Northern Exposure s03e23 Episode Script

Cicely

Oh, God! Mister, are you all right? I don't know.
Don't move.
I-I'm a doctor.
Don't worry.
I'm a doctor.
- Help me up.
- No, no, no, no.
Are you sure? Okay.
I think you should sit down.
There used to be an assayer's office right over there.
Why don't you sit down? Let me look you over.
- You all right? What, did you hit anything? - My ankle.
All right.
How 'bout if I take you to my cabin, okay, and I'll look you over there, all right? Okay.
Here we go.
Easy does it.
J- Just put your weight on me.
Watch your step.
Easy.
I'm sorry.
I'm really sorry.
I should have been looking.
I- I should have been paying more attention.
All right.
I'm just gonna swing your leg up here, okay? So I'm gonna- I'm gonna put a dressing on.
Okay.
Nice and easy.
All right.
There you go.
Just keep the knee bent for me.
Bend that.
Great.
Is there someone I can call to pick you up, Mr.
- Svenbourg.
Ned Svenbourg.
No.
No? All right.
Easy.
You live nearby? No.
Where are you staying? I don't know yet.
What, you're visiting somebody? I- I used to live here.
Moved away in aught-nine.
- 0-9? 1909? - I'd just turned 25.
Well, arithmetic's not exactly my strong suit, Mr.
Svenbourg, but if you were 25 in 1909, that would make you- - 108 years old.
- 108? - That's right.
- Why would you want to come back here? My life's had a hole in it all these years.
I came back to fill it.
What, Cicely's gonna fill a hole in your life? No offense, but Cicely is a hole in my life- a deep, dark hole that's devouring four irreplaceable years of my youth.
I'd think a well-educated young man would be grateful to live in such a stimulating community.
We must be talking about two different places.
Cicely, Alaska.
"The Paris of the North.
" Yeah, we're talking about two different places.
Bring me a glass of water, young man.
I'm gonna tell you a story, give you some perspective.
All right.
Just let's get your leg up here.
Cicely wasn't always a cultural mecca.
Oh, no.
In fact, it wasn't always Cicely.
It was a place so foul, squalid and uncivilized, it didn't even merit a name.
Back then, the town and myself were going in the same direction- nowhere.
Folks said my parents were Danish, but I was orphaned while still an infant And raised by wolves.
Understandably, I was lacking in social skills.
As a dysfunctional wolf-child, I was scorned by Indians and white folk alike.
Not that anybody else had cause to hold their head up high.
We had no schools.
We had no churches.
We had no law.
A fellow named Mace Mowbry called the shots, and he was as bad as they come.
Give me one for the road.
Oh, no, you don't! I got a few minutes left on that two bits.
Somethin' bothering you, Abe? I guess not.
So tell me, honey.
Are you gonna miss your old Mace while I'm gone? Huh? Well, don't you worry your pretty little head about that.
I'll be back.
Let's ride, Kit.
You bluffed me.
I don't like it when people bluff me.
Makes me question my perception of reality.
Mace and his man Kit had our town intimidated, all right.
No one had the courage, the moral fortitude to stand up to them.
Hey! Who let this scrofulous, flea-bitten excuse for a human being in here, huh? Whoo! Boy! What's that smell? This pooch needs a bath.
Let's go.
And I was no different.
My low self-image, like everyone else's, kept me in a state of passive resignation.
One person, a missionary woman from Saint Louis, was trying to impact positively on the town, but so far she hadn't made as much as a dent in all that despair.
Oh.
Bible study.
Everyone's invited.
- Give it a try.
- What do you say, Kit? You wanna give it a try? Now, you oughta study this, ladies.
Crime and Punishment? It's about a man who doesn't need the Bible.
He creates his own morality.
Come on, Kit.
Let's ride.
By creating his own morality, Raskolnikov deified himself.
Exactly.
A man of will.
Nietzsche's Übermensch.
That was his fatal flaw.
Kit, come on.
You think too much.
Let's go.
Ladies.
I shall return.
Maybe I missed something.
What's that? Well, I don't get the "Paris of the North" thing.
I'm getting to that.
Well, I'm sure it's an interesting story - You don't believe me, do you? Look - Let me tell you something, young man.
One person can have a profound effect on another.
And two people- well, two people can work miracles.
They can change a whole town.
They can change the world.
It was only a few days after Mace and his boys lit out for the Yukon that I saw what I thought was an apparition.
A phantom carriage pulled by an invisible horse was coming toward me.
It was, I later learned, an automobile, the first that had ever been seen in these parts.
And out of this remarkable vehicle stepped an equally remarkable woman, Roslyn.
