Northern Exposure

Season 1 Episode 5

Russian Flu

0
Aired Monday 10:00 PM Aug 09, 1990 on CBS
8.5
out of 10
User Rating
51 votes
2

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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Russian Flu
AIRED:
A virulent strain of flu, whose only treatment is a smelly Indian concoction brewed up by Marilyn, keeps Joel from enjoying a visit by Elaine, his New York fiancée who is developing a friendship with Maggie.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • It's fun to meet Elaine, Joel's fiancee in this episode. It lets you know a lot about what Joel himself is like and where he's from. Also, with the entire town having the flu, the show starts to pick up its own pace in terms of being an ensemble cast.moreless

    9.5
    I actually think the end moment that is so surreal that we're never really sure it's happening - well, that's when Northern Exposure actually begins for me. The use of music and fog throughtout the series is very comforting and calming. I don't remember for sure, but I don't think the ensemble cast was used a lot in the 90's. And I think it really expanded tv to allow multiple storylines - it made things so much more interesting than if we just focused on Joel and Maggie as stars and love interests. It's an interesting cultural juxtaposition and might be more interesting if you didn't actually know people like Joel.moreless
  • Sometimes, this show's infamous quirkiness can hurt it a little bit.

    7.5
    I am not opposed to quirkiness. In fact, the quirkiness is often what I like about this series. But this episode perhaps takes it a step too far.



    The main plot trajectory is an entertaining one. Joel's fiancee Elaine travels from New York to visit Joel and to get some much-needed quality time. Unfortunately, her visit coincides with an outbreak of a nasty flu virus that leaves Joel working more than he normally would. Then, of course, Elaine gets sick, effectively ruining any plans they might have for any hanky panky. Alongside this storyline, we have a thread about a tribal remedy concocted by Marilyn that actually does cure the virus, despite Joel's protests that to use such a remedy is medically unethical. Then, there's a C story about Elaine becoming close with Maggie, which, of course, puts Joel on edge.



    There's a great moment in this episode in which Joel dreams of being back in New York City. In his dream, all the denizens of Cicely have taken jobs in Joel's neighborhood (including Ed, who is hilarious as a doorman claiming to be Woody Allen's new writer). Even stranger, everyone seems to think that Elaine is Joel's sister, including Elaine, and Maggie turns out to be Joel's wife. It's a funny sequence, made even funnier by how obvious it is to be a dream.



    But later, during an outing to a nearby overlook with Holling, everything takes on an odd, surreal tone. The sequence is an homage to Twin Peaks, but the reference is too obscure and will make zero sense to anyone not a fan of Twin Peaks. This is a good episode forced to take a step backwards due to quirkiness too bizarre to even be truly explained.moreless
Barry Corbin

Barry Corbin

Maurice J. Minnifield

Janine Turner

Janine Turner

Mary Margaret "Maggie" O'Connell

John Corbett

John Corbett

Christopher "Chris in the Morning" Danforth Stevens

John Cullum

John Cullum

Holling Gustav Vincoeur

Rob Morrow

Rob Morrow

Dr. Joel Fleischman [ episodes 1 - 102 ]

Cynthia Geary

Cynthia Geary

Shelly Marie Tambo(-Vincoeur)

Sylvia Langdon

Sylvia Langdon

Townsperson

Guest Star

Lyn Tyrrell

Lyn Tyrrell

Townsperson

Guest Star

Mark Mitchell

Mark Mitchell

Townsperson

Guest Star

Peg Phillips

Peg Phillips

Ruth-Anne Miller

Recurring Role

Grant Goodeve

Grant Goodeve

Rick Pederson

Recurring Role

Elaine Miles

Elaine Miles

Marilyn Whirlwind

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (2)

  • NOTES (2)

    • Music:
      - "Who Put the Bomp (in the Bomp Bomp Bomp)" by Barry Mann
      - "On Broadway" by The Drifters
      - "New York, New York" by Grand Master Flash
      - "Let's Dance" by Benny Goodman
      - "Stand By Me" by Ben E. King
      - "Floating" by Julee Cruise

    • This episode paid homage to another series that was filmed in the same area in the state of Washington where this series was filmed. That series was the Mark Frost / David Lynch series Twin Peaks. The scenic vista that Holling takes Joel and Elaine to is Snoqualmie Falls that were seen in Twin Peaks as the falls next to the Great Northern Lodge, the music being played in the background is very Angelo Badalamenti-esque and they also make a nod to coffee, cherry pie and the "Log Lady" character.

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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