5.1 Three Doctors


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Original Air Date: September 20, 1993 Production number: 77704
Written by:
Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider Directed by: Dan Attias

Joel: Sometimes the mind, for reasons we don't necessarily understand, just decides to go to the store for a quart of milk.

Log line: The whole town pitches in when Joel is stricken by "Glacier Dropsy"; Ed is confused when he is called to be a shaman; much to her disappointment, Shelly finally stops singing.


When Joel develops bizarre symptoms, including an aversion to shrimp and the sensation of pins up his nose, Holling and Ruth-Anne diagnose him as having "Glacier Dropsy." In a feverist delirium, he refuses to accept that he has a virus not yet identified by modern medicine. Finall, completely overcome by the illness and wracked with pain, Joel succumbs to the old wives tale cures and the whole town pitches in.

After a few days of waking up in strange places, such as the top branch of a tall tree and the roof of a barn, Ed realizes he is "sleep-flying" and looks to Leonard (guest star Graham Greene) for guidance. With the definitive results of a test ritual, Leonard declares that Ed has been called by the spiritual world to be a shaman. Ed is confused by the news and must decide whether he wants to follow the call.

All of a sudden, Shelly's nightingale-esque singing turns into squawks and she is able to speak normally again. While Shelly is disappointed to have her tone-deaf voice back, Leonard explain that the singing was only a distraction to quiet her fears about the baby. The fact that she stopped singing signifies that she knows she will have a healthy baby and, just to prove it, the baby starts kicking inside the womb.

(Production Bible):

Joel hallucinates about his friend, NEIL WEISBERG, who is a top infectious disease doctor practicing in New York.

Joel claims that he's a specialist in internal medicine -- he did a double rotation in infectious disease.

Joel dreams that he gives birth to a beautiful baby girl.

Joel teaches a CPR class in Sleetmute.

Joel's pissed off when Leonard takes over his patient load.

(Production Bible):

NEW FEATURE! Ed's Movie References: "The Morning After, " "The Three Faces of Eve," "Awakenings"

Do I have a bad memory, or didn't Maggie suffer from fever/delirium in last season's opener? [Yes - 4.1 Northwest Passages.]

Overnight ratings were slightly disappointing but respectable. 15.7/23 in the first half hour, 15.4/24 in the second. It was bad enough losing those 16 Emmys, but did Danielle Steel's "Star" really have to beat us?! Maybe we'll pick up in the Nationals.

Chris mentions townsperson Tony Johnson. Tony is a real person -- a 15 year old author (A Rock and a Hard Place, 1993) who loves our show. Tony is dying of AIDS.

Guest stars: Leonard Quinhagak - Graham Greene
Neil Weisberg - Scott LaRose
Bar Patron - Douglas Dirkson

(Note music listed is from the original TV airings. The DVD may differ.)

I Wished on the Moon - Billie Holiday

Heart is Right - Carlene Carter

Country Swing - Alan Ett

Sweetheart - A. Paul Ortega and JoAnne Shenendoah/The Melody Shop

Shelly’s Earrings:

Records [Takes order from guy from Baltimore; later loses her singing.]
Gold booties? [Putting up safety stuff for the baby.]

Things I Own From the Show:


A lamp that appears in Holling and Shelly's Love grotto! You can see it when Shelly is putting plug guards in at the end.

Footnotes and additional research

© Copyright, 2013 • Northern Exposure is Copyright Universal City Studios. All Rights Reserved. • Created 2/6/02 • Updated 2/2/13