I knew from the moment she lifted her goggles and I saw the look of resolve in her eyes that here was a woman who was twice the man I'd ever be.
It was then I first set eyes on Roslyn's companion, Cicely.
And it was like the unveiling of Botticelli's Venus.
I had never before, nor have I since, seen anyone or anything as beautiful.
Be careful.
You're going to get your skirt all muddy.
I'll wash it.
Okay, Cicely, if you don't like it here, you just tell me.
We'll get back in this automobile, I'll take us back to Montana.
Stop worrying, Roslyn.
It's perfect.
A handout is not what you need, young man.
There is nothing sadder in this world than the waste of human potential.
The purpose of evolution was to raise us up out of the mud, not to leave us groveling in it.
Stand up.
Come on.
From now on, you walk like a human being, not like a dog.
Everybody sing.
- Two teas, Earl Grey.
- Uh-huh.
And a milk for the young man.
Why don't you sing something good? Somethin' fun.
And they were doing the- Knock, knock, knock right before my eyes! - I prefer the lady's song.
- You must be new in town, honey.
I despise the tyranny of the strong over the weak.
I think people who abuse power are nothing more than cowards.
Why don't you sit down before you get hurt? Continue.
I think you all know the words.
I knew, then and there, things were gonna be different.
What would bring the two of them all the way out here? It's been said Roslyn and Cicely came to town to escape polite Billings society, but it was much more than that, much more.
They had a grand purpose in life, a vision.
- Can I have another glass of water, please? - I'll get it.
See, Cicely and Roslyn dreamed of creating a utopian society, a colony of freethinkers, of artists.
The first thing they needed was a place to gather communally, a performance space, what they call in Parisian society "a salon.
" Now, Roslyn had firm ideas about the place.
It had to be clean, and it had to be aesthetically pleasing.
It was the first honest day's work I had ever known, and it felt good.
I wasn't the only one taken under Roslyn and Cicely's wing.
Sally, too, had found a home and even a little self-respect.
Miss Sally? Miss Roslyn? I wouldn't have recognized the place.
That's our fondest desire.
Mace Mowbry isn't gonna like it.
Oh, whoever this Mr.
Mowbry is, I'm sure he won't object to our civic enhancement.
Yes, ma'am.
Mornin', Sally.
Abe.
I brought you these animal hides for the chairs.
They'll look good.
You don't have to worry about spills.
Beer, blood, whatever.
It comes right up.
- They're real pretty.
- I, uh- I sewed up all the bullet holes.
- That was real thoughtful of you.
- Well.
See you.
Abe? Yes, ma'am? Mary's going to have a church social Saturday night.
I was thinking- What? - You might want to know.
- Much obliged.
Sally really wanted to tell Abe something else.
Sally wanted to say she loved him, but she just couldn't.
Sad fact was, Sally didn't feel good enough for Abe.
I don't get it.
Why didn't she feel good enough? Well, you see, Sally had had intimate relations with a lot of men.
- Times were different then.
- Oh.
By working day and night, we managed to open the salon May the first.
See, May Day had always been an important holiday in matriarchal pagan societies, and Cicely and Roslyn wanted to keep that tradition alive.
The gala premiere was to be an interpretive dance performance by Cicely honoring the Earth goddess, Gaia.
I was afraid the rowdies in town would never let it happen.
I was afraid they'd destroy what they didn't understand.
And it seemed my worst fears were about to be realized.
That's enough! But Cicely persevered.
Like a candle in the night, like a beacon in a storm, she wasn't swayed by the darkness around her.
The purity of Cicely's heart, the power of her beauty cast a light on everyone in that room.
And a strange thing began to happen.
It was amazing.
Those wild cowboys, trappers and miners, they became transfixed.
Yes, Cicely truly had powers to soothe the savage beast.
Those humbled roughnecks weren't the only ones who lost their heart to that fair flower.
Cupid's arrow had pierced the breast of this young man as well.
Keeping my feelings to myself became increasingly difficult as I spent many hours alone with Cicely.
"Pi- Pigeons on the grace.
" Grass.
On the grass.
"Pigeons on the grass, alas.
" You see, she'd generously taken it upon herself to provide me with an education.
"Short, lo- longer, longer, shorter yellow grass.
" Good.
"P-Pigeons, large pigeons "on the shorter, longer yellow grass, alas.
Pigeons on the grass.
" Ned, that was beautiful.
I'm so proud of you.
I looked up into her beaming face, and I knew the moment had arrived.
M- Miss Cicely.
- The thing-The thing is, Miss Cicely.
