It's Emma's pool party, and she'll clomp around in chunky shoes if she wants to!
Credit: Skip Bolen/TNT
S3 E3
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Between the Lesser Prairie Chicken defense, Emma’s over-the-top pool lounging, and the facial expression Judith Ryland makes when a drink has bite, this was another delightfully sudsy episode. Lather up.

We opened with Bobby and Ann being driven back to their abandoned car. The walk to their vehicle was an excuse for us to admire how good Brenda Strong looks in tight pants and boots. Once seated inside, Ann wondered if it was safe for Emma to ride alone on Southfork. Bobby said he’d beef up security and vowed that both Emma and Ann would always be safe there. (Famous last words? Read what Patrick Duffy had to say about that.)

At home, John Ross was murdering some pancakes, which he conveniently eats sans syrup and avec whipped cream. He was spraying some of the latter on Pamela’s cleavage and licking it off when Emma came passing through the kitchen on her way to the pool. When Pamela turned her back again, Emma flashed John Ross a look at her hot red cutout swimsuit from beneath her more modest coverup. Sue Ellen, it turns out, was lurking nearby and presumably saw the full show. Cue the opening credits!

Bobby and a cowboy named Nate had just finished riding Southfork’s perimeter to make sure it was secure — Bobby wants more muscle at the gates and all ranch hands to ride armed — when Nate got the call that there was a disturbance. John Ross’s plans to frack haven’t gone over well. There had been vandalism with fun phrases like, “Drill this,” “Greedy pricks,” and the obvious winner, “Go Frack Yourself.” Bobby and Nate rode up and found John Ross in a fistfight with Bo. Bobby made Nate hold up on playing referee for a minute so John Ross would learn his lesson — ha! — then Bobby separated the boys. He assured the hands he’d stop John Ross just like he’d stopped J.R., and he told John Ross this is what you get when you threaten to take away a man’s livelihood.

Back at the house, Sue Ellen was distracted doing the seating chart for John Ross and Pamela’s reception, so she told Ann her concerns about Emma and John Ross. Since Sue Ellen was right about Emma’s drug use, Ann handled it rather well. Slightly more confrontational: Christopher’s sitdown with Cliff Barnes in his Mexican prison. There was a lot of talking when really, I just wanted to enjoy Christopher’s beard again. Oh, and the way his sunglasses stayed perfectly positioned on his shirt even when he got angry. Christopher left the jail, and a little kid snagged his wallet. I assumed Nicolas was behind that. I was wrong.

Nicolas, meanwhile, was busy offering Rhonda $25,000 if she were to come forward and tell the truth that the Ewings bribed her to implicate Cliff Barnes in J.R.’s murder. Her bank account shows that she deposited $20,000 right after she moved back to the States. He told her to accept good luck when it comes around because it likely won’t be back, and then he gave her his card to call him when she’s ready (assuming it’s before the end of the next day because this show moves quickly).

Ann caught Emma suggestively caressing her legs by the pool as John Ross walked by. She asked Emma to dress more conservatively around him. She also suggested she maybe stick close to home. But Emma is 22 and no one controls her, she snapped. That’s right — if she wants to walk around the pool in chunky shoes, we must let her. And if she wants to get herself killed sometime later this season, we must accept that. Fuming from being scolded, Emma happily accepted Pamela’s offer to go help her shop for her honeymoon.

NEXT PAGE: Everyone’s lunching

Bobby’s gentlemen’s lunch with the railroad commissioner didn’t go according to plan: He wanted his friend to deny John Ross’s permit to frack on Southfork, but the guy said he couldn’t stop someone from drilling every time the Sierra Club got its panties in a bunch. I’m paraphrasing. John Ross’s next move involved NOT firing Bo for taking a swing at him — John Ross liked the workout — but blackmailing him into supporting the fracking. If Bo doesn’t get the men who look up to him to see there’s more money in fracking and join Team John Ross, he’ll tell Bobby and/or the police about Bo’s side job as a drug dealer.

Ann had gone to Harris to try to convince him to tell Emma that he’s working for the CIA so Emma might, perhaps, trust him again and not act out. But after he refused to do that, Ann, for reasons I’ll never understand, told Harris her suspicion that Emma was sleeping with John Ross. I guess she thought he’d find a way to shut it down because he hates John Ross so much, but John Ross is still family, so maybe don’t throw him to the wolves. Emma continued to have fun with Pamela as Operation Lingerie got in full swing. She asked how Pamela knew John Ross was the one. She said she recently met someone but it’s mostly great sex. Oh, John Ross is epic, Pamela said. Man, she’s going to feel like such a fool when she learns the truth. I should have been suspicious when Emma told Pamela to get something that she could try out on John Ross the next night because Emma loves a good kiss and tell. Were you?

