In “Home is For Healing,” Lucy finally discovers her parents have remarried and moved to Southern California. The moment of truth occurs off-screen, which is a bit unexpected since “Dallas” and “Knots Landing” each spent so long laying the groundwork for what was shaping up to be a Big Reveal.
But no matter. “Home is For Healing” is still a solid episode, thanks mostly to Rena Down’s script, which casts Gary, Valene and Lucy as a broken family that wants to put itself back together but can’t figure out how to do it.
I especially like Lucy in this setting. Her role here – the heiress trying to adjust to life in the ’burbs – is more interesting than what was happening with her at the time on “Dallas,” where Lucy was romancing Alan Beam just to spite J.R.
Charlene Tilton strikes the perfect balance in “Home is For Healing,” making us see Lucy as a young woman who still carries around the heart her parents broke when she was a little girl. Tilton makes Lucy seem vulnerable without being childish. It’s a great performance.
“Home is For Healing” also gets a big lift from Ted Shackelford, who brings brings a lot of heart to the scene where Gary owns up to his failures as a father.
This happens at the end of the episode, when Gary interrupts Val and Lucy’s stroll along the beach. In the midst of Gary’s big speech, he becomes tongue-tied and bows his head, as if he can’t find the words to convey his guilt and regret. In the episode’s DVD commentary, Shackelford laughs at this moment and says he paused because he couldn’t remember his next line. Whatever the reason, it works well because it makes us sympathetic toward Gary and eager to forgive him for his mistakes.
I also love when Lucy agrees to spend the rest of the week in Knots Landing and Gary invites her to run with him and Val in the ocean. Lucy is sweetly reticent – this North Texas landlubber fears the water will be too cold – but Gary doesn’t relent. “Come on, honey,” he says.
We know what Gary is really asking is for his daughter to give him and Val another chance to be parents, which is why it’s so moving when Lucy finally takes his hand and the three of them go frolicking through the surf. It’s a lovely ending to a lovely hour of television.
‘HOME IS FOR HEALING’
“Knots Landing” Season 1, Episode 6
Airdate: January 31, 1980
Audience: 15.5 million homes, ranking 38th in the weekly ratings
Writer: Rena Down
Director: Roger Young
Synopsis: When Lucy learns Gary and Val have remarried, Val persuades her to come to Knots Landing for a visit. Lucy and Val grow close, but Gary struggles to connect with his daughter. She decides to go home and Val agrees to accompany her, but Gary persuades Lucy to stay for the rest of the week.
Cast: Robert Brian Berger (Charlie), Tricia Boyer (Jill), Joseph Butcher (Terry), Breck Costin (Curt), James Houghton (Kenny Ward), Kim Lankford (Ginger Ward), Michele Lee (Karen Fairgate), Claudia Lonow (Diana Fairgate), Constance McCashin (Laura Avery), Christopher Murray (Les), Don Murray (Sid Fairgate), John Pleshette (Richard Avery), Ted Shackelford (Gary Ewing), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing), Louise Vallance (Sylvie), Joan Van Ark (Valene Ewing)
“Home is For Healing” is available on DVD. Watch the episode and share your comments below.