KNOTS LANDING versus DALLAS versus the rest of them week by week

Discussion in 'Knots Landing' started by James from London, Sep 18, 2016.

  1. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

    Message Count:
    2,035
    Trophy Points:
    6,327
    Ratings:
    +3,213
    04 Feb 87: DYNASTY: The Birthday v. 05 Feb 87: THE COLBYS: Guilty Party v. 05 Feb 87: KNOTS LANDING: A Plan of Action v. 06 Feb 87: DALLAS: High Noon For Calhoun v. 06 Feb 87: FALCON CREST: Topspin

    BD Calhoun quotes the Bible again on this week’s DALLAS. “The sins of the father shall be visited on the sons,” he tells JR (a sentiment THE COLBYS’ Zach Powers would heartily agree with). But it’s another Biblical passage — “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” — that springs to mind elsewhere in this week’s Soap Land. “You have more money and more power than you ever could have imagined,” says Laura to Greg on KNOTS. “I never know who you are anymore.” This sentiment is mirrored on DYNASTY. “In my lifetime, I have made more money than I ever dreamed I would make,” Dominique tells Dex. “Sometimes when I look in the mirror, there is no one looking back at me.” She and Dex are chatting over drinks in a bar. Even though these two characters have coexisted onscreen for about three years, it’s the first significant discussion I can recall between them, yet one immediately buys them as good friends with a shared history. There exists a similar connection between Ray Krebbs and Jenna Wade during this season’s DALLAS. Dex and Dominique are both smarting from tiffs with their respective love interests so it would be the easiest thing in Soap Land for them to wind up in bed together. Instead, the characters — and the show itself — have different ideas. “You just don’t go to bed with a friend to strike out at someone,” declares Dominique, clearly not up to speed on the book of Soap Land clichés. “Even if you find that friend warm and appealing?” teases Dex. “Especially if you find that friend warm and appealing,” she replies firmly, drawing any possibility of romance between them to a close. The situation isn’t entirely devoid of soap tropes, however, as evidenced when Alexis finds them in a friendly embrace and inevitably misreads the situation. An even rarer, more tantalising Soap Land pairing than Dex and Dominique? Greg Sumner and Val Gibson, who share their first scene on this week’s KNOTS. While their conversation is fairly inconsequential, the scene derives its tension from the fact that Val knows, but Greg doesn’t, that her husband has been ordered to kill him.

    Viewed with hindsight, the scene of Dominique taking stock of her life seems to anticipate her low-key departure from DYNASTY at the end of this season. There’s a similarly ruminative quality to the lovely scene on DALLAS where Andrew Dowling asks Donna about her marriages to Sam Culver and Ray Krebbs. This provides Donna, who is also on her way out, with an opportunity to look back to when she arrived on the show, and in particular her first meeting with Ray (her description of which is slightly different to what played out on screen at the time, but no matter). “He was young and vibrant, everything the years had stolen from Sam,” she remembers, her eyes closed in reverie. She is brought sharply back to the present by a kick from her and Ray’s unborn child. Andrew picks up on an unspoken thought. “Ray isn’t gonna let you go easily, is he?” he asks. Over on FALCON CREST, Maggie Gioberti experiences a similar combination of nostalgia and loss after attending her first Lamaze class. She tells Richard about her awkwardness at “being in that class with all those young couples. When Vicky was born, it was such a happy time.” “Just where do you and Chase stand now, if you don’t mind me asking?” Richard asks her gently, displaying a sensitivity similar to that of Senator Dowling in his conversation with Donna. “We don’t really communicate,” she admits. Neither do Greg and Laura on KNOTS. When Laura tries to tackle Greg directly about their problem, he suggests that “if you’re so unhappy around here, maybe you should go back to the cul-de-sac.” So she does, joining Donna and Maggie as Soap Land’s latest middle-aged mom-to-be currently estranged from her husband. (“Pregnant women alone seem to be the fashion nowadays,” remarked Donna at Bobby and Pam’s wedding — in which case, Laura is bang on trend.)

