The Conners killed off another character. In the new episode of the ABC sitcom titled “Brothers, Babies and Breakdowns,” Dan (John Goodman) found out that his estranged father, Ed Sr., had recently died after seeing his obituary in the local newspaper.
Ed Sr. was played by Ned Beatty on the original Roseanne series and was last seen in a Season 6 episode of the ABC sitcom. His late-in-life children with his second wife, Crystal Anderson (Natalie West), was also a storyline on Roseanne more than 20 years ago.
After finding out about his father’s death, Dan didn’t shed any tears — he hadn’t spoken to his old man in years — but he later came face-to-face with his 21-year-old half-brother, Ed Jr., played by Shameless star Noel Fisher. That’s when the emotions came into play.
When Dan and Ed Jr. reunited, the younger Conner brother was resentful because he and his sister, Angela, had to take care of their ailing father during the final months of his life, while Dan was nowhere to be found. The Conner brothers later found out that their father had intentionally kept them apart.
In comments to an Instagram post about Ed Sr.’s death, fans wanted to know where Crystal has been and why she wasn’t around to take care of her ailing husband — or to tell Dan about his death, at least.
“Ed Jr. said everything fell on him and his sister. WHERE IS CRYSTAL???” one fan wrote.
“Obvious question- what happened to Crystal????” another viewer asked.
“Great episode! Be great if Crystal dropped in,” a third person chimed in.
Roseanne fans were previously reunited with Little Ed’s mom, Crystal, when actress Natalie West returned for several guest spots on the Roseanne revival and the first season of The Conners last year. Crystal was working as a waitress at a casino when fans first saw her.
Ned Beatty, now 82, retired from acting in 2013, so even before his character’s death was written into the script, it’s unlikely he would have returned for The Conners spinoff.
Meanwhile, the return of the Ed Jr. character has Roseanne fans wondering about the fate of Andy Conner, the child of Roseanne’s sister, Jackie (Laurie Metcalf), who hasn’t been seen or mentioned on the spinoff series. While producers originally confirmed they were writing off Andy’s existence as part of a pre-Conners “dream,” The Conners EP and star Sara Gilbert told TV Line that in her mind, Andy’s return is “not off the table entirely.”