“Ewings Unite!”- namely Bobby, Christopher and John Ross- in the opening scene of the first post-Larry Hagman episode of Dallas. Together they try to piece together the puzzling strategies left behind by J. R. to combat the looming threat to the fam by a supervillain team-up of Cliff Barnes and Harris Ryland, as well as finding out the whereabouts of the believed dead Pam. Bobby thinks the answer to his ex’s disappearance my lie within the pages of the finances of Barnes Global which could be paying Pam out as a silent partner. Carlos del Sol is checking out Ryland’s trucking fleets in Mexico. Junior ponders why in the hell J. R. left him a gun but takes a break to nail Emma, who looks to be auditioning for Charlene Tilton’s old job as Southfork’s resident blonde strumpet. This bit of a. m. nookie makes him late for the reading of J. R.’s will, where everybody gets something. Bobby gets his brother’s boot collection; Chris gets his likely-annotated-with-the-blood-of-his-victims copy of The Prince; a final “eff you buddy” gift of scotch to teetotaler Gary. Sue Ellen receives his heart (before you go awwww, Captain Planet fans will attest that heart is a pretty lame gift) which she already owned, and half of his share of the oil beneath Southfork. But Cousin Junior makes out hardcore: the other half of Southfork oil and a gift from Miss Ellie from beyond the grave, half of the ranch itself, which now allows him to drill there legally.
Bobby, who spent the first season trying to keep his nephew from fracking up the family homestead, shakes the Etch-a-Sketch and handwaves his opposition to drilling since Barnes Global has fired a new shot in their feud by outbidding Ewing Energies for the lucrative city fueling contracts. The city rep, the very hot and very married Alison Jones, tells Chris that he has one week to either put out or to come up with a counter-offer. Bobby tells the cousins that gloves have to come off and get in touch with their inner bastard now that their resident Sith Lord J. R. is gone. John Ross shows up at Alison’s pad, admires her marathon trophies and presents her with his own deal to send the contracts to his newly-minted Southfork Oil in exchange for backing her political aspirations for the state senate. After exchanging some clunky footrace-as-sex entendres, Junior gets some. The next day, Chris shows up at Allison’s office with blackmail photos taken by Steve Jones of the two lovebirds in post-coital embrace, pictures that would ruin her marriage and the career of her senator husband. She gets the message and EE’s methane contracts are back on schedule.
Sue Ellen’s reclaimed her long-lost bitchiness from the bottom of a bottle, which she’s been hitting hard since J. R.’s murder. Fellow alcoholic Gary tries to pull her back onto the wagon, but she rebuffs him by revealing that she was only pretending to like him to get at his share of Southfork. But since Bobby’s cool with drilling, then Gary’s usefulness is over. Finally tired of his Captain Save-a-Ho routine, Sue Ellen calls up Gary’s wife Valene from Knots Landing to come back for him. Joan Van Ark (looking effin’ niiiiiiiice at 69!) shows up with Lucy in tow, and gives her ex-sister-in-law the business and says that she’s not leaving before revealing to Gary Sue Ellen’s treachery.
Meanwhile, it turns out that J. R. was right. Cliff Barnes and Harris Ryland are up to some MFery. Cliff offers Harris the dough to buy out the trucking firm from Mommie Dearest in exchange for Ryland’s muscle and access to the Governor’s Mansion; together they will destroy the Ewings, bwah hah hah. Harris confabs with his own hatchetman (‘cause apparently you can’t do bidness in Texas without one) to get some feared Russian badass to plant a bomb on Chris’ methane rig during his demonstration for Dallas city bigwigs. They also try to figure out some revenge on Drew Ramos for punking Ryland out last week when he tried to reclaim Emma from Southfork. That moonlighting trucking job Drew took up that landed him some hot water? Turns out it was secretly for Ryland.
Speaking of Drew, he gets up the nerve to ask Bobby if he can buy back his dead dad’s land, which we now know has some mad oil underneath. Elena vouches for him, Bobby agrees, and Team Ramos is back in business. Drew takes Emma Ryland (who has nothing else to do but hang around the ranch it seems) out on his bike for some lunch. Ryland’s goon sees this and reports back to the boss. Ryland gets steamed and orders the mook to forget the badass Russian* and use Drew instead.
*Putin was booked up this week.
Harris’ mom Judith Light is still miffed at sonnyboy’s backtalk last week and demands an apology. Harris refuses, so Angela Glower tells him that she’s going back to London. Before she leaves she informs him that he will apologize because, the instant she touches down at Heathrow, she is going to freeze his assets and remove him from his top post at Ryland Trucking. Alas, Ma Ryland forgot Rule of Fictional Villainy #271: Never, ever, reveal your plans at the top of a staircase. Harris goes to stop her from leaving and Ma has a crash course in gravitational physics.
Ryland’s man gives Ramos an ultimatum: use his old Army know-how to plant the rig bomb, or his sister Elena gets it. What to do, Drew? Call upon the resources of your wealthy and powerful soon-to-be in-laws to protect your kin and shake your criminal past once and for all or betray said family and sink even lower in depravity, from petty criminal to possible murderer? We know the answer, of course, but even first-season John Ross would scratch his head at Drew’s stupidity on this one. Ramos sneaks out to the rig in his best Jason Bourne threads and installs the bomb.
The next day Chris drops some mad science out on the rig in front of the Dallas transpo officials, with his proud pop and estranged wife, the Anti-Pam — remember, she’s got EE shares now- in attendance. The mook watching on spycam sees Pamela’s preggo tummy and has a Tony Montana-style crisis of conscience (‘Chu think I’d keel two kids an’ a woman? F— dat, mayn!) He gets on the horn to Cliff, who is waiting on word of the bombing, and lets him know that his beloved daughter and unborn grandkids are still there. Barnes, still consumed by his father’s vengeance for stuff that happened during the Great Depression for crying out loud, gives the go ahead. . .
Oh, man! We’re now in the middle stretch of Season Two of Dallas and it’s great to see that the machinations and high stakes are still firing on all cylinders. Next week we’ll deal with the bomb’s fallout but till then let’s go grab the Mapscos and see where the Ewings got into trouble this week:
*I tried and tried, but I couldn’t figure out where Drew and Emma went for their lunch date. Anybody? Still, one thing has been bothering me: Emma Ryland got snatched from the State Fair while she was a toddler, right? By her own account, she was raised in merry olde England, went to Swiss boarding schools and oly came back to the States recently when she was being used to gaslight her mom Annie. So where’s the accent? Not that I pay much attention to what she says, if you know what I mean. . .
And what did y’all see?