Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 71 – ‘The New Mrs. Ewing’



“The New Mrs. Ewing” is probably supposed to refer to Donna, who marries Ray in this episode’s fourth act, but it could easily apply to any of “Dallas’s” women. There’s something new about all of them in this installment.

Consider Sue Ellen, who is depressed at the top of the hour because Dusty has sent her away. She visits Dr. Elby, who declares her willingness to let Dusty go is a sign of personal growth. “By putting Dusty’s desires before your own, you’ve made a really mature decision,” Elby says.

With her spirits lifted, Sue Ellen turns again to Clint, only to discover he now has cold feet about having an affair with her. This time, Sue Ellen doesn’t take “no” for an answer. She aggressively seduces Clint, and while I suppose we should admire her for taking charge of her own sexuality, isn’t this just another example of Sue Ellen only being able to find fulfillment in the arms of a man?

Leslie also takes on a new role in “The New Mrs. Ewing” when she dares to offer an opinion during J.R.’s meeting with Jordan and Marilee, who want him to join the cartel’s new strip-mining venture. Leslie tells the group the unsavory project could ruin the image she has cultivated Ewing Oil – a comment that angers Jordan and Marilee and embarrasses J.R., who chastises Leslie for interfering with his business.

But the reprimand J.R. gives Leslie is nothing compared to the chewing-out he receives when Jock gets wind of her antics. “My own son, letting some little no-account alley cat swing you around by your big toe,” Jock says. The line is undeniably corny, but I suspect it’s only because scriptwriter Linda Elstad wants us to see how ridiculous Jock’s views are.

The other “Dallas” women also move into new roles in this episode, including Lucy, who gets a job as a spokesmodel (“Miss Young Dallas”) for Alex’s latest magazine, and Pam, who becomes a political wife when Bobby wins his state senate race. Meanwhile, Miss Ellie adopts a new, angrier persona: She gets into an argument with Jock and J.R., telling them, “You both sicken me.”

Wow, that’s harsh! As far as this new Mrs. Ewing is concerned, I think I’d like the old one back.

Grade: B


Step by step

Step by step


Season 4, Episode 17

Airdate: February 27, 1981

Audience: 23.5 million homes, ranking 2nd in the weekly ratings

Writer: Linda Elstad

Director: Patrick Duffy

Synopsis: Bobby is elected state senator, hires Cliff as an aide and tells Alex to stay away from Pam. Leslie costs J.R. a deal, angering him. Sue Ellen sleeps with Clint. Lucy becomes Miss Young Dallas. Ray and Donna are married. Miss Ellie learns Jock is behind the Takapa development.

Cast: Tyler Banks (John Ross Ewing), Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Jeff Cooper (Dr. Simon Elby), Jim Davis (Jock Ewing), Patrick Duffy (Senator Bobby Ewing), Joel Fabiani (Alex Ward), Fern Fitzgerald (Marilee Stone), Susan Flannery (Leslie Stewart), Meg Gallagher (Louella), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Susan Howard (Donna Culver), Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), Sherrill Lynn Katzman (Jackie), Howard Keel (Clayton Farlow), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Monte Markham (Clint Ogden), Leigh McCloskey (Mitch Cooper), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Robert Sampson (Justin Carlisle), Don Starr (Jordan Lee), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing), Morgan Woodward (Punk Anderson)

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


  1. Nope, I did not like Angry!Ellie either. She was always kind and firm, but a lot of times this season she just got downright cruel. Well, she has her moments like all the characters.

  2. J.R.Ewing says:

    Ok look Leslie is good, but this is J.R. we’re talking about he’s one shrewd dude. Can I really believe he hasn’t sussed her out.

  3. Go Miss Ellie! 🙂 – Yes, it is certainly not nice to say something like “You both sicken me”, but in this case, I admit I applauded her. I, too, felt sickened by both JR and Jock. Given the way they were talking in that scene, I think Miss Ellie’s reaction was just what they needed, and what they deserved.

  4. Ray & Donna Krebbs were a great couple. But really the idea of them adopting a mentally handicapped child in later episodes didn’t appeal to me. Ray & Donna belonged on the ranch raising healthy kids & Donna as a power player down east in politics. They shouldn’t have divorced as Ray could have moved in with her part time into an apartment in New York City, or even into Federal United States Senator Dave Culver’s Washington home. Dave & Ray liked eachother a lot & Dave really respected Donna for keeping his great father in such a happy 2nd marriage! I mean Ray did after all abandon Southfork to live in Europe with Donna, raising Brother Bobby’s child.

    • Instead of marrying Ray and Jenna, I would have kept Ray and Donna together and given them a spinoff in Washington, D.C. Now that would have been a fun show. “Mr. Krebbs Goes to Washington.”

  5. Dan in WI says:

    I always found the Jock/Ellie Takapa/near divorce storyline tough to swallow. The Daughters of the Alamo are obviously not without their resources so I find it hard to believe she only learns of Jock’s involvment at the Ray and Donna evening at Southfork during the great “I am Takapa” scene.
    I also see Ellie’s opposition a bit contrived. If we take Jock and Punk’s word that Takapa is unused swampland I have a hard time thinking Ellie would object. She loves working land such as Southfork. But there are plenty of environmentalists and animal activists that even see ranching as wrong. But back to my point. Ellie loves pristine beauty and working land. We’ve never seen her express fondness to wasted swampland before. I’m splitting hairs here but I do believe Ellie would split them the same way.

  6. I thought Miss Ellie had a right to be angry especially at Jock the comment he made about ” a woman’s place is in the bedroom, not the boardroom” was down right nasty and Miss Ellie had was right to chew them out and what she said was so true. On the other hand Jock gave Ray a son he fathered as a result of an affair he had while still married to Miss Ellie money out of the Trust Fund without discussing it with Miss Ellie first, money they had put together for their sons. Then he did not tell her that he is a part of Takapa which she is trying to stop. The other scene I thought was redundant was when Bobby asked Pam why she went to see Alex after telling him she would not see him again and her reasons are the same words she said in The Quest when she admitted she almost slept with Alex. I also thought Bobby asking Cliff to be his aide was a nice thing to do here he is trying to have a relationship with Cliff as a brother- in-law after all the bad things Cliff did (trying to get Jock convicted for a crime he did not do and stealing money from Pam and Bobby by lying and saying it was to help Digger to use it against the Ewings)

  7. The Bobby’s proposition to Cliff started me thinking. That’s true, Cliff had done many wrongs to Bobby’s family more than one time. Cliff is openly hating Ewings as such. And now his feelings are badly hurt because the Committee has preferred Bobby to him. We know (and Bobby knows) that Cliff isn’t generous and easy-forgiving person at all. How can be garanteed that he wouldn’t try to set Bobby up, just for revenge? Nevertheless Bobby is giving him his hand and his credence, relying on the best in him.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I Like The Part When Ray And Donna Gets married


  1. […] “Dallas’s” fourth-season episode “The New Mrs. Ewing,” Jock (Jim Davis) slams closed the doors to the Southfork living room, where he stands alone with […]

  2. […] Hagman, Susan Flannery) watch Bobby’s televised victory speech in this 1981 publicity shot from “The New Mrs. Ewing,” a fourth-season “Dallas” episode. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like […]

  3. […] term in Austin. She demurred, so party leaders turned to Bobby, who ran for the job and won in a landslide. Bobby then hired Cliff as his legal counsel, which might explain why he seemed so unfamiliar with […]

  4. […] we see parallels to the older show’s fourth-season episode “The New Mrs. Ewing,” when Bobby confronts Alex Ward, the magazine publisher who has been wooing Pam. Both scenes take […]

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