Northern Exposure

Season 3 Episode 13

Things Become Extinct

0
Aired Monday 10:00 PM Jan 20, 1992 on CBS
8.8
out of 10
User Rating
30 votes
2

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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Things Become Extinct
AIRED:
The death of his uncle sends Holling out to his still and into an orgy of self-doubt, Joel feels isolated as he searches for proof of other Jews in Alaska, and Ed widens his own horizons when he films Ira Wingfeather producing his unique wooden flutes.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Nothing Lasts Forever

    9.0
    Three great sub-plots are interconnected by the theme of inevitable extinction. Ed films an aged Indian craftsman making wooden duck flutes before the art dies out forever, Joel feels ethnically isolated and searches for a Jewish community in Alaska that has long since vanished, and Holling faces the prospect of his own eventual demise when news of his uncle's death triggers his mid-life crisis (?) at age 63.

    Holling holes himself up in an old distilling shack and binges on moonshine, spiraling deeper into depression and despair. The funniest scene is when Joel visits him to cheer him up, only to himself be dragged into Holling's psychic black hole of negativity and self-pity.

    Meanwhile, Ed forges a friendship with 69-year-old native flutesmith Ira Wingfeather, and realizes he needs to go the extra mile to preserve the flute making tradition. I liked the bonding scenes between the two, showing how getting to know someone can make all the difference.

    Holling's bender comes to an abrupt end when Shelley drags him out of it, with one of the sweetest, moving scenes in the show's six-season run.

    The best quote that unifies the entire episode comes from Ira Wingfeather:

    -Ira: Listen. It's not so tragic. The world used to be full of things which are no longer: Mastodons and saber-toothed tigers, Indian tribes, herds of buffalo. Everything gets gone sooner or later. It's the lay of the land. Things become extinct.



    Things Become Extinct is one more example of NX's ability to deliver humorous but insightful takes on many aspects of the human condition.moreless
  • Holling is depressed by the news of his uncle dying, and spreads his depression around town.

    9.0
    This is one of my favorite episodes of Northern Exposure. Sure, it's not the most perfect one, its rythm could be improved, and some of the storylines are not that interesting (I am talking specially about that Ed's flute master thing). But all this is shadowed by one of the most emotive and endings in any TV episode I have seen so far, when Shelly prepares a puppet show telling Holling's life, so that he can see that it has a meaning and that it is not a waste. I cannot avoid feeling moved every time I watch that last scene, that compensates for any minor flaw this episode could have. Truly, a Northern Exposure classic, and a must-see for any sensible TV-series viewers out there.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)

Jerry Morris

Jerry Morris

Earl the barber

Guest Star

Bryson Liberty

Bryson Liberty

Ira Wingfeather

Guest Star

Peg Phillips

Peg Phillips

Ruth-Anne Miller

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Marilyn: Hey.
      Holling: Marilyn! What are you doing here?
      Marilyn: Hurry up. It's time.
      Holling: For what?
      Marilyn: Go home. Now.

    • Joel: What is this?
      Marilyn: Hair of the dog.
      Joel: Thank you… that's very considerate. spits it out What is in that?! What is in here?
      Marilyn: Hair of the dog.

  • NOTES (2)

    • There was a filmed storyline that was not aired in the original run, which involved Maurice. Maurice tried and succeeded on getting Cicely on the "Map" [physically] and began trying to get Cicely to be the county seat for Arrowhead County. [The storyline can be seen on the Complete Third Season DVD Set.]

    • Music:
      - "I Love You a Thousand Ways" by Tim and Mollie O'Brian
      - "Memories of You" by Bennie Goodman
      - "Someone Took My Place With You" by David Parmley
      - "Family Traditions" by Hank Williams, Jr.
      - "Funeral in my Brain" by David Schwartz

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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