TVLine Performers of the Week: Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray of Dallas

Dallas Season 2 Linda Gray, Patrick DuffyA weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMERS | Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy

THE SHOW | Dallas (TNT)

THE EPISODE | “J.R.’s Masterpiece”

THE AIRDATE | March 11, 2013

RELATED | Dallas Corrals Season-High Ratings for J.R. Ewing’s Exit

THE PERFORMANCES | When crafting the send-off for not just a character as iconic as wily J.R. Ewing but, embedded within that, his passed-on portrayer Larry Hagman, surely it’s tempting to press play on a montage of classic clips (if rights issues don’t get in the way, that is) or scatter around a few retro snapshots. But as TNT’s new Dallas laid J.R. to rest, Gray and Duffy stepped forward as the pallbearers carrying more than 15 aggregate years’ worth of history and emotions.

After barely processing his brother’s death (under, of course, suspect circumstances), Bobby exhibited the blow he had absorbed by deflecting Ray Krebbs’ well-meaning platitude with a brusque, “Well, he’s not [coming back].” Sue Ellen meanwhile was left to ruminate over a letter J.R. had left for her before taking what would be his final trip, long eyeballing a bottle of bourbon before making a single toast to an old picture of her and her ex. At this pivotal moment in the dry doyenne’s life, Gray registered disgust at the strange-yet-familiar taste, before the character tragically imbibed again. And again.

At J.R.’s gravesite, Gray’s sometimes-icy alter ego wore her heart on her sleeve, recounting how years ago she found herself “madly, passionately, hopelessly in love with the most charming scoundrel I’ve ever known.” After acknowledging that she had given back in to  drink, she shared that J.R.’s letter was an overture to rekindle their love affair upon his return. “Yes, J.R. The answer is yes,” she directed at his casket. Through sobs, she attested, “You were the love of my life.”

Bobby’s eulogy followed, commenting on J.R.’s role as the doer of bad (if necessary) things, thus making it “easy for me to do good.” But with that familial foil now gone, “I have to figure out just what I’m supposed to do in this grand scheme of things.”

By episode’s end, Bobby had his answer, in the form of a mysterious letter left for him by J.R. With a nod to his brother’s hat hooked on a nearby chair, Bobby said, “I knew you had at least one more left up your sleeve, J.R — and it’s a good one. I love you, brother.”

RELATED | Dallas Post Mortem: Weigh In on J.R.’s Funeral and Get Scoop on Pam’s Return

HONORABLE MENTION | The Big Bang Theory‘s Simon Helberg, who delivered an emotional wallop (and landed a few terrific zingers) as Howard debated whether or not to read an unopened letter from his estranged father. We laughed, we cried, we were reminded that Helberg remains the CBS comedy’s most underrated performer.

What performance knocked your socks off this week?

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  1. MrMank says:

    Totally agree!! Probably one of the best episodes of BOTH series! Gray and Duffy were flawless!

    • Gillian says:

      Agree with you 100%. Linda Gray has always been perfection as Sue Ellen but her performance in this episode brought me to tears. Same with Patrick Duffy – his last scene was simply brilliant. Both Gray and Duffy reminded me of why I lived this show so much as a child and why I would sneak the TV on past my bedtime to watch it. GREAT CHOICES for this week’s performer of the week.

  2. Maki says:

    ????? AND OUAT!? Young and Old Cora!????Come ON!

  3. iMember says:

    Nope, nope. Nick Weschler on Revenge killed it this week! You guys totally snubbed him his award this week.

  4. Liam says:

    I never cry, but Linda Gray og Patrick Duffy had me in tears. The episode was terrific in honoring the late J.R and Larry, have the story moving forward without it interrupting the emotional.

  5. Jaime says:

    Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy were superb. They were both flawless and deserved this. What a great episode with great performances by them.

  6. Paul says:

    I wholeheartedly agree!!!

  7. Laurie says:

    Robert Carlyle.

  8. Amanda says:

    They were fantastic but I would also include Josh Henderson in with them.

    • Smigglesby says:

      Never. Oh god is he ever terrible. And you compare him to duffy and gray? HA! It’s like watching Rob Schnieder opposite Daniel Day Lewis. and Jesse Metcalf’s not much better….

      • Dom221 says:

        WRONG! He NAILED it as a distraught JohnRoss and TOTALLY complimented not only Gray, but Duffy as well. A GREAT performance along side two of the best in the biz. Kudos to Josh Henderson!!!

        • dee123 says:

          Huh? All he did was screw up your nose & eyes and lowered his voice a tad.

        • chitown mimi says:

          I agree, Josh nailed it! When you saw him, you saw a little boy who wanted to be the apple of his daddy’s eye and knew that it would never happen. The whole episode was wonderful from the opening theme song, with a person resembling JR walking the grounds. Lovely.

