Recap: Sue Ellen gets a call from her mother...and, hey, it's the same actress who plays Steve Austin's mom on The Bionic Woman! Mama Shepard hints (not so subtly) about wanting an invitation to Southfork - mostly so Kristin can mingle with eligible, high society Texas men. Sue Ellen promises to do her best to help her nymphet sister land a rich husband, but looks less than thrilled by the request.
Pam is at the department store where she works, helping Cliff get fitted for a new three piece suit so he can look more suave at the office.
Sue Ellen is in Forth Worth, lunching with her gal pals after attending the grand opening of a new hospital wing. The gals gush that pregnancy agrees with her, then ask if JR is playing the "proud papa". Sue Ellen attempts to radiate as much of a fake pregnancy glow as she can muster and says, yep, he's sooooo excited. One of the gals says she hopes that JR will slow down at Ewing Oil, given that he has a reputation of being very devoted to his work...and Sue Ellen concurs and says he went to Austin for the day to close an important deal, but is expected to return home later this evening.
Cliff is in a meeting, being wooed by a Mr. Maxwell and two other old white men who seem very eager to appoint him as head of the Land Management Bureau. They explain that the position carries considerable weight 'cause he'll get to approve all land use projects, e.g. drilling, building, and ranching. Cliff worries that accepting the appointment will mean having to sell his soul in some way...and the men are like, "Well d'yuh" and show him a scaled model of their future vision of south Dallas, which will entail removing all the poor people who currently live in the area by condemning their unsightly low cost housing. Cliff says he can't possibly sell himself out that way, thanks them for considering him for the job, and stalks out of the room. The three men glance at each other and look visibly disappointed, but agree to continue trying to get Cliff to accept the appointment 'cause apparently no one else will do.
Sue Ellen and her gal pals walk across the hotel lobby...and Sue Ellen is aghast when she sees JR, arm in arm with a gorgeous woman. One of her friends remarks on how much the man looks like JR [I couldn't quite tell if she was playing it straight or being sarcastic], and Sue Ellen just stares into space with a look of total mortification on her face.
That evening, JR enters the bedroom and finds Sue Ellen throwing back a stiff drink. He tells her she prolly shouldn't be drinking while pregnant...but since it's the '70s, he promptly drops the issue [sucks to be you, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome afflicted spawn]. Sue Ellen sarcastically asks him how his trip to Austin went, then snarks about how tired she is of his lies. She explains that she was lunching with her friends in Fort Worth, bullcacking about what a proud papa he was going to be...and shortly afterwards saw him parade through the hotel lobby with his tramp du jour. JR chuckles and denies associating with tramps, and Sue Ellen admonishes him for not even having the grace to deny his philandering - not that she'd believe his lies anyway. She angrily declares, "I am not going to put up with this anymore. You have embarrassed me for the last time!" and orders him to stop jumping the bones of every fuckable woman who happens to stumble into his orbit. JR says, "Or what?" then tells her she should be grateful that he's willing to accept "the little bastard" she's passing off as his child, despite neither of them having a clue who the father is. Sue Ellen reminds him that he has no choice but to accept it, since there's a 50/50 chance the child could be his...then tells him he needs to change his ways and become the loving father-to-be she's been bragging to her gal pals he is. He asks, "And what will happen if I don't?" so she threatens to leave Southfork if he ever cheats on her again. JR says he enjoys his philandering lifestyle far too much to quit - about as much as she enjoys all the prestige and wealth that goes along with being Mrs. JR Ewing. He tells her to "get used to what is" 'cause no way in hell is he changing his bed-hopping ways. Sue Ellen shoots him the stink-eye and snarls, "Go straight to hell!" and storms out of the room. That is one dysfunctional, dicked up marriage.
Sue Ellen goes over to Cliff's apartment and coos in her weird raspy way about how she just had to see him. He reminds her that their sordid fling is over - but Sue Ellen says it'll never really be over, since it's very possible she's carrying his love spawn. Cliff admits he isn't wild about the thought of his baby being raised as a Ewing, but concedes that she belongs at Southfork...and that it royally sucks 'cause seeing her lookin' so sexy in his apartment makes the fact that he can't have her all the more difficult. Sue Ellen shoots him a saucy smile and takes off her coat...then unbuttons his shirt and caresses his face. Mmm hmm..
