Dallas (the next generation): Season 1, Episode 5

“I’m gonna make this right. And I’m taking you down – brother.” – Bobby Ewing


Previously, on Dallas: Last week, the double dealing reached fever pitch as final moves were made in the game to get Southfork.

  • The deal to sell the ranch to the ‘Del Sol Conservancy’ went through, and Bobby had a farewell barbecue
  • Bobby’s treacherous lawyer Lobell was prevented from blowing the deal with a nifty bit of blackmail, as ‘Marta’ entrapped his beloved son into some druggy looking photos
  • JR succeeded in shafting his own son, by using Marta and Lobell to remove John Ross’ name from the newly minted Southfork deeds, leaving him as sole owner
  • John Ross spent his week blackmailing Rebecca with his knowledge that the fateful email which averted Christopher’s marriage to Elena came from her IP address
  • Calling his bluff, Rebecca took Christopher aside at the barbecue to tell him everything…

This week opened with a splurge of revelations that pretty much blew open every double-dealing plotline in the show so far. Rebecca did indeed reveal that the email had been sent from her computer, and that it had been sent by her shifty, stubbly brother Tommy, who’s now wormed his way into the Ewings’ affections, as the opening move in a scheme to set her up as Christopher’s wife, gaining… something. Chris and Bobby think it’s money, but we know it’s actually the frozen methane plans (whatever they might be).

Afflicted with a conscience that must be a severe hindrance to her chosen occupation as con artist, Rebecca thinks that confessing all to Christopher because she loves him will get her off the hook. Fat chance – Christopher may be nice, but he’s still a hot-blooded Ewing man. Pausing only to slug Tommy in the face in front of the whole party, he got on with packing Rebecca’s things and telling her to “make sure I never see you again”.

A bit of a blow, to be sure, but a mere trifle compared with the next scene’s revelation to Bobby (handily delivered by the US mail in a sealed envelope) that the new owner of Southfork is none other than JR Ewing, and not some nice Conservancy after all. Bobby hit the roof (as much as a nice guy can), and Patrick Duffy got an electric confrontation scene with a smirking Larry Hagman. Inventing some guff that he had to buy Southfork to keep it out of Cliff Barnes’ hands, he told Bobby, “I’m taking back what should have been mine in the first place”.

Understandably not convinced, Bobby vowed to undo the deed. With everything now in the open, battle lines have again been drawn between the feuding Ewing brothers, just as they always were in the original series.

Lobell, knowing his plotline’s over at this point, had the good grace to clear out his office and bugger off, so Bobby found a more trustworthy-looking lawyer to explain (at some length) the rules of the plot to come. It seems that JR’s ownership is legitimate even if the original sale was fraudulent, as the subsequent sale to him wasn’t – unless he knew about the initial fraud himself. All clear?

So Bobby and the ‘nice’ Ewings must now find a way to prove that JR was in on it from the start. Shouldn’t be too difficult; I predict it taking another five episodes or so. Christopher and Ann have made a start by promising to undertake the kind of dodgy dealing that Bobby would never stoop to. She was straight off to see her ex, conveniently the owner of the trucking firm JR’s employed to move the oil, and ask him to stop the trucks; while Christopher went straight to the breaking and entering of John Ross’ office.

John Ross, meanwhile, also found out that he’d been done over by his own father, and wasn’t very happy about it. Not only had he had his name removed from the Southfork deeds, his father has also screwed up his sex life by telling the increasingly loopy ‘Marta’ about his dalliances with Elena. Cue Marta looking psychotically annoyed as the camera jump cut to ever closer shots of her deranged stare.

But it looks like JR’s doing it for John Ross’ own good, like a sort of malign Obi Wan Kenobi. “You wanted to learn about the oil business,” he sneered at his son while watching the Dallas Cowboys. He then announced that, his plans accomplished, he was heading off to… somewhere. And leaving John Ross in charge, to get that oil drilled. Before he went though, there was a symbolic passing of the Stetson from father to son – or old baddie to new baddie. But JR’s still the best thing about this show, so wherever he’s gone, let’s hope he’s back soon.

Family matters

Nothing new on the Ewing front, but we discovered that Bobby’s saintly wife Ann may have a bit of a dark past. She hinted as much to Rebecca, this being the reason why she’s prepared to give Miss ConArtist 2012 another chance. I’m guessing Ann’s dark past has something to do with her slimy ex-husband Harris Ryland, who owns what seems to be the only trucking firm in Dallas. She seemed creepily willing to accede to his every demand in a 50 Shades of Grey-like submissive style, so who knows what they used to get up to behind closed doors?

Who’s double crossing who this week?

Actually, at this point, pretty much nobody. Everyone’s cards are on the table now, and they all know where they stand. That can’t last though, or it wouldn’t be Dallas. Expect a new round of double-dealing to commence next week.

Hey look, it’s that guy from that thing:

A few guest stars this week might have rung bells. Bobby’s earnest, exposition-spewing new lawyer is played by Glenn Morshower, a prolific player of solid, dependable authority figures. You might remember him from such TV shows as every season of 24, where he played Secret Service Agent Aaron Pierce, one of the only characters in that show who never betrayed anyone to anyone else:


Ann’s unspeakably creepy ex-husband Harris Ryland is played by well-known follically challenged genre stalwart Mitch Pileggi. Pileggi’s played quite a few baddies in the past, but for most of us he’ll forever be stern-but-fair FBI boss Walter Skinner from The X Files:


And not strictly an actor (as his performance here amply demonstrated), but a well-known sports figure popped up to hobnob with JR – Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones:


This week’s big cliffhanger:

Only one this week, a change from recent episodes. Having obtained Marta’s sex tape from John Ross’ office, in which John Ross calls her by her real name, Christopher now has proof that JR’s son at least was in on the fraud. But that’s not enough to take Southfork back from JR – they have to prove that the slimy old reprobate knew about it himself. So Christopher confronted John Ross with the evidence (which must have been sort of creepy, knowing your cousin’s been watching you have sex with a psycho), and gave him an ultimatum – either testify to his father’s involvement in the fraud, or go to jail for it himself. Where I’m guessing he’d be quite popular, with his pretty face and hot body…

After last week’s fairly sedate episode, it was good to see the show back on rip-roaring form in a packed episode as all the secrets came out and finally everyone can be as nasty as they want to be. Now that Bobby, Christopher and Ann are on the defensive, it looks like the battle for Southfork will be truly joined as of next week. But I’m guessing JR has more than a few cards up his sleeve still…