Northern Exposure Wiki
Northern Exposure Wiki
"Only You"
Season 3, Episode 2 (?)
Airdate September 30, 1991
Writer(s) Ellen Herman
Director Bill D'Elia
Guest star(s)

  • Caitlin Clarke as Irene Rondenet
  • Heidi Swedberg as Linda
  • Denice Duff as Patti
  • William J. White as Dave the Cook
←   Episode sequence   →
"The Bumpy Road to Love" "Oy, Wilderness"


Maurice accuses Holling of snapping an unflattering photograph of him. Joel focuses on Chris' uncanny ability to attract women, while Chris becomes fixated on a woman out of his reach. Maggie envisions her vision problem as a sign of decline.


As Joel and Chris walk down the streets of Cicely discussing food, every woman who walks by greets Chris and many of them appear to actually be coming on to him. Joel finally stops Chris and asks what is going on, as a young woman comes up to Chris and kisses him. Joel is stunned. The two return to Joel's office, where Joel discovers an unusually high testosterone level. Chris explains that the uncontrollable attraction is a yearly occurrence and has something to do with pheromones put out which only women can smell. Marilyn steps into the examination room to give Joel a message but, instead of leaving, she stays a moment longer and stares at Chris with interest. Joel is fascinated by this heretofore unknown medical phenomenon.

In the middle of town, the "Optomobile" is visiting Cicely so everyone can get their eyes checked. Optomoetrist Dr. Irene Rondenet examines Maggie and tells her that she has presbyopia, which occurs as old age sets in. Maggie is disturbed by the news since she is only 29 years old. As she returns to The Brick, Joel explains that presbyopia is merely a harbinger of old age, and Maggie becomes even more worried. Meanwhile, Shelly gives Chris a burger "on the house", Ruth-Anne invites him over for dinner, and he is escorted out by two women. Later, he shows up at the Optomoblie to have his eyes checked and is surprised to discover that the female doctor is not at all affected by his smell.

The next morning, Joel drives up to Chris' trailer, where dozens of women are waiting, presumably to have their time with Chris. Joel tells Chris of his initial findings and wants to run more tests. However, Chris is distracted because he wants to go into town and see Dr. Rondenet. When he shows up at the Optomobile, she confirms his suspicion that she can not smell him, and is in fact not even attracted to him. Chris is more attracted by this fact, and begins obsessively thinking about Irene.

Back at his trailer, Chris emerges with Patty and apologizes for his impotence. Lynn then emerges from the trailer and he tells them that, although they were both fantastic, he is thinking about someone else. The women are amazed that anyone could resist him. Chris returns to town, where Joel is busily performing tests to try and determine the cause of this female attraction. The discussion of impotence piques Joel's interest and Chris dotes on Irene, explaining that he is obsessed with her because she's not interested in him. He finally decides to muster up his courage and heads over to the Optomobile. He proclaims his love for Irene but she flatly refuses his advances and he decides to go "cold turkey" and forget about her completely.

The next day, Joel is surprised when he discover that women are no longer attracted to Chris. Chris realizes that it has gone away becuase he knows that Irene is leaving. He goes over to say goodbye in a very endearing speech. Irene is flattered by the attention and begins closing up the Optomobile.

That evening, Maggie tells Joel of her fears that she is getting old. Joel responds by telling her that she has no problem with looks and that she is a knockout. If men aren't attracted to her, it's not because of her looks but because of her abrasive personality. Maggie takes this as a compliment, ignorant of the insult Joel has paid her. As Chris prepares to sign off KBHR for the night, he looks out the window and sees Irene driving away.


Joel: Do you believe this; have you ever seen a man with this kind of incredible irresistible magnetism for the opposite sex?
Ed: James Bond
Joel: That, that's the movies Ed; try reality.
Ed: No, thanks.

Joel: What's your recollection?
Shelly: My record collection?



  • Maurice used to grow okra and make great gumbo.
  • When Maurice bought his house it had dry rot, cracked foundation, and rusted pipes, but he had a vision.
  • Maurice and Holling used to pick off rabbits with a .22 rifle.
  • Maurice brought Shelly into town on a Tuesday.
  • According to Shelly, the hole in Maurice's muffler gave her the headache she arrived with, and Dave opened the aspirin bottle.
  • One time in St. Louis, Chris overindulged with a roomful of 18-year-olds.
  • Stevens Clan: did time and drank a lot; cousins married cousins.
  • Chris' (age 28 here in dialogue) pheromone episodes usually last 4-6 days, but this particular one, only 48 hours.
  • Maggie is age 29 here (in dialogue).
  • Joel's grandmother is Naomi Fleischman of Brooklyn Heights; she makes hometaschen.
  • Shelly's earrings: globes (gives Chris his lunch on the house), gold teardrops (in Holling's recollection of the day Shelly came into the bar), yellow and black tropical fish (tries to get Maurice and Holling to make up)
  • Goof (continuity error): Maggie and Joel are in the bar and Maggie tries Joel's eyeglasses on. In the last shot, before Maurice enters the bar, Joel puts them back on but when the scene quickly cuts back to he and Maggie, she is wearing them instead and for the rest of the scene.


  1. Maggie asks Joel if she can do anything about her eyes.
  2. Maurice and Holling argue over picture and Shelly.
  3. Joel comes to Chris' trailer to tell him about the pheremones. The trailer is surrounded by women.
  4. Chris asks Irene if she can smell him. Chris tells Joel that he's in love with Irene. Chris and Irene talk in front of van. Chris and Joel talk about Chris' episode being over. Chris and Irene talk as she gets ready to leave.
  5. At KBHR, Chris and Maurice talk about women. Chris on the air as the Optomobile leaves town.
  6. Maggie shows up in makeup; Shelly explains her version of the love triangle.
  7. Joel and Maggie talk. Maggie borrows Joel's eyeglasses.