    Things aren’t looking much rosier for the three couples who eloped earlier on in this Soap Land season. The most recent newlyweds, Sammy Jo and Clay, sign their annulment papers on this week’s DYNASTY while FALCON CREST’s Lance and Melissa are now sleeping in separate bedrooms. Over on THE COLBYS, after Miles accuses her of pushing her pregnant sister-in-law down the stairs, Channing announces that “the nightmare’s over and so is this marriage.”

    As if to redress the balance, Vince Karlotti and Adam Carrington pop the question to Emma Channing and Dana Waring on FALCON CREST and DYNASTY respectively. Emma declines but Dana accepts, making her and Adam Soap Land’s third currently engaged couple, alongside Jason and Frankie on THE COLBYS and Gary and Jill on KNOTS. Meanwhile, Zach Powers continues to pressure Sable for an answer to his proposal.

    DALLAS opens with John Ross and Christopher breaking a vase while playing ball in the upstairs hallway of Southfork. A similar misdemeanour on THE COLBYS has far more serious consequences when it transpires that Fallon’s fall down the stairs wasn’t caused by a vengeful Channing, but by LB leaving his marbles on the staircase. While LB, John Ross and Christopher are suitably apologetic, an unrepentant Joseph Agretti/Gioberti/Cumson (delete where necessary) is sent to his room for calling Lance a butthead on FALCON CREST. As contemporary vernacular goes, “Butthead” is up there with Jason Avery’s recent “have a cow” remark on KNOTS. These phrases will, of course, be popularised by BEAVIS AND BUTTHEAD and THE SIMPSONS, but interestingly, neither cartoon had made its TV debut at this point.

    This week's FALCON CREST takes a narrative jump forward of about six weeks which means that Maggie is suddenly seven months pregnant. Laura’s pregnancy on KNOTS appears to have accelerated, too, mainly due to the actress’s real-life condition. By contrast, DALLAS’s Donna is still carrying the baby she conceived almost two years ago.

    As a result of her fall, Fallon is taken to Soap Land Memorial Hospital where is she told that the complications surrounding LB’s birth five years earlier mean that her second child must be delivered immediately by caesarian section. This is one of two pregnancies that occurred during the 1981/2 season to impact this week’s Soap Land. The other is Emma Channing’s miscarriage on FALCON CREST which, she is now informed, has left her unable to conceive.

    Fallon’s new baby is a girl, just as we learn Laura’s will be on KNOTS. (“Two boys and now a little girl,” remarks Karen. “Yeah, just like you,” Laura replies.) Exactly like the last time Fallon gave birth, Jeff is nowhere to be found. Back then, he was in bed with Claudia Blaisdel (who is unexpectedly name-checked by Alexis on this week’s DYNASTY). This time, he’s busy tailing Hoyt Parker.

    Birthday parties are comparatively rare occurrences in Soap Land. (As a general rule, this is not a genre that actively seeks to draw attention to the ageing process.) Nonetheless, there have been three such events in recent weeks: Peter Stavros’s seventy-fifth birthday bash on FALCON CREST, Kolya Rostov’s twenty-somethingth on THE COLBYS and, this week, Krystina Carrington’s third on DYNASTY. Somewhat predictably, each celebration ends in relative disaster. Skylar’s nonappearance at Peter’s gathering on FC led those who were in attendance to fear that she had committed suicide. An altercation between Bliss Colby and Georgina Sinclair resulted on Georgina sitting on Kolya’s birthday cake (not so much a cat-fight as a cat-splat). And now Krystina’s party is cancelled after she experiences breathing difficulties and has to be admitted to Soap Land Memorial Hospital.

    This leads to a truly bizarro final scene in which a wheezing Krystina rides maniacally on her rocking horse. As the situation builds, there is some frantic cross-cutting between her and her sleeping parents, followed by her slow-motion collapse. (It’s somewhat reminiscent of her big sister Fallon freaking out on a merry-go-round horse back in Season 4.) “Blake, she’s not breathing!” yells Krystle. Just as last week’s FALCON CREST finished on a slow-mo shot of Angela, her voice echoing as she announced: “Nobody walks out on me and gets away with it — NOBODY!” this scene ends the same way, with Krystle’s pleas reverberating as she cries, “Somebody help me — HELP ME!” By chance, the closing scene of THE COLBYS also takes place at Soap Land Memorial with the news that Fallon’s baby, just like her three-year-old aunt on DYNASTY, is struggling to breathe. “We’ve got her back on the respirator but that’s not gonna help her to live too much longer,” her doctor warns Jeff and Miles gravely.

