As Christopher and John Ross fight over control of Ewing Energies, we once again find ourselves asking, "Who shot J.R.?"
Credit: Zade Rosenthal/TNT
S2 E6
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TNT is promoting next week’s episode as J.R.’s funeral, but aren’t you hoping that the letter he sent Sue Ellen this hour says he was going to fake his death? Who deserves the honor of killing J.R. Ewing, really? If he’s really dead, I hope the letter says that he was going to Venezuela on his way back from Abu Dhabi to make sure no one would come after the Ewing family again to avenge Vicente’s death (and that he wanted Sue Ellen to know where he was in case he never returned). J.R. dying trying to protect the family — specifically John Ross, who Vicente had wanted to suffer — would be a noble exit.

(Update: If you just want to see J.R.’s final scene, watch it below.)

But let’s back up.

We opened with J.R. calling to check in with John Ross, who’d gotten tied up moving Sue Ellen into Elena’s office. John Ross told him they’d won, and that he would wait until J.R. was there to tell Bobby and Christopher that he was giving his father a corner office so J.R. could see their faces. J.R. was allegedly in Abu Dhabi closing some oil leases, but he said he had to take care of one thing before he came back. WHAT?

We got unnecessary slo-mo as John Ross and Sue Ellen, Christopher and Bobby, and Pamela walked to the boardroom. Christopher and Bobby made a bold play: They had Bobby and Gary yank the mineral rights so there would be no more drilling for oil on Southfork until Bobby and Christopher regained controlling interest of the company. Pamela said they’d bankrupt the company, and John Ross said they’d just find another way to make revenue — like selling off Christopher’s methane patent. So whoever Pamela sides with wins. John Ross was confident Pamela would side with him, because, you’ll recall, she told him she would. But Christopher took Pamela to the track to see Ricky Rudd drive their methane-fueled car. He told her how they’d sign a multi-million dollar deal with the city if their car won a race he was organizing to wow the City Council committee in charge of transportation contracts. He begged her to believe in him now.

Sue Ellen, meanwhile, told John Ross that J.R. said without the revenue from the oil, he won’t be able to close the deal in Abu Dhabi. John Ross still wasn’t worried about Pamela going against him. Instead, he went off to behave like a brat in front of his Uncle Gary, who’d come to Dallas to tell Bobby that he fell off the wagon a year ago and his wife left him and now he’s strapped for cash. He needs the profits from the oil, so he wants to know Bobby’s plan will work. Bobby offered to float him a loan. Christopher’s DCT contact had also dropped by the office to see Christopher, who promised her that the race would show the committee that methane was more efficient, reliable, and powerful.

Elena was not at the office. I guess she can’t even work at Ewing Energies now. She was running and didn’t want Drew to join her. But he did. Saving her from Vicente did get him off the hook for giving John Ross and Sue Ellen the ammunition to screw her out of her shares. He finally told her that he was driving those stolen goods so he could save enough money to do 3-D seismic testing on the land that their father died drilling. She said she’d talk to Christopher.

John Ross had gone to see Pamela, and she told him that she and her father agreed that Ewing Energies was stronger with both oil and methane. If he made her choose now, she’d side with Christopher, she said. She was on John Ross’ side until the boys decided to play chicken with the company — fair enough. John Ross told her when Christopher loses this race, her decision to side with him would be easy because without the DCT contract, Christopher has nothing. So from that moment, we knew John Ross would sabotage the car.

NEXT: Game on!

At the racetrack, driver Ricky Rudd told Christopher that the car was loose coming out of the corners on long runs. Something about the crossweight being off. The rub here is that Christopher needs the car to stay out an extra 20 laps longer than the cars running on gas — that’s how Ricky’s going to win the race — but Ricky needs to be able to control the car so he doesn’t wreck or have to slow down. After Ricky did some trashtalking with another driver (“Well, when they figure out how to run a car on bulls—, you’ve got the real advantage,” Ricky said), Christopher promised he’d take care of the problem. The camera lingered on the face of a member of Ricky’s pit crew, and you knew that guy would come into play. Later, Bum met up with John Ross, now dressed in a badass leather jacket, to tell him that Ricky’s mechanic Denny Boyd had major debt thanks to the horse track. John Ross said he’d pay him a visit, and he ultimately made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

Christopher arrived home when Elena was conveniently finishing her shower. She hates that Pamela has this kind of power in Christopher’s life, but she calmed down when Christopher said they would eventually make it right with her shares. Over at Harris’ house, he and Judith told Emma that she was going back to England to work with a dressage trainer. She clearly wanted to stay. Evil! At the office, Sue Ellen made a move on Gary. “Coffee, the beverage of choice for recovering alcoholics everywhere,” she told him. She apologized for John Ross’ cold welcome, and assured him that her seizing Elena’s assets was something she did for herself. She has a right to protect her investments, which is what Gary should do when it comes to Bobby possibly bankrupting the company with this oil standoff, she said. Gary wasn’t swayed but said he appreciated her candor. Sue Ellen told him she thought they should go to the race together. Flirty!

Emma went to see Ann as she was saddling a horse. Emma told a story about her grandmother once telling her that she had the wrong face shape for a haircut, and we understood why Ann’s tale of Harris once belittling her when she got highlights without his permission (even though she’d dyed her hair back before he saw them) had touched Emma. Ann asked her to go on a ride. Ah.

