Dallas (the next generation): Season 2, Episode 3

“It’s a rare and beautiful thing when enemies share a common goal.” – JR


Previously, on Dallas: Much hi energy treachery last week:

  • Christopher’s court hearing to annul his marriage to Pamela didn’t go too well when The Real Rebecca Sutter sold him out for a suitcase full of Barnes cash.
  • The new evil Pamela upset her dad’s sinister henchman Frank, who promptly sent Christopher a damning cellphone incriminating her in the disappearance of The Real Rebecca Sutter’s brother.
  • JR went a-blackmailin’ the local prosecutor to save Sue Ellen’s reputation (and her ass) from jail.
  • John Ross, having formed an alliance with his worst enemy/best shag Pamela, stepped up his efforts to regain control of Ewing Energies by helping Elena become an equal partner while she’s still in hock to his mother.
  • And Bobby, doggedly investigating why Ann’s secret daughter wants nothing to do with her, discovered the real secret – Harris had kidnapped her himself, and given her to his evil (and younger-looking than he is) mother to raise as a twisted snob.

With all this in place and the clockwork running, this week’s episode settled down into a slightly less manic pace, as the chess game continued. At least until the last couple of minutes, when it suddenly dropped a massive plot bomb shocker.

There was an awful lot of unlikely alliances being forged left right and centre; JR, able to sense Frank’s annoyance with Pamela, came to an … arrangement which could inconvenience her somewhat. Frank is going to contrive to have the body of Tommy Sutter turn up (with JR’s eager help), which would not only annoy The Real Rebecca Sutter, but would probably result in Pamela going to jail.

John Ross, meanwhile, had a surprisingly easy time enlisting the help of his mother in calling in Elena’s debt. Well, maybe not that surprising, really; he’s momma’s little boy, and Elena broke his black heart. So into Elena’s office Sue Ellen strode, superimposed badly on the CG view outside the window, to demand recompense. She looked mighty pissed; well, as pissed as she can look with a face that’s somewhat restricted in mobility.

Apparently, Elena hadn’t made good on her debt because her attempts to drill at the Old Henderson Place had been hampered by ‘a salt dome’ . Fortunately,at this point her drilling-mad little brother (of whom we’ve never heard before) turned up back at the old homestead. Fresh from a spell in the army that cured him of his juvenile delinquency by acting on political delinquency in Iraq, his name is Drew, and he’s going to be the show’s latest hunk. Seething with bitterness at the death of their father trying to drill for oil in a place that doesn’t have any oil, he’s also going to be ideal for helping Elena get past that ‘salt dome’…

Elsewhere, Christopher had got the drop on The Real Rebecca Sutter and dragged her to the local police department, where her description of her brother was strangely at odds with Christopher’s. Could it be that the Tommy Sutter we met last year wasn’t Tommy Sutter after all, and there’s a Real Tommy Sutter out there to go with his sister?

Probably not – I’d guess The Real Rebecca Sutter was just lying. Either way, it made the cops suspicious enough to visit Pamela’s old condo, where some CSI-style shenanigans revealed an awful lot of bloodstains in the places Frank hadn’t been able to properly clean. It’s so hard to find good help these days. Apparently, the spatter patterns were enough for the cop to conclude that they were from someone being shot, probably fatally – Gil Grissom would be proud.

So, could stuff be going pear-shaped for Pamela this early into her career in evil? I think not. If she’s any kind of a match for John Ross (beyond arguing about who goes on top), she’ll find a way out of this.

Who’s double-crossing who this week?

The same guys as last week, ie virtually the entire cast.

The Real Rebecca Sutter is still being fickle; now she works for Christopher, now she works for Pamela, now she works for herself. Christopher’s feeding her with suspicion about the fate of her brother at Pamela’s hands though, so she’ll have to make a decision pretty soon. My decision would be to vamoose before she gets a visit from Frank, as almost every lead in to commercial now seems to be a slow zoom onto his pursed-lipped, sinister face.

But Frank may not be quite the henchman Pamela thinks he is, now he’s under the spell of the wily JR. What corpse-conjuring antics will they cook up in an attempt to cage the Barnes bitch?

And does Sue Ellen even realise that her son has become the new JR, and is manipulating her into screwing over every other Ewing? Actually, perhaps. She used to turn a blind eye to it often enough with JR (though booze probably helped).

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

Elena’s newfound long-lost little brother Drew is played with a surly snarl by Mexican actor Kuno Becker. Soccer film fans may remember him from such movies as Goal. And Goal 2. And Goal 3.


What on Earth is Judith Ryland wearing this week?

After last week’s nifty Servalan dress/Glenn Close hair combo, this week Judith was to be found lurking around the Dallas Police Department wearing her hair down and what appeared to be a cast-off ensemble from Cher:


Given the pose, you could charitably assume she’d been picked up for streetwalking.

This week’s big cliffhanger:

Well, they finally pushed her too far.

Yes, Ann Ewing might have appeared both tough and saintly, but that secret daughter is plainly her Achilles heel. She spent the episode trying to reconcile with young Emma by the novel method of having her dragged down to the local police station. But even a heartfelt chat in the interview room failed to convince Emma that she wasn’t the monster Harris and Judith said she was. Funny, that.

Later, overhearing a policeman inform Bobby that Harris was not, technically, guilty of anything, Ann snuck out glassy-eyed to endure more lecherous torment from Harris in her quest for answers. After lip-lickingly probing her clothing to ensure she wasn’t wired again, Harris went on to (perhaps unwisely) push her to the brink of madness by taunting her about missing the experience of her daughter’s childhood.

So she shot him.

Dallas has always thrived on a good shooting – the most memorable being the first time JR was shot, which was enough of an event to be covered on the BBC News. The novelty wore off when the ratings-hungry producers kept having him shot, but, hateable though he is, the shooting of Harris felt similarly seismic. Will he recover? Well, Mitch Pileggi’s in the opening credits and it’s only episode 3. What do you think?

The faces!

Side note: one of the things I’d hoped they’d change this year was to have the cast’s faces in the credits (the way Dallas used to be) ideally in a triptych format:


Sadly, they haven’t done that. So here’s a fan made one that’s pretty good; it doesn’t have the triptych thing, but at least has the cast visible:

The way it should be.

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

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


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.


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:


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:


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…