    The lives of the Ewing-verse children are also in danger, but for them, the threat is malevolent rather than medical. In the opening scene of this week’s KNOTS, Ben Gibson calls Jean Hackney’s bluff by refusing to assassinate Greg Sumner. “Do your worst. Kill me,” he challenges her. “It’s not just you we’ll kill, Daddy,” she replies. In the last scene of this week’s DALLAS, the threat is even more overt. “What I’m gonna do is kill him and let you watch him die,” BD Calhoun informs JR while pointing a gun at his son.

    In fact, this week’s KNOTS and DALLAS run along very similar lines. Following Jean’s threat to Ben and BD’s to JR (“Now I know you’re an enemy worth killing”), both men decide that the time has come to tell those closest to them (Val in Ben’s case, the rest of the Ewings in JR’s) about the dangers they are facing. While Ben tells Val the truth about his previous involvement with Jean, JR spins the facts about his association with BD to make him look like the innocent party. Ironically, in so doing, his and Ben’s stories end up sounding almost identical. Ben describes himself to Val as “a guy that got involved with a group that planted a couple of bombs … this guy had no idea that the bombs were even being planned on.” “Calhoun came to me,” claims JR. “He wanted to get support for his organisation … I thought they were just one of those patriotic outfits, good solid Americans … I gave him some money and then I found out that what he wanted to do was blow up the oilfields in Saudi Arabia.”

    Upon hearing Ben and JR’s stories, Val and Pam react the same way. “We should go to the police,” says Val. “Why not just call the police?” asks Pam. It is impressed upon each of them that this is not a good idea. “We can’t take that chance … The kids could be killed,” insists Ben. “If the police get involved, Ewing Oil may find itself in serious jeopardy,” argues Bobby.

    As far as Ben and the Ewing brothers are concerned, there is only one solution: to get the women and children out of town. “The most important thing is to get those kids and you and Lilimae safely out of their reach,” Ben tells Val. “Our first priority has to be to protect the family. You and Sue Ellen have to take the boys away,” Bobby tells Pam. For the Ewings, “away” means California; for the Gibsons, “out of reach” means anywhere but California.

    While Pam might be angry about the situation (she scoffs at JR's attempt "to convince us he’s just some innocent bystander that this person just latched onto”), she reluctantly goes along with the plan. Over on KNOTS, Lilimae adds an extra complication to the drama. The Gibsons need her help (not to mention her savings) to make their getaway, but cannot risk letting her know what is really happening, and so she is dragged into a situation she has no understanding of. However, having got her cooperation and Ben having dumped his car and stolen another, the Gibsons are finally on their way to safety. Back on DALLAS, with the Ewing wives and sons stashed in California, JR, Ray and Bobby wait armed and ready for Calhoun to make his next move. But for all their precautions, both families have been outmanoeuvred.

    When Jean Hackney and BD catch up with their prey, they each adopt the same faux friendly tone. “Hi, what a coincidence!” Jean calls out cheerily to Ben as she pulls up alongside his car. “I see you’re out shopping with the entire family. You know, I know a wonderful store nearby that’s having a sale on vitamins.” “JR, how you doing, old buddy?” asks BD amiably over the phone. “I knew you were expecting my call so I didn’t wanna disappoint you. I just wanted you to know that I have a couple of other things on my agenda first before I get to you so you can relax a little.“ While Jean’s implication is clear — her reference to vitamins is a way of letting Ben and Val know she’s been keeping tabs on the twins, Lilimae having spent the morning trying to get their prescription filled — BD’s is more subtle. JR doesn’t yet realise it, but Calhoun is calling from the very hotel Pam and Sue Ellen have taken the kids to (it’s also the place where Jill Bennett resides on KNOTS) and “a couple of other things on my agenda” include kidnapping John Ross. When BD contacts JR again, it’s to trade his son for him.

