Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 11 – ‘Double Wedding’

Dallas, Double Wedding, Ed Haynes, Pam Ewing, Robin Clarke, Victoria Principal

Forgotten but not gone

“Double Wedding” focuses on the return of Pam’s long-lost first husband, but I’m much more interested in the subplot about Bobby’s bid to build a “wayward boys’” school for his family’s church.

Yes, the Ewings are churchgoers. Who knew?

Initially, Bobby seems poised to win the congregation’s business: Ewing Oil has donated the land for the school and Sue Ellen, a member of the church’s building committee, has recommended him for the job.

But the stuffy church elders are openly skeptical of Bobby’s plans. One clutch-the-pearls snob turns up her nose at Bobby’s architectural drawings, wondering why there are no bars on the school’s windows. Meanwhile, sanctimonious Reverend Thornwood points out Bobby and Pam have been missing from the pews lately.

Later, when Pam’s bigamy scandal explodes, Sue Ellen lectures Bobby. “You know, it’s not so much that it’s immoral,” Sue Ellen says. “The reverend feels that if a man is incapable of handling his family, he’s also incapable of handling his business.”

By populating the Ewings’ congregation with holier-than-thou types, you might think “Dallas” is thumbing its nose at organized religion. And maybe it is. Or maybe it’s just reflecting the prevailing mood of the 1970s, when by many accounts, narcissism ran rampant and Americans grew disenchanted with churchgoing and other social traditions.

“Dallas” appears to underscore this sentiment in the scene where Bobby jokingly tells Pam she’ll have to stop throwing her “weekly wild parties” while he competes for the church’s business. The implication: Young people like Bobby and Pam who don’t attend church regularly aren’t necessarily immoral.

It would’ve been interesting to see “Dallas” continue to explore the Ewings’ relationship with their church. Aside from the ministers we see preside over weddings and funerals in later seasons, references to religion on the show pretty much vanish after this episode.

In addition to the church subplot, I like “Double Wedding” because it offers another strong performance from Victoria Principal, who is heartbreaking in the scene where J.R. reveals Pam’s potential bigamy in front of the family.

David Wayne is also touching in the scene where Digger tries to help his daughter by confronting Ed Haynes, her first husband. Digger is so small and feeble; you can’t help but feel moved by the sight of him standing up to smarmy Haynes.

Until this point on “Dallas,” Digger has been mostly depicted as a self-centered, embittered drunk, so this scene also marks a moment of real growth for the character.

Think about it: Digger Barnes is trying to save his daughter’s marriage to a Ewing. “Dallas” may not be a religious show, but sometimes miracles happen!

Grade: A

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Double Wedding, Patrick Duffy

Field trip

‘DOUBLE WEDDING’

Season 2, Episode 6

Airdate: October 21, 1978

Audience: 11.2 million homes, ranking 48th in the weekly ratings

Writers: Jim Inman and Arthur Bernard Lewis

Director: Paul Stanley

Synopsis: Pam’s first husband surfaces, claiming they’re still married. Pam realizes he’s a con artist after Ewing money and tricks him into abandoning his scheme.

Cast: Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Robin Clarke (Ed Haynes), Sarah Cunningham (Maggie Monahan), Jim Davis (Jock Ewing), Desmond Dhooge (Harvey), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Charles Hallahan (Harry Ritlin), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Lisa Lemole (Susan), Randy Moore (Reverend Thornwood), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing), David Wayne (Digger Barnes)

“Double Wedding” is available on DVD and at Amazon.com and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.

Comments

  1. Apart from the nonsensical title, I liked this episode. About that title, doesn’t Sue Ellen later phone the police to report “a double murder?”

  2. Anonymous says:

    And here we have the first known occurance of Bobby and Cliff working together. I’ve always been a fan of their teamwork and this shows early on it is possible.

    I also love the good use of Dallas downtown practical locations in this episode. It gave the show a more real feel.

    • I agree. Love the classic scenes filmed in the real Dallas. And great observation about this being the first time Bobby and Cliff join forces. What a shame Cliff didn’t spend more time working with his brother-in-law instead of against him.

  3. The irony is if you think on it C. B. is this. If Cliff Barnes had joined the Ewings as say a legal advisor. Then he could also be a strategist & have been richer must faster & grabbed a big piece of what Digger missed out on.

    • Poor Cliff. He becomes a partner in Ewing Oil in later seasons and even that isn’t enough for him. Ultimately, it’s not “justice” he’s seeking — it’s revenge.

Trackbacks

  1. […] “The Silent Killer,” Digger Barnes makes his first appearance on “Dallas” since “Double Wedding,” which debuted almost a year earlier. “The Silent Killer” also marks the debut of Digger’s […]

  2. […] recalls the scene in the classic show’s second-season episode “Double Wedding,” when Bobby angrily confronts Pam’s first husband Ed Haynes, whose sudden return rattles her as […]

  3. […] “Double Wedding,” a second-season “Dallas” episode, Bobby (Patrick Duffy), emerges from the Southfork swimming […]

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