“The Kristin Affair” is quintessential “Dallas.” This isn’t the show’s best episode, but it might be the episode that best captures “Dallas’s” essence during its heyday. Almost everything we love about the series is here.
J.R. is “The Kristin Affair’s” center of attention. We see him clash with Bobby, snipe with Sue Ellen and plot Cliff’s ruin, all while pursuing Kristin, who becomes his secretary at the top of the hour and his mistress by the time the closing credits roll.
“The Kristin Affair” also offers a rollicking Southfork dinner scene, some nice location shots at the ranch and in downtown Dallas, and another great score from Bruce Broughton. My favorite music during the episode: the ominous piano tune heard during the darkly lit scene where J.R. agrees to mortgage Southfork.
Notably, “The Kristin Affair” also shows the Ewings in the costumes they’re wearing in one of “Dallas’s” most famous cast shots, when the actors posed on Southfork’s front lawn. This photo – which is probably remembered as the one with Victoria Principal in the maroon dress, Linda Gray in the yellow blouse and Charlene Tilton in pigtails – is undoubtedly burnished in the minds of many “Dallas” fans, so watching “The Kristin Affair” is like seeing the picture spring to life.
Of course, no “Dallas” episode is perfect and “The Kristin Affair” is no exception. Ray is nowhere to be found here, Jock and Miss Ellie don’t have a meaningful scene together and it appears Pam has once again misplaced her backbone.
But “The Kristin Affair” has so much good stuff – and so many good J.R. scenes in particular – I’m willing to overlook its flaws.
My very favorite moment is very brief. It comes at the end of the scene where J.R. meets with his government mole and learns how much money he’ll need to win the bidding for the Asian drilling contract. “That’s a tidy little sum. Woo-wee!” J.R. says.
Larry Hagman delivers the dialogue under his breath, making me wonder if he ad-libbed it. Improvised or not, the actor seems to be having a ball playing J.R. In this episode, I have a ball watching him.
‘THE KRISTIN AFFAIR’
Season 3, Episode 5
Airdate: October 19, 1979
Audience: 18.2 million homes, ranking 10th in the weekly ratings
Writer: Worley Thorne
Director: Irving J. Moore
Synopsis: J.R. secretly mortgages Southfork to finance a risky oil deal in Asia, plots with his protégé Alan Beam to lure Cliff into a no-win congressional race and sleeps with Kristin, who becomes his secretary. Pam tells Bobby she is pregnant but doesn’t mention her genetic disease.
Cast: Robert Ackerman (Wade Luce), Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Mary Crosby (Kristin Shepard), Jim Davis (Jock Ewing), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Hugh Gorrian (Lowell Hansen), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Jeanna Michaels (Connie), Dennis Patrick (Vaughn Leland), Randolph Powell (Alan Beam), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Martha Scott (Patricia Shepard), Paul Sorensen (Andy Bradley), Don Starr (Jordan Lee), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing), Keenan Wynn (Digger Barnes)