- Yes, Ned? The thing is, I love you.
I see.
I- I'm sorry.
It's all right.
I- I know I'm not good enough for you.
You're a very cultured lady, and I- I'm just an ignorant primitive.
No.
Ned, don't ever say such things about yourself.
You're a fine young man with a noble spirit.
It isn't you, Ned.
That isn't it.
My heart belongs to Roslyn, and it always will.
It's difficult to explain, but I feel as if she and I have known each other through many incarnations throughout the ages.
Our souls are one, and I- I can't imagine life apart from her.
Despite my feelings, I couldn't blame Cicely.
Roslyn was an extraordinary woman, a person with immense wisdom and strength.
People came to her for advice, for help.
What can I do for you, Mary? Well- D-Do you think there's something wrong with me? - With you? - Yes.
I mean, I- I just don't seem to be able to attract a man.
And it's not like I don't try.
I mean, I-I let men know how much I disapprove of liquor, tobacco, playing cards.
I make it very clear that I'm striving to be a virtuous woman, and I'm expecting nothing less from them.
You would think they would appreciate that.
I just don't know what men want.
Mary, if it's any consolation, you're not alone.
Women have been asking that same question since Eve and Adam.
Really? See, men are confused.
They're conflicted.
They want a woman who's their intellectual equal, but they're afraid of women like that.
They want a woman they can dominate, but then they hate her for being weak.
It's an ambivalence that goes back to a man's relationship with his mother- source of his life, center of his universe, object of both his fear and his love.
Oh.
I've never thought of it like that.
You see, the question is, do you really want a man? For a man to love a woman, this comes naturally because of his love for his mother.
But for a woman to love a man, she has to transfer her natural affinity for the female to the male.
It's a very difficult process, and in my experience, it usually fails.
Fortunately, there are alternatives.
Just remember one thing: You don't ever need to make yourself in a man's image.
People are like shoes.
Everybody's got a mate somewhere.
So did she? Did Mary find someone? Hold your horses.
I'm getting there.
Okay, I got peanut butter and jelly, tuna fish and one cream cheese.
Sorry.
I used up all your mayo.
Oh, wh-what kind of jelly is this? Mint.
That's all Dr.
Fleischman had.
Well, seasons passed.
Winter came.
Six months of unbearable, unmerciful cold.
Roslyn, with her hearty constitution, bore up well, but she secretly feared that the frigid climate had taken its toll on Cicely.
At last, spring arrived again.
Beautiful spring.
And along with the alder down, love was in the air.
A new spirit had taken us.
Hope had replaced despair.
The town basked in the glow of boundless optimism.
People all over the world had heard about the change, and new arrivals came every day.
The place had taken on a decidedly feminine air.
Word was out to the world's literati, and it was that September that Franz Kafka came to town.
Kafka? Franz Kafka, the writer? Spent the happiest months of his life in this town.
The Franz Kafka.
Not a Franz Kafka.
Franz Kafka, the writer, was here.
He and Roslyn had met over Linzer torte in a Viennese coffee shop and become fast friends.
Franz had been experiencing chronic writer's block.
As a devotee of horse opera novels, he hoped the Alaskan frontier might inspire him.
I envision a story about a man who awakens to discover he has undergone a- a profound physical change.
A metamorphosis.
Ja.
Ja.
A Metamorphose.
But into what? - Um an animal.
- Ja, but which animal? - Eh.
A sparrow? - No.
- No.
Goldfish? - No.
Mouse? Stupid idea.
It is hopeless.
Excuse me.
L- I don't think it's a stupid idea.
Franz, this is Mary O'Keefe.
It is my pleasure.
Change isn't stupid.
Lot's wife was changed into a pillar of salt for disobedience.
And men and women, when they lose sight of God, they're no better than animals, than, uh, insects.
Insects? - I think it would make a very good story.
- Please, join us.
Insects.
I'm sure you've heard it said that before you can love another, you must first be able to love yourself.
For Sally, those words bore a particular relevance.
Sally? You're busy.
Maybe I-I better come back.
Uh, that's all right.
I like to talk when I mash berries.
Roslyn says wine and good conversation go together.
- These are for you.
- For me? Nobody's ever given me flowers before.
Sally, you should have flowers every day.
You deserve flowers every day.
- What? - I don't, Abe.
I deserve weeds and little thorn bushes and little prickly burrs that get under your skin.
Don't say things like that.
I'm a fallen woman.
A strumpet.
A Jezebel.
Sally! A harlot, a floozy! A tart.
Well, there's nothing wrong with that.
Nothing wrong? Of course not.
