Dallas Parallels: She Bangs

Ann Ewing, Brenda Strong, Dallas, Fat Lady Singeth, Linda Gray, Sins of the Father, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT

Talk about a shocking twist! In “Sins of the Father,” one of the new “Dallas’s” second-season episodes, Ann discovers her ex-husband Harris kidnapped their daughter Emma when she was a child and raised her on his own. Ann goes to Harris’s home to confront him, and before you know it, she has shot the schmuck and left him for dead.

The scene brings to mind the original “Dallas’s” 11th season finale, “The Fat Lady Singeth,” which opens after J.R. has taken John Ross and stashed him at a private school so Sue Ellen can’t find him. In that episode’s final scene, Sue Ellen goes to J.R.’s hotel room and demands to know the boy’s location. The couple begins to argue, and before all is said and done, Sue Ellen has shot J.R.

Besides the gunfire, the two scenes share a few other similarities. When Ann goes to see Harris, she finds him seated in his den, reading papers. When Sue Ellen shows up at J.R.’s hotel room, he’s sitting on a sofa, reading the newspaper. In both sequences, the man gets up and crosses the room to the bar with the woman in tow. The two scenes also demonstrate Harris and J.R.’s cruelty. Harris taunts Ann, reciting the precious moments from Emma’s childhood that Ann missed. “I took that away from you,” he says. J.R. isn’t quite that vicious, but he boasts about how he outsmarted Sue Ellen when she was searching for the missing John Ross. “I was one step ahead of you,” J.R. says.

The scenes contain major differences too. Sue Ellen’s lover Nick accompanies her to J.R.’s, while Ann is alone when she goes to Harris’s. Sue Ellen shoots J.R. three times — using his gun — after Nick plunges to his death while scuffling with J.R. on the balcony. Ann, on the other hand, brings her own gun to Harris’s and fires once. The biggest difference: After Ann shoots Harris, she turns, leaves and goes home to Southfork, where she allows Bobby to confess to the shooting to protect her. In contrast, when Sue Ellen shoots J.R., she immediately dials the police to report the crime.

Ultimately, Harris and J.R. both survive their shootings, and Ann and Sue Ellen both get away with their crimes. Ann goes on trial and is sent to prison, but she gets off on parole. J.R. declines to press charges against Sue Ellen to spare John Ross from the spectacle of a trial. Will we see either woman pick up a gun again? It’s hard to say with Sue Ellen, but not Ann. After all, she recently received a dove-hunting gun — bequeathed to her by J.R. in his will.

 

‘I Was One Step Ahead of You’

Dallas, Fat Lady Singeth, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Mean

In “The Fat Lady Singeth,” J.R. (Larry Hagman) is seated in his hotel room, reading the newspaper, when Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) knocks on the door.

J.R.: Who is it?

SUE ELLEN: J.R., it’s me.

J.R.: Go away, Sue Ellen. I got nothing to talk to you about. [Tosses aside the paper, rises and walks toward the door]

SUE ELLEN: Let me in!

J.R.: I knew it was your man asking around about John Ross. But I was one step ahead of you, wasn’t it?

Nick (Jack Scalia) kicks open the door and enters the room, followed by Sue Ellen.

SUE ELLEN: Where is my son, you bastard?

J.R.: Where you’ll never find him.

NICK: That’s not good enough. Where is he?

J.R.: None of your damn business, Pearce.

NICK: I’m making it my business. [As they approach J.R., he steps backward to the bar.] Now do you tell me, or do I start taking you apart? [J.R. reaches for the phone. Nick smacks it out of his hand.] You’re one sorry excuse for a man.

J.R.: Get out of here.

NICK: Not without some answers. And believe me, I will truly enjoy kicking the crap out of you.

SUE ELLEN: Where is he, J.R.?

J.R.: [Pulls a handgun from behind the bar] You’re trespassing. If I have to use this, the law will be on my side, so get the hell out here.

NICK: You don’t have the guts to use it.

J.R.: Call off your gigolo, honey.

Nick lunges for J.R. and they scuffle, leaving the handgun on the floor. As Sue Ellen screams, they wind up on the balcony, where Nick plunges over the side of the railing. Sue Ellen picks up the handgun, aims at J.R. and shoots three times. She walks to the phone and dials.

SUE ELLEN: I’d like to report a double murder. This is Sue Ellen Ewing.

