“End of the Road, Part 2” aired three days after President Reagan’s inauguration, and as if on cue, the episode ushers in a bigger, glossier version of “Dallas.” The show has always been about big things (big homes, big business, big egos), but this hour seems to mark the moment the producers decide even bigger is even better.
This episode’s centerpiece is Lucy’s wedding, which demonstrates how much “Dallas’s” cast has ballooned during the fourth season. In addition to the main characters, the wedding is attended by Alex Ward, Clint Ogden and the Coopers, none of whom were around just a few episodes ago. It’s odd to see these newcomers get so much screen time at a Ewing family event.
To make matter worse, some of the familiar faces act like people we don’t know. I get that Pam feels vulnerable after her mother’s rejection, but would she really allow herself to be tempted by Alex? Likewise, Miss Ellie’s sudden resentment toward Ray feels forced, especially in light of the warm embrace she gave him in “Trouble at Ewing 23.”
It also doesn’t help that the wedding scenes are filmed on “Dallas’s” Hollywood soundstage, which looks even faker than usual. To create the illusion this is a large affair, the producers squeeze dozens of extras onto the set, but this only succeeds in making everyone look claustrophobic. In the scene where Sue Ellen and Clint sit at a table and chat, I find myself worrying the couples on the dance floor are going to waltz right over them.
Yes, there are a handful of nice moments in “End of the Road, Part 2,” including the scene where Jock, J.R. and Bobby duck out of the reception to talk shop in the living room. It evokes the opening of “The Godfather,” when Don Corleone does business on his daughter’s wedding day.
I also like how director Irving J. Moore allows us to hear the murmuring in the crowd when Lucy comes down the aisle (“Look at that dress!”), as well as when he switches perspective and shows the attendees from Lucy’s point of view.
Still, I can’t help but notice how “Dallas” seems to lose a little perspective of its own with this episode.
‘END OF THE ROAD, PART 2’
Season 4, Episode 12
Airdate: January 23, 1981
Audience: 28.3 million homes, ranking 2nd in the weekly ratings
Writer: Leonard Katzman
Director: Irving J. Moore
Synopsis: Mitch and Lucy marry. During the reception, J.R. sleeps with Afton, while Sue Ellen flirts with ex-boyfriend Clint Ogden. Bobby salvages his big deals but resigns as Ewing Oil’s president.
Cast: Barbara Babcock (Liz Craig), Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Karlene Crockett (Muriel Gillis), Jim Davis (Jock Ewing), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Joel Fabiani (Alex Ward), Anne Francis (Arliss Cooper), Meg Gallagher (Louella), Ted Gehring (Brady York), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Susan Howard (Donna Culver), Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), Sherill Lynn Katzman (Jackie), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Audrey Landers (Afton Cooper), Monte Markham (Clint Ogden), Leigh McCloskey (Mitch Cooper), Jeanna Michaels (Connie), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Robert Rockwell (minister), Ted Shackelford (Gary Ewing), William Smithers (Jeremy Wendell), Don Starr (Jordan Lee), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Cooper), Joan Van Ark (Valene Ewing)