Dallas recap: Like Father, Like Son
JR and John Ross join forces as the battle for Southfork continues
That sound you heard was Dallas fans breathing a collective sigh of relief that no one in the world’s poshest barber shop had the balls to ask JR Ewing if he wanted his eyebrows trimmed. NEVER! It may not be smart to put a pool table in the middle of a room lined with barbers wielding straight razors — how many times a day do they get hit in the back by a pool cue? — but it was brilliant to start the episode there, with JR finishing up his deceitful son John Ross’ shave. “I loved my daddy, and I respected my daddy,” JR said while sliding the blade across John Ross’ throat. “But most importantly, I feared my daddy.” And with that, we were again reminded why Dallas is the delicious reboot none of us knew we even wanted.
To everyone’s surprise, JR wasn’t prepared to slit his son’s throat. In fact, he was remarkably understanding about John Ross and “Marta” trying to cheat him out of 2 billion barrels worth of oil. He knew he hadn’t been there for John Ross during his formative years, but if given the chance, he wanted to teach him about Big Oil now. They shook on it, hugged, and got right down to business. JR said he wanted to meet the real money men fronting them the cash to steal Southfork from Bobby, and John Ross told JR about lawyer Lobell blackmailing him for more money to keep Bobby in the dark. The calm confidence in JR’s voice — even as he told John Ross to go find the witness Lobell had paid off 15 years ago when his drunk-driving son killed an elderly woman in a crosswalk — was somehow as comforting as a narrator’s voice in an animated Christmas classic. Maybe that’s why John Ross smiled the way he did (or, it could have just been Josh Henderson realizing JR Ewing had called him “partner”).
Rather than do a straight recap each week, I think we’ll break the episodes down by Who’s Screwing Who.
Let’s start with “Marta,” who appears to be screwing John Ross in multiple ways. Last week, we saw her drug John Ross and make a sex tape. Why? It was not explained. This week, it was the uneasy look she and her “Venezuelan oil man” associate shared after JR renegotiated their deal that made me think she was pulling one over on John Ross. Also, the way she popped a pill after JR said screwing him twice wasn’t a risk she wanted to take made me think she will, at some point, die from what will be made to look like an accidental overdose. Will it be JR or John Ross killing her after finding out she and her oil man had no intention of conveying Southfork to them after buying it from Bobby for a cool $50 million (in exchange for 14% of oil profits)? Or will it be her associate who does it when he believes she’s threatening their scheme? And what are those pills she has? In my dreams, they’re to keep her alternate personality from breaking through — a woman with anger issues who’s into bondage and filmed her sexcapade with John Ross so she could replay it on the nights when she couldn’t drug a man to be her submissive. What? Too much?
NEXT: Grumpiest Old Men
Bobby is screwing cancer, or so he hopes. First of all, let’s acknowledge that this doctor this week wasn’t quite as wooden as the one who diagnosed Bobby’s cancer. Secondly, Bobby’s surgery successfully removed the tumor, but because of its size and location, he’ll need more treatment to lessen the chance of recurrence, and that could have some side effects. “Hair loss isn’t one of them, right?” Bobby asked. “Okay, I’m good to go.” Ha! Nothing that serious, Bobby! Just some liver damage, cardiomyopathy, and, in rare cases, heart failure. Ann felt foolish for thinking the surgery would make everything okay, but I think she’s being too hard on herself. As fast as this show moves, we all thought we’d wrap this cancer plot up this week. Bobby’s definitely feeling better: He decided not to sell Southfork because he believes he’ll be around to protect it.
JR is screwing Bobby, who might be figuring that out. John Ross heard from Lobell that Bobby had put the sale on hold indefinitely. John Ross had a brilliant albeit far-fetched plan: He bribed one of JR’s fellow nursing home residents with the promise of a steak and a blonde to phone Bobby and pretend to be JR’s doctor suggesting that JR move back into Southfork and spend time with the family to help with his recovery. Ann fluttered off to get the guest room ready. Bobby was skeptical: “It’ll be great having a rattlesnake in the house.” When JR arrived home, he walked in on Bobby and Cliff Barnes, Pam’s brother, who wanted Bobby to sell him Southfork. “Time has not been kind to that face. But I do recall the smell of brimstone and crazy,” JR snapped when Cliff asked if he remembered him. Love it! Cliff pointed out how well JR was taking the news that Southfork could go to a conservancy. ARE YOU LISTENING, BOBBY? Cliff exited after he and JR traded some more zingers: Cliff said if JR was real nice, Bobby might let him spend the rest of his miserable days on Southfork. “I’ll be there when they put you in the ground, Barnes. Listen close. I’ll be the one dancing on the dirt overhead,” JR called after him. I’m imagining a Grumpiest Old Men web series starring the two of them in the offseason.
