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Frasier Online Episode Guide -> Season 7 -> Episode 7.09

The Apparent Trap
Episode Details

Written by: Dan O'Shannon

Directed by: Kelsey Grammer

Original US airdate: 25th November 1999

Original UK airdate: 3rd 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
Lilith Sternin .... Bebe Neuwirth
Frederick Crane .... Trevor Einhorn
Guest Cast Guest Callers

Episode Synopsis

Lilith is bringing Frederick to Frasier's for his family's Thanksgiving celebrations, while she is celebrating it in Canada with a friend in Vancouver. They arrive late, however, after Lilith stops to help someone injured in an accident, and when she phones her friend to tell her she'll be late, he informs her he has come down with something. Frederick suggests his mother stays at Frasier's for Thanksgiving, which Frasier dismisses as a joke but upon more consideration, decides it would be good for Frederick to have all his family around. The rest of Frasier's family are less enthusiastic - Eddie doesn't want to stay in the same apartment as Lilith, Martin calls her 'the witch' - and when Niles comes over, the first time they have met since their little tryst, the conversation is stilted until Frasier recommends they go back to their old relationship of sniping at each other - which doesn't take very long. Lilith then informs Frasier she is writing an article about divorced parents bringing up children, and Frederick thinks that as it is based on him he should get something for it - notably a mini-bike, which all the other kids have apparently. Both Lilith and Frasier are adamant he can't have one until he is 15.

Daphne calls out that dinner is ready, and after Lilith goes to wash her hands in the powder room, Frederick suggests to his father that he and Lilith should write the article together and tells him that she misses him, and is always saying how great he is. This gets Frasier pondering the idea, and when Lilith returns, Frederick suggests to his mother she and Frasier should write the article together. He says Frasier has been missing her, and is always talking about how smart she is. This gets Lilith pondering the idea too, so when Frasier suggests the idea at dinner, both agree to the idea - in fact, Frasier suggests she stays the rest of the holidays so they can get it finished - much to the chagrin of Martin! As Lilith and Frasier start to work on the article, they are getting along just like the old days, and Frederick is trying ever harder to bring the two of them together by telling each of them how much the other says they mean to them. This gets both Frasier and Lilith thinking the other is coming on to them, so Frasier go to talk to Martin about it in the hallway, and Lilith goes to talk to Niles in Frederick's bedroom. Frederick has put on some romantic music, turned the lights down low and lit some candles, so when Frasier and Lilith return each thinks the other has done it. This sets off an argument between the pair, but both discover neither of them have done it - and realise that Frederick has set them up - but why? Lilith believes that if they tell him that they won't be getting back together, the guilt they feel will force them into buying him something - a mini-bike. Lilith decides to play him at his own game, and tells him that she and Frasier are getting re-married. He seems overjoyed by this news, leaving both of them puzzled. However, they then catch him on the phone to his friend telling him how he just tapped into his parent's feeling of inadequacy, and is definitely getting the minibike now! That is until his parents make themselves known they are listening!

Episode Title Cards
  • As All Of Vancouver Kneels To Give Thanks...
  • The Apparent Trap

Episode Highlights

- Frasier tells Roz that Lilith is spending Thanksgiving in Canada:
Frasier: Do they even celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada?
Roz: They will after she leaves!

- Frasier relents and lets Lilith stay for Thanksgiving:
Frasier: After all - Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate family.
[Frasier hears a key in the lock and opens it as Martin pokes his head round]
Martin: Has the witch gone yet?

- Frasier tells Niles and Lilith to move on and learn from their ill-considered night of passion:
Niles: Well, I learned if you kiss her too fast it gives you an ice cream headache.

Frasier is angry as he believes Lilith seems to think it's easy to get back with him:
Frasier: You think you can just snap your fingers and old Frasier will come a-runnin'. Well, it doesn't work that way sister! First of all - I have to be finessed!

- Frasier and Lilith can't believe Frederick would be so devious to get a mini-bike:
Lilith: Remember when he was a baby - the bottle at the end of the maze.

- The look on Niles' face as he hears that Frasier and Lilith are getting 're-married':
Niles: What's this joyous news I hear (!)

Frasier Online Episode Review

As we haven't seen Lilith since 'Room Service', way back in Season 5, it was a pleasure to see her again replete with all the hatred that the rest of the 'Frasier' clan have for her. My particular favourite was the way Eddie senses she is some vortex of evil and won't enter the apartment, and once inside, is scraping at the door to get out again - it was nice to see Eddie doing some tricks as we haven't seen much of them recently. The central plotline, however, was a rather predicatable one which has been done better in other episodes, not helped by much of the script being rarely more than amusing. It does have a nice twist,though, at the end when it appears that Frederick wants to get his parents together, knowing that they won't, to guilt them into getting him a minibike.The strong cast make the episode a worthwhile one but overall, I felt that this was a good but not great episode.


74 %

Latest Viewer Episode Review

Avg. Viewer Review: 79.3%
Total Number of Reviews: 3

Hello: welcome to potatoes!, May 15, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia

"The Apparent Trap" marks the first episode where Freddie is utilised as an individual character, rather than being the catalyst for a Frasier and/or Lilith plot, and the writers get good mileage out of him being the son of two clever shrinks. The episode's plot is pretty basic, with Freddie attempting to con his parents into getting back together... but there are really three things that make it work:

1) The twists and turns. Of course, there is more to this than meets the eye, and Frasier and Lilith are up to the challenge of second-guessing their son;
2) The reactions of those around them. My favourite line reading of the season must surely be David Hyde Pierce's "what's this joyous news I hear?"
3) The interesting choice to set this episode over the course of one night. While the basic plot is a standard "Frasier" farce, we'd usually expect things to get out of hand in a variety of situations. Instead, the episode restricts itself to Thanksgiving dinner, which makes it a neat little experiment in time and place. It also allows us to be more convinced by the con: over a period of time, Frasier and Lilith would easily have figured out the game. Instead, Lilith - out of her comfort zone - and Frasier, who has been questioning himself this season, are perfectly placed.

"The Apparent Trap" is consistent with laughs, although some of the supporting character dialogue leaves me unmoved. Martin's lecture on Thanksgiving dinners actually gels very much with my own philosophy, which amused me, but the scene feels like it's out of a "Martin Crane" writer's handbook. And Niles vs. the video game is a bit of a tired gag. Still, this is an enjoyable plot that focuses entirely on the main cast, to its strength.

I also appreciate how things have evolved. Freddie, obviously, is showing the first inklings of sexuality: his sly look shared with Niles is more than just a little boy crush. Niles and Lilith have a cheeky new dimension to their relationship in the aftermath of "Room Service" (again, as someone who has been in a similar non-confrontational situation with a close friend and former partner, I like how the episode gets good mileage out of the joke without forcing Frasier and Niles into contrived conflict). And both Lilith and Frasier get to interact with their son in new ways, making me very intrigued to see the remaining Freddie episodes again. (On another note, is Daphne straight-facedly saying the phrase "vortex of evil" the last remnant of the psychic element of her character?)

All in all, "The Apparent Trap" isn't gut-bustingly funny, nor is it the most psychologically probing of installments. However, it treats the main cast well, and gives us a good time. Seeing Kelsey Grammer and Bebe Neuwirth in perfect comedic union after all this time really does lend weight to Frasier and Lilith's relationship. t

Rating: 83%


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