Often when a situation comedy decides to tell an emotional story instead of going for the laughs, the result is tedious and preachy. This episode is anything but. As Niles undergoes heart surgery, the rest of the cast each tries to cope with his danger in their own ways: Frasier immerses himself in the details of the operation, Martin tries to pretend nothing is wrong, and Roz tries to keep Daphne from falling apart. Meanwhile, the hospital itself seems to flash back to different eras of the characters' lives, other times they were there -- some funny scenes, some that turned out well, others that ended in tragedy. Even the scene where Daphne smashes a vending machine with a fire extinguisher doesn't elicit so much as a giggle from the laugh track -- it's a powerful, heartbreaking moment.
One of the few times that a comedy does its best work by not being funny -- and one of the best episodes of this series.