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Episode reviews for Episode 9.15 - Wheels Of Fortune

Avg. Viewer Review: 80.1%
Number of Reviews: 7

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The beast walks among us, May 20, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia

A very fun and tightly constructed story in which season 9 finally picks up its game after a sagging middle.

Michael Keaton fits in effortlessly with the cast for an episode with a clever conceit. On most sitcoms, the hero would be proven right without fail. On this show, we're so used to seeing Frasier be wrong in his pompousness that we're torn: all the evidence and formula points to Blaine being a con, and yet we want Frasier to embarrass himself mercilessly! Although I still think an earlier season would have had more of a game of wits (similar to my overall disappointment at the Cam Winston conclusion in "Mother Load, Part 2", this is a keenly observed script, with little moments like Frasier taking his watch off before saying grace, Roz's story that ends with "it worked, and now I'm a nun, what do you think happened?", and the boys marveling over the salt cellar. (Niles' "it has a tiny spoon!" is a gem.)

Perhaps the final revelation becomes predictable after Frasier's forgiveness, but things are all set up so neatly - and the image of Frasier cursing Blaine's name by an empty wheelchair is so apt - that I can't fault them. Quite an enjoyable half-hour.

Rating: 86%


The Wheel Turns, Aug 20, 2009

Reviewer: David Sim from Skelmersdale, Lancashire

Quite a fun little episode this. Its definitely a choice morsel in a lean Season 9. Thanks to a cast on top form. A grand, scene-stealing guest turn from Michael Keaton. And best of all, a surprise one-off (until Season 11) return to the writing staff from co-writers Ken Levine and David Issacs.

Its a pity they didn't stick around more often instead of dipping in and out of the show from season to season, because they definitely know how to write great Frasier. Everything comes together well in this breezy, very enjoyable episode. Its a sweet cocktail.

After a dog of a show, Roz drops a bombshell in Frasier's lap. Blaine Sternin is in town. He's Lilith's half-brother, and black sheep of the family ("What does it say when Lilith is the white one?"). He's a con-man with a silver tongue and a snake-oil haircut. And he's an master at separating Frasier from his money.

Frasier is sure Blaine's got some scheme up his sleeve. And he wants Frasier to put up the funds for it. But when Blaine arrives at his apartment, Frasier's in for a shock. Blaine is in a wheelchair. After a car accident, he lost the use of his legs. And he had a religious conversion. Now he only wants to help his fellow man. Frasier's not buying it for a second. And goes to any lengths to prove that Blaine is a leopard that will never change his spots.

Wheels of Fortune gets a lot of mileage from Frasier's dismissal of Blaine's transformation. It throws up plenty of great lines of dialogue. And one thing that's welcome about this episode is that no annoying subplots drag it down. Ken Levine & David Issacs are smart enough to know that the main story is good enough to carry the episode on its own. And it does. Right to the finish line. Its an episode that could easily have fit into anyone of the earlier seasons.

This is also the second time we've had a story about a man in a wheelchair. The other one was Season 3's The Friend. But I would rather watch Wheels of Fortune because its much funnier. God forbid anyone ever says a Season 9 episode is better than a Season 3 episode!

But this is. Because unlike Bob, Blaine is a far more entertaining character. Some people have objected to a famous name like Michael Keaton playing the part. But I didn't really see a problem with it. His presence fires up much of the episode. Like Derek Jacobi in last season's The Show Must Go Off. He really has a ball with the part.

I love the bit when Blaine takes a pin off Daphne and sticks it in his leg. To prove he's not faking it. (Something that sets up a great gag on the credits when Martin has Daphne stick a pin in his leg with a notepad hidden inside, and she jabs the wrong leg!). But this episode really is a two-man show. Kelsey Grammer and Michael Keaton, between the two of them, put a real bounce in the episode's step.

Kelsey Grammer gets all the best lines. And it just gets funnier as he pokes holes in Blaine's conversion. Like when Blaine says he's a preacher now, Frasier's answer to that is "The Lord! What genius! A credible partner who doesn't take a cut!" When Blaine says grace at the table and they all join hands, Frasier removes his Rolex before taking Blaine's. And when Blaine brings up the Apostles, Frasier offers him money if he can name three of them. He names all 12 of them! And still takes the money!

Things come to a head when Blaine invites the Cranes to his airport chapel(!) where he preaches. Love the enraptured look on Martin's face during Blaine's sermon. Frasier can't stand seeing so many people hoodwinked by a fraud(?). And to prove he is, he tips Blaine out of his chair. Just in time for Blaine's doctor to call Frasier to confirm his paralysis.

It all leads to a wonderful climax as it finally seems Blaine has changed Frasier's mind. Only for Blaine to get the last laugh when after Frasier donates a generous sum and opens the front door, he finds an empty wheelchair! And howls in despair! Some say its predictable but I found it a delightful sight gag. Its the funniest ending in ages.

Although Roz is typically underused as usual, Wheels of Fortune is a winning episode on all other counts. A fun Frasier that really deserves more attention then it gets.

