We start Monday’s episode, “The Furious and the Fast” (see what they did?), at Ewing Energies HQ where the morning start with the dawn of a new regime. Entering to a lot of slo-mo and a soundtrack of a White Stripes-ish non-union equivalent, John Ross Ewing III and his mom/dragon Sue Ellen enter the offices of Ewing Energies as conquering. . .what’s the opposite of heroes? But you can’t take away that, for once, Junior has pulled it off: through a veritable 150-hit combo of lies, treachery, and deceit he has gained control of Ewing Energies. So unfair and unsquare that he makes a call to his dad J.R. — who’s off in Abu Dhabi-to do some well-deserved crowing.
To his dismay, his uncle Bobby and cousin Christopher still have a few cards to play. Without access to Chris’ methane, Ewing Energies can’t explore new sources of energy, and without rights to Southfork oil reserves, it can’t even go into traditional sources. To put it plainly, Bobby and Chris are ready to drive the company into bankruptcy unless Junior and Sue Ellen give up and give back Elena’s shares. Junior threatens to write off the methane project as a drain on company resources, but Chris counters that there’s still the demonstration at the Speedway: if his super turbo charged methmobile can beat the wussy gas powered ones, then EE will get the contract with the city and everybody can take a swim, like Scrooge McDuck, in the big pool of cash that will definitely come rolling in. With his other ally, the anti-Pam, wavering in the direction of her former in-laws (as a solvent Ewing Energies means moolah for the Barneses), Junior has to find a way for Team Chris to lose the race.
Got it? Good. As we leave The Apprentice, let’s check in with our friends at the Bates Motel (aka Ryland Manor) where our favorite effed-up family is sharing a lazy afternoon brunch of Oedipal complexes, passive-aggression and mental cruelty. Now that Annie’s in the clear of the law, there’s not much reason for daughter Emma to hang around and be all cold and weird, so her grandma, Angela Glower, and her dad, Harris, make the decision to send her back to England on the next thing smokin’. Except Emma’s not ready to go just yet, and she sneaks off from her horsey practice to spend some quality time with her mom. Harris finds out and is livid; to make his wayward daughter see things his way, he puts together a treat of tasty Clonazepam — just like he used to give Annie — to remind her of her boundaries. But Emma manages to steal away and shows up at Southfork with suitcases in tow. She is welcomed into the fam by the mother she has been trained to hate.
Drew Reyes is still in the doghouse with his sister Elena over being the catalyst of her defaulting on Sue Ellen’s loan and having her shares in EE snatched but swears that he’s not licked yet. He tells Elena that he’s going to run testing on the land that their papi died on, proving that there was oil there after all and that their old man didn’t die in vain. His instincts prove right and Drew tries to persuade Elena to forget about Ewing Energies and become his business partner, putting their heads together to recover their birthright from the Ewings.
The family receives a visit from someone familiar to longtime fans of the show: middle brother Gary, who never quite fit in with his more aggressive and successful brothers J. R. and Bobby and had to hightail it to his own new, long-running spinoff just to have room to breathe. The ensuing years have not been kind to Gary over in Knots Landing. He’s fallen off the wagon and lost his ever-suffering wife Valene. As the cherry on his loser sundae, he’s also dead broke and is back in town to make sure his last stake, Southfork Ranch, is still viable. Sue Ellen tries to lay on the charm to her fellow ex-alkie to bring him over to she and her son’s side which earns some jealousy from J.R., who sends over a fistful of letters from their courtship that he’s saved all these years (awww!), plus a new letter which Sue Ellen won’t open just yet.
The next day, everyone is at the Speedway to see the big race. Chris’ hopes all lie on the methmobile driven by NASCAR legend Ricky “The Rooster”/“Bobby” Rudd (my father-in-law will probably swear that this is a big deal). Things are going well as Ricky Bobby is easily leaving the other drivers behind. Unbeknownst to the good guys, John Ross, in a dick move that Dick Dastardly would certainly approve, finds out that a mechanic on the pit crew has incurred a few gambling debts and is ripe for some blackmailin’. Oh darn, Ricky Bobby’s car overheats! Who’s gonna fetch the combobulator to fix it? Send in Junior’s new and suddenly butterfingered friend to the pit, stat! The car is fixed (or is it?) and has to make up a couple of laps to stay in the game! Some more watching cars go round and round, and it’s suddenly it’s the last lap. Ricky Bobby pulls ahead and wins the race! Now Ewing Energies has proved, somehow, that methane is way awesomer than stinky old gas and the City of Dallas can’t wait to start shoveling money at the Ewings. Chris even makes some time to come over to his loser cousin Fredo and talk trash. Junior refuses to give in and calls his bluff, refusing to believe that his cousn can match him in ruthlessness.
But first, he has to make a phone call to his daddy.
This is a altogether different call than the one earlier, which was full of assuredness that for once he played J. R.’s game and was actually okay at it. For once, he was worthy of the pride that he desperately needed from the old man. But it turns out it was only halftime, and the third quarter was a mother; still he plans to stick to the playbook and turn the game around in the fourth. Just like he taught him.
And, half a world away, J. R. Ewing smiles and tells his son that he is proud of him, and that he loves him, and that he shouldn’t have to pay for his mistakes.
And then John Ross hears the gunshots.
There we are. Being a fan of comic books, I have to admit that my first thought was “Ha ha! We didn’t see J. R. get shot, so there’s still. . .” and then I saw a coffin in next week’s teaser and reminded myself, sadly, that Larry Hagman’s still gone. Where do we go from here? We have a whole week to get ready for what’s sure to be an episode to remember, but till then let’s get out our Mapscos and see where the Ewings went this week:
*John Ross plotted with J. R.’s private detective Steve (welcome back, Meat Loaf!) at Deep Ellum’s own Adair’s Saloon, off Commerce.
What else did y’all see? Don’t forget to wear your black Stetsons next week!