While J.R.'s away being awesome, no one plays nicely with John Ross

By Mandi Bierly
Updated July 12, 2012 at 04:57 AM EDT
Zade Rosenthal/TNT
S1 E6
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  • CBS

I was worried when J.R. said he was leaving town last week. But after seeing him in Vegas, I permit him to stay there as long as he likes. He’s tan, his laugh is louder (being near Cliff Barnes is good for him), and he has three spa girls at his beck and call. (“Ladies, help me!”) I wouldn’t have picked him for a manicure man, but then again, if any man’s hands are dirty… Let’s dig in.

John Ross wasn’t able to sleep because he was worried about the ultimatum Christopher gave him — prove J.R. was in on the fraud from the beginning, or goal to jail — and whether Christopher would tell Elena the truth. He reminded Elena that Christopher would say anything to break them up, just incase. Elena sent him toward the main house with an inspirational line that made me howl: “I don’t believe in the war, but I believe in the warrior.”

John Ross had a run-in with Bobby, who was taking his pills so we don’t think they’ve completely dropped the cancer arc. Bobby said J.R.’s big mistake was always underestimating him, and that John Ross was just like his father — “All hat and no cattle.” Ouch! They were interrupted by one of John Ross’ workers informing him the Ryland trucks weren’t coming. Bobby wasn’t happy that Ann had seen her ex, Harris Ryland, and asked him for that favor. Turns out Bobby had a deal in place with the riggers at the site to stage a sickout, and he knew Ryland wouldn’t give something for nothing. Way to go, Ann!

John Ross’ day just got progressively worse. He couldn’t locate trucks to make his first shipment on Friday. Christopher was growing impatient and came to apply more pressure. Vicente, the Venezuelan oil man J.R.’s in business with, paid a visit to make some veiled threats of his own. Sue Ellen refused to bribe Ryland to get his trucks moving because she wants to run a clean gubernatorial campaign. And Marta made another attempt to apologize by suggesting she and John Ross run away together with the money she skimmed off Vicente in the Southfork deal. “I wouldn’t want to go across the street with you. Now leave. Before I do somethin’ we’ll both regret,” John Ross said, closing the door on her. I suspect she’ll regret having told John Ross about how she screwed Vicente. That’s information that might buy John Ross a second chance when Vicente finds out about Bobby winning this round…

It looked like things might turn around for John Ross when he met up with Elena that night and she suggested she draw them a bath while he grabbed them a couple of beers. But then he found a large knife stuck into a photo of him and Elena in her kitchen. Where did Marta learn how to pick locks? Luckily, there are always guys with shotguns hanging around Southfork, so John Ross told Ace and Buck to keep guard and he went to confront Marta. She’d cleared out of her place. I wonder if John Ross would have had it in him to kill her if he had found her? He later told Bum about the predicament, and now Bum’s got himself a Marta mission. Does she die next week?

NEXT: Rebecca attempts to redeem herself by giving Bobby and Christopher that win

As much as I appreciated the comically heavy-handed dissemination of Bobby’s cow wisdom a couple of weeks back, I have to admit I enjoyed the more subtle delivery of this week’s moral: Blackmail isn’t just wrong, it’s bad business. Or, as Bobby put it, “An eye for an eye just makes both people blind.” Christopher was so fixated on his attempt to blackmail John Ross and his decision to not trust Rebecca — who brought that Ewing family document she was doing a poor job of hiding from Tommy to Christopher and Bobby — that he nearly missed his chance to save Southfork. And John Ross was so worried about Christopher playing dirty that he never conceived he’d find a way to beat him fair and square. That document Rebecca found in the files Tommy had stolen was an invoice from a lawyer to Bobby’s grandfather, Aaron Southworth, for the establishment of a trust separating Southfork’s mineral rights from its surface rights in 1941. If they could find the actual document, that’d mean J.R. owns the land but not the oil. He couldn’t drill.

