Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘Jock, We Love Each Other’

Dallas, Donna Culver, Sue Ellen's Choice, Susan Howard

A desperate plea

In “Sue Ellen’s Choice,” a third-season “Dallas” episode, Jock (Jim Davis) fixes a drink in J.R.’s office while Donna Culver (Susan Howard) sits on the sofa.

JOCK: It isn’t often anymore that a pretty girl like you calls and asks for an appointment. What can I do for you? [Rests on the desk’s edge]

DONNA: [Rises] It’s about Ray, Jock.

JOCK: Ray?

DONNA: Ray Krebbs. We’ve been seeing each other since Sam died.

JOCK: [Nods] Yes, I heard.

DONNA: I’m sorry. This is embarrassing. [Smiles]

JOCK: Well, now don’t be embarrassed. Something upset you enough to bring you here. What is it?

DONNA: Ray and I were planning on getting married as soon as it seemed respectable. And now, all of a sudden, he’s changed his mind. I want you to talk to him.

JOCK: Well, Donna, there just isn’t a whole lot that I can do about that.

DONNA: You don’t understand. He’s got some crazy idea that he’s not good enough for me. You know him, Jock. You know him better than anybody. You’ve been like a father to him. He respects you. He thinks the whole world of you. And I just want you to tell him that he’s good enough for anybody, anybody at all. Because I know he’d listen to you.

JOCK: Ray’s a pretty smart boy, Donna.

DONNA: Does that mean you won’t talk to him? [Smiles]

JOCK: I never even told my own boys how to live their lives, Donna. I can’t start with Ray.

DONNA: Jock, we love each other.

JOCK: Yes, yes, I believe you do. But Donna, a good marriage is based on a much more solid foundation than that.

DONNA: [Smiles] Well, I’m sorry if I bothered you.

JOCK: You didn’t bother me, Donna. Just wish I could’ve helped you, that’s all.

DONNA: I know. [Puts on her coat, grabs her purse, opens the door, faces Jock]

JOCK: Bye.

DONNA: Goodbye.

Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 48 – ‘Sue Ellen’s Choice’

Dallas, Dusty Farlow, Jared Martin, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing, Sue Ellen's Choice

Choose, but either way you lose

In “Sue Ellen’s Choice,” our heroine wrestles with two options: She can leave J.R. for Dusty and lose custody of her son, or she can stay married and keep the baby. If other possibilities exist, “Dallas” doesn’t present them.

Sue Ellen ultimately chooses to stick with J.R., and I suppose we should admire her for sacrificing her romantic interests so she can remain a full-time mother to little John. Maybe Sue Ellen really loves Dusty as much as she claims, but she loves her son more, and that’s how it should be.

Besides, I’m not sure Dusty is right for Sue Ellen. I loved his introduction in “Rodeo,” an earlier third-season episode, but if there’s a good reason for his unquestioning devotion to her, “Dallas” hasn’t offered it. I find myself wondering: Does Dusty care for Sue Ellen as much as he claims, or does he want to take her and little John away from the Ewings to prove he’s more powerful than J.R.?

As for J.R., I’ll confess to feeling sorry for him when he enters the nursery in “Sue Ellen’s Choice” and tries to tell his wife about his day, only to have her dismiss him. After all the rotten things he’s done, I know I shouldn’t be willing to cut J.R. any slack, but I can’t help it. Deep down, J.R. loves Sue Ellen. How else to explain his envy in “Jenna’s Return,” when he begins to suspect Sue Ellen is having an affair?

Speaking of Jenna: Her two-part “return” comes to a rather unsatisfying conclusion in this episode. There’s a cool scene where Jenna confronts Pam and tells her she’ll take Bobby if Pam no longer wants him, but by the end of the hour, Jenna has disappeared.

Like Sue Ellen, I suppose Jenna makes a big decision, too – and her choice is to leave.

Grade: B


Dallas, Francine Tacker, Jenna Wade, Sue Ellen's Choice

Hello, I must be leaving


Season 3, Episode 19

Airdate: February 1, 1980

Audience: 21.8 million homes, ranking 3rd in the weekly ratings

Writer: Camille Marchetta

Director: Leonard Katzman

Synopsis: Sue Ellen agrees to leave J.R. for Dusty, but when J.R. threatens to take their son from her, she decides to stay. After Bobby rejects Jenna’s advances, he and Pam agree to give their marriage one more chance. Donna asks Jock to talk to Ray, but when he declines, she tells Ray goodbye. Alan gives Lucy an engagement ring.

Cast: Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Mary Crosby (Kristin Shepard), Jim Davis (Jock Ewing), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Susan Howard (Donna Culver), Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Jared Martin (Dusty Farlow), Jeanna Michaels (Connie), Randolph Powell (Alan Beam), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Francine Tacker (Jenna Wade), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing)

“Sue Ellen’s Choice” is available on DVD and at Amazon.com and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.