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Episode reviews for Episode 8.18 - Daphne Returns

Avg. Viewer Review: 81.9%
Number of Reviews: 7

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You'd eat a worm if I gave it a French name, May 19, 2013

Reviewer: Sammy J from Melbourne, Australia


"Daphne Returns" is, in its own way, the highlight of season 8. (A particular achievement given the five thoroughly placid episodes that follow it.)

Bringing Jane Leeves back after her maternity leave of course meant dealing with the means of her exit: rapid weight gain. If Leeves' pregnancy offset the original analysis of Daphne and Niles as a couple, it's now upon us in full force. I really like the weight loss is played, with Martin unable to avoid commenting while it turns out that Niles never noticed it. His petty hatred of Gloria is an ugly side to the character, but it's one that makes sense. In fact, there's a clear sense in my mind that Niles would be quite insufferable in real life; it's about time the series acknowledged it. The concept of going back to major flashbacks is actually really enjoyable. It's a "conceptual" episode, more so than almost any other episode (only "Dinner Party" and "Sliding Frasiers" spring to mind) but the episode doesn't waste much of its running time on the flashbacks. More to the point, this is another side of the more mature (if, admittedly, more placid) "Frasier". So many shows feature will-they-or-won't-they couples, so few deal with the aftermath of "happily ever after". After building Daphne up in his mind for seven years, can Niles possibly be satisfied? Isn't this daunting for Daphne? How nice that the series is willing to examine this. I don't know if I buy that Daphne and Niles haven't slept together - the relationship was played quite sexually in a few of the early episodes of the season - but I'll overlook that quibble for the panicked way David Hyde Pierce looks around when he thinks "everybody" is talking about he and Daphne. And for the fact that Frasier dismisses the "Heart and Soul" memory as being idealised. Ha!

Look, it would be easy to argue that this is too grim. Why should a sitcom couple experience these kinds of issues, and why should we be watching a soap opera rather than a classic farce? Yet this show has always been about the dignity of its characters, and I very much appreciate this stepping stone in the Niles/Daphne relationship. The series has been able to mine some humour out of them together, although it is a far gentler sort than we're used to. (The refrigerator pig is one of the few non-passive jokes).

It's all leading up to the intelligent and mildly shocking fight between Niles and Daphne. Niles admits the truth about her cooking. She lambasts him for being a snob (not that this should be surprising, although she's always been more open about this with Frasier). And then he brings out the big burn: Niles doesn't believe Daphne is psychic. This particularly is why I appreciate "Daphne Returns". This series has always looked at the ethics of its characters, and someone like Niles would laugh off a woman claiming to be psychic. For the two to be together, they need to be tested like this. It ends in the adorable reconciliation of the two characters.

It's not all riches. Martin's outraged comments about what Eddie would do (not become the world's first dog traffic reporter) is a bit too absurdist for this show, especially an episode devoted to realism! And while Roz's subplot about writing "Heidi" is a good indicator of her increased desire for career and life development, it's dead in the water. If the rest of the season is any indication, the writing staff had grown tired of the main characters, hence they ship in a bunch of new recurring ones for the rest of the season.

Overall then, the comedy is muted but the drama is valid. As a supplement to "Frasier's Edge" and an answer to the plaguing problem of Niles and Daphne, this is a smart episode. All Niles ever saw was "a perfect woman in a red dress". Still, this season has been a definite shift in tone. I'm sure I'll have more to say about it as I keep rewatching, but the series would do well to remember where it came from even if, as I concede, age and evolution require it to look to the future.


Rating: 82%

 

Partial Return to Form, Jun 26, 2008

Reviewer: Fergus from Dublin, Ireland


The opening ten minutes of this show were pretty dreadful (like some bad soap opera) but the episode did recover itself, with the technical wizardry offering a new slant on the tired old flashback sequences that conventional sit-coms love. Still Daphne and Jane Leeves' performance had changed irrevocably for the worse and Peri Gilpin must have been tempted to leave the show during Season 8, with the dross her charcter was offered -she might as well have been an extra.


Rating: 72%

 

bridging gaps, Nov 16, 2007

Reviewer: Brenda from Oregon, USA


I liked this episode, I thought it really bridged some gaps between Niles crush on Daphne, Daphne as housekeeper, Niles and Daphne become an item. I think we see both Daphne and Niles differently after this episode.


Rating: 80%

 

Finally, a watchable show, Nov 04, 2006

Reviewer: De Worde from UK


There are some delightful moments in this, and it marks something of a turning point in the Niles and Daphne storyline, possibly brought on by the fact that they no longer have to deal with Jane Leeves' pregnancy. But what does it say about season 8 that one of it's most memorable episodes is the clip show.


