This week on the season finale of Dallas, the show goes out on a dramatic, shocking high point after a season of summer fun. When it was announced that TNT was planning to reboot Dallas, old fans and newbies alike were skeptical on whether it could be done. The show proved everyone wrong by mixing high soap opera, good performances, and the best eyebrows in show business (sorry Peter Gallagher). Just like ABC’s Revenge did last fall, Dallas proved that audiences still love a good old fashioned soap without the all-knowing irony.
The season finale closed out this strong first season by realigning all the players on the Southfork stage. If the first season was about the battle for Southfork and the word “birthright”, the second season is shaping up to be the war for the newly created Ewing Energies.
The one weak point of the series to date has been how little the show has been able to do with the “good” characters. Are there two characters less interesting or more paper-thin than Christopher and Elena? With Christopher, at least the show continually attempts to make him interesting but something always seems to fall flat in the execution. Instead of emulating his father Bobby and his perpetually scowl-y defense of Southfork, Christopher instead always seems like he’s throwing a temper tantrum and stomping his little feet around.
That’s still better than what’s been done with the Elena character, which is essentially nothing. Elena is quite possibly the most boring character on TV at the moment, serving no purpose other than to work as a prop in a love triangle I can’t seem to force myself to care about. Will Elena end up with Christopher or John Ross? Who cares, she’s so boring I don’t even see the appeal. Hopefully now that the writers have taken a side in the least compelling love triangle of all time, they can instead focus on making Elena an actual human being with a personality next season.
At least we can count on the morally complex characters on the show to always deliver. Whether it’s the complicated, hilarious relationship between brothers J.R. and Bobby or Ann and Sue Ellen’s steely face-punching ways, these characters never stop bringing the drama.
Special props must be given to the show for its jaw-dropping revelation about Rebecca, a character who always seemed just on the edge of being really interesting. She took the leap over into the dark side in the finale and very little has been more satisfying than the shocking explanation of her role in the Ewing fight.
Dallas did so well this summer that the show has been renewed for a 15-episode second season. The battle lines were drawn in this finale, setting the show up for an even more explosive season 2.
I Am Texas
Sue Ellen has convinced herself that the only way out of her money-laundering problem is to concede the race for governor. This upsets Ann, who thinks Sue Ellen is just what Texas needs right now. So Ann goes right to the source, slimy Harris Ryland. Ryland refuses to give up the dirt on Sue Ellen but offers to reconsider if Ann sleeps with him. Ann slowly starts unbuttoning her shirt, and it is very sad and gross.
Ann gets the last laugh when it turns out she wired herself in order to record Ryland confessing to his blackmail on tape. For well-established schemers, these people are forever making rookie mistakes. She tells him the next time he asks for a hug he’ll be hugging the business end of her shotgun. If there is one true, enduring romance on this show it’s the love between Ann and her firearms.
With the tape in hand, Sue Ellen is back in the race. Will her race for governor play out next season? Does she actually have an opponent? Will she end up blackmailing someone again? All things we’ll have to wait to find out.
Everyone has gathered together at the hospital to wait on Bobby. His aneurysm has been treated, but they have to wait until he wakes up to see if there’s been any permanent brain damage.
You know what there hasn’t been damage to? His beautiful, lustrous head of hair. Somehow, the doctors managed to get in and operate on his brain without damaging one silver fox follicle on his head. Not even Bobby’s hair can be killed! His is the Chuck Norris of hair. Between Bobby’s operation-resistant hair and J.R.’s magnificent eyebrows, there’s a lot of strong hair DNA in the Ewing family.
While the doctor is talking to the rest of the family, J.R. sneaks into Bobby’s room to have an emotional heart-to-unconscious-heart with Bobby. He tells Bobby that he needs to keep fighting him. “I love you Bobby. I don’t know who I’d be without you,” J.R. says, touchingly.
As usual, the complicated relationship between the two Ewing brothers is really the heart of this show. No matter how much they develop the younger generation, the heart of Dallas really lies in the bickering yet somehow loving relationship between Bobby and J.R.
When Bobby recovers, John Ross rents out the old Ewing Oil space for the new Ewing Energies company. That’s not all he does. He also proposes to Elena with a ring that looks like oil. With a proposal like “you’re more beautiful than oil” I’m not sure how Elena could say no. Christopher looks shocked that Elena is going to marry John Ross, but he’s trying to make it work with Rebecca. Maybe the whole family can be happy together in this new joint venture?
