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Frasier Online Episode Guide -> Season 9 -> Episode 9.01

Don Juan In Hell
Episode Details

Written by: Sam Johnson & Chris Marcil (Part 1) & Lori Kirkland (Part 2)

Directed by: Kelsey Grammer

Original US airdate: 25th September 2001

Original UK airdate: 4th January 2002


Cast Information
Main Cast
Frasier Crane .... Kelsey Grammer
Niles Crane .... David Hyde Pierce
Martin Crane .... John Mahoney
Daphne Moon .... Jane Leeves
Roz Doyle .... Peri Gilpin
Recurring Cast
Dr Lilith Sternin .... Bebe Neuwirth
Diane Chambers .... Shelley Long
Hester Crane .... Rita Wilson
Lana .... Jean Smart
Claire .... Patrica Clarkson
Kirby .... Brian Klugman
   
   
Guest Cast
Nanette .... Dina Waters
Bob .... Brian Kerwin
Kristi .... Morgan Nagler
Maintenance Guy .... Ted D. Lyde
Luggage Clerk .... Chris Reed
Photographer .... Rick Negron
Waiter .... Bernard K. Addison
Miranda .... Tushka Bergen
Laura .... Lisa Darr
Samantha .... Lindsay Frost
Annie .... Cynthia LaMontagne
Regan .... Gigi Rice
Kristina .... Claire Stansfield
Dr Honey Snow .... Shannon Tweed
Trisha .... Lisa Waltz
Vicky .... Claire Yarlett
Guest Callers

Episode Synopsis

Picking up where we left off at the end of Season 8, we discover the whole gang still in Belize with Niles now transformed into 'Island Niles' complete with laidback attitude and a beard. Martin and Niles are getting along well with Claire, but Daphne seems a bit stand offish about her. Frasier, on the other hand, is still torn between Claire and Lana, and starts everyone for their opinion including his father, Daphne and the guy who cleans the aeroplane they come back on. Finally back in Seattle, Frasier makes a choice - Claire, but upon meeting Lana again, his decision is sorely tested. A chance meeting with a man he meets at the lost luggage collection point seems to offer the chance for closure as Frasier is recognised and is asked for some advice: the man is torn between his current girlfriend and his ex. After some probing by Frasier, the man decides to try and make a go of it with his ex wife which prompts Frasier to do the same - and dumps Claire (who responds by kicking Frasier!). This leaves the rest of the family aghast as they had all liked her, even Daphne who changed her mind about Claire after she said she wanted Daphne to be like a sister.

Roz and Frasier then attend Kirby's graduation party, with Frasier having high hopes of winning Lana back. However, Frasier's advice comes back to haunt him when Kirby's dad (and Lana's ex husband) shows up at the party - it's the man from the luggage office who has decided to go back to Lana! Lana doesn't want anything to do with him, but Kirby persuades Frasier to ask his mother to give Bob another chance, which he reluctantly agrees to. Returning home, an argument between he and his father ends with Martin accusing him of never being able to make it work with a woman. Somewhat aggrieved at this, Frasier decides he needs some time to himself and so decides to drive to a cabin in the woods.

The trip turns into a rather memorable one as Frasier's sub-conscious kicks in and is joined in the car by Lilith, Diane Chambers and his first wife Nanette to try and help Frasier undertsand why he has such trouble holding down a relationship with a woman. Once at the cabin, Frasier's mother, Hester Crane, also joins them to try and resolve the problem, as does every woman Frasier's ever dated. Can they get to the root of Frasier's problem......?

Episode Title Cards
  • Hell On Wheels

  • One Week Earlier In Belize

  • Cheese And Sympathy

  • Head Trip

Episode Highlights

- Martin tries to persuade Niles to try one of Claire's specially made pancakes:
Niles: I don't really like pancakes.
Martin: That's cos you're just used to Daphne's!

- Martin hasn't filleted the fish he and Claire caught yet:
Martin: Claire said you can use the heads for soup.
Daphne: Well, when I'm chopping them off I'll be thinking of her (!)

- Roz meets 'Island Niles':
Roz: Did you get hit on the head by a coconut ?!

- Frasier is asked how long he has been waiting in the lost luggage office:
Frasier: Time is irrelevant in the seventh circle of hell !

- Niles is explaining why he abandoned 'Island Niles' after going to a nude beach:
Niles: The sun peaked over the mountain top, illuminating not only my naked body but also the bus of the women's Christian Movement!

- Frasier breaks up with Claire:
Frasier: Claire, I realise how painful this must be for you.
[Claire kicks Frasier]

- Kirby shows Roz the photos from his prom night:
Kirby: I had them retouched - you're smiling in them now.
Roz: I also notice you have your hand on my ass.
Kirby: Where?...Oh, you mean now!

- Frasier meets Kirby's Dad:
Frasier: So you're Kirby's dad - Lana's ex who ran off with a dental hygienist.
Bob: ....But you can call me Bob!

- Frasier and Lilith are discussing Frasier's problem with women:
Frasier: I have never found neediness an attractive quality in a woman.
[Diane Chambers appears in the back seat]
Diane: Never (?)

