JR (Larry Hagman) is back! And not a moment too soon as TNT’s Dallas kicks it into high gear with only two episodes left in its rebirthed inaugural season. So why does this feel like a season finale?!
Let’s bitch it out…There were several times over the course of ‘Family Business’ that I looked up the episode number online. Yup, still episode nine. Considering that Dallas‘ first season run is an abbreviated ten episodes and given the crazy events of this episode, I kept wondering if I’d miscounted…because ladies and gentlemen, sh*t went down in this episode!
Obviously the big news is the double cliffhanger that ended the hour:
- Bobby (Patrick Duffy), who earlier is taken to the hospital with a cerebral aneurysm, suffers another attack and is rushed from Southfork by ambulance. (I guess the hospital set was so expensive that they needed to use it again?) As a fan of Duffy, this is not looking good: from the pilot on, the show has more or less labeled Bobby a dead man walking and there’s a strong chance that Dallas was simply using him in these first ten episodes to carry the narrative until we began to care about the next generation (In which case he better stick around!)
- Our second cliffhanger seems tailor made from soap operas and reaches levels of ludicrous not seen since the days when Venezuelan whoors were pitched out of hotel balconies onto cars (so…a few episodes back): Rebecca (Julie Gonzalo) is attacked by not-brother Tommy (Callard Harris) and during the altercation, her gun goes off, spraying the twin monkeys she and Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) bought earlier with blood. It’s a classic case of “who got shot?” that is unlikely to end with a any surprises (you do the math: Harris is a guest star, Gonzalo is a lead). Nevertheless, the ambivalence of which body got metaled is enough to make me itch for the next episode.
So there are essentially two main characters in mortal jeopardy at the end of the hour…but it’s not the season finale? Well played, Dallas.
Of course, there’s also plenty of “not so good” ridiculousness, as well. The de-fanging of John Ross (Josh Henderson) is particularly disappointing considering that he’s the lone “new generation” Ewing that is actually engaging to watch. I mean, sure, it’s fun to count how many times Elena (Jordana Brewster) comes close to putting solid food in her mouth without actually doing so, but that’s a drinking game…not a television show. The idea that Christopher, John Ross and Elena would settle their differences so easily and amicably is almost as unbelievable as the idea that Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) would simply roll over when a dud like Harris Rylan (Mitch Pileggi) blackmails her because he knows she tried to blackmail the chief medical examiner (that guy must be the most popular medical practitioner in town for all these muckety-mucks to know him). There’s narrative promise in the shot of Sue Ellen contemplating taking her first drink in over 20 years (drunk Sue Ellen was way more fun than sober Sue Ellen is now). We’ll have to wait a week to see if she succumbs.
Other Considerations (aka hilariously unintentional comedy pieces):
- When we see Tommy being threatened by Cliff’s driver in the bar, all I could think of was: “Oh, so he’s the new Marta Del Sol” Funny how some things remain the same
- Rebecca calls Tommy a master thief. We’ll take your word for it since we’ve literally never seen Tommy perform a single theft. Except for valuable airtime. Does that count?
- Similarly, Bobby praises John Ross and Christopher for being smarter than he and JR were at their age. Riiight. One was recently framed for murder and the other was duped by a pair of grifters over a period of more than two years(!). Yeah…these boys are geniuses
- What is sillier: Metcalfe’s indignant delivery of the line “They’re running tests” (while waiting for Bobby’s results at the hospital) or the unnecessary flashback when Rebecca contemplates stealing his keys (thanks for the reminder of what happened a whole 15 minutes ago)? I’ll give this round to Metcalfe since he makes his line sound as though “running tests” is something hospital workers are just doing to p*ss him off. Running tests??? Those bastards!
- Also hilarious: Brewster’s acting in the scene when she and Rebecca are left alone at Southfork. I love how Elena totally gives Rebecca the stank eye, almost as if she saying “here’s your coffee – I poisoned it.” Oh, oh, and since she’s holding a coffee mug, we get to play the drinking game. It looks like Elena might ingest something and then…we cut to another scene. Everybody drink!
- Did anyone else want Bobby to call out that he smelled burnt toast when he went down? No? Must be a Canadian thing
- Example of neutered John Ross: when JR asks him “what’s gotten into you?”, John Ross responds “a little decency.” Know what got into me? Vomit. You have a moles-tache – you need to be villainous! Stop buying into your dumb step-brother’s energy plans and do something dirty and underhanded
- Example of un-neutered Ann: calling JR a sociopath and threatening to shoot his balls off because he has no heart. Problematically, of course, she’s only this way when threatening someone with gun violence. Put her in a scene with Sue Ellen and it’s nothing but tea, talk of motherhood and concessions to blackmailers. Why are the women on this show so passive?!
- Finally, thanks for showing up for two seconds, Elena’s mom. I almost forgot all these rich white people could afford a Latino housemaid. Glad you were around to remind us. Looking forward to seeing you on Marc Cherry’s new show, Devious Maids, next year. Take care of yourself!
- Christopher (elaborating why he came to the twins’ ultrasound): “Oh course I came. I’m the father” Subtitle: I am man. I bring fire. Stay in the cave or I drag you around by the hair!
- Harris (elaborating why he backed Sue Ellen): “What set you apart was your malleability to my needs”
- Mean daddy Bobby (to a riled up Christopher, intent on fighting John Ross): “If I have to sit you down, son, I will”. Do it Bobby! Give your bratty son a time out!
- John Ross (to Kevin Page’s PI Bug): “I’ve never kicked an old man’s ass, but today’s as good a day as any”
- Nurse (to Ann): “Mr. Ewing is awake and he wants to do things.” Is this a Freudian slip / that’s what she said joke?
- Ann (to JR, when he doesn’t understand why she’s kicking him out): “Oh course you don’t: you’re a sociopath”
- JR (to Sue Ellen): “I’m back baby and I’m going to be bigger than eve”:. We certainly hope so, JR
And then there was one. A single episode of Dallas 2.0 remains until next summer. Do you really think Sue Ellen will drop out of the Congressional race? Are Bobby and Rebecca goners? Will Ann’s burnt baby pictures resurface in the finale? And will Elena finally eat something solid? Hypothesize away on the comments below
Dallas airs Wednesdays at 9pm EST on TNT