In Our Tribe, tribal elder Gloria Noanuk (played by the absolutely adorable Rosetta Pintado) seeks to adopt Joel into her tribe as repayment for "curing" her arthritis with a cortisone shot. Joel balks at first, but caves after Marilyn applies the cold-shoulder treatment.
He is forced to examine his lack of a close social network, best expressed through the following dialogue with Ed:
-Joel: I never really thought about it. I mean, belonging to a tribe.
I belong to the Jewish tribe, so to speak, but I'm also an American, you know? What does that mean? I mean, is there an American tribe? More like a zillion special interests. In my own case, I am a New Yorker. I am a Republican, a Knicks fan. Maybe we've outgrown tribes, you know? The global village thing. It's telephones, faxes, CNN. I mean, basically, we all belong to the same tribe.
-Ed: That's true. But you can't hang out with five billion people.
-Joel: That's a good point.
Holling closes The Brick under a veil of secrecy, and Maggie's curiosity causes her to pester him into telling her the truth. He had planned to use a telescope to search the night sky for a vanishing star named after a long lost lover, but is unable to locate it. Maggie consoles him with some Zen-like wisdom: "Holling, I guess what I'm trying to say is, uh, we're alive, we're here now. You and me and- I don't know where Eleanor is. But it's a beautiful night, and I'm glad to be here, and that's what matters. This. Now. And that's it.
All in all a nicely done episode, bearing out that you're never alone so long as you have people you can lean on.