Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 69 – ‘The Quest’

Not what she seems

Not what she seems

Things are never quite what they seem in “The Quest.” Several characters go through this episode under false impressions, usually because they’re being duped by the people closest to them.

Consider J.R., who continues to pursue Leslie, not just because he finds her sexually desirable, but also because he believes she has his best interests at heart. This is established during the previous episode, “Start the Revolution with Me,” when J.R. tells Leslie she could “run the world.” Her response, delivered perfectly by Susan Flannery: “No, J.R. But I’d be delighted to help you run it.”

What J.R. doesn’t know is Leslie is secretly tape-recording their conversations. Why? The audience doesn’t know, but it seems safe to assume Leslie is looking out for herself, not J.R.

The idea that Leslie isn’t quite what she seems is also symbolized when J.R. arrives unexpectedly on her doorstep and finds her wearing a bathrobe. He’s confident she’ll let him spend the night, but she tells him she has another date and removes the garment, revealing she’s fully clothed. “I always put it on when I put my makeup on,” Leslie says. You can feel J.R. deflate.

Other example of deceptions and false assumptions in this episode: Mitch is impressed with Lucy’s domestic proclivities, unaware she has secretly hired a maid to clean the condo while he’s in class. Cliff believes Donna is going to help him get appointed to the state senate, only to discover she’s recruited Bobby for the job. Sue Ellen suspects J.R. is having her followed, only to learn he couldn’t care less how she spends her time.

Miss Ellie is the victim of the biggest deception of all. She continues to lead the campaign against the Takapa development, unaware Jock is behind the project. Then again, it’s not like Jock has much of a chance to tell his wife. Ellie has barely spoken to him since Lucy’s wedding, when she lashed out at him for neglecting Gary.

Yet “The Quest” also includes a sweet scene where Ellie comes home late, finds Jock asleep in a chair and tenderly covers him with a blanket. The gesture lets us know she still loves Jock, despite her angry outward attitude.

On “Dallas,” sometimes when things aren’t what they appear, it’s a good thing.

Grade: B


Another Ewing cover-up

Another Ewing cover-up


Season 4, Episode 15

Airdate: February 13, 1981

Audience: 23.8 million homes, ranking 1st in the weekly ratings

Writer: Robert J. Shaw

Director: Gunnar Hellström

Synopsis: J.R. continues pursuing Leslie, while Alex gives up on Pam. Donna persuades Bobby to run for Dave’s state senate seat, infuriating Cliff. After confronting the man who has been following her, Sue Ellen makes a shocking discovery.

Cast: Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Len Birman (Claude Brown), Claudia Bryar (cleaning lady), Jeff Cooper (Dr. Simon Elby), Jim Davis (Jock Ewing), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Woody Eney (Appleton), Joel Fabiani (Alex Ward), Susan Flannery (Leslie Stewart), Anne Francis (Arliss Cooper), Tom Fuccello (Senator Dave Culver), Meg Gallagher (Louella), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Ron Hayes (Hank Johnson), Susan Howard (Donna Culver), Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), Sherrill Lynn Katzman (Jackie), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Audrey Landers (Afton Cooper), John Lehne (Kyle Bennett), Monte Markham (Clint Ogden), Leigh McCloskey (Mitch Cooper), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Cooper), Martin West (Phil McKenna)

“The Quest” is available on DVD and at and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.


  1. The scene with Lucy and Mitch was pretty hilarious. I’ve never seen a more mismatched couple. And that includes J.R and Sue Ellen. LOL

  2. I like Leslie recording J.R. for her own power base of operations and p.r. control. Its exactly what he did when he screwed Katherine Wentworth & then told her he had done so by offering II play her the recording. He can’t complain when his own tricks are used against him!

  3. I giggled out loud at your photo caption “Another Ewing cover-up”!


  1. […] “Dallas’s” fourth-season episode “The Quest,” Miss Ellie vows to stop the Takapa Lake development project and exits the Southfork dining room, […]

  2. […] Away.” Afton’s signature song. She performs it for the first time in the fourth-season episode “The Quest,” soon after her affair with J.R. begins. The lyrics nicely capture Afton’s starry-eyed sense of […]

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