Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 56 – ‘No More Mr. Nice Guy, Part 2’

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, No More Mr. Nice Guy Part 2, Who Shot J.R.?

Life and breath

“No More Mr. Nice Guy, Part 2” devotes a lot of time to Gary’s homecoming, allowing the “Dallas” producers to put off resolving the “Who Shot J.R.?” mystery a little longer. But even if this is just a delay tactic, it doesn’t feel like one.

Gary has matured a lot since he left “Dallas” for his “Knots Landing” spinoff, and it’s nice to see him return to Southfork a changed man. I especially like the scene where he confronts Sue Ellen about her drinking problem. “No More Mr. Nice Guy, Part 2” aired not long after Gary admitted his own alcoholism on “Knots Landing,” and I’m glad “Dallas” doesn’t ignore this.

Another highlight: the scene where the Ewing brothers reunite at J.R.’s bedside and recall the football games they played growing up. Aside from the fun that comes from imagining these men as boys playing ball on the Southfork lawn, I like how the characters behave exactly the way we would expect them to in this situation: J.R. is nice but not too nice, Gary is polite but cautious and Bobby is cheery and good-natured. They feel like real people here.

Of course, as much as I welcome heartwarming scenes like this, this episode doesn’t ignore the “Who Shot J.R.?” mystery altogether. By the time the closing credits roll, Alan and Vaughn have been cleared as suspects and Cliff and Kristin have each offered unconfirmed alibis, leaving poor Sue Ellen to continue fretting she pulled the trigger in a drunken rage.

Linda Gray does a nice job keeping Sue Ellen’s motivation unclear. Is the character hovering at J.R.’s bedside because she feels sorry for him, or because she feels guilty? Does she object to J.R.’s surgery because she’s afraid he won’t survive, or because she believes he’ll be less threatening if he’s permanently paralyzed? I’m never really sure.

Still, while I appreciate the ambiguity, my favorite moment of all comes when J.R. tries to reassure Sue Ellen before his risky surgery (“Nobody ever beats old J.R. You know that.”). It’s another small-but-sweet moment in an episode that’s full of them.

Grade: A

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Gary Ewing, No More Mr. Nice Guy Part 2, Patrick Duffy, Ted Shackelford, Who Shot J.R.?

Home again

‘NO MORE MR. NICE GUY, PART 2’

Season 4, Episode 2

Airdate: November 9, 1980

Audience: 31.1 million homes, ranking 1st in the weekly ratings

Writer: Arthur Bernard Lewis

Director: Leonard Katzman

Synopsis: J.R. tells the police he doesn’t know who shot him and discovers the attack has left him paralyzed. The police question Cliff and clear Vaughn and Alan as suspects. Sue Ellen continues to believe she may be the shooter. Bobby agrees to run Ewing Oil in J.R.’s absence. J.R. has risky surgery to restore use of his legs.

Cast: Michael Alldredge (Detective Don Horton), Dan Ammerman (Dr. Kyle Roclaire), Tyler Banks (John Ross Ewing), Royce D. Applegate (Sergeant Crabbe), Tami Barber (Bev), Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Jeff Cooper (Dr. Simon Elby), Mary Crosby (Kristin Shepard), Jim Davis (Jock Ewing), Peter Donat (Dr. Miles Pearson), 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), Leigh McCloskey (Mitch Cooper), Jeanna Michaels (Connie), Randolph Powell (Alan Beam), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Ted Shackelford (Gary Ewing), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing), Janine Turner (Susan)

“No More Mr. Nice Guy, Part 2” is available on DVD and at Amazon.com and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.

Comments

  1. Sounds this episode is better than those around it, although I honestly don’t remember it well. I like what you say about the scene between J.R., Gary and Bobby. That sounds nicely done.

  2. The scene of the 3 bros in the hospital reminds me of Philadelphia, PA’s slogan: “The City of Brotherly Love.” Although J.R. hates Gary, & now that he’s in a hospital bed sees Bobby as a threat to usurp his power. Although he does love Bobby.

Trackbacks

  1. […] “No More Mr. Nice Guy, Part 2,” a fourth-season “Dallas” episode, Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) enters the hospital room where J.R. […]

  2. […] handful of scenes, filmed 33 years apart, underscore this point. In “No More Mr. Nice Guy, Part 2,” one of the original “Dallas’s” fourth-season episodes, Gary comes home to Southfork to be […]

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