Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 21 – ‘Julie’s Return’

Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, Julie Grey, Julie's Return, Tina Louise

It’s just lunch

Julie Grey is “Dallas’s” most aptly named character. She inhabits a world with no absolutes, where nothing is only black or only white. Julie is all gray.

In “Julie’s Return,” J.R.’s onetime mistress and secretary blows back into town and renews her friendship with Jock. Like she did with J.R., Julie becomes Jock’s confidante, giving him the ego boost he needs as he recovers from the heart attack he suffered at the beginning of the second season.

In this episode’s best scene, Miss Ellie summons Julie to Southfork to find out why she is spending so much time with Jock. Julie tells her they are close friends.

“Our relationship is not what you thought it was,” Julie says.

“No, Julie. It’s far more serious,” Ellie responds.

Aside from being a great moment of domestic soap opera, this conversation reminds us how Julie, in the first-season episode “Spy in the House,” fails to recognize her relationship with J.R. is toxic until it’s too late. The pattern continues here: Julie refuses to acknowledge her friendship with Jock is inappropriate.

If a lesser actress played Julie, the audience would probably resent the character for coming between Jock and Ellie, but Tina Louise’s sympathetic performance makes that impossible. We don’t root for Julie here, but we recognize her humanity.

Listen to how Julie describes her relationship with Jock during her conversation with Miss Ellie: “For that man to need my friendship, to want my company, you don’t know what that means to me.” This is a woman who finds validation in her relationships with men. It’s sad.

Julie has a lot in common with another woman on “Dallas:” Sue Ellen. Is it a coincidence J.R.’s wife and mistress both suffer from such achingly low self-esteem?

Just as Julie and Sue Ellen remind me of each other, the Julie/Jock/Ellie triangle makes me realize how closely “Julie’s Return” mirrors “Old Acquaintance,” an earlier second-season episode.

In both installments, a Ewing wife (Pam in “Old Acquaintance,” Ellie in “Julie’s Return”) feels threatened when her husband (Bobby, Jock) begins spending his free time with a woman from his past (Jenna, Julie).

“Dallas” acknowledges these parallels in “Julie’s Return” when Pam confronts a weepy Ellie in her bedroom and urges her to fight for her marriage. It’s a great scene and another reason why this episode is among the second season’s strongest.

Grade: A


Dallas, Julie Grey, Julie's Return, Tina Louise

She’s baaack


Season 2, Episode 16

Airdate: January 26, 1979

Audience: 14.8 million homes, ranking 32nd in the weekly ratings

Writer: Rena Down

Director: Les Martinson

Synopsis: Julie returns to Dallas and renews her friendship with Jock. With Miss Ellie’s prodding, Jock ends the relationship, sending Julie back into J.R.’s arms.

Cast: Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Jim Davis (Jock Ewing), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Fern Fitzgerald (Marilee Stone), Meg Gallagher (Louella), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Tina Louise (Julie Grey), Jeanna Michaels (Connie), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Richard Roat (Victor), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing), Kenneth White (Seth Stone)

“Julie’s Return” is available on DVD and at and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.


  1. I’m a big Julie Grey fan. It’s such a shame she was offed just one episode later. She’d have made a great long-term character. And Tina Louise was really great in the role, making such a big impression while appearing in only a handful of episodes. Put her on the list with Garnet McGee of fleeting yet very memorable characters.

  2. Lloyd Ferrigon says:

    I always thought that Jock was an ass in this episode. Yes the family did go too far but it was out of love. Bobby was just a jerk for that scene at the table which was uncalled for.

    • I’m just glad Jock broke up with Julie when he did. Thank goodness he didn’t let things get out of hand. Miss Ellie would’ve whipped him good!

    • I strongly disagree. Love is not an excuse. They treated him like a super-old-sick-man. Ellie was awful with him during all season 2. Let him drink, smoke or riding horses, Ellie !!

  3. I loved the scene between Ellie and Julie. Dallas was definitely a “male show” but I think they always acknowledged the role powerful women played in ranch life and in family with Miss Ellie. Jock scared his son’s but Miss Ellie did too. More importantly, everyone respected her. Even Julie says she was intimated because she was “Ellie Ewing”

  4. I actually thought Jock & Julie hanging out was okay. Julie got Jock out on the town while Miss Ellie wanted Jock to sit down on his ass, act like he was 1/2 passs dead & actually wait to die! Julie respected Jock while at times Miss Elliwe over mothered him. The idea C. B. would be II find a balace between the 2 mediums so that Jock can have both Miss Ellie & Miss Julie in his lfe. U can’t keep a Ewing man down , Even 1 with heart troubles!

    • If they could have kept it platonic then the relationship was fine. But I don’t believe platonic was Julie’s end goal.

    • Ha ha. Very true, R.J.

    • I agree with RJ. Ellie was going way too far in treating him like an invalid.

      I’m not sure that Julie had inappropriate feelings initially for Jock. I think she started to develop them but they ended their relationship before it got that far. And either way I don’t think they would have slept together, I don’t think he would have cheated on Ellie at that point in his life, and I don’t think Julie would have pressured him to do so. She might have tried to initiate something, but if he demurred I don’t think she would have pressed the issue. So I think the other characters were making a bigger deal out of the relationship than what was necessary.


  1. […] 13. Leaving Julie. After Jock suffered a heart attack, the Ewings began treating him like an invalid, causing him to turn to flirty ex-secretary Julie (Tina Louise) for comfort. It looked like their relationship might become a full-fledged affair – but Jock knew his limits. “I appreciate your friendship,” he told Julie, adding that things couldn’t go further because it would “hurt Miss Ellie too much.” Smart man. (“Julie’s Return”) […]

  2. […] “Julie’s Return,” a second-season “Dallas” episode, Miss Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes) and Julie (Tina Louise) chat […]

  3. […] Ellen’s denials bring to mind one of “Dallas’s” earlier May/December romances: Jock’s affair-of-the-heart with Julie Grey. Like Sue Ellen does with Peter, Jock initially denies anything is happening between him and Julie, […]

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