    Throughout this episode of KNOTS, Ben impresses on Val that “the important thing right now is we behave as usual, nothing out of the norm. Remember, when you go into the house there’s a possibility that it could be bugged.” This need to pretend adds a whole extra layer of tension to their situation. By contrast, the Dallas Ewings’ words and deeds are concealed from prying eyes — or so it seems. After they arrive in California, JR, Ray and Bobby also put on an act for the benefit of whoever might be watching — although we viewers don’t realise it at the time. On the morning of JR’s showdown with BD, Ray and Bobby approach their elder brother. “We’re going with you,” Ray tells him. “Oh no you’re not,” JR insists. As eventually becomes clear, they do follow him and are the ones who shoot Calhoun dead just as he’s about to kill John Ross. Thus, another of this season’s bad guys comes to a memorably gruesome end. (See also Phil Harbert and Erin Jones.)

    And this week’s Top 5 are …

    1 (2) KNOTS LANDING
    2 (1) DALLAS
    3 (4) THE COLBYS
    4 (3) FALCON CREST
    5 (5) DYNASTY
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
  2. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

    Message Count:
    1,662
    Trophy Points:
    5,121
    Location:
    Sunny South Florida
    Ratings:
    +2,898
    Member Since:
    June 10, 2000
    I like to think Greg's sudden cold and remote attitude toward Laura in this episode is not because he's so angry about her pregnancy, but because he senses (or perhaps totally knows) that someone is out to kill him. His "spidey senses" tell him he needed to get Laura and the boys out of the line of fire, so he made Laura mad at him and got her to move back to the cul-de-sac. Obviously it isn't the best place to go into hiding, but I think he thought he could keep them safer by putting distance between him and them.

    Nifty little detail about the Dallas wives and kids "staying in the same hotel where Jill Bennett lived". Obvously they just inserted the same establishing shot, but I've decided to imagine both suspenseful situations were going on at the same time without the ladies knowing how close they are to mutual acquaintances. Makes you wonder how many such situations surround us in our daily lives.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  3. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

    Message Count:
    2,035
    Trophy Points:
    6,327
    Ratings:
    +3,213
    11 Feb 87: DYNASTY: The Test v. 12 Feb 87: THE COLBYS: Fallon's Baby v. 12 Feb 87: KNOTS LANDING: Survival of the Fittest v. 13 Feb 87: DALLAS: Olio v. 13 Feb 87: FALCON CREST: A Piece of Work

    “I hate to feel powerless,” says Dominique on DYNASTY. “I feel so helpless,” complains Fallon on THE COLBYS. “I’m sick and tired of waiting … feeling helpless,” echoes Jeff. If there’s a theme connecting this week’s DYNASTY, KNOTS LANDING and THE COLBYS, then it’s one of impotence. While Krystina Carrington and Fallon’s as yet unnamed baby are at the mercy of the fates, Ben Gibson’s family are at the mercy of Jean Hackney.

    The message from the medical staff to the characters on both sides of the DYNASTY-verse is the same: everything that can be done is being done, all you can do is wait, etc. Much fretting and pacing of the hallways of Soap Memorial Hospital ensue. Not surprisingly, several characters’ thoughts turn to religion. “I wish I had your faith,” sighs Bliss Colby when boyfriend Kolya introduces her to Catholicism. “Everyone has faith,” he assures her. “It’s just that some people have to reach deeper to find it.” “If there’s a God in Heaven, he’ll hear us,” declares Jeff confidently. Over on KNOTS, in the absence of an explanation for recent events from her family, Lilimae Clements announces her intention to “look for answers in my Bible.” Steven Carrington also reaches for the Good Book, a copy of which he keeps on his mantlepiece, before choosing to commune with the Lord in his own words: “Dear God, Krystina has so much love here ... Please let her live.” His sentiment is echoed by Bliss: “Please let Fallon’s baby live and be healthy.” She then adds a delightfully soapy postscript: “Whichever one of my brothers is her father, please don’t let it destroy my family.”

