Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 24 – ‘Sue Ellen’s Sister’

Colleen Camp, Dallas, Kristin Shepard, Sue Ellen's Sister

Little sister dontcha

If Sue Ellen could go back in time and give her younger self a good talking-to, the conversation would probably sound a lot like the lecture she delivers to Kristin at the beginning of “Sue Ellen’s Sister.”

In the scene, Kristin is resting on a float in the Southfork swimming pool and chatting with Sue Ellen, who is lounging nearby. The topic turns to the Ewings’ wealth, and Sue Ellen warns Kristin that “money is not the most important thing in the world.”

“That isn’t what you used to think,” Kristin says.

“I thought I could save you from repeating my mistakes,” Sue Ellen responds.

“This is a mistake?” Kristin asks, surveying their surroundings.

The exchange is part of “Dallas’s” effort to make Sue Ellen a more sympathetic character than she was at the beginning of second season, when the show depicted her as Southfork’s scheming lady-in-waiting.

While “Dallas” uses Kristin to plum the depths of Sue Ellen’s regret and reveal her caring, sisterly side, Kristin isn’t just a plot device. She turns out to be a pretty interesting character in her own right.

Frankly, some of this stems from the actress’s physical appearance: Colleen Camp is beautiful but in an unconventional way, lending credence to Kristin’s complaints in this episode about growing up as Sue Ellen’s “ugly duckling” kid sister.

Kristin is also a bit ironic: She dreams of marrying a rich man, but she could probably become wealthy on her own. She is planning to go to college to study architecture – she tells Bobby she’s “a great fan” of Louis Khan and I.M. Pei – and she is also clever, declaring her ace backgammon and tennis skills stem from the “geisha training” her mother puts her through.

“Sue Ellen’s Sister” marks Kristin’s final appearance until the third season, when Mary Crosby takes over the role and the character abandons her architectural ambitions for, um, lesser pursuits.

This lends “Sue Ellen’s Sister” unexpected poignancy, particularly in the scene where Bobby and Kristin frolic in the Southfork pool and he tells her she looks like a “drowned rat.”

On this show, have more prophetic words ever been spoken?

Grade: B


Colleen Camp, Dallas, Kristin Shepard, Sue Ellen's Sister



Season 2, Episode 19

Airdate: February 16, 1979

Audience: 15.7 million homes, ranking 23rd in the weekly ratings

Writer: Camille Marchetta

Director: Irving J. Moore

Synopsis: J.R. pushes Sue Ellen’s visiting sister Kristin Shepard into the arms of Bobby, who gently rebuffs her. Cliff makes Pam an unwitting accomplice in his attempt to sabotage a Ewing Oil deal. Bobby salvages the deal but Pam still refuses to come home.

Cast: Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Colleen Camp (Kristin Shepard), Jim Davis (Jock Ewing), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Meg Gallagher (Louella), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), John McLiam (Wally Kessel), Jeanna Michaels (Connie), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing)

“Sue Ellen’s Sister” is available on DVD and at and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.


  1. Kristin 1.0! While Kristin 2.0, a.k.a. Mary Crosby, is the definitive version, this early “ugly” version (in what universe is she ugly?) was interesting. I liked that she had aspirations of being an architect. The Mary Crosby Kristen was way too busy designing scandals to have time to draft a building.

    • Ha ha! Mary Crosby’s Kristin WAS an architect of mischief, wasn’t she?

    • Dan in WI says:

      Was Kristin really interested in architecture? I always got the impression that simply saying so was another aspect of the geisha training. She needed to at least sound interesting.

  2. Ooh. Good one!

  3. Bobby is a psychic!!!!!!!!!!!!! You’re right about his comment to Kristin “you look like a drowned rat” knowing what will be her final destiny (and season 4 cliffhanger)!

  4. From that pool shot of Kristin 1.0, I’d say she’d better build a building around her cleavage area to keep both J. R. & Bobby be tempted!

  5. I really like both Kristins.
    Whoa, that remark about her looking like a drowned rat! Never made that connection before!


  1. […] Then Bobby and Pam made up, leaving Kristin free to pursue the brother she wanted all along. (“Sue Ellen’s Sister”) See what develops, […]

  2. […] “Sue Ellen’s Sister,” a second-season “Dallas” episode, Kristin (Colleen Camp) is in the Southfork swimming pool, […]

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