          • Larry says:

            Mimi, that WAS Larry Hagman walking the grounds in the opening. Those scenes were filmed before the show made its debut in the summer of 2012

  9. soxfan says:

    I fully agree that Linda Gray & Patrick Duffy just knocked it out of the park in this episode. However, I do not believe they were just “performing” – the emotions we saw were very raw & very real. When Linda Gray read the letter JR wrote her with him inviting her to dinner upon his return to Dallas I couldn’t help but cry for both the characters of JR & SueEllen. It actually would have been a kick seeing him actually pursue her & falling in love with her more than he would have ever thought. And did Linda Gray NOT look like a million bucks & some change with how she dressed? And I was very impressed with Josh Henderson – his many range of emotions towards his fathers death were very real as well. He may have called his father JR, which is very disrespectful, he did on occasion, call him Dad, hopefully with time, he will learn to just call him Dad & refer to his Dad as JR only in business deals. It will be interesting to see Christopher help John Ross through this. So many mysteries to solve & I cannot wait – LOVE.THIS.SHOW!!!

  10. bexx888 says:

    It takes a lot for me to cry over a tv show. But I cried so much during this episode of Dallas. Patrick Duffy broke my heart every moment. Linda Gray was incredible. And Josh Henderson really, REALLY impressed me.
    Kudos to the entire cast and everyone involved in this episode.

  11. dallasfan says:

    Linda Gray deserves an EMMY! Patrick Duffy and her nailed it in tribute to Larry Hagman! “you were the love of my life” OMG! the opening credits music…Larry Hagman in the white fade out! OMG!!! still gut wrenching ONE week later!

  12. Jake says:

    I totally agree with Linda Gray and was hoping that she would be POTW. But I feel like she was head and shoulders above everyone, even Patrick Duffy.

  13. Winnie says:

    ‘Nuff said.

  14. TM says:

    Emmy nomination for Linda Gray–PLEASE. Sue Ellen’s eulogy was unforgettable.

  15. mspenn1013 says:

    Could not agree more with the choice of these two. Bobby reaming Ann about Emma and then Sue Ellen alone in JR’s room……

  16. Shaun says:

    I would have went with Kerri Russell or maybe Andrew Lincoln.

  17. Larc says:

    Linda and Patrick may have done outstanding jobs, but not all the acting on this Dallas episode was first class. Some will likely disagree, but I thought Josh Henderson as John Ross was terrible. Two-dimensional overacting isn’t easy to accomplish, but he managed to pull it off. I don’t normally watch the show, so don’t know if this was his usual style.

    • Ms Big says:

      Totally agree. Josh Henderson needs to learn the art of subtely!

    • Linda Gray – who can tell any emotion in her acting? Her face is so stiff from Botox she can’t smile or frown or anything else. Her only expression is a grimace. The only thing worse than her stiff face was Joan Van Ark reprising her role as Valerie Ewing in the 3/18 episode. Talk about plastic surgery gone wrong!

  18. Tom K says:

    Couldn’t agree more….Emmy worthy performances!!!! The opening musics was a great prelude to an amazing episode!!!!!!

  19. courtland says:

    both were good and main one id probabky agree but i feel like the honorable mention shouldve been rose mcgowan and barbara hershey on ouat…

  20. ollie says:

    emily and nick from revenge. both knocked it out of the.park.

  21. Randy says:

    Thank You so much for making Patrick & Linda this weeks Performers of The Week they deserved it. I really hope that Linda and Patrick get Emmy nominations for their performances.

  22. The Beach says:

    Sorry but I’ve gotta go with Emmy Rossum’s courtroom plea to the judge in Shameless. How can you guys keep passing over her amazing performances?

    • Lauren says:

      That was last week, but I totally agree she deserved it for that scene. I find the lack of Shameless on this site really strange. It’s pretty much the only Sunday show they don’t recap, and it barely gets a mention in any of their articles. Brilliant show!

  23. Chicago Dan says:

    How great is that DALLAS relaunched last summer after all these years and TNT made the surprising decision to air the show in the winter/spring? If not for that timing, we would’ve missed out on well-deserved farewell to a great actor and character. I guess some things were meant to be….

  24. t86 says:

    Totally agree! Great performances! btw, the opening for this episode was extremelly beautiful and emotional!

  25. Sara says:

    I totally agree with this. They were flawless.

  26. Blake says:

    Linda Gray deserves an Emmy for this performance. I hope she is recognized.

  27. Michael says:

    Briliant choices. Gray and Duffy were especially great; the whole episode was a standout. I would have liked to have seen more characters from the past — Valene, Donna, Serena Wald (his long running paid-for mistress), Louella, Sly (!), Holly Harwood and Marilee Stone.

    I give the producers credit though for having Ray, Gary, Lucy, Callie and Mandy be there. That was good.

    Gray was brilliant…the actress was nominated for an Emmy once before (ironically, Barbara Bel Geddes won for playing Miss Ellie that year.)

    It’d be nice to see Gray get some due.

    • Michael says:

      and duh! how could I forget one of the best parts of the episode was Cliff Barnes, showing up at the reception for J.R. Cliff was appropriately a mix of boasting jerk and vindictive jerk. Hagman said that JR is a better character b/c he has Cliff Barnes in his life.

  28. ef says:

    I don’t watch Dallas, but Simon Helberg is great in the Big Bang Theory.

  29. Frank says:

    and the Emmy goes to … Linda Gray! I hope we here those words at the end of this summer.

  30. Bob says:

    I believe that Simon Helberg is the most all-around actor on BBT. Everyone else is mostly one-dimensional. He has more range.