It happens to most shows once the star leaves or the star starts directing or things turn south... There is a shift of pace, a writer probably feels something "else" has to be done with the show to jump-start it. Well, more often than not it fails miserably, and unfortunately for NH, it happened here.
First of all, NH was NOT meant to be morose, and it was that here. There is barely a glimmer of light in the episode. Second, NH is supposed to be a quirky parody of soap operas - well, here you can take "quirky" away: Chris with a quiet yearning for Maggie?!? Capras really fighting - without resolve?! What show did I tune to? Things were left dangling all over the place, and not in a good way. If Morrow's leaving began the avalanche that would be the cancellation of the show, episodes like these surely sealed its fate. Save yourselves the ache and stick to the first 5 1/2 seasons.