Come Back Little Shiksa (Season 4, Episode 2)
Original airdate: October 6, 1987
Written by Jeff Reno & Ron Osborn
Directed by Allan Arkush
In the wake of season three’s conclusion, nothing was holding back David and Maddie from being together. However, the writers seemed to know that breaking that simmering tension took away an element that the viewers loved. So, they decided to send Maddie away from Los Angeles as a curveball to David. She goes home to Chicago, staying with her parents, and tries to explain to David she needs time to figure what this is and where it is going.
David doesn’t take it well, of course, and acts pouty. The dialogue between the characters feels honest to who they are but also resembles how humans fail to communicate clearly and create more problems. When the show goes into unexpected territory, David imagines his phone transforming into Maddie with stop-motion animation provided by Will Vinton (The California Raisins). It’s an imaginative flourish that enhances the back and forth between our leads.
A Womb With a View (Season 5, Episode 1)
Original airdate: December 6, 1988
Written by Glenn Gordon Caron & Charles Eglee
Directed by Jay Daniel
Season four was a mixed bag with Cybil Shepherd not sharing the screen with Bruce Willis due to her pregnancy and other production issues. Her storyline had her get engaged and married to another man in Chicago with that relationship annulled by the end of season four. David and Maddie came to terms with the idea of being friends and realizing that no relationship was possible while there was a sexual attraction. They were just such different people. I think that was the best possible outcome in the wake of their consummation of all that sexual tension. These characters just would never make a realistic couple where the series could continue. However, it was revealed that Maddie was pregnant, and it was David’s child. In a very progressive turn, David planned to be a devoted father and help Maddie through everything. However, I think the writers realized this would be another turn that would not work for the kind of series they were making.
The episode opens with a musical number getting meta about starting a new season and Curtis Armstrong singing about how the audience didn’t like his addition in the last year, but how this is going to be his season, and they will finally warm up to Bert. The majority of the episode takes place in Maddie’s womb with Bruce Willis playing Baby Hayes. Baby Hayes is visited by Jerome, a celestial visitor sent by the Creator to explain the world to him. Of course, by the time Baby Hayes learns to talk, all this knowledge will fade from his memory. This allows for a partial clip episode as Jerome explains the dynamics of Maddie and David to the unborn child. It’s a pretty beautiful episode with a tragic conclusion when Maddie has a miscarriage. There’s a very sweet final scene between David and Maddie that showcases what the dynamic would be like between them, caring and platonic, but not sexual.
Lunar Eclipse (Season 5, Episode 13)
Original airdate: May 14, 1989
Written by Ron Clark
Directed by Dennis Dugan
You could never say that Moonlighting ever denied the public flaws with its production; in fact, it embraced the tabloid and trade papers’ stories and made them part of the series. This episode is primarily about resolving the arc of David becoming involved with Maddie’s married cousin. There’s a private eye hired to track the woman but ends up thinking Bert is the lover. Bert and Agnes are preparing for their wedding after getting engaged offscreen. Bert has misgivings, and David has to talk him through it and gives the man some confidence. There’s a final set-piece at the wedding the involves multiple parties coming to blows. The best part is the last few minutes when David and Maddie are alerted that Moonlighting has been canceled and watch as the set is disassembled by the crew. Agnes explodes and blames the two of them and hopes she and Bert get their own spin-off. As reality crumbles around them, David and Maddie rush to a church to get married, thinking that might be the change that viewers want to see, but it’s too late. They sit together in the chapel, reflecting back on the few years they had as everything comes to an end.
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