Episode five of the Dallas season two opens with Ann Ewing heading to the hospital to confront her sleazeball ex, Harris Ryland, after he fingered Bobby as his would-be killer. Obviously, this puts a crimp in her plan to confess, so she gives him an earful. While Harris’ mom Angela Glower mean-mugs at his beside, he tells her who cares that no one will believe her confession anyways, seeing as he’s the guy that got shot. Nyah-nyah. While cursing her luck in the parking lot, she drops her car keys. She bends down to pick them up and notices blood on her shoes — jerkwad blood. She then marches triumphantly into a local cop shop and announces that she tried to kill her ex-husband . . . and no need to send out a detective, she’s brought her own evidence. So considerate, our Annie.
On a side note, this is why Dallas is back and not Dynasty (suck it, Denver!): the way their women went through clothes- faster than Taylor Swift on a speed date. Krystle Carrington would have been on her thirty-second pair of leopard-print Christian Louboutins in the same amount of time and poor Blake would be tossing salads in a Colorado prison . . . and not just in the mess hall, as anyone who’s seen an HBO prison doc will surely understand.
After goading his protégé Frank to accept the murder charges of Tommy and Becky Sutter (followed by poor Frank doing the Harlem Cyanide Shake on the courtroom floor), Cliff Barnes reconciles with his daughter Pamela but not before reminding her that the destruction of the Ewings is always a Barnes’ first priority. That means no more shtupping John Ross, and the Anti-Pam quietly assures her dad that she’s got her head and not her heart in the game. Cliff later calls up J. R. on the phone and after trading some verbal bitchslaps back and forth -get a room, you two!- reveals that John Ross sold out Frank, who was in cahoots with J. R. to pin the Tommy’s murder on Pamela.
One month later, Annie’s trial commences and all the Ewings (who probably have their own Skybox at the courthouse), including J. R., show up to support her. Annie’s defense, masterminded by good ol’ Lew Rosen (our hometown’s own Glenn Morshower’s droll Joe-Friday-by-way-of-Highland-Park performance is a comforting fave of mine), is that she shot Harris in the heat of passion. The State calls Judith Ryland first to the stand.
So far this season, I have not been a fan of this character at all. And that’s a damn shame because, aside from my kidding about acting alongside Tony Danza on something I would robotically watch during the mid-Eighties, Judith Light is a fine actress. Ask your mom or meemaw or anybody who watched “the stories” back in the day, and they’d tell you she totally rocked it as former prostitute Karen Wolek on One Life to Live. When she was revealed as Ryland’s evil ma, I expected her to be on some coldblooded, Angela Lansbury in The Manchurian Candidate-type stuff, which would have been awesome especially if she hooked up somehow with J. R. Instead, all she really gets a chance to do is to shoot dirty looks at — and slap fight with — Annie when the scene calls for it. Here she makes a total ass herself on the witness stand, eventually getting thrown out in contempt.
Harris gives his testimony and proceeds to paint Annie in the worst possible light. Looks like the only thing he was ever guilty of was trying to turn a ho into a housewife: according to Ryland, Annie was a drunk who slept around and wanted to abort Emma the second she found out she was expecting. She would constantly abandon the baby to go get blitzed, and when he followed them to the Fair that fateful afternoon, he saw him leave the baby all alone in a sea of fried-Coke addicts. That’s when he grabbed his child and spirited her to Europe away from her loser mom. Couple that with a state experts’ testimony that says that Annie’s shot seemed more premeditated than in a fit of passion and it looks very grim for Annie.
Away from the trial, Junior’s PI has been trailing Elena’s brother Drew who apparently been moonlighting. He’s been trucking mysterious cargo back and forth. John Ross remembers that Elena’s contract with Sue Ellen contains a “morality clause” (because, of course, they do) that states if Elena or any of employees are caught doing anything illegal then — boom! — automatic default on the loan and Junior’s closer to gaining control of Ewing Energies. Clyde gooses the proceeding a bit by smashing Drew’s taillight, and later he gets pulled over by some highway cops. The county mounties open the trailer and discover some contraband women’s apparel. Drew gets busted for smuggling and tells his sister that he was had no idea that he was ridin’ dirty. He claims he was hired by a shadowy outfit to take things from Point A to Point B. Did you say shadowy outfit? That’s J. R. Ewing’s specialty, and he insinuates to John Ross that he’s behind Drew Ramos’ reversal of fortune.
Christopher’s not too pleased that his stepmom Annie has called on the Anti-Pam to be a character witness. It turns out that Annie’s kindness to Pamela during the time she was conning her stepson did not go unappreciated and Pamela speaks highly of Annie during her testimony. An impressed Chris agrees to a mediator presiding over their divorce, but is this a con to get a bigger piece of a divorce settlement on Pamela’s part?
Finally, Annie is called on to defend herself. She details her loveless marriage to Harris, whose smothering mother did all she could to undermine her. She was all but forced by Harris to get hooked on prescription meds, and by the time she had Emma, she had to be stoned out of gourd to escape. When she took Emma to the Fair, she was cotton-mouthed, so she turned her back for one second to buy a coke and when she turned back, she was gone. God had punished her by taking her baby away. And how is this testimony supposed to help?
During recess, Chris goes to Emma and tries to get her to stop being a pawn and start making her own moves by Doing the Right Thing and telling the truth about her dad and grandma’s machinations. While her stepbrother and mother smile adoringly, Emma punks out on the stand, declaring her love for her poor father and her disapproval of her pill-popping, would-be murderess mom.
The jury returns and Annie’s found guilty. As she’s led away into the deep bowels of the jail, she crosses paths with Season One’s big bad Vincente Cano, the Venezuelan oil boss who went down by the Ewings’ hand but may be getting extradited back to South America. If the scenes from next week are any clue, then this very, very bad peseta is going to turn up in a very, vary bad way. . .
And that’s what went down in “Trial and Error”, Episode 205! Looks like things are gonna get crunk down at the ranch next week. While we wait, let’s get out our Mapscos and see where in Dallas the show went this week:
*John Ross’ detective Clyde pulled his douche bag move on Drew’s rig at Lake Way BBQ out in Wylie. A few miles west on Parker and Drew would have been home at Southfork. So why stop for ribs when you effin’ live on a ranch?!!!? As late 20th-century philosopher and auteur de propane Hank Hill would have stated, that boy ain’t right.