If you've got a terrible toothache, one that's driving you out of your mind, you need a dentist.
And you don't want one that's just hung up his shingle.
No, ma'am.
You want a fellow who's- well, a fellow who's got experience, a fellow who's-who's pulled hundreds of teeth, don't you? - Well, yes.
- It's the same with me.
Why would I want a gal who's just hung up her shingle? Do you really mean that? I've got a terrible heartache, and you're the only one who can fix it.
Oh, Abe! - What about Mace? - You let me worry about Mace.
As for me, well, I found an outlet for all those emotions that continued to stir in my soul.
This evening's poetry reading will include the works of William Butler Yeats, Rainer Maria Rilke and, as a special treat, one of our own local poets, Ned Svenbourg.
Mr.
Svenbourg has graciously agreed to read to us his latest work.
Ned? Um, I-I call this one "Between Antigone.
" "Blue jays on a log, agog.
"Blue jays on a log, agog.
"Brown long log, bluejays.
"Blue bluejays on the brown long log.
"Agog, blue jays on the log.
"Blue jays blue, blue jays off the log.
"Bluejays off the long brown log.
Off, off the long brown log.
" That moment, I felt something I had never experienced before- pride.
It wasn't because I had suddenly become the toast of our café society.
No, it was seeing the look on Cicely's face.
I was her creation, and that she was pleased filled me with happiness.
Kafka and Mary, Abe and Sally, me and the muse of poetry.
Life seemed full of promise.
But we were deceived.
Stars, you know, burn their brightest just before they disappear forever.
- Cicely? - I'm fine.
Thank you.
I made you some camomile, Cicely, with honey.
Thank you, Sally.
Excuse me, but I-I think I'll sleep now.
Thank you so much for coming, Sally.
There you go.
Cicely.
I've been reading about this little town in California.
It's warm all year round.
And the air is clean.
And the sky is always blue.
They say it's so beautiful the Spanish call it "The City of Angels.
" Roslyn.
We're not moving.
I just thought maybe for the winter, you know, until you get well.
This is our home.
I'm going to be all right.
Really.
Cicely's illness was bad enough, but on top of that, there was the nagging thought that the move here had caused it, that Roslyn's dream of an artists' utopia was responsible.
Well, that was just more than she could bear.
M- Ma'am, would you like me to grind French or Viennese for the tableau vivant tonight? Whatever, Ned.
Roslyn, I have been writing again.
I have been inspired.
Headaches have gone away.
If you're not so busy, I would like to read you some passages.
- Ja.
- Go on.
Uh, of course it still needs much work, but- If you were in a burning house, And there was a cat and a Rembrandt, what would you save? The cat.
You would save the cat because the cat is alive.
But art is dead.
It's just paint on a canvas.
It's just ink on a page.
Roslyn.
To live for art, it's just to deny life.
- It- It's just to destroy life.
- She's right.
No.
No, Franz.
Without art, the cat does not live.
Without art, we cannot speak of the cat, we cannot know the cat, we cannot see the cat.
Without art, there is no cat.
Ah.
Ah, the pounding.
The pounding.
Come on.
I'll take you home.
Come on.
What happened here? You? Flowers? What is this, some kind of parallel universe? What the hell's going on here? - I have to lie down.
- Well, hold on now, little buddy.
- Where's Sally? - Here.
Mace is over in Long Bone, sent me to come get ya.
Come on.
- I'm not going.
- What? I'm not going.
Am I, Abe? - That's right.
- Oh, is that right, Abe? I'm gonna recite the three parts of the Hegelian dialectic, and then you are comin' with me, one way or another.
Thesis.
Roslyn! Antithesis.
- Please, Roslyn.
- The cat! Synthesis.
I believe you heard the lady.
You ladies are making a big mistake.
I'm gonna tell you that right now.
Tell Mace that Sally is no longer desirous of his affections.
You ever heard of hubris, Abe? Wanton insolence? Brings down the wrath of gods.
If the wheels of fate spin the way I think they're gonna, you folks are all gonna be gettin' a visit from Mace real soon.
Ladies.
O- Order.
Order.
Come to order, please.
Long Bone is only a day's ride.
Mace and his men will be here tomorrow.
- They'll murder us all and sack the town.
- Oh, nonsense.
What we need to do is see a list of his demands, so we know what we can compromise.
Let's nominate candidates for a negotiating committee.
- All in favor? - You can't negotiate with Mace Mowbry.
Abe's right.
We'll apologize.
We'll throw ourselves on the ground and beg for forgiveness.
No! I have an idea! Um, in the Bible, Jael invited Sisera to her tent and then nailed his head to the ground with a tent spike.
