Critique: Dallas Episode 66 – ‘End of the Road, Part 2’

Big fat Ewing wedding

“End of the Road, Part 2” aired three days after President Reagan’s inauguration, and as if on cue, the episode ushers in a bigger, glossier version of “Dallas.” The show has always been about big things (big homes, big business, big egos), but this hour seems to mark the moment the producers decide even bigger is even better.

This episode’s centerpiece is Lucy’s wedding, which demonstrates how much “Dallas’s” cast has ballooned during the fourth season. In addition to the main characters, the wedding is attended by Alex Ward, Clint Ogden and the Coopers, none of whom were around just a few episodes ago. It’s odd to see these newcomers get so much screen time at a Ewing family event.

To make matter worse, some of the familiar faces act like people we don’t know. I get that Pam feels vulnerable after her mother’s rejection, but would she really allow herself to be tempted by Alex? Likewise, Miss Ellie’s sudden resentment toward Ray feels forced, especially in light of the warm embrace she gave him in “Trouble at Ewing 23.”

It also doesn’t help that the wedding scenes are filmed on “Dallas’s” Hollywood soundstage, which looks even faker than usual. To create the illusion this is a large affair, the producers squeeze dozens of extras onto the set, but this only succeeds in making everyone look claustrophobic. In the scene where Sue Ellen and Clint sit at a table and chat, I find myself worrying the couples on the dance floor are going to waltz right over them.

Yes, there are a handful of nice moments in “End of the Road, Part 2,” including the scene where Jock, J.R. and Bobby duck out of the reception to talk shop in the living room. It evokes the opening of “The Godfather,” when Don Corleone does business on his daughter’s wedding day.

I also like how director Irving J. Moore allows us to hear the murmuring in the crowd when Lucy comes down the aisle (“Look at that dress!”), as well as when he switches perspective and shows the attendees from Lucy’s point of view.

Still, I can’t help but notice how “Dallas” seems to lose a little perspective of its own with this episode.

Grade: B

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Stare and stare alike

‘END OF THE ROAD, PART 2’

Season 4, Episode 12

Airdate: January 23, 1981

Audience: 28.3 million homes, ranking 2nd in the weekly ratings

Writer: Leonard Katzman

Director: Irving J. Moore

Synopsis: Mitch and Lucy marry. During the reception, J.R. sleeps with Afton, while Sue Ellen flirts with ex-boyfriend Clint Ogden. Bobby salvages his big deals but resigns as Ewing Oil’s president.

Cast: Barbara Babcock (Liz Craig), Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Karlene Crockett (Muriel Gillis), Jim Davis (Jock Ewing), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Joel Fabiani (Alex Ward), Anne Francis (Arliss Cooper), Meg Gallagher (Louella), Ted Gehring (Brady York), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Susan Howard (Donna Culver), Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), Sherill Lynn Katzman (Jackie), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Audrey Landers (Afton Cooper), Monte Markham (Clint Ogden), Leigh McCloskey (Mitch Cooper), Jeanna Michaels (Connie), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Robert Rockwell (minister), Ted Shackelford (Gary Ewing), William Smithers (Jeremy Wendell), Don Starr (Jordan Lee), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Cooper), Joan Van Ark (Valene Ewing)

“End of the Road, Part 2” is available on DVD and at Amazon.com and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.

Comments

  1. I wasn’t too aware of the real set and the Hollywood studio, until it was painfully noticeable in the first Season 5 episode when Kristin is fished out of the pool and Bobby arrives. If you look closely in the background you see where the ‘sky’ ends and the wall begins. lol.

    • Ha ha! Really? I’ve never noticed that. I’ll have to check it out.

    • Destinee says:

      That’s about the time I became aware of it too, Lady G. Especially the noticeable echo that the sounds of the car doors slamming made in the studio. The stage pool was also only 3 feet deep because Cliff was standing up in the “deep end”. Did they film that before hiatus? Later in the episode they are back in Texas for the outdoor scenes.

