Entertainment Weekly


Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content


Dallas recap: The Return of J.R.

J. R. comes back to Southfork for an emotional moment with the ailing, while Christopher and John Ross try to make peace, and someone gets shot

Posted on



TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
Barbara Bel Geddes, Linda Gray, Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy, Charlene Tilton, Victoria Principal

The penultimate episode of the triumphant comeback season of Dallas moved all the show’s chess pieces to the edge of chaos — and then, in the final two minutes, pushed everything over the edge into freefall. (I’ll be filling in for your usual Ewing wrangler Mandi Bierly, who was last seen trapped in the northwest quadrant of Larry Hagman’s eyebrows. She’ll be back for next week’s finale.) At the beginning of the episode, Christopher and Rebecca went out shopping for an adorable stuffed monkey doll. Rebecca brought the monkey home and set it next to the other stuffed monkey. Everything was going so well. Alas, Tommy was lurking up at the top of the stairway. “You and Papa Bear have a nice day out?” he asked, clearly having rehearsed that line for a few hours while he waited for Rebecca to return. He laid it out simply for her: Get Christopher’s keycard, or he would destroy her happy life.

Speaking of happy people whose lives are destroyed by lurking scumbags: Sue Ellen was hanging out in her campaign headquarters, no doubt getting ready for the ceremonial gubernatorial arm-wrestle with outgoing Governor Rick Perry, when Harris Ryland slimed through her office door. He offered her a sip of wine. She kindly explained that she stopped drinking during the H.W. Bush administration. He told her that he knew about the bribe offer, and demanded that she launder some money for him.

Meanwhile, John Ross and Elena made an intriguing discovery. They realized that they could slant-drill into the Southfork oil supply by bringing the Henderson drill down under the ranch, thus not disturbing beautiful Southfork. Or something. Here, I got a clip of John Ross explaining everything:

Christopher came in at just the wrong time. He felt betrayed: After all he’s done for John Ross, now his cousin is back to drilling Southfork’s oil? Bobby quieted them down. He said “This family is in trouble! We need to work together to get out of it!” And then he suffered a cerebral aneurysm. Curiously, it wasn’t directly related to his cancer — although the doctor indicated that the chemotherapy treatments may have weakened him. John Ross demanded that Bum find J.R., and quick. Meanwhile, Bobby insisted that he return back to Southfork. Ann begged him to say, but Bobby noted: “We can get a nurse, hospital equipment, and an ambulance to stand by.” It’s good to be rich.

The next morning, Rebecca swung by Southfork to give her husband a back massage and share an awkward moment (or five) with Elena. As she was leaving, she noticed that Christopher had left his man-bag in his car. She found his keycard…but she couldn’t take it.

Because every action has an equal and opposite reaction, Rebecca’s decision to be a good person instantly caused J.R. Ewing to appear. Ann wouldn’t let him see Bobby, and she didn’t mince words: “I’ll shoot you,” she said, “and since you have no heart, it’ll be somewhere more vital.” “Damn woman’s out of her mind,” said J.R., fleeing to his sour corner of the mansion.

Christopher tried to talk some sense into John Ross. He reminded his cousin that Bobby essentially raised him, not the mischievous man with icicle eyebrows. “The John Ross that I used to know loved my father,” said Christopher. “If any of that person is still inside of you, you’ll do whatever it takes to get Southfork back for him.” So John Ross went on the offensive with J.R. He said how tired he was about his father talking about his birthright. J.R. kicked him out of the house: “I’m too old to have a roommate.” John Ross finally realized that seeking love from his father was like expecting to make money by throwing hundred-dollar bills into a burning pit of quicksand. Meanwhile, Sue Ellen confronted J.R. and gave him a cathartic slap on the face. “You leave a path of destruction anywhere you go,” she said. “You are done destroying our son’s life.”

NEXT: J.R. and Bobby have a moment