Episode: 4.4

Title: Heroes

Written by: Jeffrey Vlaming

Directed by: Chuck Braverman

Aired: October 19, 1992

Log line: Chris must decide what to do with his deceased friend’s remains. A heavy-metal rock star mistakenly arrives in Cicely instead of Sicily.

Listen to our podcast discussion of the episode here.


Northern Exposure is a series where you can watch a standalone episode without needing to know what happened previously. (This is a good thing for syndication.) That said, there are elements in episodes which echo and build on earlier episodes in the series. Two episodes that are particularly resonant to “Heroes” (4.4) are “Burning Down the House” (3.14), which introduced the trebuchet, and the previous week’s episode, “Nothing’s Perfect” (4.3). We find it intriguing that the writers would elect to feature so many similar elements in back-to-back episodes and we think it was very well done. (Heck, one of us even gave this episode a perfect score.) So, this week, we’ll be using visuals to look back at a few of the ingredients from 4.3 that resonated in 4.4.

A dead body sets Chris’ storyline in motion:


We meet a European rocker:


Enter air guitar:


Said European rocker has a thing for Natives:


The rocker bonds with Ed:


Ed shoots some black and white footage of the rocker:


A guy named Lucky and a lucky guy:


Birds feature (and one dies); Shelly wears parrot earrings:

blog-birds.001 A Harley features (and dies); Chris wears two different Harley shirts:

blog-harley.001 Maurice thought death was inconceivable; Chris tries to conceive of death:


Eyes, teeth, eyeteeth; “the ontological riddle” of the meaning of life


The slow motion fling and crash/splash:


Water, time, death, life:


Themes / Recurrences: Death; journeys; art; friendship.

The Good: There are so many great things about this episode, from Adam Ant’s charismatic performance, to Tooley, who we really get to know, to Shelly’s crazy adoration of Brad Bonner. We must mention the fantastic “Last Supper” inspired dream sequence – it was fantastic!

4-4_dream01 last-supper-da-vinci

The Bad: One of us disliked the choice of “Old Time Rock and Roll” as the “meaning of life” song, but the other one of us thought it was a catchy and appropriate choice. The replacement of “A Whiter Shade of Pale” in the final scene is most unfortunate.

The Notable: Both guest characters, Adam Ant (Brad Bonner) and Mickey Jones (Tooley) are real rockers in real life.

On’s rating: 10 out of 10.

Shane’s rating: 9 out of 10.


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