At breakfast the next morning, JR fibs to his family and tells everyone that Sue Ellen is MIA 'cause she's decided to spend some quality time with her mother and sister. Miss Ellie suggests inviting Mama Shepard and Kristin to the ranch, then tells Lucy it would be nice if she introduced Kristin to some kids her age. Lucy makes a blech face and says she's kinda busy indulging in her me time, and JR breezily assures her she needn't worry 'bout entertaining Kristin 'cause Mama Shepard already has her future all mapped out.
JR drops by Casa Shepard looking for Sue Ellen and is all, "Wha-a?" when her mother tells him she isn't here. She offers him a cup of coffee, and he reluctantly accepts and sinks into a sofa chair while she bustles over to the kitchen. Kristin (the pre-Mary Crosby version) sashays downstairs wearing light blue short shorts and a matching tank top. JR brazenly checks her out as she coquettishly leans over the coffee table to pick up a magazine and give him an eyeful of her lithe form. Mama Shepard re-enters the living room with the coffee and remarks to JR what a beautiful young woman Kristin has blossomed into, and he's like, "Mmm...yep" and gives his sister-in-law another creepy once-over. Mama Shepard says her remaining goal in life is to find Kristin a suitable [meaning rich] husband, such as himself. JR says the nymphet shouldn't have any problem landing a man, and Kristin plops herself onto the couch and shoots him an unmistakable come hither look...which, ew.
Sue Ellen runs into Bobby as she leaves Southfork, suitcases in hand. She tells Bobby she's done putting up with JR's philandering...and when he implores her to think about the baby, she tears up and says that her pregnancy has driven them further apart. After a few minutes of further boring banter, she insists on high-tailing it off the ranch before JR gets home from work.
Later, JR asks Bobby if he's seen Sue Ellen, and Bobby tells him she left...and that she had two suitcases with her. JR tries to pretend that he just remembered Sue Ellen is spending the night at her mother's - but Bobby calls him out on his bullcack and says that Sue Ellen came right out and said she was leaving him because of his constant whore chasing. He says he offered to help, but JR snaps, "We don't need your help!" and stomps into the house.
JR makes a beeline over to the study and calls up his private investigator and orders him to put a tail on Sue Ellen. He wants to know where she goes and who she talks to.
Sue Ellen arrives at her mother's house with her suitcases, and a startled Mama Shepard tells her that JR dropped by this morning looking for her. She lays it on thick about how awesome it is for her to be married to a wealthy man who's done so much for her...and that she can only hope her younger daughter will do as well with her choice of husband. Sue Ellen warns Kristin to be wary of their mother meddling in her personal life, but Kristin rolls her eyes and says that JR really doesn't seem all that bad. Sue Ellen complains that she's resigned to sleep without a man in her bed 'cause JR spends so much of his sack time boning a different woman every night, but an unfazed Mama Shepard shrugs and retorts, "Some men are like that, Sue Ellen. There are worse things to live with." Kristin concurs and says she'd have no problem with his chronic bed-hopping if it meant she got to live a pampered life on a fancy ranch. Mama Shepard sternly tells Sue Ellen that leaving her husband would be a terrible mistake, and reminds her that her baby is entitled to his birthright as a Ewing. When Sue Ellen lets out a bitter laugh at the uncertainty surrounding her baby's paternity, Kristin says she has no right to be ticked off about JR's cheating, 'cause it's unrealistic for her to expect to have exclusive rights to such a powerful horn-dog of a man.
Sue Ellen calls Cliff and arranges to meet him at his apartment, and he promises to be there at noon.
Jock storms into JR's office and gruffly demands to know whassup with Sue Ellen packing her bags and leaving the ranch. JR mumbles that she's being very unreasonable - but Jock snaps at him to stop whining, then rails about how freaked out Miss Ellie is about the possibility of her grandchild not being raised at Southfork. Egads! He barks that he won't stand for anymore foolishness, then orders JR to do whatever it takes to convince Sue Ellen to move back home. A subdued looking JR replies, "Yes daddy" and stares shame-faced at the floor.
[Stray observation: JR's tendency to revert to a meek twelve year old whenever he does something to displease his grizzled father is as weird as the way Jock gets wigged out by anything that might rock Miss Ellie's world.]
Sue Ellen arrives at Cliff's apartment and tells him she's done a lot of soul searching about the miserable state of her sham of a marriage and has come to the conclusion that she no longer wants to be married to a man-whore. She asks Cliff if he's still willing to be her backup - 'cause heaven forbid she live a moment of her life without a man to support her - and Cliff mulls that over and says he wonders if she could truly be happy without Ewing money, prestige, and all the perks of living at Southfork. Highly doubtful, IMO. He says there's no way he could provide her with that kind of lifestyle, and Sue Ellen assures him she's totes down with that and will try her hardest to live life as a non-gold digger.