Well, why don't we do something like that? No! I'm not gonna let any of you risk your lives.
Sally.
It's me Mace wants.
I'll go to him.
I'll give myself up.
I'd rather die than let that happen.
Once again, it is hopeless.
- Roslyn, what do you say? - What can we do? - Run away.
- What? What did you say? Cicely and I- we never should have come here.
It was a mistake, a stupid dream.
Save yourselves while you can.
Just get out of here.
Run away.
No.
It was not a stupid dream.
Cicely, you should be in bed.
Look at what we've done, what we've created.
A community where all are equal, all are valued.
In this tiny corner of Alaska, the human spirit has triumphed.
We hold in our hands the most precious gift of all- freedom, the freedom to express our art, our love, the freedom to be who we want to be.
We are not going to give that freedom away! And no one shall take it from us.
- Yeah? Yeah? - Then what? The next day, Mace, Kit and his men rode back into town, which at first glance appeared deserted.
Naturally suspicious, he sent one of his thugs around the side to reconnoiter.
Mace didn't realize, though, that Roslyn had already outmaneuvered him.
Using the strategy that worked so well for Hannibal at the Battle of Cannae, she'd completely encircled his forces.
Although the townspeople were not trained marksmen, they enjoyed both the element of surprise and numerical superiority.
Mr.
Mowbry.
- Who are you? - My name is Roslyn.
I've been elected to speak to you on the town's behalf.
Well, you tell those women to drop their weapons, or I'm gonna blow you to pieces.
Mr.
Mowbry, it's acceptable to have feelings of anger, but it's unacceptable to act on those feelings.
- What? - Children lash out when they're angry.
We're adults.
We can talk.
Well, I want that woman, and I want this town, and I want them now! Mr.
Mowbry, we understand that you have this need to hurt people.
Do you wanna stick to the subject there, lady? Somebody must have treated you very badly when you were a child.
What in the hell are you hens squawking about? Think what the ladies are saying, Mace, is your sociopathic behavior could be the result of your environment.
The old nature versus nurture conundrum.
Don't you start too.
It lies at the heart of the matter, Mr.
Mowbry.
Now, question is, ladies, are we precluding free will? About that time, I began to lose the thread of the conversation.
I became temporarily lost in my own thoughts.
The next thing I remember- Whatever forces have shaped you, Mr.
Mowbry, you have the power to change who you are.
No! Cicely! What happened? Did he kill her? - Did she die? - Did she? You know, I always associate the scent of crowberries with that moment.
They covered the hillsides.
I could smell 'em in the air.
Roslyn.
Cicely, don't leave me.
Roslyn.
Oh.
Oh.
No! No! Cicely's death had a profound effect on everyone.
No one could look at that fair angel and remain unmoved.
A town was born that day, and without anybody saying it, we all knew it would be called Cicely.
Not that any of that mattered to me.
All I knew was I'd lost the only woman I would ever love.
"Rejoice, oh, young man, in thy youth.
" As for the others, well, Kit, who always was of the metaphysical bent, gave up banditry, became a preacher man.
Mace looked inside himself and discovered he had a heart after all.
Abe and Sally, who had a natural gift for hospitality, took over the running of the salon.
"And put away evil from thy flesh, for childhood and youth are vanity.
" Mary and Kafka never did tie the knot, but they stayed together.
She went back to Prague with him, and it's my understanding The Castle was her idea.
Roslyn continued to mourn Cicely.
She disappeared into herself until she was nothing more than a shadow.
One day, she vanished altogether.
Rumor has it that Roslyn went to Europe and finally died in Spain, fighting the fascists as a member of the Lincoln Brigade.
As for me, I never came back till now.
Why now? Well, you see, today is Cicely's birthday.
She would have been a hundred years old.
God.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'd like to go pay my respects.
Let me give you a hand.
I'll be fine.
If you want, I can wait and drop you off somewhere.
- No, that won't be necessary.
- You sure? I don't mind.
Nope.
I appreciate the offer, but I'd like to be by myself right now.
Okay.
Hey, uh, Mr.
Svenbourg? I had no idea.
I mean, about the town.
Oh, I'm sorry.
We're closed, Dr.
Fleischman.
Hey, Dave, I-I just want to sit down for a while, if that's okay.
Sure.
Just let yourself out when you're ready.
Thanks.
In this tiny corner of Alaska, the human spirit has triumphed.
We hold in our hands the most precious gift of all- freedom.
Let me tell you something, young man.
One person can have a profound effect on another.
And two people- Well, two people can work miracles.