Northern Exposure

Season 1 Episode 3

Soapy Sanderson

Aired Monday 10:00 PM Jul 26, 1990 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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  • Classic relationship builder episode between the two main characters Maggie and Joel that showcases the chemistry that made this show special.

    I’ve always loved this show from the very first episode that I watched, until the very last episode that aired Northern Exposure provided a wonderful escape into an interesting world with some the most colorful characters on television. In this particular episode Joel and Maggie and inherit land from a patient of Joel’s, who is also a friend of Maggie’s, after the patient commits suicide. Let us not forget that Joel also inherited the guy’s championed sled dogs as well. Little did Joel know about the person who committed suicide but he had not one but two doctorates, and that the college where he held them at was coming to do a documentary on his life? Meanwhile Maggie wants to use the land as a preserve and Joel who was surprised that the land was left to him to begin initially didn’t care what Maggie did with it. But not long after he was approached by several local Indian businessmen who are interested in buying the land after they explained to Joel that the land was worthless, and that they needed it for tax purposes so they offer Joel $50,000 to buy it. Joel now thinking that this deal could work to his advantage by getting the money he could possibly buy his way out of his contract and go back to New York so he approaches Maggie and convinces her that he thinks the land should go back to the Indians, but what he doesn’t tell her is that it’s not matter of giving the land back but selling the land for profit. Initially Maggie is skeptical towards Joel but then believes Joel’s motives in giving the land to the Indians is good yet Joel left out that very important detail about the money, therefore his intentions are not as honorable as she is led to believe. The’s most important about this episode between these two characters is the relationship that’s building, while the two may be in denial as to their feelings for one another or maybe this point may not see it is clearly it is evident that their feelings that exist between these two characters. Hot and cold, day and night, oil and water, whatever you want to label them there is a strong connection that is being made between these two characters. So episodes like this one are building blocks to the eventual relationship that will be pursued eventually by these characters as it is evident that the two are attracted to one of, and that attraction consistently builds over the seasons. But in the meantime interaction between these two is comedic. The rest of the episode of course is leading up too Maggie discovering Joel’s deal behind her back, and Joel seeking redemption and ultimately backing out of the deal and going along with Maggie’s idea of turning it into a preserve. Pretty much the episode revolve around the relationship, building trust between the two, and of course that underlying connection that they’ve already made but don’t know or certainly aren’t ready to acknowledge yet. So in the meantime we the viewers watch as the relationship builds, and of course make the statement “you now those two belong together”, and wait to see how long it’ll take before they get together which you know is inevitable but you also know that that won’t come for quite some time. Therefore in the meantime we will get a lot of play, suggestion, maybe, but not right yet interaction when he comes to them getting together so in the meantime we can enjoy the banter between the two as their relationship builds, and enjoy the laughs as well. Take care.

    Peace To All.
  • At this point, the series is too dominated by the Joel vs. Maggie relationship.

    The problem with these first episodes of the series is that the writers are desperately trying to turn the relationship between Joel and Maggie into a classic "they hate each other because they love each other" situation.

    Unfortunately both of the actors are left hanging by lamely written dialogue. The scenes between the two actors when they are trying to have their semi-flirtatious spats are unfortunately just painful to sit through.

    Unfortunately, the series so far is investing a lot in the development of this relationship. This third episode is the best of the first three episodes, however, it is still trying to be the "Joel and Maggie show", so it is still not quite the quality level we tend to associate with Northern Exposure.

    The show that everyone loves comes later on, when the storylines start to focus more on the other characters, most of whom are played by better actors.