This week on Dallas, the future of Southfork hangs in the balance as everyone begins moving back home. Why is everyone moving back to Southfork? Will there finally be peace and love in the Ewing family? Stop laughing; we all know that will never happen.
Meanwhile, the Dallas: Next Generation cast are still trying to steal the thunder from their older counterparts. Good luck! Despite Jesse Metcalf being prettier than most of the female cast members, his character Christopher is still kind of a snooze. Does anyone really care about the love triangle between Christopher, Elena and Rebecca? Isn’t this time better spent watching J.R. slap and/or menacingly shave his son? (Family bonding is a terrifying activity when your dad is J.R.)
Thankfully there’s enough double-dealing in this episode to satisfy any fan of the series, whether they’re familiar with the 80s original or just fell in love with the premiere. My experience with the original is confined to “who shot J.R.” and “it was all a dream” jokes, and an article I read about the history of the show in Entertainment Weekly. I notice the show throws out a lot of Easter eggs for old fans, which is great, and doesn’t distract complete newbies like myself.
As the episode pulls to a close, everyone is about to reconvene on Southfork as the property hangs in the balance. We all know nothing with the Ewings is ever simple.
Some fathers and sons go on hunting trips or go fishing or throw around a ball in the back yard. Not J.R. and Jon Ross Ewing. No, those two have a different definition of the word bonding. For them bonding means double-crossing, menacing father-son shaving time, and dramatic soap opera slaps. I hope these two never change, because they are the wind beneath my wings.
The episode opens with the two in a barber shop, getting a nice shave with a straight razor. “Yes!” I cheered to myself. “Jon Ross is finally going to lose that grotty soul patch!” I could never get so lucky. Still the father and son patch up their relationship after J.R. threatens Jon Ross in a very loving way. He’s only holding a straight razor to your neck because he cares Jon Ross! The two hug it out, Entourage-style, and Jon Ross looks super jazzed to be working with his daddy.
Soon J.R. and Jon Ross are meeting the real buyers for the land, with fake Marta in tow. Is her real name actually Marta? And why is she popping pills? For a second, I thought she was roofie-ing herself.
J.R.’s eyebrows are so convincing that even the scary land buyer agrees to take 14 instead of 15 percent of the oil money they’ll make off the land. Now the only problem is the lawyer threatening to expose Jon Ross if he doesn’t get 2 million dollars. Of course, by the end of the episode the price has gone up to 5 million dollars. J.R. advises Jon Ross of the lawyer’s Achilles’ heel: his drunken son who killed an old lady crossing a street once. If they can find the witness he paid off all those years ago, they can blackmail him. The problem? The witness is dead, because everyone interesting on this show is about 300 years old.
They’ll need to figure out a way to quiet the lawyer soon because they finally got what they wanted: the sale of Southfork. I watch a lot of HGTV so I know selling a property can be a pain, but this just seems ridiculous. Designed to Sell would have had this mess all sorted out within 30 minutes. Maybe J.R. should call them instead of threatening to out his mama’s mental illness.
This plan comes about in some of the most hilarious ways possible. First, J.R. gets another old coot at the old folks home to call Bobby pretending to be J.R.’s doctor. His fake doctor’s advice is that it would really help J.R.’s depression if he could move back into the family home.
Bobby is like (paraphrasing), “I don’t really want J.R. to move back in here, as I’m pretty sure he is going to stab me to death in my sleep. And even though I can’t be killed, because I will only pop up in the shower a year later, this seems like a bad idea.” And when he turns around Ann is already letting J.R. into the house and fluffing his pillows and lending him tiny eyebrow combs. Way to listen, Ann.
Once in Southfork, J.R. does exactly what you would expect him to do. He steals his mother’s journal and has his son threat to out her mental illness. The Ewings are such a loving, functional family!
But not before Ann almost shoots him in the face. Does Ann just constantly carry around that shotgun at all times? I mean, I guess I don’t blame her considering her in-laws but it does seem a bit excessive. She’s a millionaire living on approximately 5 billion square feet of land. How many people does she really have to defend herself from?
“Bullets don’t have much effect on me, darling,” J.R. says, in the best call-back line of the episode. This show really knows how to hit highly hilarious, dramatic moments. Case in point: when J.R. convinces Jon Ross to use the journal to blackmail Bobby into selling the property. Pretending he’s outraged, J.R. gives Jon Ross the best soap opera slap I’ve seen in ages. Between this moment and the dramatic zooms in the scene with the tough-guy investors, the cheese-o-meter this episode was deliciously high.
Full of Gas
Meanwhile, in the less interesting portions of the episode, Christopher is trying not to kill people with giant tsunamis so his dad will love him. No one cares, Christopher. No one cares. Actually, the only people who care about Christopher’s adoption issues are Elena and Rebecca. It’s a shame, because I liked Elena a lot better when she was illegally drilling on someone else’s land with Jon Ross. That was a character I could get behind. Now that Elena has gone back to a typical good girl character and spends most of her time pining for Christopher, I mostly just snooze through her scenes.
She and Chris figure out how to extract methane using a bunch of technical science terms and setting rocks on fire. It is in no way what anyone has ever tuned into a show like Dallas to see. When Chris finds out about Bobby’s cancer, he breaks down and kisses Elena. I continue to not care.
Meanwhile, now that we know Rebecca is working a long con she has become a tiny bit more interesting. Unfortunately, she’s having second thoughts about the whole thing. This episode needed more Sue Ellen. Or Ann shooting things. The female characters on this show really need a lot of work before I care about them as much as I care about J.R.’s eyebrows.
Rebecca’s partner in crime and maybe brother wants her to install a virus on Christopher’s computer that will allow them to read the files but she’s hesitant. So he sends her a blurry picture of Chris and Elena kissing. I’m really concerned about how bad his cell phone camera’s picture quality is. He should really get a better phone if he wants to scheme in the big leagues.
After a touching reunion with Christopher, Rebecca throws out the flash drive. But had she already installed it on the computer? Only time will tell. We do know now (and so does Jon Ross) that Rebecca was the one that sent Elena the mysterious breakup email.
Speaking of touching reunions, Cliff Barnes is back in town and wants to buy Southfork for himself because of bad blood and nefarious purposes and all the other reasons people on this show have for doing anything. He tries to fund Christopher’s project but he’s not hearing it, so Cliff just goes back to being 500 years old and playing poker in his hotel room via video like a boss. I’m pretty sure this isn’t the last we’ll hear from him.
What did you think of the episode? Do you care about the Elena/Christopher/Rebecca love triangle? Who will end up with Southfork? Sound off in the comments!
(Image courtesy of TNT)