Episode: 4.6

Title: On Your Own

Written by: Sy Rosen and Christian Williams

Directed by: Joan Tewskbury

Aired: November 9, 1992

Log line: The Flying Man returns to Cicely to woo Marilyn; Ed finds a ring that once belonged to Federico Fellini; Maurice has Mike rewrite his will to include his recently discovered Korean son, Duk Won.

Listen to our discussion of the episode here. 


The relationship between Marilyn and the Flying Man in “On Your Own” (4.6) echoes many of the moments in “Get Real” (3.9). This week, we thought it would be interesting to track a few of the overlapping elements, which we argued add emotional resonance to these moments, by using images from both episodes.

Bob gives Marilyn flowers:


Bob produces something Marilyn needs from inside his jacket:

Bob produces something Marilyn needs from inside his jacket.

Bob pours:

Bob pours.

Bob puts his purple handkerchief to use for Marilyn:

Bob puts his purple handkerchief to use for Marilyn.

Marilyn gives Bob a firm “no” in both episodes:




They spend their last moments alone together in nature:


Marilyn waves goodbye:


At the end of “Get Real”, Bob waves goodbye; at the start of “On Your Own” Bob seems to be waving “hello” (courtesy of Hans), though it seems that might he already know that he will soon be waving goodbye:


Bob and Marilyn hold hands for a silent goodbye:

In our blogpost about “Get Real” (3.9), we featured several references to birds and flight. “On Your Own” also has quite a few of these references, as befits an episode with the Flying Man. Here is a sampling of what can be found in this episode:


Shelly wears her parrot earrings.


Ed wears a shirt featuring a bird.


And another one with a raven.


Joel tells the tale of the woman who fell from a plane and gained her sight.


Birds chirp as Joel sets golf balls in flight.


Okay, this stuffed bird in the Brick might seem to be a coincidence, but this scene doesn’t seem to be there for any reason aside from the bird. The shot is held until the bird can be clearly seen. Okay, maybe it’s tenuous, but we’re gonna include it.

4-6-blog-birds-chirping2 4-6-blog-birds-cockadoodle 4-6-blog-birds-curlew 4-6-blog-birds-pilot4-6-blog-birds-yolks 4-6-blog-birds-talk

Themes / Recurrences: Men/women; being alone or on your own; rebirth; art/creativity

The Good: This is the second appearance of Bill Irwin as The Flying Man, and we still love him. He is a charmer and when he does speak, his words are profound. We also love the dream sequences and hallucinations in this episode. It’s one of the things Northern Exposure does particularly well.

The Bad: It’s too bad that the Swiss troupe Mummenschanz is not featured in a way that highlights the astonishing things they actually do. This is the second time that a world class talent is wasted on screen (see Cirque Du Soleil in “Get Real”).

The Notable: We find out the extent of Maurice’s wealth in this episode, as he plans to leave Duk Won $17 million dollars, a quarter of his estate (that’s $68 millions circa 1992!).


On’s rating: 8.0 out of 10.

Shane’s rating: 8.0 out of 10.



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