    On DYNASTY, Krystina is diagnosed with congestive heart failure — one of those occasional Soap Land emergencies for which no one is responsible, no one is to blame. In this regard, it’s reminiscent of Jamie’s freak oil drum accident on last season’s DALLAS. Just as the Ewings were then, the Carringtons are suddenly getting along like a house on fire. This means, with nearly all their family hatchets buried, everyone is free to drop by Soap Land Memorial Hospital and lend Blake and Krystle their support.

    The biggest surprise during the equivalent DALLAS storyline was how concerned JR was about his cousin. Here, it’s Alexis’s concern that stands out. While we knew all along that JR had an ulterior motive, Alexis’s sympathy for Krystina seems quite genuine. This makes Krystle’s unprovoked outburst towards her all the more interesting. In fact, it’s the only point in this week’s DYNASTY where the drama really catches fire. “You don’t care about Krystina,” she tells Alexis. “You never bothered about her, you never asked about her … ” “Believe me, I have nothing against your little girl,” Alexis insists. “Then what’s changed?” Krystle snaps. “You obviously had something against my first child. I’ve lost one child because of you. I don’t want you near Krystina.” “… I’d never harm Krystina,” Alexis replies. “You’ve harmed everyone I’ve ever loved!” Krystle shouts. For once, Krystle is the aggressor and Alexis is the innocent party — it’s a very unusual dynamic. Over on THE COLBYS, Fallon reacts to a hospital visit from Channing with the same degree of hostility and suspicion — “You stay away from my baby … Stay away from this hospital” — and Channing is just as taken aback as Alexis is. Meanwhile on KNOTS, Val is similarly protective of her twins (“Don’t you lay a hand on them … Don’t you touch my children”), but this time the threat posed by Jean Hackney is all too real.

    DYNASTY explores Krystina’s condition with unusual detail. Towards the end of the episode, she undergoes a heart biopsy to determine the cause of her problem. It’s a relatively minor, even pain-free procedure, but one that requires the patient to be conscious throughout, and the show elects to depict it in its entirety. The intention seems to be to portray Krystle and Blake as “every-parents” struggling to master their own emotions and comfort their frightened daughter as she undergoes this bewildering procedure. This sober approach is also reflected in the episode's wardrobe choices. Instead of turning up to the hospital in cocktail dresses, as is customary in Soap Land, everyone’s suddenly in winter coats and scarves.

    However, the soap must go on. On DYNASTY, Blake insists that Adam and Dana continue with their wedding as arranged: “I want you to make your plans. Don’t let anything stop you.” On THE COLBYS, Fallon says the same thing to Frankie about her and Jason’s forthcoming nuptials: “I want you to go ahead with your wedding. Our lives have to go on, all of our lives.”

    If Krystina’s storyline is an attempt to make the rich and glamorous Carringtons seem more accessible by putting them in a situation that the average viewer can relate to, then the Gibsons’ ordeal on KNOTS is the opposite. The suburban lifestyle depicted (however superficially) on KNOTS is readily identifiable to the audience and so the show rings the changes by taking Solid Old Ben and thrusting him into a high-octane nightmare. The cosily familiar trappings of suburbia are still there — neighbours Mack and Ben attending a basketball game, Ben sitting out on the lawn on a Sunday morning fixing his kids’ swing (shades of Richard Avery doing odd jobs around the house just before disappearing out of his family’s lives for good), but nothing is quite as it seems. Even Ben and Val’s more intimate ‘scenes from a marriage’ turn out to be conversations conducted for the benefit of Jean Hackney’s surveillance equipment. Instead, their true communications take place via notepad and pen. Subtext has taken on an unexpectedly literal meaning on KNOTS LANDING.

