This episode is a reinvention of the multiple Academy Award-winning 1934 romantic comedy It Happened One night, in which a man and woman with a keen dislike for one another are forced to share a hotel room. Joel is in Juneau for a pediatric conference, but to his chagrin, must share a suite with Maggie after her own room reservation is canceled.
Joel's aspirations of hooking up with an available female physician fail to pan out, and he even turns away the aggressive sexual advances of supposed NY doctor Linda Angelo (played seductively by Beth Broderick).
Joel and Maggie end up in the room together and their long-subtextual romance comes to the surface with sparks flying.
The secondary line sees Chris afflicted with a mild case of intermittent aphasia (inability to form words into sentences). After his brother Bernard's return from his Africa trip, Chris discovers the cause of the malady.
This is a great episode that advances Joel and Maggie's cliffhanger romance in a teasing and masterful way, not settling the issue all at once. Chris and Bernard deepen their kinship with a realization that their bond is not just familial, but metaphysical as well.
Here is the brilliant radio oration by Bernard as he subs for the tongue-tied Chris:
-Bernard: But as shadows lengthen across the K-Bear window, thoughts turn to homecoming, journey's end. Because, in a sense, it's the coming back- the return- which gives meaning to the going forth. We-We really don't know where we've been until we've come back to where we were. Only where we were may not be as it was because of who we've become. Which is, after all, why we left.
The instrumental "Alaskan Nights" by David Schwartz plays during some of the romantic scenes, and adds a perfect soft glow to the mood.
It Happened in Juneau would warrant a perfect 10, if not for several scenes in which Marilyn, in her usual annoying fashion, practices medicine in Joel's absence.