Rating: 85%


One of the better Season 9 episodes, Apr 18, 2009

Reviewer: AJ from Ontario, Canada

What is there to not get about Blaine's "suspicious revelations"?

Martin told Frasier that during his sermon, Blaine told his audience that he did the exact same 3 things that Frasier told him he should have done in order to qualify as someone who is seriously repentant (read to veterans, clean oil off birds, etc). It also was not an accident that Blaine used Frasier's examples in front of Martin when doing his sermon. It was a calculated reveal, done just at the right moment. Blaine is, after all, a master conman.

That said, while I liked the episode overall-- I liked the acting of the regulars and Keaton, and generally liked the plot-- I didn't really buy that Frasier would turn a 180 just by talking to Blaine's supposed doctor. Surely after 20 minutes of seeing him refusing to buy Blaine's story, I would have liked him to have stuck to his guns. Not to mention that I am a little tired of the Frasier-gets-pranked storylines by this point in Frasier's history. I loved him when he was not buying it, when he was the only one being cynical and asking him to get out, etc; when he finally did, it was a disappointment.

Still, one of the better season 9 episodes.


Rating: 78%


Good, but not classic, May 24, 2008

Reviewer: Frasier Tid from SW England

This episode had the potential to be great, but ended up merely good. Michael
Keaton is excellent (of course), but the ending was completely predictable, and
so Frasier - for all his his huffing and puffing and pomposity and cynicism - is
proved to have been 'right all along', which was disappointing : he should have got
his 'come-uppance' in a different way. As for the supposed suspicious revelations in
which Frasier learns the truth, just before he opens the apartment door to see the
abandoned wheelchair, well I just didn't get it.

However there are some great moments in this show - not least the look of awed
reverence on Niles' face when he finally sees the antique salt server which Blane
has sent back to Frasier (my personal favourite moment).

Rating: 66%


Frasier Forgives., Feb 20, 2007

Reviewer: Britannia from Perth W.A.

Frasier ( against his better judgement) meets up with Lileth's half brother Blaine. We learn that in the past he has been an untrustworthy 'cad'.
However, when it becomes clear the the now wheelchair bound Blaine had been redeemed by becoming a born again christian ,Frasier decides to let his guard down and trust Blaine one more time.After a series of flawless encounters in which Blaine's character transformation is truly impressive, the Crane clan decide to attend one of Blaine's sermons.
We see Blaine in all his firey rhetoric, whipping up a crowd of followers into an enthusistic validation of his showmanship. Frasier believes that he may have discovered evidence which undermines Blaine's credibilty and in a final dramatic gesture he hurls Blaine and his wheelchair to the ground amid gasps of disbelief from the crowd.
Martin is ashamed at Frasier's outburst and later we see a rebuked and ashamed Frasier welcoming Blaine into the Crane residence once more. All seems to be going well with a new detant having been reached between Frasier and Blaine.The sting in the tale comes after Blaine has left. Frasier's instincts were right all along and once again the insidious con artist has pulled another rabbit out of the hat. Frasier and the gang have been had.!!!!
This episode allows us to see Frasier's basic faith in human nature put to the test with hilarious and predictably outrageous results. Great performances by the regular cast and a great opportunity for Michael Keaton to show a more versatile aspect of his acting ability.

I'd rate this as 85%

Rating: 85%


'Wheels Of Fortune' review, Sep 19, 2005

Reviewer: Jocelyn from London, UK

A welcome return to scriptwriting duties from Ken Levine and David Isaacs, this is a lively episode which features Frasier receiving an unwelcome visit from Lilith's hitherto unmentioned half-brother Blaine, a noted con-artist who is now wheelchair-bound and claims he has found God and become a preacher. I enjoyed this episode for the most part, the only jarring thing being the use of Michael Keaton in the guest role. While Keaton is certainly very good here, 'Frasier' had previously been one of the few US sitcoms not to rely on Hollywood stars for it's guest performers and as a result it doesn't quite have the distinctive feel of a 'Frasier' episode. It's still good fun though, with plenty of good one-liners and Kelsey Grammer on fine form, as Frasier refuses to believe that Blaine is a changed man, eventually throwing him out of his wheelchair in front of Blaine's 'flock', only for Blaine to get one over on Frasier at the end of the episode, with Frasier opening his front door only to be greeted by the sight of an empty wheelchair proving a not too unexpected but still quite amusing ending.

Rating: 79%


Review of Wheels Of Fortune, Apr 18, 2005

Reviewer: Beer Necessity from York, England

I enjoyed this episode, in particular Michael Keaton's star turn as Lilith's scheming half-brother Blaine. The ending is a tad predictable but there are some great one-liners. I particularly loved Blaine's protestations that he was in partnership with God to which Frasier replies "What genius - the Lord! A credible partner who doesn't take a cut!" A very funny episode that made me laugh a lot, though perhaps not quite in the 'classic' bracket.

Rating: 82%