Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘Bobby’s Dead’

Dallas, Family Ewing, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Feel his pain

In “The Family Ewing,” “Dallas’s” ninth-season opener, J.R. (Larry Hagman) is drinking in the Southfork living room when Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) enters the foyer and runs into Clayton (Howard Keel).

SUE ELLEN: Hello, Clayton. It’s a lovely evening, isn’t it?

CLAYTON: What?

SUE ELLEN: Oh, I had the best day.

J.R.: Oh, you had the best day, did you?

SUE ELLEN: [Sighs, enters the living room] Yes. Is there something wrong with that?

CLAYTON: Sue Ellen, don’t.

SUE ELLEN: Don’t what? What’s the matter? [Miss Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes) comes downstairs and stands in the foyer.] Something is wrong. What is it?

J.R.: My brother’s dead. Bobby’s dead.

SUE ELLEN: [Turns to Clayton, who nods] Oh, my God. No.

J.R.: Where were you, Sue Ellen, when we were all at the hospital?

CLAYTON: J.R., don’t.

J.R.: When Bobby was saying goodbye to us, when we needed you the most, where the hell were you?

SUE ELLEN: [Crying] I didn’t know.

J.R.: Of course you didn’t know. [Circles her] How could you have known? You were too busy rolling around in bed with that saddle tramp. Or maybe it was just getting stinking drunk at some motel.

CLAYTON: J.R., stop it.

J.R.: You’re never around when anybody needs you. John Ross almost died. Bobby did die. All you ever think about is yourself.

SUE ELLEN: That’s not true.

J.R.: Get out of here, Sue Ellen. Go back to your cowboy. Go back to your bottle. Go anywhere you want. Just get out of my sight!

Sue Ellen, sobbing, turns and runs upstairs.

ELLIE: J.R., what happened to Bobby wasn’t her fault.

J.R.: She was never a Ewing. She never was and she sure as hell never will be.

Watch this scene in “The Family Ewing,” available on DVD and at Amazon and iTunes, and share your comments below.

Comments

  1. Husband J.R. felt Miss Texas was “All Ewing” enough when he married her & got her out of that swimsuit & sash into bed on their wedding night!

  2. What a great scene! I love how J.R.’s harshness is reflected in Sue Ellen looking at Clayton for confirmation of Bobby’s death, like she really believes her husband would be able to say something like that just make her feel bad.

    • Stephan, I’m glad you mentioned Clayton. I feel like I haven’t been praising Howard Keel enough lately, but he makes Clayton such a strong, reassuring presence in scenes like Bobby’s deathbed farewell and Miss Ellie’s visit to Bobby’s tree house. He’s also a source of trust and reliability for Sue Ellen in this scene, as you point out.

      Thanks for the good comments, as always.

      CB

  3. This is why I love the early episodes of this season – JR lashing out at everyone ( he was in danger of becoming a bit too wet in the previous season ), especially Sue Ellen, but because he is grief-stricken we still kind of forgive him.

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