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Frasier Online Episode Guide -> Season 7 -> Episode 7.10

Back Talk
Episode Details

Written by: Lori Kirkland

Directed by: Pamela Fryman

Original US airdate: 9th December 1999

Original UK airdate: 10th March 2000

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
Guest Cast
Connie .... Lisa Robinson
Guest Callers

Episode Synopsis

It's Frasier's birthday and he is awoken by Eddie talking in a voice that sounds suspiciously like Martin's. Then Martin comes in and tells him that his birthday breakfast is ready. His father has bought him a newspaper from the day he was born, and also a small cupcake with a candle on it. However, as Frasier leans in to blow out the candle, his back goes out, which is all the more surprising as his regular doctor has told him there was nothing wrong with his back. He valiantly struggles into work, where he finds a bunch of flowers in his booth that other staff have bought for him. Roz, on the other hand, has forgotten it's his birthday and tries to cover it up by giving him a book she happens to have in her bag - which is fine until Frasier reads the inscription: 'You will always be my baby. Love Mom'. Niles then arrives with help for his back - the Lumbar Log, and says that his problem could be stress related, prompting Roz to suggest he try an exercise for that by speaking out loud all the problems that have been bothering him. Niles - unbelieveably - supports her, but Frasier dismisses it and gets ready to start his show. However just as he is about to go on air, the flowers make him sneeze so hard that he falls off his chair and lies on the floor in agony. Niles takes him home but can't find support for his back in any of his 'nice' chairs, and so much to Niles' astonishment, he tries Martin's chair and finds it perfect for his predicament! Niles leaves him in the company of Eddie and suggests he try the exercise Roz explained about - which he does with Eddie listening to all his woes. He says that not having a woman in his life is bothering him, which might explain why he has been so short with Daphne recently because she will be moving out when she marries Donny. He can always come home to the love of a good woman, and says that he really does love Daphne. Unbeknownst to Frasier, Daphne enters and overhears the last sentence and believes that Frasier is in love with her!

Daphne tries to act like she hasn't heard anything and offers to give Frasier a massage to help his back, but everything he says seems to confirm what she overheard. When Martin comes in, he seees Daphne looking troubled and asks what the matter is - she says she overheard Dr Crane say he was in love with her. Obviously thinking she means Niles, he says that he knew all along and has kept his mouth shut for 6 years! Daphne is astonished but has to then give Frasier his massage in his bedroom - but feels a bit uncomfortable doing it in her robe so goes to change. Martin then comes in and tells Frasier that Daphne knows about Niles' feelings for her, which leaves Frasier wondering how Daphne even saw Niles today. However, when Martin explains a bit more it becomes apparent that Daphne overheard his conversation with Eddie. Daphne comes back dressed in winter gear, prompting Frasier to explain that he does love her - but only as a friend. Daphne is much relieved, and the tranquilisers Frasier has taken start to take effect just as Daphne begins her massage. She then asks what Martin meant when he said Dr Crane has been in love with her for 6 years - Frasier replies: "Oh, he meant Niles"!!!

Episode Title Cards
  • Edward Crane, PH. D

Episode Highlights

- Frasier can't believe he's put his back out:
Frasier: I'm normally so conscientious about back safety. When I needed that large stack of books from down in the store room, I insisted Daphne make 3 trips!

- Frasier struggles to open the door to a visitor:
Frasier: This wouldn't be taking so long if my housekeeper were here.
[Opens door to Daphne]
Daphne: I'm a physical therapist!

- Daphne casually glances at the paper, not realising it's from the day Frasier was born:
Daphne: Queen Elizabeth's just had another baby! I don't care what science can do - it's just not right!

- Roz is concerned Frasier can't do his show with him in so much pain:
Frasier: I'll be fine - I'm not as delicate as all that.
Roz: How'd you do it anyway?
Frasier: Blowing out a cupcake.

- Niles is astonished Frasier is comfortable in Martin's chair:
Frasier: When you sit in it, you don't have to look at it!

- Daphne has a question for Frasier, high on painkillers:
Daphne: When I said to your father "Dr Crane's in love with me", he said it's been going on for 6 years. What did he mean by that?
Frasier: Oh that - he meant Niles!
Daphne: What!!!
Frasier: Niles - he's crazy about you!