      • I think they did film that episode before hiatus, Destinee. Generally, I think the original series only filmed in Texas at the beginning of each season (except for the final two seasons, which I believe didn’t feature any location shooting in Texas).

      • Good eyes and ears, Destinee! He was standing up! And the moonlight looked curiously like stage light. I’m still wondering just how deep that pool is really supposed to be. Sometimes it looks like Bobby can stand and the water won’t hit his waist and then in other episodes people are diving in like it’s the Olympics, lol.

  2. Destinee says:

    What made the producers think that a driveway wedding is somehow more spectacular than one on the front lawn? Yawn!

    J.R. was so dirty in this episode. Louella in one episode, Sue Ellen (twice) in the next, and now Afton (in his marital bed). What a snake, at least take her to a guest room where there is little chance of your wife walking in on you or finding out you’re still a snake!

    Did you feel as though Sue Ellen and Clint had any chemistry at all? I like Monte Markham but he’s almost asexual. He works better as a standalone character. Clint should have been sexier, like a former jock turned fireman sexy. :)

    • No, I’m afraid Sue Ellen and Clint didn’t have much chemistry. I like Monte Markham too, but he had better chemistry with Lee Majors when he appeared on “The Six Million Dollar Man.” Now casting Lee Majors as Clint — that would’ve been inspired!

      • The Sue Ellen/Clint chemistry was certainly a bore. Lee Majors as Clint…that’s brilliant!

      • Monte Markham was too distracted by Sue Ellen’s mammoth shoulder pads to generate chemistry with her. The sound stage looked very fake. I was prepared to hate Afton but I actually felt a lot of sympathy for her. She is no Kristen. She is fascinated by this luxurious lifestyle and wants to leave Mississippi. But it is not her mission in life to gain happiness by bringing misery to her loved ones. The ones I felt no sympathy for were JR and Sue Ellen. JR obviously thinks he has the right to do anything he wants. I get so frustrated at the way they write Sue Ellen. She just reacts to what other people do and never drives story on her own. I can’t tell you how much more I enjoy modern day Sue Ellen. I really, really hope they reference some of these goings on in the TNT Dallas when Sue Ellen/Afton cross paths again.

        Arliss and Afton were right about Mitch. He is too proud. I admire him but he needs to be with someone besides Lucy. Donna is so sexy and wonderful. I loved her dress and I love her natural, confident beauty.

        Bobby is one of my favorite characters. He is smart without being dishonest.

      • Yes, here’s hoping for a good Sue Ellen/Afton scene during TNT’s third season. And you’re right: Sue Ellen’s shoulder pads are mighty distracting.

  3. So J.R. sleeps around, so what! He is about to resume the Ewing Oil Presidency & needs stress relief. Louella offered herself up. Miss Texas is his wife & knows his maniacal ego, & well, the Mississippi songstress Afton just did what Louella did. I think the bed hopping calms J.R. down & makes him sharper in the mind in conducting more dirty deals, for which he should! Oh & Brother Bobby keeping ctrl. of the wind & solar businesses of Ewing Oil was genius b/c it weakened J.R.’s Presidential grip.

  4. I liked J.R.’s cheating. He needed 2 do it. Its his nature.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] week, I’ll resume critiquing the classic show’s episodes, picking up where I left off in the middle of the fourth season. I also plan to add some new features and drop older ones, and [...]

  2. [...] it’s not like Jock has much of a chance to tell his wife. Ellie has barely spoken to him since Lucy’s wedding, when she lashed out at him for neglecting [...]

  3. [...] and Mitch (Charlene Tilton, Leigh McCloskey) was doomed from the start, but man, aren’t their nuptials fun? The two-part episode gives us lots of “Dallas” firsts, including the first Southfork [...]

  4. […] the ceremony on the driveway set since, you know, there was no lawn. Otherwise, the producers spared no expense, even bringing in Gary and Val, Lucy’s deadbeat parents from “Knots Landing,” to witness the […]

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