Dallas (the next generation): Season 2, Episode 2

“Son, you got the Devil in you.” – JR
”Takes one to know one.” – John Ross

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Previously, on Dallas: A barnstorming season opener set the scene for another year of Ewing double dealing, with John Ross (Josh Henderson really upping his game this year)now firmly cemented as the new JR.

  • Harris Ryland slimily revealed that he’d known where Ann’s secret daughter was all along, using the information to get back The Tape that stopped him from ruining Sue Ellen.
  • Sue Ellen’s gubernatorial chances took a bit of a blow when it was revealed on TV that her fabled honesty encompassed bribery and blackmail.
  • Rebecca, with a new black dress and veneer of evil, told a flabbergasted Bobby and Christopher that she was really Pamela Rebecca Barnes.
  • Christopher aimed to annul his marriage to her and deny her access to the children presently in her uterus by means of parading The Real Rebecca Sutter in court.
  • John Ross made a deal with another devil; sexual chemistry simmering between them, he offered Pamela a secret weapon in the court battle – The Real Rebecca Sutter.
  • And Ann tracked down her daughter, only to find that she was a hoity toity horse rider who wanted nothing to do with her.

This week, the double dealing continued, with JR himself getting more firmly involved than previously. Characters were reeling from last week’s revelations; Ann, previously able to cope rather well with stress, suddenly decided that the best cure for her shock was to take to her bed and have sedatives pumped into her, while Sue Ellen,having lost the election, was yet again reaching for the bottle.

Quite why a recovering alcoholic would keep a bottle of wine in the cupboard was not fully explored, as she was saved from herself by none other than JR. Ex-husband he may be, but plainly Sue Ellen is still high on his priority list, as he was able to take time out from his busy schedule of trying to ruin Bobby to help her out with a bit of blackmail. So it was straight off to the golf course to nudgingly explain to the local prosecutor that he had possession  of… certain photographs.

Larry Hagman’s performance was as charismatic as ever, but careful editing couldn’t quite hide the difficulty he was having walking, which was rather sad. It’s a tribute to the guy that he plainly worked right up until the end like a trouper, in one last hurrah for his most famous role.

He also got a confrontation with Pamela, all unaware that his son was busy conniving with her in the usual wheels within wheels plotting the show thrives on. Their confrontation in the Barnes boardroom came just after the show’s return to one of the classic tropes of Big Business drama – the Tempestuous Board Meeting, in which various extras in suits sit around a shiny table, but plainly haven’t been paid enough to have actual lines.

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It is decreed that in the Tempestuous Board Meeting, one of the characters will upset the corporate applecart, and so it proved here, as Pamela upstaged the furious Frank with her new plan for green energy. Frank, as we know from last year, was raised from the slums by Cliff but never actually adopted – a fact JR hoped to exploit. Cliff’s actual daughter nicking his meeting is plainly not going to please him; since Faran Tahir looks so much like the villain of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, she should watch out for her heart:

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Elsewhere, Lou the Lawyer took a break from his usual function as Mr Exposition to do some actual lawyering, as Christopher and Pamela faced off at the annulment hearing. Plainly both Lou and Christopher were taken by surprise when The Real Rebecca Sutter failed to back up their case, which may have something to do with the suitcase full of money Pamela had previously slipped her.

Christopher was pretty mad. “You want a war? You got one!” he snarled at Pamela, plainly looking to 1980s Schwarzenegger movies for his lines. But Pamela too has a bit of a problem; the real Rebecca Sutter doesn’t yet know that Pamela actually shot the brother she’s so keen to find.

Who’s double crossing who this week?

Still everyone. That’s the Dallas way.

JR doesn’t yet know that his son has hooked up with the daughter of his deadliest enemy. And it’s not just to screw over Christopher, as other kinds of screwing are plainly involved. Thankfully it’s a first to see the Ewing baddie in a passionate embrace with the Barnes baddie, as I’m not sure JR and Cliff in that position would be quite such a pleasant image.

Frank’s obviously pretty PO’d with Pamela, so he’s paid a cute young drug addict to deliver a cellphone to Christopher, which contains damning voicemails that indicate Pamela might have done away with the brother of The Real Rebecca Sutter.

Christopher duly played his part like a good little puppet, setting his secretary on a mission to observe and report on John Ross’ secretary, then confronting The Real Rebecca Sutter with what he knew.

John Ross played along with Bobby and Christopher’s nice gesture of making Elena an equal partner in Ewing Energies. What, a favour from John Ross? Hardly – his mother holds all of Elena’s debts from last year, and if she can get him Elena’s shares, he’ll be one step closer to seizing the company.

Harris Ryland popped up for his weekly slime, smirking as he failed to divulge to Bobby how he knew where Ann’s Secret Daughter was. So Bobby took matters into his own hands without telling Ann, and put on his investigating boots for a trip to the local riding academy.

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

As Bobby’s quest for answers led him to the sinister figure of Harris Ryland’s mom Judith, who is apparently younger than he is. Eagle-eyed 80s fans might have recognised Judith Light from Danza extravaganza Who’s the Boss, apparently wearing an outfit discarded by Blake’s 7’s Servalan:

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Appearances to the contrary, Judith Light actually is older than Mitch Pileggi. By a whole three years, making her, presumably, a very young mother at time of birth.

This week’s big cliffhanger:

Having spent the episode hot (well, lukewarm anyway) on the trail of Ann’s Secret Daughter, Bobby tracked her down by means of a horse. Turned out she and the horse were a package deal, having arrived from London together with the mysterious ‘Mrs Brown’. And who else should ‘Mrs Brown’ turn out to be but Harris Ryland’s mum? And she’s every bit as evil as he is, just a bit more glamorous. Turns out Harris actually kidnapped his own daughter, then gave her to his mother to raise believing Ann was a bitch. Even by his standards of bastardy, this is a new and exciting low.

Another rip-roaring Texan thrill ride then, with a new villain added to the mix in the form of Judith Ryland Brown, who may turn out to be the show’s new elder superbitch in Joan Collins style. Nice to see JR getting things to do too; he deserves to go out scheming. While John Ross is shaping into a formidable heir for him, Christopher is as adorably clueless as ever, leaving Bobby to be the smart good guy. Let’s hope that brain tumour doesn’t pop up again…