JR's private investigator drops by Ewing Oil to report his findings. He solemnly tells JR that Sue Ellen has been spending most of her time at a certain man's apartment...and when JR asks who this man is, the investigator mutely hands him a file, and then discreetly steps out of punching range. JR reads it and contorts his face in a look of shock and rage. He says he never would have figured that Sue Ellen had the chutzpah to hit the sheets with his sworn enemy...but since she has, it's officially time for him to do something about Cliff Barnes.
Pam drops by Cliff's apartment to deliver his fancy new suit. She sniffs the air in his living room and says she smells ladies perfume...then finds a scarf on the floor, recognizes it as Sue Ellen's, and asks him what she was doing here. Cliff grabs the scarf and says it's none of her business, and pretends he was merely helping Sue Ellen locate the teenager whose baby she wanted to adopt in the Black Market Baby episode. Pam doesn't buy the lame fib and admonishes him for messing around with a married woman - who, on top of everything, is pregnant. Cliff mumbles, "Uh, yeah...she told me" then bellows at his sister to get the hell out of his apartment.
Pam returns to Southfork and pours herself a stiff drink, babbling to Bobby about how she always just assumed that the Ewings were the bad guys, while the Barnes were the good guys - but now realizes that things aren't so cut and dried. Bobby asks her what the hell she's talking about, so she nonsensically tells him she unwittingly found herself on the same side as JR in the show's tedious Ewing/Barnes feud. She then suggests they eat out tonight, 'cause she's not in the mood for a Ewing family dinner. Bobby agrees and says maybe she can talk about what's bothering her - but hopefully in a less muddled fashion.
Cliff receives the scaled model of the proposed development in south Dallas from Mr. Maxwell, who had it delivered to his office as a reminder of how badly they want him to take the Land Management Bureau job. Cliff frowns and remarks to his secretary that he doesn't appreciate this added pressure.
JR arrives at Cliff's office to confront him about hitting the sheets with his wife. He tells him that Sue Ellen is far too expensive a gold digger for a cheap little pauper such as himself...and when Cliff points out that she may be carrying his love spawn, JR insists it doesn't matter, 'cause either way the baby will be raised as a Ewing. He then threatens to blab to anyone who's interested about his sordid affair with a married woman, a scandal that would effectively kibosh any chance of him ever being elected to public office. He smugly urges Cliff to come clean with Sue Ellen about how his future political career means a lot more to him than a relationship with her.
JR heads over to Casa Shepard...and Mama Shepard invites him in and clucks about how sorry she is that he and Sue Ellen are having marital problems. A few minutes later, Sue Ellen comes downstairs and asks what the hell he's doing here, and he tells her he wants her back at Southfork, pronto, and that he's willing to overlook her icky affair with Cliff. Sue Ellen haughtily tells him that she is not willing to overlook his indiscretions, and then he gets all snarly-psychopath and threatens to bring her to a hospital, force her to get an abortion, then tell everyone it was a miscarriage. I highly doubt he could find a doctor who'd agree to go along with that. What would follow, JR continues to snarl, is the messiest divorce she's ever seen, and she'd come out of it without a penny. Sue Ellen refuses to cower at the threat and insists she's leaving him for Cliff...and JR smirkily challenges her to see just how far Cliff is willing to go for her. Sue Ellen shoots him a hate-filled stink-eye and storms out of the house.
Sue Ellen meets up with Cliff in a public park and begs him to tell her that JR was wrong about his willingness to fight for their love. Cliff sheepishly mutters, "You can't fight city hall" ... and that while he loves her in his own way, JR "convinced" him that he can't have a relationship with her and the political career he wants one day. He mutters, "Sorry", and she tears up and says, "So am I" and sadly shuffles off. She heads toward her car and is startled to see JR parked nearby...and he orders her to get in, tells her that her mother packed her suitcases for her, and that he'll arrange for someone to drive her car back to Southfork. Sue Ellen throws in the towel on her short-lived rebellion and silently gets into the passenger seat and glares at him. He smugly tells her they're going to go home and have a nice family dinner, during which she can regale everyone about the wonderful overnight visit she just had with her mother and sister.
Cliff calls Mr. Maxwell to tell him that he's accepting the job as head of the Land Management Bureau 'cause he likes the idea of having a quasi-powerful job approving land projects. After he hangs up, he says to himself/the viewers/no one in particular, "How's that for playing the game?" In a word, Cliff: lame.