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Sue Ellen Ewing in Dallas

The Ewings moved into the Quorum Hotel while Southfork was being repaired. Still agonized with guilt over Mickey, Sue Ellen persisted in drinking. But when she overheard JR. and Pam discussing Walter Driscoll, a former business associate and now mortal enemy of J.R.’s, and the fact that he had confessed to purposely running into the Mercedes at Southfork because he thought ii was J.R. driving the car, Sue Ellen’s drinking binge was over. She hadn’t caused the accident after all. She was nearly wild with outrage that J.R. had not told her about Driscoll’s confession, that he had let her go on thinking she was responsible for the accident.

Sue Ellen made three key decisions at this point. One, that she would not ever drink again, and if that were to be possible, then at all costs she

had to keep an emotional distance from JR. Two, she would have separate bedrooms, and they would be man and wife in name only. And third, and most important, she was going to devote herself to nurturing John Ross back to the healthy, happy boy he was supposed to be. Her little boy, she realized, after all of the recent drama—the fire, the fighting, her drinking—had been left with scars. He was withdrawn, shy, slipping away from them.

Over JR.’s protests, she took John Ross to a child psychologist. Then she talked JR. into joining her at the next session. JR went along with the psychologist’s recommendation that John Ross attend a special camp with counselors having strong backgrounds in psychology.

Little John Ross fell in love with his counselor at camp, Peter Richards, a twenty-year-old SMU student. And Peter Richards, a softly handsome, sweet young man, fell in love with Sue Ellen. Given her loneliness, Sue Ellen cast more than a casual eye at him, but she reprimanded herself, reminding herself of his age, his future, of the fact that she was married, and that ii simply wouldn’t work. With Cliff, Clint, and Dusty, there had always been the possibility of something working out. They were men. But this boy...........

Sue Ellen is a highly sensual, passionate woman. After weeks of being sexually attracted to Peter, but not going near him, she was beside herself. One night, before the Oil Baron’s Ball in 1983, she seduced JR. and, afterward, had no desire to go near him again. Peter was lovesick. He’d follow Sue Ellen. He’d show up at Southfork. He even played on his relationship with John Ross and Lucy Ewing to get to see Sue Ellen.

Sue Ellen was torn. She did not want to get involved with this young man, but she did not want Peter to stop working with John Ross, either. After a rejection by Sue Ellen, Peter didn’t show up at camp, and little John Ross had gotten hysterical. Peter disappeared again, later, dropping out of school, and Sue Ellen frantically tracked him down. She promised to see him platonically if he promised to go back to school and continue working with John Ross. However, she didn’t bargain on her own passion and feeling for him and, against her better judgment, ended up in bed with him.

It was the first and last time. She couldn’t bring herself to do it again. It was just wrong, there was no future. She still had strong feelings for him, but she didn’t want him to get hurt, nor did she want herself to be hurt, which would be inevitable.

In early 1984, as Sue Ellen was leaving Jenna Wade’s boutique, she was hit by a car and rushed to Dallas Memorial Hospital. When she came to, the doctors informed her that she had lost her baby. Baby? Sue Ellen hadn’t known she was pregnant, and even if she had, she still wouldn’t have known who the father was—Jr from that one night, or Peter from that one afternoon.

JR. thought it was his. Peter thought it was his. Sue Ellen, painfully, tearfully, had to tell Peter that it could have been JR.’s. Sadly, Peter said how much he wanted to have that baby, how he dreamed of being with Sue Ellen and bringing up their child . . . Sue Ellen was dumbstruck. Did this boy really think that it would have worked, with nearly twenty years’ difference in their ages? She decided it had to end right there, right on that note. It was over, done, finished. Peter had to understand that.

To her bewilderment, Jr then hired Peter to work privately with John Ross at Southfork. Jr befriended the lad, encouraged him to join the family in their activities, and seemed to push him on Sue Ellen. But Sue Ellen was firm in her resolve and warily watched all of this, warning Peter to be careful of Jr and under no circumstances let him think that they had been anything other than what they now were: a counselor and the counselee’s mother.

Lucy got smashed at a Ewing party and accused Sue Ellen and Peter of having something going. To Sue Ellen’s amazement, Jr defended her and reprimanded Lucy for thinking such a thing. Peter, feeling guilty, came close to telling Jr about the affair, but Sue Ellen stopped him. It didn’t matter, because it turned out that Jr knew anyhow. And that’s why JR. proceeded to have the Braddock police sergeant, Harry McSween, plant drugs in Peter’s jeep, have him arrested and thrown in jail, and then bailed him out. He told Peter that if he didn’t go away, stay away from his wife, then Jr would see to it that he would go to prison. And, he added, if Sue Ellen didn’t move back into his bed, be a wife to him again, the same thing went: Peter would go to prison.

She had been beaten again. Angry, sullen, Sue Ellen resigned herself to Jr’s demands. However, as the weeks went by and crisis hit Southfork (Bobby’s shooting and subsequent blindness), the qualities she loved in JR. resurfaced: his loyalty, his gentleness, his fierce determination to protect his family. And, most important, his emotional need of Sue Ellen in times of trouble. Once again they had a loving reconciliation—a respite for her weary heart—and once again it all went to pieces.

Jamie Ewing arrived at Southfork in the fall of 1984 and when Jr immediately started bullying her, Sue Ellen stepped in to protect her. Jamie was so young, so lost, so vulnerable. She had no family but this one, and Sue Ellen could not help but take care of her. At first she was like a kid sister. Sue Ellen taught her how to dress, how to carry herself, and how to laugh again. In return, Jamie offered Sue Ellen her complete loyalty and love. The relationship was a sorely needed breeze in the balmy emotional air of Southfork.

When Sue Ellen overheard Jamie confronting JR. over his infidelity in 1985, she tried to believe Jr’s lies, but ultimately she believed Jamie because she believed so much in Jamie. Lord, it had been years, if ever, since Sue Ellen could believe in anyone, and in Jamie she found an integrity, an emotional purity and bond of mutual trust that made it possible. When her relationship with Jr exploded with its usual agonizing pain, Sue Ellen didn’t drink. He had expected her to, and she herself thought she would too, but she didn’t, for Sue Ellen, through Jamie’s support, had begun to believe in herself.

In April, however, with Jr flaunting an affair with Mandy Winger and a medical emergency with John Ross for which Jr cruelly blamed Sue Ellen, she broke down and drank.

Sue Ellen Ewing is a woman possessing an enormous capacity for love. By the same virtue, she is cursed with a dire need of it from others, something she has not readily received in the past. Her love and need for JR. is only surpassed by that for her son, but whereas John Ross is so young, so dependents his love so unconditional, Jr is constantly fluctuating. When Jr is down, frightened, he depends on Sue Ellen’s love to survive, but when he’s up, on top of the heap, he reverts to the "man’s man" persona Jock taught him too well, a persona that drops a sheet of glass between him and Sue Ellen. When Jr needs her, Sue Ellen flourishes; his love is the magic ingredient she has needed to love herself. When he detaches from her, cheats on her, she despairs, feeling all is lost. More than alcohol, Jr may well be Sue Ellen’s most dangerous addiction

 

 

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