    While the “normalising” of Krystle and Blake isn’t terribly involving (although far less grating than DALLAS’s attempts to do the same to the Ewings last season), the transformation of Ben into an assassin is gripping stuff. Just as last week’s DALLAS climaxed with the showdown between JR and BD Calhoun followed by the fatal shooting of BD, this week’s KNOTS concludes with Ben aiming a gun at Greg followed by the sound of a shot ringing out. Whereas the DALLAS gun battle took place in an abandoned amusement park, giving JR and BD plenty of room to run and hide, Ben and Greg’s showdown occurs in an enclosed space — Ben’s office — and is far more intense. While Ben might be the aggressor, pointing the gun and issuing orders (“You’re gonna commit suicide, you’re gonna leave a suicide note,” he tells Greg, as if he’s been picking up pointers from the Kit Marlowe story on FALCON CREST), he is also the more overtly terrified of the two men. Greg remains comparatively measured and calm, almost paternal. It’s a fascinating dynamic.

    In spite of all the gun battles, kidnappings and hospitalisations of recent weeks, a feeling of fatigue is detectable in this Post-Dream Soap Land era. It’s understandable — the four big shows have been on the air for the best part of a decade, the budgets aren’t what they were, and it must be hard for long-term characters to sustain the requisite sense of dramatic urgency week in and week out. This sense of ennui manifested itself last week in Dominique Devereaux’s and Greg Sumner’s low-level identity crises. This week, it’s the turn of Alexis Colby and Bobby Ewing. “You should be jumping at this!” exclaims Michael Culhane as he tries to galvanise Alexis into investing in a new deal. “Don’t you ever get tired of jumping?” she responds wearily. “I’m tired of it,” echoes Bobby during a scene with JR. “I’m tired of you getting into trouble and then me and the rest of the family having to pull your fat out of the fire… If you can’t stop this secretive crap [I’m pretty sure that’s the first time that particular c-word has been used in Soap Land, at least in a non-gambling context], then I’m out. We can sell Ewing Oil, we can divide up everything and I’m on my way … There’s not a member of the family with a share in the company that wouldn’t do the same thing. They’re all fed up with you.”

    JR’s response is interesting. First, he delivers his by-now-familiar apologetic spiel (“Don’t you think I realise I almost cost my son his life … and why? Just to get the price of oil back up. Hell, all the oil in the world is not worth a hair on that boy’s head. I never should have got involved with Calhoun … I’m sorry, Bobby”), and then he does what Jock used to do whenever Bobby got a little antsy. He offers him a taste of power: in this case total, if temporary, control of Ewing Oil. “You can run the company any way you want to,” he tells him. Pretty soon, Bobby’s no longer worried about JR’s “secretive crap” — he’s too busy cutting a fast deal for Park Bell Oil and delivering some ‘Ewings Unite’ rhetoric to Jeremy Wendell: “Whatever goes on between JR and me, when it comes to you, we’ll be together and when we’re together, we are one tough family, Wendell.”

    But why does JR feel the need to manipulate Bobby into staying at Ewing Oil in the first place? Possibly, it’s because he isn’t in a position to buy Bobby's, or indeed the rest of the family’s, shares of Ewing Oil and fears the company falling into outside hands. Or could it be that the idea of autonomy has lost some of its lustre for JR? Perhaps some residue of Pam’s Dream, during which JR discovered that his late lamented brother meant more to him than their father’s company, has seeped into this version of reality. Or maybe he’s just grasped that no man is an island — something the reclusive Greg Sumner also seems to realise on this week's KNOTS. Not only does he regret sending his pregnant wife packing, but there’s also his surprising reaction when, while watching a basketball game on TV, he spots Mack and Ben in the crowd. “Hey — Mack and Ben!” he calls out excitedly. “Mack and Ben are on the tube!” The only person around to hear him is his manservant Carlos who is unsure of how to respond. “Perhaps you should have joined them, sir,” he suggests politely. “Yeah, I wasn’t invited,” Greg replies, deflated — it’s a fleeting moment that’s both funny and sad, and one gets the sense of Greg understanding how his lifestyle choices have denied him the mundane pleasures of an ordinary life. (Not that ordinary, of course: Ben has only lured Mack to the game so he can tell him that he has been ordered to murder Greg.)

