John goes full Michelle Tanner when confusion sets in
Credit: Rod Millington/Netflix
S3 E9
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Well hey, look at that — John is actually in the hospital. Nothing about it is logical, but hey, that’s what it is. It seems that John didn’t drown, but he did end up in the hospital, and he has no memory of how it happened. It seems to be from oxygen deprivation to the entire body, which John claims is due to a diving incident. His doctor believes him, but the state troopers in town do not. He and Mike were diving, and John did run out of breath, but once he was resuscitated, it appears that John revealed a whole ton of information… enough to open an investigation. When Sally comes to get John, he explains that he and Mike were diving together, but she has no idea who Mike is. When he references the night before, Sally tells him that Diana took the kids out of town for the trial.

In this crazy alternate world, Sally is divulging all this information to John and even goes on to say that Danny is alive. Eric O’Bannon was shot and killed after trying to escape prison, and reality as we know it is pretty much turned upside down. Sally looks over from the driver’s seat and asks if John is okay, and when she does, they drive headfirst into a truck, and the car flips. Sally is slumped against the steering wheel, and it would appear that we’ve lost our matriarch.

Or have we? John wakes up in the hospital again, the same way he did before. His doctor is still Dr. Quinlan, but this time, that doctor is a man, not a woman. Dr. Quinlan asks about what happened, and John goes back to the diving story, but the doctor says John took some pills and drank, and they found him in a garage with a car engine running. He was unconscious, and it looks like John either tried to kill himself or was set up to look like that.

When he fights Dr. Quinlan and says that he has to leave, John runs into the hallway to look for the troopers, who don’t believe his story. But instead, he runs square into Danny. YES, DANNY. Danny takes John home and explains that everything is okay, even though it’s going to take some time to get John back on track. But Danny has a job and a good relationship with Nolan, so I guess we should just forget season 2, ya know? Danny drives John to the inn, where everyone is inside. Danny drops him off and takes off because he has work… because he’s alive now.

When John walks in, he discovers that Kevin has been taken away in handcuffs. When Belle and Sally ask for his help, John insists he can’t help, but they fawn all over him, saying how grateful they are for his good ideas. He walks back outside to discover that Danny is gone, too, but the truck is still there. If you’re lost, it’s fine. We all are. This is ninth-season-of-Dallas crazy. As John rifles through the truck, Nolan appears to ask what he’s doing, and that’s when Nolan launches in on how bad things are always going to happen. The dialogue lines up perfectly with a conversation John had with Danny back in season 1.

John heads to the police station and runs into his own colleague/fling from earlier this season. She whispers, “It’s okay John, your secret is safe with me. I put the files you wanted on your desk.” Who knows exactly what that means because he’s interrupted by Aguirre, who comes in and talks about seat belts. Yes, seat belts. You wear one and don’t even notice it, but when you hit something going quickly, that seat belt hits you real hard. And John has been going full speed this whole series. Danny died. Marco died. Trial happened. Nolan showed up. Kevin just exists. And when it all stops, the traumatic stress throws John straight through the windshield… of life. So Aguirre puts him on mandatory leave.

At the beachfront restaurant, John takes a spot at the bar, and a waitress comes to get his order. She puts him down for the regular and says he’s always waiting on someone, but of course, he never shows. That takes us to the bus stop, where John is waiting on Danny, but the only person who shows up is John. Yes, JOHN. John shows up for John and has a conversation with himself, like when Michelle lost her memory on the series finale of Full House, but much, much darker. With that, we launch back to the first episode, and ROBERT is back as well. Danny didn’t show and Meg took John’s tug-of-war team. It’s the actual pilot, recreated.

John walks back into the inn to discover Sally telling young Danny that he’s the one who is closest to her and that he’ll inherit the inn. Adult John tries to figure out what’s going on, but Sally simply asks if John’s completed his homework because that’s where we’re at these days. Since he finished all his homework (probably), John goes home to his house. The kitchen is empty, but he finds a way to make dinner for them anyway before Janie comes in and tells him he shouldn’t be there.
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Unable to figure out what’s real and what’s not, John grabs some pills and goes on a drive. He calls Danny and says, “You’re right. I think we should meet.” It’s a callback to a moment we’ve seen with Danny and John before, right as Lowry’s old hit man is about to kill Danny. They plan to meet at the bay where John killed Danny back when.

So John heads to a bar and has some drinks, but the voices in his head have gotten seriously out of control. He starts hitting himself to try to get it settled, and that’s when we flash to him upstairs at the Rayburn home, where he’s thrown up in the toilet. When he comes downstairs, we’re back at the family meeting scene, where Sally has called everyone together/Danny calls John out for nearly killing him.

After that discussion, Chelsea calls John to tell him that she’s leaving. It doesn’t make a ton of sense, but John demands to know where she is. She says she’s at the funeral home, and when he gets there, Eric is in the casket. In this world, Kevin still killed Marco, and John protected him. Eric tried to escape, and now he’s dead. And Chelsea? She’s gotta leave town and leave the bad behind.

We flash back into John’s truck, where Nolan explains that Eric was his dad’s best friend. Nolan is pretty disheartened, but then he asks John if he has any good stories at all about Danny. So John launches into a story about learning to swim with Danny, and all of a sudden, young Danny appears in the passenger seat, and they’re laughing together like old times. But as soon as the laughter starts, Nolan flashes back into the seat. He says he wants the truth… not about the swimming story but about John. Did John try to kill himself?

We go back to the boat in the water; John on the boat’s edge, and the necklace is back in the water. It’s a throwback to when Danny once took Sarah out on the family boat. John, of course, tells Danny not to, but the comparison makes sense. All of this responsibility John has on his shoulders goes back to Sarah, so it would have been fitting if John died the same way she did.

But he didn’t, so we flash back one more time to John in the hospital, spinning his patient bracelet, waking up from his near death. There is now another Dr. Quinlan; this doctor is black and not one of the first two. John skips semantics and just pushes past him to go find Nolan. He gives Nolan the speech he wanted to give him in the truck, on the way from Eric’s wake, but in this world (maybe reality?), Eric isn’t dead. Nolan’s been dealing with Sally, who is in the hospital. All the Dr. Quinlans are present. Sally has apparently taken a handful of pills, and Dr. Quinlan No. 3 approaches John about the DNR his mother signed and how her medical proxy may not be old enough to make the call. You guessed it… she had it changed to Nolan.

But when John goes to visit Sally’s bedside, Danny shows up and announces, “No, this isn’t it. Mom isn’t the answer.” He tells him to think about it. He tells John to think about that day on the beach when he witnessed his dad beat Danny. And then he says, “Think, John. Why do you need me here?” So it’s settled: This isn’t a ghost world or an alternate reality. This is John’s mind at work, and Danny is trying to make John realize what’s he’s trying to do and what John hasn’t been able to accomplish. John apologizes to Danny for not being there for him, but it appears that Sally is coding and that it’s all too late.

John wakes up one more time out on the beach after sleeping in the sun. Sally says, “Lunch is ready,” and she tells John that he gave her quite a scare, going out diving alone. In this world, Mike really did save John, and John is still recovering from nearly drowning. But just when you think this might be reality, Danny appears outside the window and says, “You’re not done yet, John. We’re not done.”

With only the series finale remaining, who knows exactly what’s going on in this world. But we do know one thing: Maybe just don’t go diving at all.

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