 

‘I Took That Away From You’

Dallas, Harris Ryland, Mitch Pileggi, Sins of the Father, TNT

Meaner

In “Sins of the Father,” Ann (Brenda Strong) enters the Ryland home, where Harris (Mitch Pileggi) is seated in the living room, reading papers.

HARRIS: [Tosses the papers on the coffee table] Emma’s a pretty amazing girl, isn’t she? She holds a hell of a grudge, though. Me and Mama raised her right.

ANN: Why? Why did you take her from me?

HARRIS: [Slaps his knee, rises] You know, last time we talked, you were wearing a wire. So if we’re going to continue this conversation, I’m going to have to — [Ann sighs and spreads her arms as Harris feels her body] Now, if I remember correctly — [She unbuttons her blouse and shows him her chest. He smiles.]

ANN: Why’d you take her?

HARRIS: I just did what you didn’t have the guts to follow through on. [Steps away, grabs his glass off the table, walks to the bar]

ANN: That’s a lie. It destroyed me! Did you hate me that much?

HARRIS: Oh, Annie. It all worked out for the best. Besides, she’s a grown woman. There’s nothing you can do about it anyway. [Pours himself a drink]

ANN: Just tell the truth for once in your miserable life. Why?

HARRIS: You really have to ask?

ANN: I want to hear you say it.

HARRIS: Because you were about to leave me. And after all I did for you, turning a gangly, raw-bone girl into a proper woman.

ANN: Broken puppet.

HARRIS: There was no way you were going to make a fool out of me by leaving. You had to pay a price. And the look on your face right now? It’s priceless.

ANN: Go on.

HARRIS: [Smiles] Oh, you still like the pain, don’t you? How’s it going to help to hear about what you lost? Is it going to get you back any of Emma’s first steps? Or her dance recitals? Or any of those birthdays? Is it going to get you even one of those nights, snuggled up to her, telling her bedtime stories while she fell asleep? No. Because I took that away from you. Forever. See? Hearing that didn’t help at all, now did it?

ANN: Oh, it helped a lot. [Pulls a gun from her purse, shoots him, walks away]

What do you think of Sue Ellen and Ann’s gunplay? Share your comments below and read more “Dallas Parallels.”

Comments

  1. cstephandoerr says:

    Another parallel: Both Sue Ellen and Ann believe that they have killed their ex-husbands and are surprised when they learn he is actually alive (in the next episode)…

  2. Here’s where the parralell breaks down. I don’t think there’s anyone who thinks Ann and Harris should be together. But how anybody can look at the things JR has done to Sue Ellen over the years (this is just one example) and think they were each other’s soul mates or right for each other in any way? There are plenty out there who do think this.

    Just because we all (Linda Gray more than most) miss Larry Hagman doesn’t mean Sue Ellen has any business what so ever missing JR Ewing.

    • Actually, Dan, there are some folks on Twitter who would like to see Harris and ann reunite. Would it disappoint you to know that I kinda wouldn’t mind seeing that reunion myself? (Egad!)

  3. I personally hate guns. I won’t fire one, I won’t even hold one. I saw an Palestinian baby being breastfed by its mother on CNN live once at a checkpoint. A female Israeli soldier panicked & blew the baby’s head off with her service revolver & part of the mother’s still lactating breast. She was being cooperative, had no packages except a baby diaper bag on her. She was willing to hand the baby over to security staff to be searched. If it had been an Israeli woman with a newborn Jewish baby breastfeeding & a Palestinian soldier had blown the baby’s head off, Israel would have declared war and the United States & & media would have backed it fully! So I therefore will not fire, let alone hold a gun. Lets stop the killing NOW, NOW, NOW!

  4. Great parallel. Maybe not as obvious, but I think they have similar motivations: strong emotions stirred by the actual or potential severing of the mother-child bond.

  5. I agree that JR is almost as bad as Harris. Sue Ellen had no business being with a man that would steal her child away just to stash him somewhere where he has access to neither parent. What JR does to Sue Ellen over the years is the emotional equivalent to a punch in the face. I don’t understand those who want Harris and Ann together either.

    • I guess it comes down to appreciating the chemistry between Larry Hagman and Linda Gray (and Mitch Pileggi and Brenda Strong). If these characters were real people, I hope none of us would actually want them to become real couples, but on screen, they sure are fun to watch.

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