Later, Pistol Ann nearly shot JR when she heard noise in the family archive room, which is obviously in the barn. “Bullets don’t seem to have much of an effect on me, darlin’,” he said. Ha, again! JR told Ann his doctor had said it would be good for him to revisit his past, and that he agreed with Bobby’s initial decision to sell Southfork to end the family drama. Ann said perhaps the next generation would get it right, which is what Bobby wants. JR smiled. He’d found his mother’s old journal and handed it over to John Ross, telling him it was time to get his hands dirty and show Bobby that he was just like his daddy “from tip to tail” to get the deal moving again. At breakfast (JR cooks!), John Ross stormed in and pretended to have taken the journal from JR’s room. Miss Ellie, Bobby and JR’s mother, had written about her time in a mental institution when she was having trouble accepting their father’s death. It may not be enough to get her will overturned, but it would give John Ross the chance to air Miss Ellie’s dirty laundry in court for all to hear. JR pretended to protest. “You had your chance to claim Southfork. I ain’t gonna fail like you did,” John Ross told him. Slap! John Ross told Bobby he had 24 hours to contact him. That did it. Good son Bobby signed the paperwork to sell Southfork to the conservancy. That night in bed, Ann told Bobby about seeing JR looking for the journal — so she suspects he gave it to John Ross. Ann was surprised that Bobby wasn’t more upset. He said it just proves JR is still JR. I saw a look on Bobby’s face that might mean he’s asking himself WHY JR would do that? If JR thinks he’s fooling Bobby, to what end? Let’s hope he figures it out. Not that it matters, really. I’m not a lawyer, but I can’t imagine that Bobby would have any trouble proving this whole deal was a fraud in court.
NEXT: Rebecca is more interesting than Christopher
Lobell is screwing John Ross. Again. Even though Bobby signed the papers, John Ross and JR are vulnerable until the Venezuelans sell Southfork over to them. So, Lobell threatened to tell Bobby the truth and have them charged with fraud if his payday doesn’t increase to $5 million. John Ross played it cool enough, because he thought his private eye would find that witness. No such luck. The witness died 10 years ago. Could John Ross tell Marta about Lobell threatening to blow the deal and instead of her ODing, she’ll make it look like Lobell did? The private eye did have some good news for John Ross though. He found out who sent that horribly impersonal breakup email from Christopher to Elena…
Rebecca has screwed Christopher, but no longer wants to. It was Rebecca who’d sent that email. We weren’t shocked since her brother/new Southfork ranch hand Tommy had interrupted Rebecca’s target practice with Ann (oh, the many ways to a Ewing man’s heart!) to ask her to install a program on Christopher’s computer to give them remote access. Tommy doesn’t want this Southfork deal to go through. Why? Because the money will go into Christopher’s alternative energy business instead of her pockets when she divorces him? Because they think she can eventually get Southfork in a divorce settlement? It was clear from Rebecca dragging her heels that she truly cares for Christopher now, regardless of what her intentions were when she first met him. (How did she and Tommy target Christopher?) After Tommy sent Rebecca cell phone photos of Elena and Christopher embracing and kissing, you thought she was ready to fire up the old laptop, but then Christopher did something truly shocking — he told Rebecca the truth. He and Elena had gone to Southfork to tell Bobby they’d figured out how to not kill people extracting methane hydrates, and Bobby told him he had cancer. Christopher felt lost, and Elena was there and comforted him. It made him realize what was important though — family. He wants Rebecca to know he loves her everyday, and he wants them to move into Southfork until the sale is final so he can take care of his dad. She hugged him and threw the program in the trash can.
So what’s John Ross’ play now? Will this bring the boys momentarily together — the only one who’s going to screw a Ewing is a Ewing. Or will he blackmail Rebecca into helping him screw Christopher, who he doesn’t consider a Ewing because he’s adopted? I’m expecting the latter, especially if John Ross still wants to win Elena back and realizes sharing this now will send Christopher right into her arms. I think John Ross has too much on his plate to worry about his love life, but he could also blackmail Rebecca, who’s working hard to be friends with Elena for her own selfish reasons, into trying to get Elena to take him back…
Cliff Barnes is trying to screw the Ewings. Cliff summoned his nephew and Rebecca for dinner at his hotel, at which he’s rich enough to book an entire floor. He hadn’t seen Christopher in at least five years, but he wanted to invest $1 million in his business. Christopher said no. He knows Cliff’s trying to get one up on the Ewings. “You are never gonna be one of them, Christopher, and don’t let them destroy you like they did Pam,” Cliff said as Christopher and Rebecca walked out. I love it when Christopher gets angry… enough to work in bed shirtless.
Your turn. What did you think of the episode? What was your favorite line of the night? (I’m going with JR’s “The best way to understand a man is to talk to his friends, and his enemies. My friends are in the State House. My enemies are gonna be harder to find.” All you need to do is come in for a close-up and it’s gold.) And what are your theories for who will be screwing who next week?