin' on?
Maurice: Chris, when I mention show tunes to you, what image does that conjure up in your mind?
Chris: Homosexuals, I guess.
Maurice: There you go!
Chris: What do you... Is that what this is about?
Maurice: Two deviants whom I unsuspectingly invited into my home deduced from my things, things of beauty, things that I used to get innocent pleasure from that I was, in fact, a fellow traveler. Maurice Minnifield has never had an impure thought about another man in his life! Well, there-there was one unsettling dream where I was wrestling with David Niven. But I swear to you, nothing happened. I will not be perceived by anybody as anything other than a dyed-in-the-wool hetero!
Chris: You know what? You better hold on to this stuff.
Maurice: You haven't been listening to a word I've said, have you?
Chris: Yes, I have. And the thing is, Maurice, you don't wanna appear to be overreacting. All right?
Chris: You wanna present an image of a man who's very comfortable with his sexuality.
Maurice: Just what in the hell are you talking about?
Chris: Men who are freaked by homosexuals--they usually have tendencies in that direction themselves.
Maurice: Now, don't you start in on me! There's no hidden agenda here! This is legitimate outrage.
Chris: A funeral is really more for the survivors than anybody else.
Chris: You and gay men, you share a lot of the same common values, right?
Maurice: Now, you just hold on a minute there. If you're talking about gourmet cooking and antiques...
Chris: No, no, no. I'm talking about your military tradition--discipline, honor, loyalty; that kind of thing.
Maurice: Well, what in the hell are you talking about?
Chris: All right. Take the Janissaries.
Chris: The elite troops of the Ottoman Empire. For a couple hundred years they were the most gung-ho, bloodthirsty army in the world. They murdered millions of people. They leveled countless cities. They tortured, they pillaged--you name it.
Maurice: And you're saying these guys were...
Chris: It's a well-known fact. They preferred the company of men.
- "Willow Tree" by Alton
- "Sugar Moon" by kd lang
- "Fool's Paradise" by Charles Brown
- "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'" from the musical Oklahoma
- "Pathétique" by Beethoven
- "Reach Out and Touch"? (reggae version from Secrets of Life by Vitamin-X)?
- "Is That All There Is?" by Peggy Lee
- ? from the film Juliet of the Spirits by Nino Rota? (not the B-52s)
- "The Song from Moulin Rouge by Percy Faith
- "Let the Teardrops Fall" by Patsy Cline 
- "Mambo Baby" by Ruth Brown (on More Music from Northern Exposure)
- "At Last" by Etta James (on Music From Northern Exposure)
- Rick has been a pilot for eight years.
- Holling's glory days in Nome were 20 years ago. He was against Alaska statehood in 1959.
- Maurice's Victorian house built in 1911 (asking price $55,000) by Ivan Lubov who made a fortune in hats.
- Joel had to have special shoes as a kid.
- In this episode, Chris' eulogy tells us about Maggie's past boyfriends who died: Rick's predecessor, Dave, fell asleep on a glacier, Glen took a wrong turn in his Volvo, ending up on a missile test range, Bruce was the victim of a fishing accident, and Harry died from the potato salad at a picnic (obviously doesn't jive with names from Vanity--either that or she's got two additional dead boyfriends).
- Maurice had an unsettling dream where he was wrestling with David Niven.
- Maggie's flight review is a bi-annual event.
- Shelly's earrings: watermelon slices (meets Holling's fiend, Anita), fish (checks out books on the 1950s from Ruth-Anne's store), different fish (Holling tells her that he doesn't love her for her mind, but her body)
- A Comsat 4 satellite merged with Rick. Rick sees an owl just before the satellite hits. In many northwest Native cultures, the owl signifies death, so the owl in this sequence is fitting. For a good read or watch on Native culture, check out the book/film I Heard the Owl Call My Name (1967/1973)
- ↑ Maggie and Rick quarrel about his pilot license.
- ↑ Shelly meets Holling's friend, Anita.
- ↑ Joel tells Maggie that Rick "crawled up on the roof".
- ↑ Maurice has dinner with Ron and Erick.
- ↑ Gary brings Maggie cookies and makes a pass at her.
- ↑ Not the song by Diana Ross (though supposedly written by the same people, Ashford & Simpson) or Sugar Minott in A Touch of Class and not the same as the reggae "Reach Out and Touch" by in "The Big Kiss" (2-2)
- ↑ Maurice defends his heterosexuality.
- ↑ Rick's funeral service
- ↑ Doesn't sound like any of them off the soundtrack.
- ↑ Pallbearers carry Rick's coffin.
- ↑ Shelly dressed in the 1950s, serving dinner to a dumbfounded Holling.
- ↑ Shelly and Holling discuss their age difference.
- ↑ Joel consoles Maggie while discussing her bad luck with men.
- ↑ Joel and Maggie dance.