Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 16 – ‘Triangle’

Dallas, Garnet McGee, Kate Mulgrew, Triangle

Honky-tonk angel

“Triangle” is an episode about a country-western singer, and it plays out like an old-fashioned country-western song. Hearts are broken, dreams are dashed and before all is said and done, Ray nearly tells the Ewings to take their job and shove it.

Kate Mulgrew is mesmerizing as Garnet McGee, the rising star who gets caught between Ray and J.R. Mulgrew looks like a glammed-up Patsy Cline and sounds a bit like her, too. This is Garnet’s only appearance on “Dallas,” but Mulgrew makes such a strong impression, the character is referred to periodically throughout the show’s run, including during the series finale.

“Dallas” probably wants the audience to dislike Garnet after she cheats on Ray, but I’m willing to cut her some slack. After all, Garnet is trying to make it in showbiz – “a life of hard work and terrible disappointment,” as Miss Ellie describes it – and it’s not like she isn’t upfront with Ray about her priorities.

Consider the scene where Ray asks her to elope and she turns him down, citing her weekend singing engagements. Garnet is direct (“I can’t afford a reputation for running out on club dates”), but Ray is both dismissive (“It’s only a weekend”) and manipulative (“You don’t want to marry me. That’s it, isn’t it?”).

J.R. and Garnet’s revealing pillow talk also makes me sympathetic toward her.

After she sleeps with him to get a record deal, she notes their similarities. “You’re just the way I am,” she says. “Maybe a little worse. And not the least bit ashamed of it.” The implication: Ray isn’t the first man who has made Garnet feel bad about her own ambition.

A similar theme is explored during an earlier second-season episode, “Black Market Baby,” when Bobby objects to Pam’s desire to delay motherhood so she can pursue a career. In “Triangle,” Pam doesn’t seem to begrudge Garnet’s aspirations, but she clearly doesn’t approve of her methods.

During the Southfork party scene, Pam accuses Garnet of using Ray “until something better comes along.” Garnet, alluding to Pam’s romance with Ray before she married Bobby, responds, “Didn’t you?”

Meow! So much for sisterhood.

Of course, even if Garnet and Pam are bitchy to each other, at least they know there’s more to life than standing by your man.

Grade: A


Dallas, Garnet McGee, J.R. Ewing, Kate Mulgrew, Larry Hagman, Triangle

Cheatin’ hearts


Season 2, Episode 11

Airdate: November 26, 1978

Audience: 13.2 million homes, ranking 39th in the weekly ratings

Writer: Camille Marchetta

Director: Vincent McEveety

Synopsis: Ray falls for country singer Garnet McGee, who rejects his marriage proposal to focus on her career. She sleeps with J.R. to get a record deal, and when a heartbroken Ray discovers her infidelity, he ends their relationship.

Cast: Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Nancy Bleier (Connie), Edward Call (Sam Gurney), Jim Davis (Jock Ewing), Michael Dudikoff (Joe Newcomb), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Meg Gallagher (Louella), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), Harry Middlebrooks (Mervin), Kate Mulgrew (Garnet McGee), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing)

“Triangle” is available on DVD and at and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.


  1. Years before she became Capt. Janeway, Kate Mulgrew made a big splash on Dallas. I agree she was really great, and it’s surprising the show didn’t try to capitalize on that and bring her back, if even just a few times (maybe she didn’t want to?).

  2. Look J. R. wanted sex, Garnet wanted to be a star. She received the money & record deal for her career from J. R. for a little carnal pleasure in exchange. It wasn’t prostitution as J. R. was paying her for her “recording” talents. The sexual congress between J. R. & Garnet was clearly an extra to thank him for giving her career a boost. So its quid pro quo all around C. B.!

  3. The review here leaves out the episode’s lead development, the friendship between J.R. and Ray ends here. According to the backstory, JR & Ray were buddies since Ray was 15 and JR was 16 and they even went to Vietnam together. That relationship ends here as Bobby makes completely clear when he says “J.R., you have a tremendous knack for turning every good friend you ever had into an enemy” and then JR makes an “I screwed up face” (As for why I’m commenting 5 years after the last one, I’m doing a 40th anniversary re-watch this summer and where else am I going to go?)

  4. Jane’s Way says:

    Did Kate saying? That whiny ass, pail imitation of Patsy Cline can’t possibly be my captain Janeway. I think they doubled somebody else’s voice when Kate was supposed to be singing as Garnet. That voice would be strong, whiskey tinged and lonesome. Even at that young age, 1978, Kate had the voice of experience.


  1. […] Market Baby” is the most intriguing, “For Love or Money” is the saddest and “Royal Marriage” is a sentimental favorite, but “John Ewing III, Part 2” […]

  2. […] a love connection, which is something the Ewings know all about. Southfork soirees have seen J.R. flirting with country singer Garnet McGee, oil heiress Holly Harwood flirting with Bobby, and Lucy flirting […]

  3. […] “Triangle,” a second-season “Dallas” episode, country-western singer Garnet McGee (Kate Mulgrew) nibbles […]

  4. […] is the direction “Dallas” was headed in all along. (Remember the classic second-season episode “Triangle,” when Jock gave Ray a plot of Southfork […]

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