- Frasier, Diane, Lilith and Nanette all attempt to get to the root of Frasier's problem:
Frasier: Maybe fate is conspiring against me, did you ever think of that?
Lilith: No, there's no such thing as fate.
Nanette: [Laughs] If that were true, there'd be no such thing as astrology!

- Hester joins the other three women:
Hester: A lifetime of collecting women, and this is the cream of the crop - the slacker, the barmaid and the icicle!!!

Frasier Online Episode Review

Another new season of 'Frasier' begins with a delicious opening scene of Frasier, Lilith and Diane arguing in Frasier's car without knowing how they get there. What follows is an interesting and pretty amusing disection of what has consistently been Frasier's biggest problem - his inability to hold down a serious relationship with a woman. Beginning back in Belize, it was great to see Martin getting along great with Claire and the appearance of Island Niles was a bit of a shock (if not particularly amusing). I also liked the way Frasier asked everyone their opinion of Claire/Lana before making a choice of Lana, before seeing his hopes dashed again when her ex turns up. The conclusion to the show - 20 minutes of Frasier discusiing his problems with his sub-conscious - was a rather brilliant excuse to put (pretty much) all the women in Frasier's life in one scene, even if the result was not as funny as it promised. On the whole, I enjoyed the episode with at least some form of resolution over Claire/Lana, and finishes rather poignantly with a tribute to 'Frasier' co-creator David Angell who died in the September 11th terrorist attacks.

Rating

76 %

Latest Viewer Episode Review

Avg. Viewer Review: 72.9%
Total Number of Reviews: 9


The slacker, the barmaid, and the icicle, May 20, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia


Opening with the arresting image of Frasier, Lilith, and Diane Chambers travelling in the same car, "Don Juan in Hell" is tasked with the tricky job of cleaning up the detritus from the spectacularly bad final five half-hours of season 8. (I'm not down on season 8 in general, but those last five episodes were rough.)

Returning to Belize for the first act is a necessity to clear away the Claire arc, even if it feels like the season 9 showrunners would rather be moving on. Island Niles is a very funny concept (it may be a loose fit for the character, but then again we've seen him adopt other poses - such as when dating Kit - and I can accept the idea that there's a part of him that likes to "be naughty"). And the montage of Frasier getting advice on Claire is very well done. Overall though, the Belize sequences have such a strange atmosphere, a kind of quiet ambience. My working theory is that the writers are showing how content Claire's presence makes everyone (but Daphne) but to be honest, it doesn't feel anything like the show I know. Evolution over time is one thing, revolution is another.

Thankfully, the return to Seattle brings a vibrancy back to the series that has been missing for some time. The scene with Frasier waiting for his luggage at the airport is classic, overemoting about time losing all meaning, and then tricking a hapless advice-seeker into sorting out Frasier's own dilemma. David Hyde Pierce and Jane Leeves are great in their little yoga tale (complete with joint yoga imitation) and there's some great writing for Roz and Kirby throughout (Roz's "Almost takes the sport out of it" is hilarious). It's also Jean Smart's last episode as Lana, who is farewelled in a rather lacklustre fashion. In some ways, the character represents the changing of the guard. Here sits Frasier, dressed more casually and eating canned cheese. Starting next week, he'll be back to his stuffy self somewhat, whereas here he resembles the Frasier of late season 8. Just as I appreciate Martin becoming more openly warm, I appreciate Frasier coming down from his high horse over time. But at some extent, it begins to feel like another series entirely! Either way, once we leave Lana's house for the last time, it becomes clear that "Don Juan in Hell" is really the eighth season finale. Frasier realises he keeps ruining his chances, and we at last get the resolution that was left so unsatisfactorily hanging last season.

The final act of "Don Juan in Hell" is really great fun, however. It's one of those concepts that lesser sitcoms would falter at but which "Frasier" knows how to assemble effortlessly. Pitting Frasier up against the four crucial women of his life - first wife Nanette, almost-wife Diane, second wife Lilith, and mother Hester - is an utterly fantastic way of exploring his quintessential loneliness: a key factor of the series since the start, and more and more prominent since the key midpoint of "Our Parents, Ourselves". Like the best "Frasier" scripts, every character is allowed to be themselves, and the concept itself gets a good examination - I particularly like the way the women get their memories confused - but it all centres heartily around Frasier's psychological hang-ups. Bebe Neuwirth is reliable as always, and Dina Waters and Shelley Long have great fun as part of the ensemble, but it's Rita Wilson who particularly impresses as Hester. While I still think we spent too much time on the Lana/Claire arc, this episode almost justifies everything. Knowing that they were slowly reaching the home stretch of the series, the writers were definitely warranted in really asking whether Frasier is ready to meet someone for life.

"Don Juan in Hell" is far from perfect, although I'd chalk much of that up to the ambitious nature of the concept and to the lingering threads from the misguided end of season 8. Still, it shows that there is hope ahead - both for Frasier Crane, and for the fans.


Rating: 78%

 

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