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Episode reviews for Episode 8.22 - Cranes Go Caribbean

Avg. Viewer Review: 61.5%
Number of Reviews: 4

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Don't be a hero, put down the coconut, May 20, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia

An uneventful end to the season that sort of misses the point.

While I adore Patricia Clarkson, Claire is a character who was written as a woman with some perfect qualities seen only offscreen and now, after only agreeing to date Frasier in her previous appearance, seems to be going quite strong. There's just not a lot here to convince us of the relationship, which is a shame because - while obviously the series couldn't give Frasier his perfect woman with three seasons to go - there's not a lot of thought put into the construction of the characters. The writers are just aiming for the endgame. Admittedly, the follow-up - "Don Juan in Hell" - is quite satisfying, but that doesn't justify ending a season on such a sour and confusing note. After a ponderous amount of set-up (seriously, for a half-hour episode that's grounded in the previous three episodes, this is a lot of work), we finally get the characters en route to Belize, even if I don't buy for one second that Martin would go on holiday without telling the kids. (The only things that work in the first half of the episode are Claire and Frasier's uncertainty about the trip and then the jaw-dropping look on Niles' face when Daphne asks if they'll snorkel.) At this point, the recurring appearances of Lana just seem a little odd. I know she's here so that the moment at episode's end can be tied in, and it is nice - if we're honest - to have a character with a different approach to Frasier. But the scene in the car is terribly written. Is the audience on drugs?

Once we reach Belize, things remain quite dull. "Cranes Go Caribbean" reminds me of that dire "Wizard and Roz" in that it disguises the actual point of the conflict - there, Frasier's concern about his own attractiveness; here, his inability to be content - by giving us 20 minutes of another plot altogether before dropping the surprise. There, it was a nightmare involving a robe. Here, it's the idea that Frasier's holiday is going terribly wrong. Only, it's a very half-arsed attempt. Frasier loses his luggage. His ears pop and he has to yell for a while. Nothing remotely funny or insightful comes from this. If it weren't for the reliable cheekiness of Niles' delight about public nudity, there would be nothing to approve at all. As is traditional, the season finale is less outright comic than the rest of the season but here the tension feels manufactured. Is the tone of the series changing deliberately? I could've supported that notion except once we hit season 9, things will be back to normal again. This is just clearly creative fatigue.

So, after 20 forgettable minutes, we reach the crux: Frasier has a sexual dream about Lana. In and of itself, this makes sense. If he's thinking of Claire as "The One", of course his mind will cast itself back over the things he won't have once he chooses her. Lilith, unfortunately, makes a wrong diagnosis here - the idea that he may really have feelings for Lana because she challenges him is laughable! He escaped from her as a dating option quite early, and nothing since then has suggested otherwise. (In fact, the season 9 premiere will back me up on this.) Simply put, this is a mistake of a cliffhanger. It's terribly structured and exists primarily as set-up for "Don Juan in Hell". Obviously season finales often leave things dangling, but here we're not entirely sure what's being left dangling. To a longterm viewer, perhaps this makes sense: the issue is Frasier's own crippling self-doubt. To a casual viewer though, it seriously seems as if the series is asking us to wait several months for the lead character to choose between a loudmouth he doesn't like very much or a perfect woman who has never been anything more than bland onscreen. (With no disrespect to the two brilliant actresses who play those poorly-scripted characters.)

Season 8 has been a distinct step down from the first seven, however it has still had some character highlights and some very enjoyable episodes. At least it ends with Frasier and Lilith saying "I love you". Their relationship is a beautiful, honest portrayal of characters who have known each other for nearly two decades, filled with poignant moments but also frequently hysterical. Why couldn't the writers of these last few episodes apply those techniques themselves?

Rating: 58%


Cranes Go Caribbean, Sep 18, 2012

Reviewer: Lucy from London

I didn’t enjoy this episode atall, it was just devoid of laughs.

I really didn’t like the character of Clare. I found her boring and totally unconvincing. Her and Frasier never seemed to go well as a couple, there was no spark there.
It was just limp.

I also found it annoying how Frasier was moaning all the way through this episode.

The ending did give the viewer abit of interest over who he actually had feelings for, which left it on abit of a cliff hanger, but overall not a good episode.

