Critique: ‘Knots Landing’ Episode 6 – ‘Home is For Healing’

Charlene Tilton, Dallas, Gary Ewing, Home is For Healing, Joan Van Ark, Knots Landing, Lucy Ewing, Ted Shackelford, Valene Ewing

Three if by sea

In “Home is For Healing,” Lucy finally discovers her parents have remarried and moved to Southern California. The moment of truth occurs off-screen, which is a bit unexpected since “Dallas” and “Knots Landing” each spent so long laying the groundwork for what was shaping up to be a Big Reveal.

But no matter. “Home is For Healing” is still a solid episode, thanks mostly to Rena Down’s script, which casts Gary, Valene and Lucy as a broken family that wants to put itself back together but can’t figure out how to do it.

I especially like Lucy in this setting. Her role here – the heiress trying to adjust to life in the ’burbs – is more interesting than what was happening with her at the time on “Dallas,” where Lucy was romancing Alan Beam just to spite J.R.

Charlene Tilton strikes the perfect balance in “Home is For Healing,” making us see Lucy as a young woman who still carries around the heart her parents broke when she was a little girl. Tilton makes Lucy seem vulnerable without being childish. It’s a great performance.

“Home is For Healing” also gets a big lift from Ted Shackelford, who brings brings a lot of heart to the scene where Gary owns up to his failures as a father.

This happens at the end of the episode, when Gary interrupts Val and Lucy’s stroll along the beach. In the midst of Gary’s big speech, he becomes tongue-tied and bows his head, as if he can’t find the words to convey his guilt and regret. In the episode’s DVD commentary, Shackelford laughs at this moment and says he paused because he couldn’t remember his next line. Whatever the reason, it works well because it makes us sympathetic toward Gary and eager to forgive him for his mistakes.

I also love when Lucy agrees to spend the rest of the week in Knots Landing and Gary invites her to run with him and Val in the ocean. Lucy is sweetly reticent – this North Texas landlubber fears the water will be too cold – but Gary doesn’t relent. “Come on, honey,” he says.

We know what Gary is really asking is for his daughter to give him and Val another chance to be parents, which is why it’s so moving when Lucy finally takes his hand and the three of them go frolicking through the surf. It’s a lovely ending to a lovely hour of television.

Grade: A


Charlene Tilton, Constance McCashin, Dallas, Home is For Healing, Knots Landing, Laura Avery, Lucy Ewing

Hi, neighbor


“Knots Landing” Season 1, Episode 6

Airdate: January 31, 1980

Audience: 15.5 million homes, ranking 38th in the weekly ratings

Writer: Rena Down

Director: Roger Young

Synopsis: When Lucy learns Gary and Val have remarried, Val persuades her to come to Knots Landing for a visit. Lucy and Val grow close, but Gary struggles to connect with his daughter. She decides to go home and Val agrees to accompany her, but Gary persuades Lucy to stay for the rest of the week.

Cast: Robert Brian Berger (Charlie), Tricia Boyer (Jill), Joseph Butcher (Terry), Breck Costin (Curt), James Houghton (Kenny Ward), Kim Lankford (Ginger Ward), Michele Lee (Karen Fairgate), Claudia Lonow (Diana Fairgate), Constance McCashin (Laura Avery), Christopher Murray (Les), Don Murray (Sid Fairgate), John Pleshette (Richard Avery), Ted Shackelford (Gary Ewing), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing), Louise Vallance (Sylvie), Joan Van Ark (Valene Ewing)

“Home is For Healing” is available on DVD. Watch the episode and share your comments below.


  1. “Home Is For Healing” is, in my opinion, one of the best episodes from season 1. Sadly, however, even though it ended with the assumption that Lucy might actually consider living in CA after the school year ends, we never got to see that happen. I truly felt that Caharlene Tilton’s talents were wasted on DALLAS and she could have had a chance to shine much brighter in KNOTS.

    • I’m inclined to agree with you. “Dallas” never seemed to figure out what to do with Lucy. “Knots Landing” generally did a really nice job writing for women characters, so it would’ve been interesting to see what they might have done with Lucy. Too bad Charlene Tilton didn’t make more appearances on “Knots.”

      Thanks for commenting. I appreciate it!

  2. R.J. Koopmans, President, Ewing Oil Co. Ltd.-Canada says:

    a family bond is precious, all the more still when the family is that of Garrison Arthur Ewing, who broke Miss Ellie’s heart when he left home.


  1. […] 7. Gary’s mea culpa. Gary (Ted Shackelford) begs Lucy to stay in Knots Landing and apologizes for his past sins, telling her he’s trying hard to be a better man. “I’m not a loser anymore,” Gary says. At one point, he becomes tongue-tied, as if he can’t find the words to convey his guilt and regret. In this DVD commentary, Shackelford laughs and suggests he paused because he couldn’t remember his next line. No matter. It still works. (“Home is For Healing”) […]

  2. […] up angry with her parents for abandoning her, but the family reconciled after a few therapeutic splashes in the Southern California surf. Meanwhile, Val and Gary went on to have two more kids: twins Bobby […]

  3. […] “Home is For Healing,” a first-season “Knots Landing” episode, Lucy and Valene (Charlene Tilton, Joan Van Ark) are […]

  4. […] something similar happened when Lucy visited Gary and Val in “Home is For Healing.” In that first-season “Knots Landing” episode, Lucy suddenly became a more interesting, […]

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