Sue Ellen was at lunch with Bum, playing him nearly as well. She apologized again for involving him in her suspicions about John Ross and thanked him profusely for telling her the truth. She told him he was a good man who regrets all the heartache he’d caused her by not telling her about J.R.’s philandering. Man, she’s good. She even toasted to John Ross and Pamela living happily and faithfully ever after.

Back in Mexico, Christopher found Nicolas’ old partner Eduardo Vega working in a shop. According to a 2004 Wall Street Journal story, Nicolas had earned his first $100 million by effectively stealing a drug patent out from under Vega and marketing it as a generic across all of Latin America without giving him anything. Nicolas was going to fund his research and then they’d split the profits 50/50. Vega’s name was on the patent, but Nicolas had a contract defining him as work for hire. Everything Nicolas did was technically legal, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a chronic dick. Again, I’m paraphrasing. Christopher said he wanted to piece together Nicolas’ questionable background to better understand Ewing Global’s current situation, and Vega said good luck: Nicolas hadn’t existed before 1997. I love that Vega just happened to keep his file on Nicolas in his shop.

At the gun range, Elena shot the hell out of a target’s privates and convinced the employee that her man had cheated on her right there. Presumably, she asked him to show her the security footage so she could find out whom her man had been with — so she could really catch a glimpse of whoever stole Cliff’s gun from his locker. Only all the footage from the days she’d requested was gone.

Even just sitting on the couch under a blanket doing a crossword, Judith Ryland is scary. The way Judith Light practically snarled from taking a long swig from her snifter — amazing. Harris told her that Emma is being controlled by John Ross and the files Emma took from him included some unflattering ones on her. They’re his insurance policy should Judith ever turn on her son. “Lucky for you, my instinct for self-preservation is stronger than my instinct for revenge,” she said. Now she wants to find something to compromise John Ross so he’ll return said files. Fun!

Speaking of John Ross, he was chatting with Bum when Emma dropped by for a visit. It was John Ross’s turn to be scolded. This is not discreet. He has a wife at home. Yes, John Ross said, so Bum better figure out a way to get Harris back in jail soon so he can stop hooking up with Emma. Bum let John Ross know it’s Emma’s grandmother he should really be worried about. Emma said she’s her grandma’s angel and John Ross’s devil. She disrobed to reveal the lingerie she’d purchased. She told him to leave it on her — she wanted him to remember her in it. CLUE NO. 2 that Emma is TWISTED. Bum went straight to Sue Ellen’s house and told him that he’d lied to her — she was right about John Ross and Emma.

Christopher left his hotel, apparently not realizing that his wallet was missing, and got into a car with big strong strangers because they told him they could give him answers about Nicolas. Really, Christopher?

NEXT PAGE: Bobby wins… this round

Back at Southfork, Bobby interrupted John Ross’s little meeting with the now more agreeable ranch hands. Bobby’s lunchtime chat with the railroad commissioner had sparked an idea: He’s gotten the Sierra Club interested in investigating whether fracking on Southfork will endanger the precious Lesser Prairie Chicken population. I had never heard of the Lesser Prairie Chicken either, John Ross. But Bobby’s right, it is cute. Love the shot from inside its cage peeking out at John Ross.

Nicolas was cooking for Elena while they waited for Rhonda’s call. The stress was making Elena drink more than Sue Ellen. Luckily, Nicolas is also a masseuse. In case you missed that the shoulder rub was getting sensual, the closeups of his hands helped. Just when they almost kissed, Rhonda called. Nicolas should’ve listened to Elena: The Ewings are always one step ahead. Rhonda had brought… Bobby along. She’d phoned him for advice when she was approached by a stranger offering her big money for the truth about what she saw the night J.R. was shot. Bobby told her that she could tell his business associate the truth. She repeated the same story. Nicolas gave her the money anyway, so at least that’s something nice. (Unless that will come back to bite the Ewings in the ass somehow.)

John Ross got home to his bedroom, and Pamela was there lighting candles. She took off her robe to reveal the same lingerie Emma had been wearing earlier at his office. I think Pamela’s was more teal than green in that light. The flashbacks made John Ross feel so guilty, he said he wasn’t feeling well and asked for a rain check. He went to take a shower. Couldn’t he have taken Pamela with him since that means she would have had to take the lingerie off? A scoundrel should’ve been able to handle it then. Maybe there’s hope for John Ross yet. (Look at that spin!)

Nicolas told Elena that Bobby had been at his meet, and she thought maybe it was time she accept that the Ewings always win. But remember what Nicolas’ old partner said: NICOLAS always wins. Now was apparently the time for him to tell Elena what he’s always wanted to say but never found the right moment for: He’s never wanted a woman more than he wants her. He wants a chance to make her happy, if she’ll allow it. Oh, she’ll allow it. Sex scene!

Christopher, we learned, had been brought by those men to see… Nicolas’ wife. Oh good, we can really start hating him now!

Your turn. Sudsy enough for you?

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