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Episode reviews for Episode 8.04 - Taking Liberties

Avg. Viewer Review: 78.4%
Number of Reviews: 9

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Ferguson, May 15, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia

Season 8 delivers its first solid (if not great) episode, buoyed by the inestimable presence of Victor Garber. As others have remarked, it's funny it's taken this long for Frasier to get a butler - and perhaps to realise that Daphne really is a physical therapist, as she's been saying for seven years! I remember on first viewing assuming that Ferguson was going to have a negative effect on Daphne and Niles, instead he helps us with the needed transition.

The writers of the show clearly faced a couple of dilemmas. 1) After seven years, there was little point in creating further roadblocks to the couple. They could have had some fun with the discrepancies between Niles' fantasies of Daphne and the reality, or between Daphne's expectations of a man and what Niles could provide, but instead they decided to just throw the couple into commitment. And 2) Even as the season began filming, Jane Leeves had confirmed she was pregnant and would thus be reduced in her involvement with the series. This perhaps had the effect of altering the Niles/Daphne storyline in season 8 -- although thankfully the writers found a unique way to incorporate these elements!
To smooth both of these out, stories like this basically convince us that - in spite of having only run off together recently - Daphne and Niles are very much in love. (At the time, I recall some commentators speculating that ending the UST between these characters was what derailed the show; I heartily disagree, but we'll get to that.)

It's a shame that Ferguson didn't stick around, because he brings out a fun side of both Martin and Frasier. (Although I suspect that a show with an already pompous lead character might've been too daunting for the masses if he had a butler!) It's no surprise that Frasier would come to enjoy relying on someone who can advise and assist. It's also no surprise - although unpredictable enough to be a delight - that Martin relishes in having someone to look after him in a far more patient manner than Daphne! This is not grand comedy, but it's more promising than the first couple of episodes of the season.

Elsewhere (or, I suppose, in the same where) we bid farewell to Mel Karnofsky. Mel's final scenes border on character destruction. I ultimately think they're saved by the groundwork laid for this: given the pressure Mel believes she faces, it makes sense that she would ultimately dig deep and commit to her grand plan. It's a bit of a shame that she has to bow out like this though, but ultimately it is Niles' story. The series needs to give him the chance to stand up for his love, and it's here.

Perhaps the weak opening to the start of the season is the writers absorbing the effect of the 7th season finale. After they've finished clearing up the rubble next week, things will begin to look up.

Rating: 72%


Frasier + butler = perfect! (Nearly), Mar 22, 2012

Reviewer: Tid from SW England

It was amazing that they finally allowed Frasier to have his own butler
- with all due respect to Daphne's character, it was long overdue.
However it really should have persisted beyond a single episode. As a
result we got two other plotlines sharing with it (the opera board; Niles
and Daphne getting free), and it was a bit too much.

Ferguson was an excellent character, but being confined to one episode
meant we got all the Jeeves jokes crammed into around 10 minutes.
Otherwise it was a good episode in a disappointing season, and gets
rated accordingly.

Rating: 90%


A good episode from a weak season, Dec 13, 2011

Reviewer: Steve Masters from Newcastle, uk

I thought this was well done, with both Frasier and Niles nicely on form, and the butler an
effective, short-lived pleasure. Niles' moment of decisiveness is important in putting a stop
to a potentially tiresome plot-line and in finally standing up for himself.

Rating: 90%


This is a sleeper episode, Aug 22, 2010

Reviewer: John Yancey from Houston, TX

This episode can easily be overlooked because there are several subpar episodes in this season. There are 3 things that make this episode one of the better episodes in the season. 1) Victor Garber does an excellent job in bringing comedy without extreme silliness. 2) Niles finally stands up for himself against Mel. 3) Frasier classically denies himself something he covets when he does not trust Ferguson even though he had always been right before.

Rating: 89%


Taking Liberties, May 11, 2007

Reviewer: Simon from Wisconsin, USA

Taking Liberties is, in my opinion, the best episode of Season 8. This season includes mediocre to poor quality episodes, without many laughs, intelligence, etc., but this episode changes all of that. It is funny, with many jokes, intelligent, and fun to watch. I am honestly surprised that they decided to put this episode in the 8th season, the weakest of them all, while they could have fit it into the better Season 9.

~Simon :)

Rating: 95%


Taking Liberties (and take Daphne away), Sep 06, 2006

Reviewer: David Jones from North Wales, Great Britain

What makes this episode so embaressingly awful is the simple fact of Daphne's wait gain.

For me, this spoils the whole first half of series eight and I always think that it really couldn't have happened at a worst time.

Rating: 30%



Reviewer: Cake for Brains from Manchester, UK

Unitl now, I'd never actually seen this episode in its entirity, but I was pleasantly surprised, because I found myself really enjoying this episode. Admittedly, armed with such a great premise this episode should deliver some funny moments, but (as is common with a lot of S8-10 episodes) it could have been so much better in the hands of a more capable writer. However, this is my favourite episode of the season so far, and there were some very funny moments, such as Frasier trying to win the seal of approval from the snooty opera board members, and Martin taking full advantage of Ferguson's services, such as the channel-hoping on the television and taking his 'big hand' to the game. Ferguson was a character I rather warmed too actually, and as other Frasier fans have said, I would have liked him to stay around for a couple more episodes. This episode also said goodbye to Mel, and although I was pleased to see the dragging storyline end, I will rather miss Mel. Quite an odd confession, but I actually really liked her character and thought that she fitted in with the show's ethos very nicely - she and David Hyde Pierce played off each other very well I thought. Lots to enjoy here, and although it contains flaws and lacks enormous laugh-out loud moments it is hugely watchable and entertaining, and certainly not an episode I'll be skipped on future Season 8 viewings.

Rating: 80%


Decent lost episode!, Jun 08, 2006

Reviewer: Timbo from Brisbane, QLD

One of the forgotten decent episodes from season 8. I had never seen this episode until I got the Season 8 DVD.

Fantastic that the Crane family having a butler. A fantastic idea for an episode. With Niles and Mel still doing there bad husband thing.

Just having this guy offer Frasier some excellent advice, take his jacket off, just fantastic.

Definitely pleasant for me to see an unseen Frasier episode of this quality.

Rating: 86%


'Taking Liberties' review, Aug 18, 2005

Reviewer: Jocelyn from London, UK

The works of PG Wodehouse have often been cited as an influence on 'Frasier' and on writer Joe Keenan in particular, so it seems strange that an episode where Frasier hires a 'Jeeves'-like English butler should only have been attempted following Keenan's departure, with the end result leaving me wondering what sort of sublime comedy the absent writer would have made of this material. However, while this episode suffers from the same Season 8 drawbacks as it's predecessors - namely, sluggish pacing, a lack of laugh out loud moments and Peri Gilpin's talents wasted with throwaway material for Roz (in this case, selling gift-wrapping) - it is lifted by Victor Garber's enjoyably dry performance as Ferguson the butler while Martin has a couple of fun moments when he employs Ferguson to change the channels on the TV for him ('At ease!') as well as the moment where the butler hands him his giant finger when he sets off to a game. Perhaps the most notable thing here is Niles finally standing up to Mel as he attempts to put an end to their sham marriage once and for all, which comes as something of a relief - not least beacause this particular storyline has long since worn out it's welcome.

Rating: 74%