John Ross Puts a Ring On It
7 important things we learned from watching TNT's Dallas this week
Next time you drive down Swiss Avenue, try to spot the whorehouse. According to this week's Dallas on TNT, one of those mansions is a secret sex club, just ripe for some blackmailing of crooked politicians.
Blackmail is adding overlapping layers of intrigue and betrayal to the lives of the Ewings and Barneses. And the goings-on down on Swiss (at least that's what it looked like from the brief establishing shot on the show) are certainly more interesting than more numbing conversations about fracking and arctic ice-breaking vessels.
This week's episode was a soap-sudsy 60 minutes of screwin', sassin' and whiskey-fueled backstabbin'.
This week's episode, titled "Lifting the Veil," laid on an astounding number of double-crosses. Written by Taylor Hamra and directed by Bethany Rooney, it was a soap-sudsy 60 minutes of screwin', sassin' and whiskey-fueled backstabbin'. The main event was supposed to be John Ross' marriage to Pamela Rebecca Ewing. (They eloped last season, but this was to be a splashy formal celebration.)
But as the ranch hands doubled as cater waiters, setting up tables and chairs in the Ewings' backyard, John Ross (Josh Henderson, never changing expression) was zipping all over the county in his continuing effort to get permission to drill on Southfork land. That's something Uncle Bobby (Patrick Duffy) says will never happen. In fact, last week Bobby planted an endangered prairie chicken on the property to delay the drilling permit.
However, John Ross, like his dead daddy J.R., doesn't play by anybody's rules, not even on his wedding day — and not even if the outcome has Southfork's tap water spewing flames.
Here are seven more things we learned from Dallas this week:
The more Sue Ellen (doe-eyed Linda Gray) tips her flask to her lips, the more she whisper-acts like Patrick Duffy.
She had a serious whisper-off with Bobby's wife Annie (doe-eyed Brenda Strong) about son John Ross' ongoing affair with Annie's daughter Emma (doe-eyed Emma Bell), who occupies the room in the Southfork mansion across the hall from John Ross and wife. Slightly tippled, Sue Ellen was confronted by John Ross, who blackmailed her into not stopping his re-wedding to Pamela Rebecca Barnes (doe-eyed Julie Gonzalo).
The Ewings and Barneses occupy a very small and incestuous dating pool.
Get this: Bobby's son Christopher Ewing (Jesse Metcalf) was once involved with Pamela Rebecca. She was preggers with his twins last season but lost them in a miscarriage when the oil platform she was on blew up. When she came out of the hospital, she eloped with Christopher's cousin John Ross and moved right into Southfork, with no awkwardness whatsoever.
Then John Ross started his affair with his cousin-by-marriage Emma. This week saw Christopher in a post-wedding haze wander down to the horse barn for a bit of lip rodeo with ranch hand Heather (AnnaLynne McCord). Get off the property, kids! Meet some new people!
Mysterious new character Nicolas Trevino (Juan Pablo Di Pace) is also known as "Joaquin."
In Mexico, he has a wife and kids. In Dallas, he's playing hide-the-flauta with Christopher's ex, Elena (Jordana Brewster). He's all up in the blackmail plots too, but so far he's only interesting when he's delivering dialogue wearing just a wet towel.
The Ewings don't believe in wedding planners.
This whole episode took place on John Ross and Pamela's wedding day. But as she's seen getting her hair flat-ironed, while her mom, J.R.'s one-time movida Afton Cooper (Audrey Landers), makes bitchy remarks, John Ross is at the downtown El Fenix for a blackmail meeting with nemesis Harris Ryland (Mitch Pileggi). Then John Ross tools over to his One Arts Plaza penthouse for a blackmail confab with Emma.
A real-life family this rich would've had a team of groom wranglers roping him in. Also, no decent Dallas-based wedding planner would make guests sit outside that long in the summer sun or put the wedding cake on an outside table. Buttercream icing wouldn't last five minutes in that kind of heat.
Old-time Dallas character actors need better agents.
Last year a few of the oldies were parachuted in for brief cameos during J.R. Ewing's funeral; this week it was for John Ross' wedding. Steve Kanaly, Charlene Tilton and Audrey Landers had barely any dialogue. They need agents willing to fight for more screen time.
Swiss Avenue's kinky whorehouse looks fun.
In this episode's wildest scene, John Ross, on yet another of his wedding-day detours to work on that oil-drilling bidness, stopped in at what looked like a mansion on Swiss depicted as some kind of louche private club. Harris Ryland arranged a blackmail-qualifying bit of fun for Texas Railroad Commissioner Stanley Babcock (Currie Graham), who's seen frolicking with a prostitute who's dressed in a furry dog costume and barking like a poodle.
Video evidence of this is used to make the commish sign off on the drilling at Southfork. And who's the madam at this manse of ill repute? Judith Ryland, played with extra-sneery sneers this week by the magnificent Judith Light.
Let's see that series spin-off, please. Call it Swiss Avenue and stock it full of whores and dishonest politicians. I'd watch. Wouldn't you?
This show's writers have never really been to Dallas.
Otherwise they wouldn't have had John Ross getting air-humped at the whorehouse on Swiss and then walking down the aisle at Southfork 20 minutes later. As we who drive I-75 for realzies know only too well, it is impossible to get from Swiss Avenue near downtown all the way to Parker, Texas, where Southfork sits, that quickly. Much less with minutes to spare to shower, put on a tux, have a showdown with a drunk Sue Ellen and take weepy phone calls from the mistress.
It can't be done. Not without wings.
Catch full episodes of Dallas on TNT online. New episodes air at 8 pm CST every Monday, with a rerun right after.