|"War and Peace"|
|Season 2, Episode 6 (?)|
|Airdate||May 13, 1991|
|Writer(s)||Henry Bromell and Robin Green|
← Episode sequence →
|"Spring Break"||"Slow Dance"|
Celebrations with vodka, borscht, and Chris' radio reading of War and Peace are in order when Soviet legend Nikolai makes his annual appearance, bearing gifts and itching to challenge archrival Maurice to a chess match. Meanwhile, torturous dreams keep Holling from much-needed sleep and Chris' poetic lines help Ed woo a lusty farm girl.
It is morning in The Brick, and Holling is yelling at Dave the Cook because he didn't get any sleep the night before due to bad dreams. Shelly tells Holling to go see Dr. Fleischman. When he goes in, Holling asks Joel about his bad dreams, and Joel prescribes valium to help him sleep.
Back at The Brick, Nikolai shows up, a Russian gentleman who is familiar to everyone. He brings gifts for all his friends and tells them that he decided to make his trip to Cicely early this year. Maurice enters and tension fills the room. Maurice's hatred for communism is obvious and he is barely cordial to Nikolai. However, Nikolai is unfazed and sings a song which does not amuse Maurice.
At Ruth-Anne's store, Ed runs into a young woman named Lightfeather and is immediately smitten. She forgets her broom but Ruth-Anne alerts him and he goes running out of the store after her to give it back. Ed later seeks out Chris for advice, who tells him that he should write her a letter explaining how he feels. Ed agrees completely, but asks Chris to write the letter for him.
Joel stops by The Brick to check on Holling and meets Nikolai. He is very impressed since he and Elaine saw Nikolai perform years ago in New York. However, Joel finds Holling in much worse condition. He is groggy and incoherent and decides not to avoid his dreams anymore.
Several days later, Ed visits Lightfeather in her father's barn and brings her a flower which she accepts and wears in her hair. Lightfeather says she was hoping for another letter since she read the first one over and over again. Lightfeather is a very blunt person and is extremely turned on by the poem she thinks was written by Ed, comparing her to a Harley. She begins kissing him and pulls him down into the hay.
At The Brick, Maurice and Nikolai are engaged in their annual chess match. Joel sits with a bored look on his face, while Maggie, Shelly, and the other townspeople smoke while watching raptly and speaking as if they are chess experts. After Maurice makes his move and hits the timer, Nikolai hits the timer and then moves his piece. Maurice is upset at this breach of regulations and Nikolai accuses him of trying to weasel out of the game. Maurice finally challenges Nikolai to a duel.
Back at Lightfeather's barn, she and Ed are laying in the hay naked and covered in sweat after having just had sex. Ed has a smile pasted on his face and they begin again after Lightfeather asks him to recite more lines from "his" poem.
Everyone at The Brick is talking about the impending duel. After hearing about Holling's trouble with bad dreams, Nikolai tells him how Tolstoy got rid of his insomnia by working ceaselessly out in the fields for a whole day. He tells Holling to do something crazy and reckless in order to regain himself.
The next night, Ed is having dinner at Lightfeather's house while listening to Chris' radio reading of War and Peace. Lightfeather's father, a preacher, seems to take a liking to Ed, but when Lightfeather hears Chris recite a line similar to one from Ed's poem, she realizes that he didn't really write it and glares angrily at him.
Maggie and Joel are at a table in The Brick discussing the upcoming duel. Maggie tries to explain the nobility and glamour of the whole event while Joel sees it as simply barbaric. Shelly goes upstairs to find Holling and she sees him packing his rifle that just happens to be aimed at his face when she walks into their bedroom. She screams "no!" but Holling reassures her that he isn't going to kill himself. He exlains that he needs to go out into the wilderness and kill an animal to rid himself of his nightmares, despite having given up hunting long ago.
Chris shows up at Ed's place, where Ed is lying on his bed watching Dr. Zhivago and crying. Chris apologizes for starting the chain of events, and Ed feels like he'll never get over the pain, but Chris knows that he will.
Outside in the snow, it is morning and the duel commences. Maurice and Nikolai march nine paces but, before they can turn, Joel steps forward, breaks character, and says that the television audience would never accept such a duel. The other characters follow suit, complain about Joel stopping the scene, and then finally decide to go to the next scene, back at The Brick.
Later that night, Maggie and Joel are at The Brick and Maggie tells him how impressed she is that he took charge of the situation. Joel accepts her compliments and believes she is flirting with him. Holling shows up with a deer on a leash and explains how he went out in the wilderness, fell asleep, and woke up with this deer next to him. His nightmares are gone and the episode ends with Nikolai singing and Maurice watching and smiling.
Lightfeather: I want the words.
Chris: The words?
Lightfeather: 'Hot, roaring machinery... Swelling fuel tank.'
Chris: Oh, you like the words.
Lightfeather: I never knew you could get all that from a motorcycle. I thought a motorcycle's just a motorcycle.
Chris: No, no, no. Writers have been doing it for years. It's called eroticizing the landscape. From, the Kamasutra to Henry Miller. There's even a French poet named Baudelaire who did a lot of interesting stuff with wet cat fur.
Lightfeather: Wet cat fur?
- "I Don't Care" by Hank Williams
- "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing" by John Williams
- "The Internationale"
- "Pictures at an Exhibition" by Mussorgsky
- "Romeo and Juliet" by Tchaikovsky
- "One More Kiss, Dear" by Vangelis from Blade Runner
- "Lara's Theme" from Doctor Zhivago
- "What'll I Do" by Irving Berlin
- Joel saw Nikolai at Carnegie Hall a couple of years ago with Elaine and her mother.
- Joel interned at St. Vincent's.
- Holling's a Canuck.
- Ruth-Anne has had two husbands.
- Nikolai was a Greco-Roman (wrestling) bronze medalist.
- Lightfeather worked at the Dairy Delite.
- Chris doesn't like freckles.
- Chris' first "trip into the realm of the senses" was at age 7 in a trailer park in Wheeler near the sump pump.
- Nikolai gives Ed a yarmulke that belonged to Woody Allen's grandfather, Cantor Konigsberg.
- Ruth-Anne, Maggie, Shelly, and Chris seem to know the game of chess quite well, but Joel is baffled.
- Ed doesn't have a phone.
- Ed broke his leg as a kid.
- Ed's landlady's husband's name is Roy.
- Ed has almost graduated from high school, has no plans, but wants to be a movie director.
- Shelly's earrings: watermelon slices (Holling yells at Dave and Dave quits), clouds? (talks with Joel about the groggy Holling), gold coins? suns? (finds Holling cleaning his gun)
- Joel breaks the fourth wall in the duel scene: "We play to a very sophisticated audience here..."
- ↑ Although such a breaking of the fourth wall works on some shows, in this case it seems forced, and the show loses some of its magic.
- ↑ Holling blows up at Dave.
- ↑ Ed stops Father Duncan from driving away and brings Lightfeather her broom.
- ↑ Chris talks on the radio.
- ↑ The chess game
- ↑ Ed stays for supper.
- ↑ Lightfeather comes on to Chris.
- ↑ Nikolai and Maurice duel.
- ↑ Nikolai sings