Bobby and Christopher went through Aaron’s belongings in a dusty storage shed and found a key to a safety box in a bronzed baby shoe in his desk. Did he use that as a paperweight or what? They took the key to the bank and opened the box that hadn’t been touched since before Aaron’s death. Naturally, the first thing out was grandpa’s prize pistol. (Chekhov’s gun? Will we see that again?) And then they found the trust document. Good thing they did, too, because Sue Ellen did go to Ryland and try to make a deal for his trucks in exchange for an appointment to the Railroad Commission if/when she’s elected governor.

Ryland wouldn’t accept the position, but since Bobby had slapped him with the back of his hand (I rewound, it was awesome!) for sending a mysterious necklace to Ann that made her ugly cry, he was in the mood to change sides. (And, he wrote a check making a large contribution to Sue Ellen’s campaign, leading me to think he just declined her offer because he has another kickback in mind.) John Ross thought he was back in business, and he was busy gluing together the miniature oil tower he’d dramatically smashed earlier in the episode, when Bobby and Christopher told him about the trust. Bobby, J.R.., and their middle brother, Gary, still control the mineral rights. Gary gave his share to Bobby, so actually, Bobby’s in control of them — so there will be no drilling. J.R. and John Ross are lucky they’re the best things about this show, or we’d be afraid of Vicente’s temper.

J.R. will also be blindsided by this news because he was off preparing to go eye-for-an-eye with Cliff Barnes in Vegas. Turns out, he’s there to get invited to Cliff’s high stakes poker game at the Bellagio. (Massive trash talk potential!) He figured Cliff knew he’d never be able to buy Southfork, so his appearance in Dallas had been to rattle J.R. and keep him from looking for Cliff’s real agenda — which J.R. assumes is bringing gambling to Texas. If it’s a casino Cliff wants to buy, J.R. wants it. If it’s another business, he wants to take it and crush Cliff. J.R. has to get into that game to piece it together. Would Cliff let him in? “For a chance to make money from me, Cliff Barnes would push his momma in a puddle of piranhas,” J.R. told Bum over the phone. (At least I think that’s what he said.) He let out his best laugh yet. “I’ll get in, don’t you worry.”

Cliff’s “driver” came to see J.R. and told him Cliff doubted he could cover the $1 million buy-in. J.R. told him that wouldn’t be problem, so he should call him with the details. “Till then, you also tell Cliff I’m thinkin’ about him,” J.R. added. And thinkin’ of all the poker puns I’ll use in putdowns! J.R. called Bum and told him to find out who the “driver” really was, and also to phone Carlos Del Sol and tell him J.R. needs $1 million. Tell him I need $1 million, too, Bum! (Okay, just $10,000, since we’ve never met.)

Last but not least, we get back to Rebecca and Tommy. Tommy said Christopher hadn’t been using his laptop since the truth about the email came out, but then he sent an email to his lawyer about them finding the trust deed. Tommy knew Rebecca must have handed it over, and he was pissed. Rebecca was newly empowered because she’d just found out she was pregnant — which we all knew from the moment Rebecca had a bloody nose and almost fainted outside the Ewing house, prompting Elena to take her to the doctor, who did some blood work. At the end of the hour, Rebecca took off her wedding ring and band and told Tommy to sell them and leave town — that was the only money he was getting from Christopher. She admitted she loved Christopher and was carrying his child. I assume she told Tommy about the baby so he wouldn’t hurt her for choosing the Ewings over him. Let’s hope she’s right.

I assume it’d be too dark for this show to have Tommy hurt Rebecca, then her go to Christopher bruised and tell him about the baby, and Christopher take Tommy out. But there’s a “bombshell” next episode. I’m thinking someone ends up dead. Who do you think it is? Marta or Tommy? Maybe Ryland? Who’ll be the killer? Bum, Vicente, or John Ross? Christopher? Bobby or Ann (who did look kinda crazed wearing that necklace)? Predictions? Go!

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