Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! This week’s Dallas had just a touch of everything. And thankfully the show didn’t forget to include some ridiculous eyebrow action after sending JR (Larry Hagman) away last week. Whew!
Let’s bitch it out…Although I traditionally find the ins and outs of the oil business on the show tiresome, it does seem to have struck a better balance between ridiculously technical details and over-the-top melodrama. So when Rebecca (Julie Gonzalo) introduces the possibility of an Estate Deed, I audibly groaned. But as the hour progresses, it becomes clear that this is just another chess piece in the battle – oh, sorry, “war” – for Southfork and the specifics don’t matter so much as which side is winning. Now, all this back and forth between episodes (or even during episodes) will become tiresome, but for now it remains entertaining, principally because the minor villain of the show has begun to emerge.
Yes, Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) remains a boring blank slate and Elena (Jordana Brewster) does whatever the plot dictates (this week: half-naked girlfriend!). No, the real centerpiece is – as to be expected – John Ross (Josh Henderson). Interestingly it’s not that he’s having all the fun like his dear old dad, who’s living the high life with multiple masseurs and witty banter breakfasts in Vegas. No, John Ross has been left to sink or swim and thus far it’s been far more sink. The whole idea of trial by fire is entertaining, especially when you can see John Ross getting increasingly frustrated in his own special petulant-and-entitled way. Admittedly, he has a right to get mad since he’s ding most everything right: he’s emotionally blackmailing Linda Gray’s Sue Ellen (old drunk Sue Ellen would be so proud!), he’s telling off Marta/Veronica (Leonor Varela) and he’s employing JR’s flunky, Bum (Kevin Page) as required.
Alas, who could have known that an Estate Deed would surface? Unless you’re bland, milquetoast Rebecca, that is. The girl who’s so unmemorable that no one even notices when her car sits overnight at Southfork finally pulls through and provides a document that helps the quote-un-quote “good” Ewings stop the drilling on the ranch. Of course, everyone takes great pains to let her know that the document is super useful, but that she’s still only one step away from being dragged off the premises by armed guards (and hopefully dogs with pointy teeth).
Ultimately it all ties in nicely (too nicely?) to the episode’s theme, which is control. John Ross struggles throughout the reclaim control of the situation, Sue Ellene tries to control the way that Rylan uses her (but fails and now she’s stuck in a far more damaging financial situation with him) and even Bobby (Patrick Duffy) reasserts his possession of the mineral rights to Southfork’s oil. All of this to say that I’m sure that Rebecca will soon realize her ability to leverage her preggo status into a return ticket back onto the ranch.
And won’t that be entertaining…
- Maybe I should have seen pregnancy coming considering the earlier nosebleed, but a huge part of me was secretly hoping Rebecca had consumption. Wouldn’t it be fun to watch her bite it like Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge!?
- I kinda love how everyone makes fun of John Ross for his sleazy sex tape with Marta/Veronica. Considering how frequently we’ve seen these things blow up in the real world, it’s pretty hilarious that no one cares enough about it on the show to do more than mock him. Perhaps it’s because the people of Texas are too busy negotiating being “too happy” with their propensity for “overreacting”?
- I like Brenda Strong, but the necklace break-down scene is hands down one of the worst scenes this show has done so far. I’m calling it now: the item that ended their marriage was the death of a young child or a miscarriage. Given what we know about ex-husband Rylan (Mitch Pileggi), though, I would have thought the relationship was abusive and she left him. Can’t say I’m overly interested to explore it more, but that doesn’t matter cause Dallas is gonna give us more no matter what!
- JR is pursuing Cliff Barnes in a personal vendetta storyline. I would watch the h*ll out of a show where those two do nothing but bitch at each other and sabotage the other’s plans. I can’t wait for some old man, high stakes $1 million buy-in poker!
- Finally, Bobby’s “wet blanket” moment of the week occurs when he chastises Christopher for participating in an eye for an eye-style retaliatory blackmail with his cousin. “It’s bad business” Bobby bellows as they reenact scenes from Storage Wars. That may be true, Bobby, but it does make for good television.
- JR: “For a chance to make money from me? Cliff Barnes would push his mama into a pool of piranhas.” This subtle imagery is brought to you courtesy of JR and his epic eyebrows
- John Ross (to Marta after she suggests they run away together): “I wouldn’t want to cross the street with you.”
What do you think? I can’t believe how far into the season we are, even as I simultaneously wonder how many more weeks we can watch the trucks start and stop taking oil off the ranch. Are you concerned for Elena after someone mutilated her cutting board with a picture of her scrawny butt…er…stabbed a picture of her into the cutting board? Is there somewhere there isn’t a price to pay when a son can’t deliver on the promises his father makes? And what other documents were you hoping Bobby and Christopher would pull out of Jock’s safety deposit box: porn? Proof of a second family? Documents giving everything to Lucy? Sound off below!
Dallas airs Wednesdays at 9pm EST on TNT