The scene that followed was AMAZING. Harris came into Emma’s room to tell his mother Judith, who was packing Emma’s clothes, that Emma never showed for her dressage lesson that day. He kicked a chair across the room, and Judith icily told him, “Even as a little boy, your temper always got the best of you. Now Pick. That. Up.” Judith knew Emma had gone to see Ann. She told Harris he had to quash that curiosity but not lose control doing it. “I won’t let you lose our daughter,” she said. CREEPY!

NEXT: Harris sucks

Emma and Ann paused on their ride because Emma wasn’t used to riding Western. Dressage is all about control over the animal. The freedom of just riding and letting the horse do what it wants to do — trusting that it knows where it’s going — was new to her. She took off her helmet and just enjoyed it. It was a sweet moment, the kind that made you even more nervous for what would happen when Emma told her father that she’s staying…

Back at the track, a bulked up Christopher (nice T-shirt, son) was magically a top-level mechanic and capable of fixing Ricky’s car. Once the garage was locked up, Denny entered to evil chime music.

While Drew and Elena worked on setting up a lot of cones on their land, Harris sat beside Emma’s bed waiting for her to wake up. She told him she wanted to get a trainer in Dallas and stay with him and get to know Ann. He reminded her that Ann shot him and said it would only be a matter of time before she hurt her. “I have a right to know my mother,” Emma said. “No, you don’t,” Harris snapped. He assumed it was Emma not taking her medication that made her suddenly have her own opinion. He gave her a pill and told her she needs consistency, rules, and boundaries. Whatever J.R. was plotting for Harris, I hope it still goes through.

Drew got the results back, and we’ll just trust him when he says their father hadn’t drilled deep enough. Elena admitted it looks promising, but she said according to the seismic waves, it would either be one hell of a well or it would be too tight to be a producer (whatever that means). Either way, Drew wanted to buy the land back from Bobby and have Elena go into business with him. Why not? She has nothing else going on.

In an interesting twist, John Ross had mentioned to J.R. offscreen that Sue Ellen was working on Gary, and J.R. got jealous enough that he sent Sue Ellen a handful of letters she wrote him back when they were courting — along with a new letter that he’d written to her that she was refusing to open for the moment. She knew he was trying to manipulate her but she also thought it was sweet he’d kept the letters (especially with him in Abu Dhabi!). Later, J.R. called Bum from a swanky bar and got the status report: John Ross had convinced the mechanic to help him with the race, and things were falling into place with Harris. Cryptic!

NEXT: The race, and J.R.’s fate

The DCT committee showed up at the racetrack (with wine, apparently!), as did the Ewings and Pamela. Pamela told John Ross she didn’t enjoy being in the middle of him and Christopher (do not make a three-way joke), and John Ross told her when Christopher loses the race, he’ll enjoy having her back on his team. (Did you think he was going to add “and in my bed”? I did.)

As Elena waved the green flag for the four-car race at Texas Motor Speedway, Judith went in to Emma’s room to hurry her along for their flight and saw that Emma was gone. Eventually, Judith harassed Harris into telling her what he ever saw in Ann that was so bewitching. Harris grabbed her, and to be honest, there was roughly 5 percent of me that thought they might actually kiss. “I loved her,” Harris said, “because she wasn’t you.” He shoved his mother, and she collapsed to the ground in the corner of the hallway in tears.

At first, Ricky looked good in the race — “I sure do love this car,” he told Christopher on the radio. Bad writing, bad delivery, or both? When the other cars came in for their first pit stop, Ricky was able to keep going. But then something happened with Ricky’s pressure regulator and the car started running hot. He had to keep driving without blowing the engine. Master mechanic Christopher got the regulator off the prototype, and Ricky pitted so it could be replaced. They were a lap down. Montage! Why was I biting my nails?! The other cars came in to pit again, and Ricky was able to stay out and gain the lap back. Ultimately, Ricky won on the last lap. Suck it, John Ross!

As Ricky celebrated his win and $250,000 payday, Christopher talked to the flirty DCT woman, who said the committee was ready to push this deal through the City Council as soon as they were convinced Christopher had enough methane to support their fleet. (John Ross’ next attack?) Pamela told Christopher that she and her father are with him because it’s what’s best for the company. So, John Ross and Sue Ellen can’t sell off the methane patent and don’t have control of the company. Christopher said either they give back Elena’s shares, or he and Bobby leave the oil off. John Ross said they were calling his bluff. Christopher told him he’d look back one day and realize he only had himself and his greed to blame for losing that oil.

Ann and Bobby arrived home and found Emma on their doorstep with a suitcase. “Can I stay?” she asked Ann. “Welcome home,” Ann said. Ah. That made that whole story line worth it, right? How soon until John Ross makes a move on Emma?

Speaking of John Ross, he was drinking his worries away when he got a call from J.R. and told him that Christopher had won the race. John Ross said there was a play with the DCT woman, and J.R. told him not to worry — he had a plan, too, and it was going to be his masterpiece because John Ross shouldn’t have to pay for his sins. John Ross asked him what he meant. “Just remember, I’m proud of ya,” J.R said. “You’re my son, from tip to tail.” John Ross got a little teary when he told his father that meant a lot. We heard a door open and then footsteps. J.R. lowered the phone, like he knew what was coming. We watched John Ross’ face as he heard two gunshots. “J.R.? Hello? Dad! Dad! Dad?” John Ross yelled.

Producers had to rework episodes after Larry Hagman’s death. Of course this one had to end with us once again asking, “Who shot J.R.?” What’s your guess?

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