Rating: 80%

 

Daphe Returns, Oct 28, 2006

Reviewer: David Jones from North Wales, Great Britiain


An episode worth noting for the wonderful seqment when Frasier and Nile go down memory lane and actually get to be in the flashbacks.


Rating: 100%

 

DAPHNE RETURNS, Jul 18, 2006

Reviewer: Cake for Brains from Manchester, UK


It’s taken the writers nineteen episodes to come up with an interesting storyline regarding Niles and Daphne’s relationship, and it’s so nice to have some funny material and dialogue between the pair instead of the usual giggling and sickening displays of affection. But before I get to that, let’s start at the beginning of the episode, which sees a very funny opening, in which Frasier recollects the detective stories that he and Niles used to write as kids, ‘The Crane Boys Mysteries’, a series of thirty-four tales including ‘The One Eared Monkey’, ‘On your marks, get set, die!’ and ‘The Suspicious Six-pack’. The next scene sees Daphne coming home from the spa, but I found that the scene between she and Niles in the car dragged on a bit, although it did serve to advance the plot nicely. I found the subject matter and content rather interesting, Daphne’s therapist Gloria has persuaded her that she felt the need to overeat because she felt that she was unable to live up to the perfect image and seven-year long infatuation that Niles had of her, and she was worried that he would be disappointed. From this point on the episode is fraught with tension, which works very well indeed, and I loved the party at Frasier’s apartment, especially (Niles regarding Gloria) ‘You usually have to go as far as a hair salon to get that kind of insight’ and the wonderful refrigerator pig!

The second act also manages to successfully balance the drama and the comedy, and forces Niles to question his idealised picture of Daphne, which is done in a very clever and effective manner. I loved how the show employed flashbacks from previous episodes in order to illustrate the notion that Niles had been blinded by his adoration of Daphne, and the clips shown worked particularly well because Frasier and Niles were present in the actual flashback, and therefore we’re able to build on the scenes depicted. My favourites were Niles enjoyment of watching the tango scene from ‘Moondance’ and Niles joining in the chopping song in ‘First Date’. The final confrontation scene between Niles and Daphne is also very nicely done, as Niles tries to convince everyone that he doesn’t possess a jolted version of his girlfriend. The ensuing argument is great – ‘bad, bad cook’, and ‘you’d eat a worm if I gave it a French name’. My favourite quote was Niles response to Daphne when she asked him if he thought she was psychic: ‘Not if you thought I liked you’re cooking!’. Ever since the pair become an item at the end of Season 7, I’ve been waiting for some sort of character development and progression in their relationship, and I think ‘Daphne Returns’ achieves this in a very satisfactory fashion, because this episode strikes the balance of comedy and drama just right, and for once, Niles and Daphne’s storyline is interested and not ruined by childish and lovesick behaviour. My favourite episode of the eighth season, and one which falls just below the classic mark.


Rating: 82%

 

'Daphne Returns' review, Sep 01, 2005

Reviewer: Jocelyn from London, UK


A welcome return to the show for Daphne, following Jane Leeves' maternity leave, which sees Niles driving her home from her stay at the health spa, only for the pair to clash over advice that she received from a therapist, Gloria, who told her she had developed her eating disorder due to her fear that she wouldn't be able to live up to the perfect image which Niles had built up of her over the previous seven years. This feels much like a companion piece to 'And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon', being more of a drama than comedy-based episode which takes Niles and Daphne's relationship through a series of emotions. As with that episode it starts off rather slowly, with the scene with Niles driving Daphne home being a touch overlong with the many exchanges of 'I love you' seeming unnecessarily repetetive. However, where this scores above the Season 8 opener is the much more natural interplay between David Hyde Pierce and Jane Leeves. The use of clips from earlier episodes with Frasier and Niles superimposed into each scene could have seemed like a gimmick for it's own sake but is actually quite effective, bringing home to Niles that, yes, he does see Daphne as being perfect with the episode reaching it's highpoint towards the end with the argument between Niles and Daphne where they reveal what they dislike about each other - I liked Martin praising his son for his opinion of Daphne's cooking! - which is followed by the lovely final scene at Nervosa with Niles in a near-silent state of bliss. A minor subplot in which Roz attempts to write a children's book only to accidently end up rewriting 'Heidi' adds some humour to an episode that is not particularly high on laughs but as a deeper exploration of Niles and Daphne's relationship it works well, giving the pair some of the passion and sparkle that have seemed strangely absent from most of the previous episodes in this season.


Rating: 77%