Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 79 – ‘Gone But Not Forgotten’

Foiled again!

Foiled again!

At the end of “Gone But Not Forgotten,” Sue Ellen and John Ross are gliding cheerfully through a Love Field airport terminal when they’re suddenly approached by two of J.R.’s goons. While one man distracts Sue Ellen, the other snatches the child. Is this the end of our heroine’s bid for happiness?

No, because seconds later, Dusty Farlow and a trio of white-hatted cowboys swarm the thug clutching John Ross. “Give us the boy,” Dusty says, and even though he’s using crutches to stand, there’s no doubt he means business. As Sue Ellen and John Ross are reunited, J.R., who’s been watching the whole thing from a mezzanine, fumes.

Larry Hagman, Linda Gray and Jared Martin are terrific here, but the real star is Bruce Broughton, whose score lets us know exactly what we should be feeling as we watch Dusty come to Sue Ellen’s rescue. I especially love how the music swells when director Leonard Katzman zooms in on J.R. the moment his scheme is foiled.

But as much as I like this sequence, the highlight of “Gone But Not Forgotten” comes at the end of the first act, when Katzman pans his camera across John Ross’s darkened Southfork nursery and stops at the doorway. The character we expect to see standing there is Pam, who has been using the boy’s absence as the means to express her dashed dreams of having children, but instead we find J.R. looking around the room in silence.

It’s impossible to watch this scene and not be reminded of the third-season episode “Paternity Suit,” when J.R. walks into the nursery and picks up John Ross for the first time. As joyous as that moment was, this one is very sad. Once again, Broughton’s music is instructive: His piano score shifts to a few bars of the “Dallas” theme when the camera reaches J.R.

For the audience, the “Gone But Not Forgotten” nursery scene is also useful. Hagman’s sad eyes let us know John Ross isn’t just a pawn in J.R.’s war with Sue Ellen. J.R. genuinely loves the boy, and it’s hard to not feel bad for a dad who misses his son – even when that father is J.R. Ewing.

Grade: A


Her hero

Her hero


Season 5, Episode 2

Airdate: October 16, 1981

Audience: 23.1 million homes, ranking 1st in the weekly ratings

Writer: Arthur Bernard Lewis

Director: Leonard Katzman

Synopsis: J.R. is cleared in Kristin’s death and hires a new secretary: Sly. Dusty foils J.R.’s scheme to snatch John Ross from Sue Ellen. Pam’s preoccupation with having children worries Bobby. Afton breaks up with Cliff.

Cast: Tyler Banks (John Ross Ewing), Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Raleigh Bond (pathologist), James L. Brown (Harry McSween), Barry Corbin (Sherriff Fenton Washburn), Patrick Duffy (Senator Bobby Ewing), Fern Fitzgerald (Marilee Stone), Bruce French (Jerry Macon), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Susan Howard (Donna Krebbs), Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), Howard Keel (Clayton Farlow), Sherril Lynn Katzman (Jackie), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Audrey Landers (Afton Cooper), Heather Lowe (Heather), Jared Martin (Dusty Farlow), Bill Morey (judge), Priscilla Pointer (Rebecca Wentworth), Debbie Rennard (Sly), Herbert Rudley (Howard Barker), Lane Smith (prosecutor), William Smithers (Jeremy Wendell), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Cooper), Deborah Tranelli (Phyllis), Morgan Woodward (Punk Anderson)

“Gone But Not Forgotten” is available on DVD and at and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.


  1. The Scene with J.R in the nursery is also reminiscent of the new Dallas, when he sneaks into the hospital room to see John Ross. 🙂 Great review! A lot of tension in the Airport scene.

    • Great observation! That hadn’t occurred to me. Thanks Lady G.!

      • Garnet McGee says:

        JR wouldn’t be in the position of missing his son if he bothered to treat his son’s mother decently. He is entirely responsible for his predicament. I do not feel sorry for him. I wish it had been Sue Ellen who had the brains to have ranch hands and guards come to her rescue. I love that Dusty is her white knight but I would have preferred if the plan was her idea. JR is as bad as Harris Ryland on Dallas TNT. I can easily imagine this version of JR staging a fake kidnapping and stealing away John Ross the way Harris Ryland stole away Emma. I love Dusty.

      • Yeah, it’s times like these that “Dallas’s” sexism reveals itself. It would have been even cooler if Sue Ellen had “rescued” herself and John Ross from J.R.’s clutches.

  2. J.R. should’ve offered Sue Ellen joint custody. She would’ve accepted b/c he’s such a heavy hitter he could probably win custody in a court thru dirty tricks. Yes Sue Ellen beat him 2x for custody in court. But J.R. was a good dad, maniacal yes, but a good provider, just different is all.


  1. […] “Dallas’s” fifth-season episode “Gone But Not Forgotten,” after the Farlow limousine parks in the Southern Cross ranch’s driveway, Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) […]

  2. […] to prove his innocence. Even in death, Kristin was still causing him trouble. That’s our girl! (“Gone But Not Forgotten”) She […]

  3. […] shot of J.R., lying alone in his shadowy New York City hotel room. It brings to mind the “Gone But Not Forgotten” scene where J.R. stands silently in the Southfork nursery, missing John Ross. This has been a dark […]

  4. […] The other great scenes in “Eye of the Beholder” include Bobby forcing J.R. to sign the paperwork to buy Travis Boyd’s company, which ends with J.R. saying, “I don’t like doing business this way.” Bobby’s response: “Well, I’ll continue your delicate sensibilities some other time, all right?” I also like the scene that introduces Barry Jenner as Jerry Kenderson, Mark Graison’s doctor and confidante; Jenner and John Beck have an easy rapport, making the friendship between their characters feel believable. “Eye of the Beholder” also marks Bill Morey’s first appearance as Barnes-Wentworth’s longtime controller Leo Wakefield, whose weary demeanor makes him a worthy foil for Ken Kercheval’s hyperkinetic Cliff. (Morey previously popped up as a judge in the fifth-season episode “Gone But Not Forgotten.”) […]

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