Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘Now That I Just Won’t Take!’

Hear her roar

Hear her roar

In “Dallas’s” fourth-season episode “The Gathering Storm,” Lucy and Mitch (Charlene Tilton, Leigh McCloskey) argue in their living room.

MITCH: Lucy, do you realize what’s happening to us?

LUCY: No, but apparently you do.

MITCH: We’re like roommates. We pass each other either coming or going. We don’t have a marriage. We have a quick-change routine.

LUCY: And naturally, it’s my fault.

MITCH: Well, it certainly isn’t mine. I don’t have limousines calling for me at dawn every day and I don’t come dragging in at 10:30 at night.

LUCY: Oh, no. Oh, no. Now that I just won’t take! You said it, mister. You said it loud and clear. We’ll live on “our income.” [Does air quotes] Remember that?

MITCH: I didn’t say, “our income.” I said we’d live on mine.

LUCY: Oh, great. So you’re going to park cars and work at the lab for nickels and dimes. And we’re going to live happily ever after. Is that it?

MITCH: Yes, if we have to!

LUCY: I don’t believe this. What rulebook did you drag that out of? Something that was written in the Dark Ages?

MITCH: [Sighs] I don’t need a rulebook to tell me how I feel.

LUCY: Feel about what?

MITCH: Well, that damn gold chain for one thing. Don’t you know I wanna be able to give you things like that, but I can’t?

LUCY: Oh Mitch, stop it.

MITCH: Yeah, what, at nickels and dimes you’d have to wait 10 years.

LUCY: OK, I’m sorry I said that. But it’s not my money. And it’s not your money. It’s ours. What difference does it make who earns it?

MITCH: It makes all the difference in the world. Now, if you don’t see that, and if you can’t understand what’s wrong, then we’re in real trouble.

LUCY: You said it. Not me. Just remember that. [She turns and begins walking away.]

MITCH: Lucy, look.

LUCY: [Facing him, screaming] No, you look. I have had it up to here with this stupid macho act of yours. I work my butt off to bring money home so we can live decently and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna apologize for that!

MITCH: You really don’t see anything wrong then, do you?

LUCY: Not a thing!

MITCH: Well, then I guess there’s nothing left to be said. [Grabs his coat, leaves]

Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 73 – ‘The Gathering Storm’

Scene from a marriage

Scene from a marriage

I’ve always considered Charlene Tilton one of “Dallas’s” charismatic actresses, although I haven’t always been a fan of her character. In “The Gathering Storm,” Lucy stands up for herself in the face of husband Mitch’s sexism, which makes me want to stand up and cheer her on. This episode makes me love Lucy.

The character’s big moment comes in the second act, when Lucy comes home late after a lengthy photo shoot. Mitch is angry, not so much because his wife missed dinner, but because she now brings home a bigger paycheck than him.

“It’s not my money, and it’s not your money. It’s ours,” Lucy says. “What difference does it make who earns it?”

“It makes all the difference in the world,” Mitch snaps.

This is “The Gathering Storm’s” best scene, thanks to Tilton and Leigh McCloskey’s convincing performances and scriptwriter Robert J. Shaw’s realistic dialogue. Lucy and Mitch’s argument sounds like the kind of fight a real-life couple might have had in the early 1980s, when more women were moving into the work force and men like Mitch were learning to adjust.

I’m pretty sure “Dallas” wants us to “side” with Lucy during the argument, although the show goes out of its way to not vilify Mitch’s sexist attitude. In one scene, he says the reason he and Lucy are fighting is because they have “totally different values.” That’s true, but casting the character’s chauvinism as a “value” makes it seem nobler than it deserves.

Still, the dissolution of Mitch and Lucy’s marriage feels credible, based on what we know about these characters. This is true for Jock and Miss Ellie too. It’s difficult to watch them argue in “The Gathering Storm,” but I believe Ellie when she says she’s tired of Jock’s lack of sensitivity, just like I believe him when he expresses his frustration with her stubborn idealism.

Of course, the sadness I feel seeing Jock and Ellie separate is nothing compared to the pain that comes from watching Jim Davis’s performance in “The Gathering Storm.” The cancer-stricken actor’s health was deteriorating when this episode was filmed – and it shows. Like this episode’s title suggests, dark clouds are moving over “Dallas,” and not just in front of the camera.

Grade: B

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Runaway husband

Runaway husband

‘THE GATHERING STORM’

Season 4, Episode 19

Airdate: March 27, 1981

Audience: 25 million homes, ranking 1st in the weekly ratings

Writer: Robert J. Shaw

Director: Michael Preece

Synopsis: The Takapa fight continues: Jock moves out of Southfork and J.R. offers to sell the company to rival oil baron Jeremy Wendell to prevent it from being dragged into his parents’ looming divorce. Cliff begins snooping into the counter-revolution in Asia and receives a visit from Rebecca, who doesn’t reveal she’s his mother.

Cast: Tyler Banks (John Ross Ewing), Cherie Beasley (Tootie Smith), Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Ellen Bry (Jean Hallinan), Jim Davis (Jock Ewing), Patrick Duffy (Senator Bobby Ewing), Susan Flannery (Leslie Stewart), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Morgan Hart (Jenny Smith), Susan Howard (Donna Krebbs), Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Audrey Landers (Afton Cooper), Monte Markham (Clint Ogden), Leigh McCloskey (Mitch Cooper), Hortense Petra (Maggie) Priscilla Pointer (Rebecca Wentworth), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), William Smithers (Jeremy Wendell), Christopher Stone (Dave Stratton), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Cooper), Deborah Tranelli (Phyllis)

“The Gathering Storm” is available on DVD and at Amazon.com and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.