Episode: 4.24

Title: Sleeping with the Enemy

Written by: Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess

Directed by: Frank Prinzi

Aired: May 17, 1993

Log line: Duk Won seeks approval of his bethrothed; Ed makes a movie; Holling wants more sex.

Listen to the podcast discussion of the episode here.


In episode 4.24 “Sleeping with the Enemy,” we find Maurice, Joel, and Ed struggling in their own way with language and finding meaning within the foreignness of these languages. We are exposed to three languages: Korean, Tlingit, and Yiddish, and these languages are presented to the viewers unsubtitled and largely unexplained; we are put in the same unknowing position as the characters in on the show.


For all three characters, these languages are significant; for Maurice, Korean represents his son and the barriers between the two; for Ed, the Tlingit language is about preserving a part of his own culture that he’s never known; for Joel, Yiddish is linked to memories of his uncle, and the richness of his family’s Jewish past. Although all three are estranged from their languages, in this episode each person tries to connect with their language in their own way.


However, there are more obstacles to communication than just the language. This episode presents many misunderstandings and misinterpretations of stories in English. As Leston asks, “What are you getting at Ed? I don’t understand subtext?”  Well, much of “Sleeping with the Enemy” has people not understand the subtext at all.


For example, Holling interprets Joel’s advice of talking to Shelly as “insisting” himself upon her.


Or take Shelly’s lack of understanding of Holling’s story about his “needs.”


We also have Ed’s reading a moral into Joel’s story which is just supposed to be funny.


It is rather a mystery whether Joel’s story about watering the fern has gotten through to Shelly or not.


We also have Chris’ strange interpretation of Hindu Tantric sex practices.


Despite the tensions in communication, people still manage to understand each other. Despite the language barrier, Maurice comprehends his son’s misery and sacrifices his own values to lessen Duk Won’s anguish. Ed successfully dubs Prisoner of Zenda in Tlingit. In the final scene, we see a large group of elders and young people enjoying the finished project, a project which has brought them even closer together.


Songs from the episode’s original airing:

  • Hoagy Carmichael – Stardust Memories” (the episode features a different version of the song)
    [Replaced in DVD version]
    Maurice has tea and soju with his son and daughter-in-law.
  • Brenda Lee – Emotions
    [Replaced in DVD version]
    At The Brick, Holling talks to Chris about his situation with Shelly.
  • Kitty Wells – My Cold, Cold Heart is Melted Now
    [Replaced in DVD version]
    At The Brick, Maurice drinks while Dave is closing up.
  • B.B. King – Go On” (the episode features a different version of the song)
    [Replaced in DVD version]
    At The Brick, Joel tells Shelly about watering the fern.
  • Sally Van Meter  – Blues for Your Own
    [Replaced in DVD version]
    At The Brick, Ron and Eric is ashamed of Maurice’s actions.


The Good: We really enjoyed the storyline about Ed dubbing Prisoner of Zenda into Tlingit, and loved the character of Leston Havens, the seasoned Native Hollywood actor, who was played wonderfully by Ned Romero.

4-24-ed-post-production01The Bad: The characters of Duk Won and Soon Ae lacked depth. We would have liked them to be more fully realized, rather than simply propelling Maurice to a more complicated, less black-and-white understanding of the world. We also didn’t love the storyline about Holling and Johnny.

4-24-maurice01The Notable: We were surprised that Duk Won’s son, Bong, didn’t join him on his trip to Cicely. After all, Maurice is his grandpa and Bong’s English is excellent, so he could have helped translate. But Bong doesn’t even warrant a mention in this episode.

On’s rating: 7.0 out of 10.

Shane’s rating: 8.0 out of 10.



4 thoughts on “4.24 Sleeping with the Enemy

  1. Great insights, as always. The suggestion of masturbation would have been fantastic! Since Holling has apparently had sex 3 times a day for 4 decades or whatever it was, I’m sure his reaction to the idea of it would have been priceless.

  2. The writers of NX have been known to screw up from time to time but they screwed up royally here. There is no way in heck thar Maurice was in the Korean war. Unless he was ten years old..

  3. My husband is wondering why Ron and Eric at the very end of the episode showed disdain for Maurice, a fellow Marine, for ‘giving in’, for ‘folding’. Why do you think they did that? *I* think they all hate each other so much, is why. Just because.

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