In some ways, this episode of “Frasier” is the best one so far. If the show is supposed to be about Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) and Martin (John Mahoney) actually connecting as son and father, respectively, Leslie Eberhard’s script does it. It does it so much you’re left wondering what the repercussions if or when Niles (David Hyde Pierce) finds out what he missed.
The episode starts with some easy jokes, which are important because there aren’t any real laughs after the second commercial break. That section is reserved for serious talk time for Grammer and Mahoney, which lets the actors show off their more dramatic muscles. But the opening—with JoBeth Williams as a French caller who Grammer can’t understand, then Hyde Pierce once again forgetting Peri Gilpin, in this case why this woman he obviously knows but can’t remember is hanging out in Frasier’s sound booth. Gilpin’s got some great lines in the scene, before and after Hyde Pierce arrives.
Grammer and Hyde Pierce head out to dinner—somewhere cheap because it’s Hyde Pierce’s turn to pay—and, after some laughs involving Hyde Pierce’s fretting over his car getting towed—they notice Mahoney at another table, having dinner with Pat Crowley. They recognize Crowley as an old family friend who became estranged and assume Mahoney’s on a date, which gets weird when Crowley bursts into tears and runs out. The “Crane first date” observation from Grammer is choice.
Well, Hyde Pierce goes through his old journals and finds a mystery involving why the families stopped being friends twenty plus years before and Grammer and Hyde Pierce determine Mahoney must’ve had an affair with Crowley. They confront him about it, which sends the episode down its serious path—the biggest subplot involves Eddie the dog rolling around on the sofa, which is absolutely adorable and just the stress reliever the episode needs.
Things get even more serious after an impertinent Grammer confronts Crowley, which in turn leads to a further confrontation with Mahoney.
The episode’s got some great light laughs at the beginning—not to mention a too cute for words Jack Russell Terrier—while still sticking to the dramatic guns for the finish.
So while not the funniest episode so far, or the most ambitiously crafted one, it might be the best one so far.