Frasier Online Episode Review

Well, this is is it - the episode that marks the end of 'Frasier' as we know and love it. For this is the episode where Daphne finds out that Niles has been harbouring a love for her for the past 6 years - the episode that 'Frasier' viewers have perhaps been waiting for ever since it became one of the show's best running storylines. Over the past 6 years, we have seen Niles almost get it together with Daphne, and in the process has produced some of the show's best episodes: 'Moon Dance' and 'Mixed Doubles', as well as a huge number of episodes where Niles' obsession with Daphne is clear for everyone to see - except it seems Daphne. Moments that spring to mind are the look on Niles' face after he realises Frasier has seen Daphne naked in the shower in 'Daphne's Room', and Niles breaking the mast of a model ship he is building as Daphne describes a bare-breasted twin that may be wondering round some tropical island.

To be honest, I was worried about this episode as it has to be done in just the right way - not heavy handedly or trite - but in a way that does justice to the way the show's writers have kept the storyline going over the years. It was, perhaps, the right time to do it as there was no way they could have kept it going forever - it just had to be done right or it would have served the programme a terrible injustice. Thankfully, the episode was great fun that, in keeping with the 'Frasier tradition, takes a simple idea (Frasier's back going out) and creates a sublime episode from it. I loved the bit where Frasier found comfort in Martin's chair after 6 years of hating it, and also where Daphne thought Frasier was in love with her. It was, however, the revelation of Niles' love for Daphne that makes the episode so good - it is just thrown in casually near the end by a Frasier high on painkillers. It was as shocking to Daphne as it was to us and the studio audience judging by the gasps of disbelief the moment produces, and ends beautifully with Daphne answering the door to Niles in a subdued and hesitant manner, leaving Niles puzzled over her behaviour. This is ultimately a classy and thoroughly enjoyable episode that takes the story of Niles and Daphne to a new level in a way that does not disappoint. It sensibly leaves the resolution of the story to the next episode. The real question now is whether 'Frasier' can cope with the loss of one of it's best storylines, but I suspect that it can.


85 %

Latest Viewer Episode Review

Avg. Viewer Review: 92.8%
Total Number of Reviews: 5

Centrepiece for Daphne, May 16, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia

"Back Talk" has the unenviable task of bringing to a close a six-and-a-half year running gag that became the series' most prominent storyline. To reveal Niles' feelings for Daphne while still allowing the situation to simmer unresolved for several episodes. Wonderfully, by completely misdirecting the audience, it succeeds. (I don't know if this episode's end was advertised in the press at the time, but it's certainly loudly trumpeted on the back of the DVD case which is disappointing. It's one of those short-sighted elements from the early days of DVD, when marketing assumed only existing viewers would watch them, I guess.)

"Back Talk" is actually a very egalitarian episode. As Frasier's back gives out, he comes to ponder what he's doing with his life. All of the leads - Martin, Daphne, Roz, Niles, and Eddie - get a chance to talk with him. Perhaps it was a smart choice that, while this is ultimately Daphne's episode (she deadpans to Frasier after he wants her to get the door, "I'm a physical therapist"), it's also Frasier's. In fact, our hero's monologue to Eddie - pre-Daphne - is a little bit too direct, perhaps. It feels like a writer's speech and not a character's. But the overall aspect is correct. Not only is Frasier now at seven years of perpetual singledom and the same job (hence unsure of himself), but Daphne has - often in the background - grown to be such a vital part of the family. The notion of her moving out is a terrifying concept the series will eventually have to face for real.

But not quite yet. The second half of the episode allows us to dip into some fun farce with genuine stakes. I very much enjoy the scene where Martin inadvertently spills (half) the beans, and the way that Frasier's natural pompousness suddenly comes across as lechery. Jane Leeves is reliable as always and I must admit it's fun to hear the audience slowly cotton on to what's happening.

Things end uncertainly - to be resolved somewhat next week - but this is a turning point in the series. It feels earned after all the work that Grammer, Leeves, and Hyde Pierce have put into their characters, and it's very clear that Daphne is going to have to alter her perceptions whatever the outcome. Is it a cheat for Frasier not to remember what he's done? Well, perhaps, but I think the set-up justifies it. Now she's on her own again, sharing the secret that's been kept only from her, but with no-one else aware.

(And finally, Martin preparing a birthday muffin for Frasier? That's positively adorable. And a far simpler example of how far he's evolved as a person than any of the episodes lately that have wanted to show it with words.)

Rating: 93%


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