“Dallas” ties up the “Who Shot J.R.?” saga’s loose ends within the first 10 minutes of “Taste of Success.” Kristin confesses her crime to the Ewings, J.R. and Sue Ellen send her packing, and Miss Ellie breathes a big sigh of relief at the Southfork breakfast table. “Well, it’s over,” she says. Indeed, it is.
“Dallas” deserves praise for concluding things so elegantly. Having J.R.’s shooter turn out to be Kristin – and making her pregnant with his child – is genius because it allows “Dallas” to avoid a trial, even if courtroom scenes on this show tend to be entertaining. I also give “Dallas” credit for not trying to top itself with another sweeping storyline. The show knows it’s time to get back to normal, and in “Taste of Success,” that’s pretty much what happens.
Of all the post-“Who Shot J.R.?” plots, Bobby’s is the most interesting. His efforts to buy the Redfield refinery are surprisingly compelling, primarily because the storyline allows the character to step out of J.R.’s shadow. For once, Bobby is in charge and not merely reacting to J.R.’s schemes. It’s a nice change of pace.
“Taste of Success” also casts a new light on Lucy, who cooks dinner for Mitch, albeit with disastrous results. Besides being charming, Lucy’s efforts to woo the medical student make sense for her character. Now that this upstanding fellow has entered her life, of course she’s going to go after him with gusto.
The only Ewing who doesn’t seem to be changing is Sue Ellen. Following her triumphant confrontation with Kristin at the end of “Who Done It?” Sue Ellen reverts back to J.R.’s dutiful wife in this installment, even allowing him to “seduce” her in a scene that recalls the disturbing quasi-marital-rape sequence in “Black Market Baby.”
Sue Ellen also lets J.R. make up for his misdeeds by buying her a new car, giving the scene where he sends her out for a test drive more than a hint of irony. Her foot might be on the accelerator, but in this episode at least, Sue Ellen isn’t moving forward.
‘TASTE OF SUCCESS’
Season 4, Episode 5
Airdate: November 28, 1980
Audience: 26.5 million homes, ranking 1st in the weekly ratings
Writer: Robert J. Shaw
Director: Irving J. Moore
Synopsis: J.R. sends Kristin to California with the promise of monthly checks when their child is born. Sue Ellen is furious at J.R. but her anger turns to passion and they reconcile. Bobby buys a refinery, arousing J.R.’s envy. Pam, who fears Bobby is on a power trip, returns to work. Cliff pursues Donna, while Lucy continues courting medical student Mitch Cooper.
Cast: Robert Ackerman (Wade Luce), Barbara Babcock (Liz Craig), Tyler Banks (John Ross Ewing), Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Michael Bell (Les Crowley), David J. Bowman (Tom Selby), Jeff Cooper (Dr. Simon Elby), Mary Crosby (Kristin Shepard), Jim Davis (Jock Ewing), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Tom Fuccello (Dave Culver), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Laurence Haddon (Franklin Horner), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Susan Howard (Donna Culver), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Leigh McCloskey (Mitch Cooper), Jeanna Michaels (Connie), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Paul Sorensen (Andy Bradley), Don Starr (Jordan Lee), Tom Taylor (Assistant District Attorney Martin Purcell), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing), Warren Vanders (Harry Owens), Gregory Walcott (Jim Redfield)