Northern Exposure Wiki
Northern Exposure Wiki
"Jules et Joel"
Season 3, Episode 5 (?)
Airdate October 28, 1991
Writer(s) Stuart Stevens
Director James Hayman
Guest star(s)

  • Diane Delano as Officer Barbara Semanski
  • Douglas Rowe as Buddy
  • John Procaccino as Jerry
  • Lou Hetler as Sigmund Freud
  • Gary Taylor as Man in Street
  • Shelley Henning as Woman in Cab
  • Dave Guppy as Logger
  • Ben DiGregorio as Cab Driver
  • Robert J. Zenk as Patient
  • Raymond O'Connor as Crazed Caller
←   Episode sequence   →
"Animals R Us" "The Body in Question"


Mental ghouls and goblins wreak havoc with Joel after a fall in the woods, bringing to Cicely, Alaska the specter of Jules, his slick twin brother who trades places with Joel to practice medicine and court Maggie. Meanwhile, Holling pays an old debt and Chris braces for a meeting with an old neighbor and felon.


On Halloween night, Joel is visited by a man in a devil suit who demands candy. Since Joel has none, and is unwilling to give up his TV dinner, the man sprays Joel with silly string. Joel chases after him, hitting his head on a wooden support and knocking himself unconscious.

The next day, a taxi cab pulls into town and out comes a slick gentleman who looks remarkably similar to Joel. After kissing the girl in the backseat goodbye, and paying the cab fare, the driver heads back to New York. Maggie spots the man on the street and thinks it's Joel. The gentleman is very open in responding to Maggie's attention. However, when Maggie enters The Brick, she is surprised to find Joel eating. She thinks Joel is playing a trick on her and Joel is confused by her reaction. Once she describes the man outside, Joel exclaims, "Oh no!" and runs to his office, where he is greeted by Jules, his twin brother. Jules explains that he needed to get away from New York for a while and will be staying in Cicely. Later at The Brick, Jules plays sleight-of-hand tricks on Maurice and Ed, and is obviously a shyster. Joel escorts him outside where they run into Maggie. Maggie is surprised at the similarity and seems impressed by Jules, who is more likable than Joel. Jules and Joel agree to switch places for a day, like they did when they were children, in order to give each of them a break from their normal lives for a little while.

In Joel's office, Joel is dressed as Jules and is practicing his strong New York accent. However, Marilyn and Ed are not taken in by the switch since Indians are not fooled by appearances. Maggie, though, does not see the switch so Joel has an opportunity to ask Maggie about her feelings for him through the personality of Jules.

At KBHR, Chris receives a call from Frank Watson, otherwise known as the "Mad Bomber". Frank used to be in jail with Chris' father, and Frank now wants Chris to help him turn himself in. Chris is very uncomfortable talking to Frank, knowing how dangerous the man can be. At Chris' hesitation to help, Frank becomes more angry and says he will call again later. Chris is visibly shaken.

That night, Joel is at The Brick playing as Jules, dealing a game of Three-card Monte. Officer Semanski, who is in the neighborhood visiting Maurice, arrests Joel and drags him off to jail. In his cell, Joel sheds the Jules persona and demands a call. His cellmate is an elderly gentleman with an accent who acts like a psychiatrist. Eventually, Joel discovers that the man claims to be Sigmund Freud and Joel goes along with him long enough to be psychoanalyzed. Joel explains how, as a child, he used Jules as a scapegoat when he did something bad. He felt that a blemish wouldn't hurt Jules' already soiled reputation. Freud latches on to the word "soiled" and attempts to draw Joel's potty-training experiences out of him. Joel admits an affection for Jules' openness, feels the need to always be in control of himself, and is thus cold towards Maggie when he actually wants to "lick her naked body from head to foot like a postage stamp". Joel regrets not being able to be spontaneous and asks Freud' opinion but finds him fast asleep.

Chris is waiting in the woods for Frank, who has agreed to give himself up to the authorities. When he arrives, he is wired with dynamite, which does little to relax Chris. Frank is obviously very sensitive about his height, and Chris has to talk fast to keep Frank from detonating himself. They finally leave the forest together.

At Maggie's place, Jules is dressed as Joel and having dinner with Maggie. Although dressed as Joel, Jules is still very forward and Maggie is somewhat attracted to 'Joel' and his newfound spontaneity. Jules eventually ends up hitting on Maggie and is practically on top of her on the couch when the phone rings. It is Joel, who tells her he is in jail and needs to be bailed out. After picking him up, Jules reassures Joel that he could never get anywhere with Maggie because she's more attracted to Joel's type of person.

After Jules leaves the next day, Joel is having dinner with Maggie and trying to be more spontaneous. Both are smiling and enjoying themselves as the camera pulls back and fades into Joel laying in bed with a bandaged head. Maggie and Ed are in Joel's cabin, taking care of Joel who hit his head at the beginning of the episode and is just now regaining consciousness. After telling them about his dream, Joel remembers that he doesn't have a twin brother. Joel remembers some of the people from his dream, in an ending very reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz, and Maggie and Ed leave Joel alone to rest, as "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" plays in the background.


Chris: There's a dark side to each and every human soul. We wish we were Obi-Wan Kenobi and, for the most part we are, but there's a little Darth Vadar in all of us. Thing is, this ain't no either/or proposition. We're talking about dialectics, the good and the bad merging into us. You can run but you can't hide. My experience? Face the darkness, stare it down. Own it. As brother Nietzsche said, being human is a complicated gig. Give that old dark night of the soul a hug! Howl the eternal yes!



  • Chris is Abe Stevens' boy from Marshall County, West Virginia.
  • Frank bombed Heidi-Ho RV Sales, Hauser's Menswear, Tip Top Plumbing Supplies; all in the greater Wheeling area.
  • The Frank dilemma reminds Ed of a guy named Sweeho up by the Noatak River who chopped up 8 miners. The sheriff had to go into the mine to get him but they "found the sheriff cut up into sections, just like Dave does with chickens".
  • Maurice and Barbara's date: dinner theatre in Chumuchu(?) showing Camelot and having prime rib, baked potato, and salad bar for $11.95.
  • Shelly's earrings: green dice ("Joel" complains his fish isn't cooked correctly)
  • Joel (Jules) opens his $400 1961 Chateau Margaux wine bottle which, at the time this episode aired in 1991, was about $300; currently[when?] it sells for about $700-1200 per bottle. A 1961 Mouton Roschild or Chateau Latour was more highly rated by wine critics and selling in 1991 for about $800-1000.
  • The guys who find Joel passed out are from Topeka, Kansas and they and other characters are around Joel's bed and outside his window (as in The Wizard of Oz).
  • The episode name is based on Jules et Jim, François Truffaut's 1962 black-and-white French classic film. German student Jules (Oskar Werner) and French student Jim (Henri Serre) become fast friends and are both smitten with the irrepressible Catherine (Jeanne Moreau).


  1. Joel makes dinner and Frank arrives. Jules arrives in Cicely. Joel in jail talking with Freud. Freud falls asleep on Joel.
  2. Maggie talks to Shelly about Joel. Joel discovers Jules is in town.
  3. Jules, Maurice, and Ed talk at The Brick.
  4. Ed tells Joel he knows he's not Jules. Semanski arrests Jules (Joel)
  5. Frank tells Chris to meet him in the woods.
  6. Ed and Chris at the radio station. Frank calls.
  7. Maggie and Jules (Joel) kiss.
  8. Maggie and Joel have dinner.
  9. Joel wakes up from his dream. Chris signs off on the air.