Sharp knives at Southfork
Dallas season 2 opens big as Texas, with blackmail, boohooing and great hair
Blackmail, bribes, money laundering, late-night swims, fixed oil platforms, shots of Highland Park Village, Sue Ellen swilling Pinot Grigio (almost) and a secret baby misplaced at the State Fair of Texas. Yeehaw, Dallas is back on TNT for a second season of the series reboot.
In its two-hour opener, we got a gusher of new characters, new identities for old characters and hints about how the show will deal with the death of its star, Larry Hagman, and his character, J.R. Ewing. Hagman will appear in seven episodes, leading up to a funeral scene set for episode No. 8.
Larry Hagman will appear in seven episodes, leading up to a funeral scene set for episode No. 8.
Last night’s major plot pretzels were enough to make us thirsty for whatever Sue Ellen’s having.
Christopher’s sham marriage last season to “Rebecca Sutter” (Julie Gonzalo) was headed for annulment until the runaway bride hopped off a helicopter and announced she’s really Pamela Rebecca Barnes, daughter of Cliff Barnes, the longtime Ewing nemesis (played by Ken Kercheval, who live-Tweeted during the show).
No way she’ll walk away from her marriage to Christopher without a share of his new company, Ewing Energies. Also, she’s preggers with his twins. They will have to go to court to fight it out.
Bobby Ewing’s wife, Ann (Brenda Strong, who, if you recall, was “Sue Ellen” on Seinfeld), was informed by her creepy ex-husband, Ryland Harris (played by the great bald X-Files actor Mitch Pileggi), that he knew the whereabouts of their missing 22-year-old daughter, Emma Brown (Emma Bell of The Walking Dead). Seems in 1991, baby Emma was snatched from her stroller on the midway at the State Fair and never seen again. (Hope that Fletcher’s corndog was worth it, Ann.)
Weepy Ann had to break the news to Bobby, who promised to get her daughter back for her. You’d think the topic might have come up at some point in their marriage. Man, that Ann can keep a secret.
Got a feeling Judith Light’s Judith will send Brenda Strong’s Ann on many a crying jag this season.
When Bobby goes to Harris’ mansion to find out more about now-grown Emma, he discovers Judith Brown Harris (Emmy and Tony winner Judith Light, wearing a Cruella de Vil collar), who admits she had her granddaughter “rescued” in the fairground abduction and then raised her “secretly” in Europe. Got a feeling Judith’s Judith will send Ann on many a crying jag this season.
“This is about methane,” said Christopher (Jesse Metcalf) during a board room sit-down with J.R.; Bobby (Patrick Duffy, whose eyebrows are approaching Hagman-ian thickness); J.R.’s boy John Ross (Josh Henderson); and Christopher’s business partner and squeeze, Elena (Jordana Brewster, so thin Christopher must need a bookmark to find her in bed). Too much dialogue in both episodes this week was dedicated to “high-density methane pockets under the seabed” and “extraction technology.”
Isn’t it cute how the writers think we’re interested in that stuff? All the talk of alternative energies is Dallas’ version of Downton Abbey’s Bates plotline. Every time Elena says “vertical integration,” we choose to think of it as her sexy pet name for Christopher.
Sue Ellen Ewing (Linda Gray, better now than she was back then) had to drop out of the governor’s race last season when her opponent accused her campaign of money laundering. This week J.R. put on his white hat and danced a little sidestep to get the charges against his ex-wife dropped.
Every time Elena says “vertical integration,” we choose to think of it as her sexy pet name for Christopher.
He showed up on the fairway to deliver to the prosecutor (J.R. called him “that twit”) some naughty photos of a certain back nine orgy. Case dismissed. J.R. celebrated by dropping in on Sue Ellen in a deliciously twinkly scene between the two veteran actors. He complimented her sobriety; she told him “behave yourself.”
Golly, how they must miss him in that cast. We already do.
Best lines this week: “Love is for pussies,” uttered by John Ross after he bedded the daughter of the man whose trucking fleet he wanted to buy. And “Makes you wanna punch sump’n, doesn’t it?” J.R. to John Ross as they peered out the window of Southfork at Christopher lip-locked with Elena in the driveway. (Episode 1 was written by Cynthia Cidre and Robert L. Rovner; part 2 was by Aaron Allen.)
Best obvious sexual metaphor: The cut to a shot of a moving train blowing its whistle right after shirtless John Ross fell lips first on top of Pamela Rebecca Barnes, thus launching another internecine affair between the feuding families.
Best North Texas drought relief: Brenda Strong’s character Ann boohooing buckets through both of this week’s episodes.
Best whisper acting: Patrick Duffy, a shoo-in for the Whisper Acting Hall of Fame.
Best hair: Josh Henderson’s swoopy front wave, which is so smooth and lacquered it looks like buttercream frosting (with highlights!).
Locals with face time: Dallas Theater Center acting company member Liz Mikel as Judge Rhonda Mason, presiding over Christopher’s annulment hearing. Artist Kevin Page as the bum in the train yard. Character actor and motivational speaker Glenn Morshower as “Lou," part of Bobby Ewing's legal team.
Funniest unintended joke: Ann Ewing is assured that Emma Brown is her long-lost daughter because the investigators “sent the DNA over to an SMU lab for testing.”
Coming up: John Ross and Pamela Rebecca try to out-face-suck Christopher and Elena. J.R. disappears, leading to a “What happened to J.R.?” mystery that will bring Ray Krebbs (Steve Kanaly) and Lucy Ewing (Charlene Tilton) back for cameos.
If only the producers of this Dallas would purchase however many tankers full of infomercial face cream it would take to get Victoria Principal back as Pam Ewing. Please, please, please.