Rating: 50%



Reviewer: Cake for Brains from Manchester, UK

After the abysmal shambles that was the previous episode ‘A Day in May’, I was hoping that ‘Cranes Go Caribbean’ would perhaps be able to conclude the season on a bit of a high, what with Fraser, Niles, Martin, Daphne and Clare taking a trip to Belize and therefore creating a change of scenery and perhaps a change in tone/dynamic, I was hopeful that the eighth season finale would be a little special. Up until now I had never seen this episode in its entirety, but now that I’ve seen the complete episode, I must say that I felt that (as with a great deal of Season 8) that it was a missed opportunity, and whilst it contained some good ideas, and a welcome cameo from Lilith, the plot moves along at a slow pace and the jokes weren’t frequent or funny enough to keep me entertained throughout the twenty-two minutes. I think its genuinely a bad idea anyway when sitcoms/comedy shows venture away from their familiar settings, and the Crane clan in Belize doesn’t work at all for me. Frasier comes across as annoying, and he’s constant shouting and complaining does begin to tire very quickly, and I still strongly dislike the bland character of Claire, who seems to be liking charm, charisma and a personality. Niles boasting about how he and Daphne went streaking felt a bit stale also, although I did quite like Martin’s toast to the couple, in which he employed a fishing metaphor for their relationship. The beginning of the episode had a feeling of ‘been there, done that’ as well, because character’s overhearing and misinterpreting events is a trend that has recurred so many times in Frasier, and Daphne overhearing Frasier and Niles talking about the formers plans to give Claire a romantic weekend break and assuming it was for her is a trick that’s been played far too many times on the show. I wasn’t keen on the ending of the episode either, and although Bebe Neuwirth is always great value as Lilith, the conclusion to ‘Cranes Go Caribbean’ felt soapy and overly dramatic, a bit like ‘A New Position for Roz’ at the end of Season 10. Frasier has an erotic dream about Lorna whilst he’s sleeping with Claire, which (predictably) leads him to question his relationship, thus ending the episode on a cliffhanger. The cliffhanger conclusion did little for me, and its certainly not a question I’d have been desperate to have had answered during the fourth month hiatus prior to Season 9. So all in all, Season 8 bows out with a whimper; this episode feels underwhelming and fairly lacklustre I’m afraid.

Now that I’ve written a review for each individual episode of the eighth season, it seems right to compile a brief overview of the season as a whole. Prior to re-watching the series on DVD, I have written extensively and with increasing frustration and hostility regarding Season 8 on this website’s forum, labelling it as weak, out-of-character and no different from your average trashy run-of-the-mill US sitcom. I’m pleased to report that although I still fervently believe that Season 8 is an enormous step down in quality from the previous brilliant seven seasons, I have (for the most part) rather enjoyed it. It has had its fair share of enjoyable and entertaining episodes such as ‘Taking Liberties’, ‘The Show Must Go Off’ and ‘Daphne Returns’ but has also represented ‘Frasier’ at its very worst, with dire offerings such as ‘Frasier’s Edge’, ‘Motor Skills’ and ‘A Day in May’. I still find the new dynamic that the show has recently adopted largely weak, and I have been hugely disappointed by what the writers have done with the characters of Niles and Daphne. Their relationship comes across as banal, false and hugely placid, whilst their previous personalities have been compromised dramatically and whittled down into babbling, giggling schoolchildren. With the character of Frasier on the other hand, it’s a very different affair – for, even though he has been given some fairly terrible material at times throughout this season, Kelsey Grammer has been nothing but superb and engaging throughout, playing his character with unfaltering brilliance and conviction, foe which I applaud him. In summation then, whereas Season 8 definitely represents a downturn in the show’s quality and doesn’t come anywhere near to matching the standards of previous seasons, Season 8 is enjoyable for the most part and takes the show to places where it hasn’t been before. It’s not ‘classic’ Frasier by a long stretch, but (I never thought I’d say this), its much better than your average television show and certainly worth adding to your DVD collection.

Rating: 68%


'Cranes Go Caribbean' review, Sep 05, 2005

Reviewer: Jocelyn from London, UK

This season finale, a collaboration between departing showrunner Mark Reisman and his Season 9 replacement Rob Hanning, sees Frasier attempting to take his and Claire's relationship a step further by inviting her on a trip to Belize. After the soporific nature of the previous episode, this one begins with a pleasingly lively scene at Frasier's apartment with a series of misunderstandings leading Niles, Daphne and Martin to join the couple on their trip to Belize which, although marred by the laboured exchanges of 'I don't know' between Frasier and Claire, plays with rather more energy than of late. Unfortunately the rest of the episode is rather underwhelming, with yet another dull scene featuring Frasier and Lana in a car followed by the gang in Belize which contains some enjoyable moments - Niles and Daphne indulging in public nudity; Martin giving a toast to his sons and their girlfriends - but is marred by Frasier's constant whiny behaviour which I found too overbearing to be funny. The drab ending where Frasier's dream about Lana leaves him feeling he has to choose between Lana and Claire is little more than a humourless retread of the dilemma he faced with Faye and Cassandra at the tail end of Season 6, while even the appearance of Lilith via a late night phone call fails to liven things up, leaving the episode - and the season - to end with a whimper ...

One of the biggest letdowns in sitcom history, Season 8 arrived with enormous audience expectations only to finish with many fans wondering what had happened to the show. Many critics tended to pin the blame for the show's decline on the change in the Niles/Daphne relationship but, while this was certainly one of the most disappointing aspects, the biggest drawback was the loss of major writing talent after Season 7 and the fact that the newcomers to the writing staff just couldn't measure up. Add to this the numerous production problems which occured during the run and it's perhaps no surprise that the show saw such an alarming drop in quality.

In the end, Season 8 was always going to suffer by comparison with what had gone before. On it's own merits, it's a mostly watchable and sporadically enjoyable season. Compared to the preceeding seven seasons of 'Frasier', however, it's a leaden, dispiriting mess.

Rating: 70%