Sometimes a Great Notion
The episode title is a reference to Ken Kesey's second novel (1964), which focused on a particularly stubborn Oregon logging family that cuts down trees during a union strike. Episode co-writer David Weddle told Maureen Ryan of The Chicago Tribune that it is his favorite American novel.
Weddle said that the "swimming fox" story in the episode was based on real-life stories of wounded and distraught animals swimming out to sea to their deaths. He first learned of the phenomenon from Kesey's novel. The novel was adapted into a 1971 movie starring Paul Newman and Henry Fonda.
The title of Kesey's novel itself referred to the blues song "Goodnight, Irene" (aka "Irene" or "Irene, Goodnight") in which the narrator considers suicide:
Sometimes I have a great notion
Jumpin' in into the river and drown