…Before the Storm
Ok, stop laughing; everyone knows the Ewings can only be at peace for approximately 10 seconds. Marta’s cloud drive has given Bobby and his lawyer the proof they need to get Southfork back from Vincente. It has also, unfortunately, implicated both J.R. and John Ross in the Southfork snatch.
Christopher is really disappointed in that whiny way he always is, while Bobby is just like “whatever, this is like every day in our family.” Bobby’s inability to be really phased by anything is one of my favorite things about him. I mean, sure he gets mad a lot but it takes more than some back-dealing and throwing people out of hotels to really rattle him. After you’ve died and come back to life in a shower, everything else is pretty old hat.
John Ross agrees to sign a confession as long as he gets immunity and no one tells Elena. Unfortunately for him, Elena was just coming to propose a truce between John Ross and her mother and overhears the whole thing. She’s furious that John Ross lied to her about being part of the scheme to steal Southfork.
John Ross points out that he’s been pretty decent recently. He hasn’t schemed or slept with any crazy people since he got out of jail and he says it’s all thanks to Elena. How romantic. Elena’s not really buying it, even when he pulls a Sex and the City: The Movie on her and tells her to meet him at the new Ewing Energies space if she wants to start fresh. As a plot device, it’s not exactly the Brooklyn Bridge. And John Ross and Elena are certainly no Miranda and Steve.
After everything that happened with Rebecca, however, Christopher is back on the Elena love-train as well. As she’s leaving the house with the ring in tow, he tells her that he’s loved her basically forever. During this speech he uses the phrase ‘making love’ which made me involuntarily say ‘oh ew!’ out loud. Christopher doesn’t want to waste any more time and they certainly don’t as they hop into bed with each other.
As the most boring couple imaginable hooks up, Elena’s mother comes to Ewing Energies to deliver the ring to John Ross. Having your mom deliver the bad news is really cold. At least you could have gotten Shannon Doherty to break up with him for you. Man, working together at Ewing Energies is going to be really awkward.
It will be especially awkward since spurned John Ross has turned back to the dark side. He tells J.R. he wants to learn all about backstabbing and scheming and being awesome so he can steal Ewing Energies from Christopher and Elena. Only then will he let J.R. have any of the oil under Southfork. J.R. has never been more proud of John Ross in his entire life and says that his son sounds like him, tip to evil devil tail.
The Dark Barnes Rises
Who got shot, Tommy or Rebecca? Well, shockingly no one. It was Tommy who went down. What’s more shocking is that Rebecca calls in a team that quickly and efficiently disposes of Tommy’s body. When she goes to see Christopher, she’s shocked to see he started wearing his wedding bands again. He wants her to wear her rings as well, but of course she gave them to Tommy for money. Instead of saying something reasonable like “oh hey my crazy brother who you already think beat me up actually took my rings too” she lies and says her fingers have swelled.
So she goes on a Tommy tour, destroying pictures of the two of them kissing in his hotel room and getting a pawn shop receipt out of his dead pocket. At the pawn shop she gets bad news, finding out that someone has bought the rings. She offers more money to find out who bought them so she can get them back.
While Rebecca is desperately trying to cover up her stupid lie, Christopher is after Tommy for the bruises he left on Rebecca. John Ross’ PI tracks Tommy down to his hotel room. Of course, there’s nothing left in the room except for a ringing phone. On the other line is the real Rebecca Sutter, trying to tell her brother an uncle is sick. Christopher flies off the handle when he confronts Rebecca, wondering who she really is. Rebecca fights back by saying that she never even really had a chance since Christopher was always in love with Elena. As a defense, it’s not the greatest. Christopher tells her that he’s going to find out who she really is, put her in jail, and take the babies.
As the episode ends Rebecca, now in sultry evil makeup, is meeting with Cliff Barnes’ man Frank. Frank is chastising her for potentially ruining the whole operation by being the worst con woman ever. But it isn’t Frank she has to apologize to, it’s her father. Just who is her daddy? Cliff Barnes, of course, still trying to wage war against the Ewings. Well played Dallas. Seriously, well played.
Rebecca says she’s given two years to the cause and apologizes for losing focus. It was Cliff who bought her rings and wants assurances that she’s all in now. She explains that Christopher threatened her babies so now it is on like Donkey Kong. “I won’t lose focus,” she says.
The forces of awesome and evil are descending on the Ewing clan once more. I can’t wait until this overdramatic, soapy, and truly fun show returns to see how everything plays out.
What did you think of the finale? Did you see the twist with Rebecca coming? Are you happy Christopher and Elena are together or were you rooting for her and John Ross? What will John Ross and J.R. do to steal Ewing Energies? Sound off in the comments!
(Image courtesy of TNT)