'Dallas' Premiere Recap: The Fight for Ewing Energies
'Dallas' Premiere Recap: The Fight for Ewing Energies
Morgan Glennon
Morgan Glennon
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Welcome back to Southfork, Dallas devotees! The show, which surprised everyone this summer by being deliciously decadent fun, returns to sow more trouble among the forever-bickering Ewing clan.

But first let's address the elephant in the room with amazing eyebrows: the indomitable Larry Hagman, who recently passed away at age 81. Hagman's J.R. was frankly one of the things that worked about the Dallas reboot from the first second of the first episode. That was all on Larry Hagman's performance, which was always delightfully devilish without ever veering into cartoonish.

Hagman knew how to take even the most cliche lines, like his advice that "revenge is a dish best served cold" in the premiere, and make them seem fresh. You could tell Hagman was having a rip-roaring good time playing the unrepentantly evil J.R. Ewing and that feeling of fun was infectious.

Without Hagman Dallas will shine a little less brightly, there's certainly no arguing with that. The problem the show has always come up against is that the new generation has never been as interesting as watching the old timers scheme and plot. I'd rather watch Sue Ellen spar with J.R. for five seconds then watch Elena and Christopher make out in a pool. Pretty faces can't make up for weak characters, and at least half of the new generation has the charisma of a wet noodle.

The new season seems to be attempting to inject some interest in the younger generation, but Christopher and Elena might officially be beyond help. At least the oily John Ross and the duplicitous "Rebecca" have started to come into their own when it comes to scheming. Also, in case you were wondering whether or not Rebecca was full-scale evil, her new all black power suit wardrobe is a hilariously heavy-handed symbolic reminder.

Thankfully we'll still have the pleasure of watching Larry Hagman for the first few episodes of the second season. Hagman will appear in the first six episodes of the season, before a funeral episode sends him off in style later on in the run. But until then, let's all enjoy every second we can of Hagman's devilishly fun, Texas-sized performance as J.R. Ewing.

The Plot for Ewing Energies

John Ross and J.R. are still plotting away to steal the newly swanky office of Ewing Energies. So far in this double episode premiere the phrase "my birthright" was not uttered once, so if you had built a first season drinking game you might have to amend the rules.

"Love, hate, jealousy, mix them up and they make a mean martini," J.R. tells a pensive John Ross, like an alcoholic Yoda. John Ross is fuming in his sexy, scowly way that Elena went prancing off into the sunset with Christopher. Given that despite her looks and business acumen Elena still manages to be one of the most boring characters on TV, he might have gotten the better end of that particular bargain.

Christopher is still hopped up on methane gas like Captain Planet. Listen Dallas, I get that you're trying to update the show for a new, more environmentally friendly generation but please take this tip: nothing will make methane extraction sexy. Nothing. Not race cars powered by methane gas. Not sexy, mostly naked people making out while talking about methane gas. Nothing is going to make methane gas happen. It is the fetch of this show. Stop trying to make it happen.

J.R., John Ross, and even Rebecca are all in on the action of trying to take Ewing Energies down. This involves a lot of back dealing and back stabbing and general scheming. But the most tangible result is that Elena manages to get a bigger piece of the pie, officially making them all equal shareholders in the venue.

Pamela "Rebecca" Barnes

Meanwhile "Rebecca" finally outs herself as Pamela Rebecca Barnes, daughter of Cliff Barnes. "Finally, I can wear all the eyeliner and black I want! No more pink for me!" she cackles evilly in her power bitch suit. Everyone looks shocked and John Ross is immediately turned on.

Christopher is trying to get his marriage annulled on the basis of crazy, but it's not as much of a slam dunk as he thought it would be. This is because John Ross and Rebecca team up to get the actual Becky Sutter to change her story. It looks like Christopher and Rebecca will have to battle it out in divorce court, where she'll have a shot at stealing parts of Ewing Energy.

"That methane gas will be mine! All mine!" Rebecca cackles, while John Ross rolls his eyes with the rest of us about how little he cares about methane. The combination of Rebecca and John Ross was a fairly obvious pairing and one you could see from basically a mile off. But considering the two are by far the most twisted and interesting members of the younger Southfork generation, I'm willing to give them a pass. Also, Rebecca's ability to magically control elevators for hookup purposes is pretty impressive.

But Christopher gets a big break when an envelope containing an iPhone from Tommy is hand delivered to his office. On the iPhone is a voicemail of Becky Sutter admitting complicity in the con and Rebecca threatening to take Tommy down. Christopher tells Becky he's taking her to the cops, so how soon will it be before someone starts questioning where Tommy really got to?

Perhaps Rebecca should have been nicer to former lackey Frank, who was the one who sent the documents in the first place. Man, good help really is hard to find when you're an evil mastermind.

Little Emma All Grown Up

Last season, Ann's mysterious baby was something of an unsolved mystery. The premiere jumps right into it as slimy ex-husband Ryland shows up with evidence of daughter Emma's whereabouts.

It turns out Emma was snatched from Ann when she was a baby and Ann has been looking for her ever since. Ann turns over the evidence she had against Ryland in return for Emma's address.

But when she goes to see Emma, the blonde beauty is more of an ice queen than a gentle lady giant like her mom. Emma freezes her out, which causes Ann to basically just fall apart like a Jenga tower toppled over.

The big shocker is that Ryland knew where Emma was this whole time. He and his mother, played by the divine Judith Light, were raising her over in Europe. But why would they have kept her out of sight? Emma seems to think it was to protect her from Ann. But why? Is there a darker side to Ann's love affair with shotguns or something?

Sue Ellen's Downfall

Finally, with no more Ryland evidence to protect her, the medical examiner comes clean about the blackmailing right before the election. Poor Sue Ellen isn't the next governor of Texas and she barely manages to stay on the wagon. She pours herself a glass of wine, which thankfully ends up down the sink instead of down her throat.

Instead, she accepts the offer of help extended by J.R.. She later explains to Ann that in her hour of need J.R. was, for the first time ever in his life, the lesser of two evils. J.R. handily gets her out of hot water with the state commissioner because bribing public officials is pretty much child's play to J.R..

It was great to see J.R. and Sue Ellen share a few nice moments. As someone who didn't watch the original series, it was still a nice moment for the two. But I'm sure it has additional meaning to those who have followed the show since it's 80s heyday and have seen the turbulent relationship between these two characters unfold.

J.R. tells Sue Ellen that leaving him was the best thing she ever did, and later Sue Ellen explains that sometimes terrible ex-husbands just make you stronger. What will Sue Ellen do now to pick up the pieces after her failed gubernatorial bid ended in scandal?

Hopefully the second season uses her more liberally than the first. Like the squinty, angry intensity of Patrick Duffy, (is Bobby Ewing ever happy? His emotions seem to go from mad to furious) Linda Gray really brings a sense of gravitas with her.

What did you think of the season premiere of Dallas? Are you looking forward to the new season or did the double dose of trouble at Southfork leave you a little cold? Share whether you'll be watching on in the comments!

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(Image courtesy of TNT)

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