NTO DVD: Dallas Season 4 (1980-1981)

by Beal

dallasdvd4This is a cry for help. I have a problem, and I’m willing to admit it, but unwilling to get help. I completed yet another season of Dallas in record time, because every episode was spectacular. This season, which is actually season 3 on television (DVD box sets consider the Miniseries to be Season 1) marks the first year that Dallas reached number 1 in the ratings. The “Who Shot J.R.?” reveal episode, “Who Done It?” gained the highest rating of any television episode in U.S. history, a position it held until the final episode of M*A*S*H aired in 1983. It remains the second most watched television episode of all time. This season of Dallas was also nominated for six Emmy’s, and with good reason, they really outdid themselves this season and it was TERRIFIC.

Kristin Shot J.R.

FINALLY! After two days (the American viewing public waited eight months in 1980, I waited two days for DVDs to arrive in the mail) the mystery of “Who shot J.R.?” was solved, but not in the first episode of the season, nor the second, viewers had to wait until the fourth episode to discover that Sue Ellen’s sister, Kristin Shepard shot J.R. late that night in the Ewing Oil office, but not until after Sue Ellen had spent a few nights in jail, because her fingerprints were the only ones on the gun. The gun of course, belonged to J.R. and Sue Ellen had taken it into town to kill J.R. But, because she’s Sue Ellen, she got piss ass drunk first, and believing that he was at her sister’s condo, went there to shoot him. She woke up the following morning in her car in the airport parking lot, with ZERO memory of the night before. We find out in episode 4, “Who done it?” That despite Sue Ellen’s inability to come up with a solid alibi, she remembers going to Kristen’s, and having a drink (at which point she set the gun down, and Kristin took it). This inconsistency comes up during hypnosis and because Jock and Miss Ellie found the gun in Sue Ellen’s closet, yet she KNOWS she didn’t have it when she returned to Southfork from the airport parking lot and the only one home was Kristin. In the final moments of the reveal episode, Sue Ellen approaches J.R. who is sitting by the pool in his wheelchair. Terrified for his life, he tries to get to the phone before she reaches him. Kristen enters the scene, the truth is revealed and just as you think J.R. is about to kill her (or call the police), she claims that she is pregnant with his baby. J.R. refuses to press charges and runs Kristen out of Dallas.

Other Highlights Include

lucy_ewingLucy gets married to a poor medical student, Mitch Cooper and holds the wedding right on the back patio at Southfork. Seriously guys? I know that the ranch is a beautiful piece of property, but you’re worth billions, rent a banquet hall already. Mitch and Lucy fight every episode about money, because Mitch has none and so Lucy gets a job (as Miss Young Dallas, what is this?) and makes ten times what he makes.

Pamela finds her long lost mother, almost has an affair and also gets a dreadful perm (which they tame by the end of the season). Bobby becomes the new president of Ewing Oil while J.R. is recovering, he successfully buys a refinery, which J.R. was never able to do, but in the end returns the helm to J.R. (with stipulations) because he hates the “wheeling and dealing.” He is then elected to the state senate, where he must first vote on a land issue that pits Jock against Miss Ellie (who has filed for divorce over the matter.) And then sit on the committee that is investigating J.R. for overthrowing a foreign government (because thats what state senate committees do). J.R. drugs Cliff, gets all the evidence ahead of time and bribes the right people and is found innocent.

Sue Ellen, ooohhh Sue Ellen, re-unites with her college boyfriend, Clint at Lucy’s wedding, but after noticing she’s being followed, seeks to find out by who and why. After some stealthy detective work, she arrives at the mansion of whomever is funding the P.I. following her. And wouldn’t you know it! It’s Dusty Farlow, he didn’t die in the plane crash after all, and despite his paralysis, Sue Ellen devotes herself to him and they make plans to get Sue Ellen and little John Ross out of Southfork and onto the Southern Cross Ranch where Dusty’s family (equally as wealthy as the Ewings) live.

OH YEA! We learn that ranch foreman Ray Krebbs is actually Jock’s son, making him a Ewing heir (making Miss Ellie none-too-happy), but the most interesting part is, Ray is now biologically Lucy’s uncle, so no one ever mentions how the two had an affair in the barn throughout season 1.

Special Features

Included in this box set, was a little reunion special entitled Dallas Reunion: Return to Southfork, which was, nothing if not completely awesome. The original cast, Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy, Victoria Principal, Linda Gray, Ken Kercheval, Steve Kanaly, Charlene Tilton and later, Mary Crosby, all rolled up to Southfork (a real ranch apparently) in the SAME CARS they drove during the series! And J.R. landed in the Ewing helicopter. Let’s just say, that I was about as giddy as I get for the 90 minutes that this terrific production lasted. (Like I said, I have a problem). The characters “caught up” with each other, told hilarious behind the scenes stories, and they showed both a blooper reel (where sweet old Miss Ellie drops the F-bomb a number of times), a series of “practical jokes” cast members played and some footage that Larry Hagman had taken with his own video camera, in which Linda Gray is always dancing. They also showed the un-aired footage of each cast member “shooting J.R.” which was delightful. Sadly, P.Duff and Victoria Principal have received some less than stellar face lifts. Patrick’s is, can I say tolerable? His face is tolerable. But Victoria looks sort of like Dolly Parton and sort of like an 80’s prime-time soap star action figure.


Well, they couldn’t very well outdo last season’s cliffhanger (Who shot J.R.?), no one can, but they did their best. In the final scene Cliff Barnes arrives at Southfork for a meeting with Bobby. As he is approaching the back door he notices a body floating face down in the pool and jumps in to rescue it. When he looks up, he sees J.R. standing at the edge of the balcony, where the railing is broken and proclaims, “She’s dead! Yoooouuuu bastard!” FREEZE FRAME. Leaving us to wonder, (A) Whose body was floating in the pool? (B) Did J.R. do it?

Guess we’ll have to wait and see. . .  (oh wait I already found out, because season 5 arrived in the mail yesterday. Seriously CRY FOR HELP!)



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