    Alexis, meanwhile, deals with her listlessness by taking a trip to California. Theoretically, it’s to visit Fallon and her dangerously ill newborn, but Jeff doesn’t even pretend to believe that’s the real reason. “Why else did you come to Los Angeles?” he asks. “I know that it has to be more than being worried about Fallon and the baby.” The Jeff/Alexis scenes are curious, for while Alexis is in Colby Land, she’s not actually on THE COLBYS. Instead, Jeff has been spun back onto DYNASTY. Yet he’s still in California. It’s like they’ve been caught in some no man’s land — or no man’s beach — between their respective shows. Here, both characters are more relaxed and informal than we’ve ever seen them before. Even their speech patterns are different. Jeff teases Alexis affectionately and she responds by laughing at herself in a way that would ordinarily be unthinkable. She lets her guard down sufficiently to relate a rare anecdote about her childhood in wet and windy England where she used to pine for “this fantastic place I’d read about called California.” For a moment, this could almost be Joan Collins describing her young self dreaming of a movie career in Hollywood. (Other surprise revelations in this week’s Soap Land: Richard Channing used to ride a motorbike and Greg Sumner once played Brutus in a college production of Julius Caesar.) Meanwhile, Jeff’s maybe-baby is hovering between life and death, but that seems to be happening in a parallel universe. However, the following night’s episode of THE COLBYS finds him weeping once more in the hallways of Soap Land Memorial as if he’d never left.

    Fascinating-in-hindsight moment of the week: Greg and Paige meet for the first time. “Hi. You’re Mack’s daughter, right?” “And you’re Laura’s husband.”

    This week’s DALLAS deals with the aftermath of last week’s shooting. It's all consequences, recriminations, cover-ups and, most interesting of all, the almost instantaneous rewriting of recent history. No sooner has JR placed his immediate family in mortal danger — resulting in the abductions of his wife and son — than said wife and son hail him as a hero. Meanwhile, his shady CIA contact resurfaces to inform him that all charges against him and his brothers for the death of Calhoun are to be dropped. While Bobby is initially angry at JR, he is soon distracted by the responsibilities of running Ewing Oil. That leaves Pam as the only character with sufficient clarity to see JR for what he is. “JR did it again. He got everybody in trouble,” she declares. “Pamela, that is a terrible thing to say,” Sue Ellen replies. “Well, it’s the truth, isn’t it?” Pam argues. “If he hadn’t gotten involved with Calhoun, none of this would have happened.” It’s a simple truth that is quickly buried in a smokescreen of sentimentality and revisionism. In a way, it’s a dry run for how JR will be deified after his death in 2013. Then it will be Elena Ramos who succeeds Pam as the speaker of truth when she calls the family out on their “rush to sentimentalise” JR. Pam’s stance also parallels Krystle’s attitude on this week’s DYNASTY. While the rest of the Carringtons, including Blake, seem happy to forgive and forget whatever Alexis has done in the past, it falls to Krystle (like Pam and Elena, her show’s original outsider) to hold her accountable for past sins. “I’ve lost one child because of you,” she reminds her.

    While THE COLBYS' final scene resolves one issue of paternity (“Oh, thank God!” gasps Jeff), the closing scene of FALCON CREST makes another more complicated. “No one knows better than you what it feels like to be a bastard in this world and you should have thought of that before you got Maggie pregnant,” says Angela to an incredulous Richard. Just then, Maggie herself bursts through the door and promptly goes into labour in the Falcon Crest hallway. The show’s heroine about to give birth in an enemy territory? It's a quintessential Soap Land scenario. Indeed, when Melissa turned up at Cole’s door in the same condition back in Season 2, it felt like the Soap Land equivalent of a Bronte novel. Alas, the impact of this cliffhanger is spoilt at the last minute by Angela putting her hand to her face and raising her eyebrows in a comedic “I’ve-seen-it-all-now” gesture. It’s one of those increasingly common moments on FALCON CREST that conveys a message of “isn’t this all very silly?” to the viewer and makes the drama that bit harder to invest in.

    It’s interesting to compare this ending with the closing scene of DALLAS which shows Sue Ellen on the phone to an unknown caller. Her melodramatically gobsmacked response (“Oh no! Oh my God! How? … There was an accident … Jamie’s dead!”) is played with endearing earnestness. In spite and/or because of that earnestness, it made me laugh out loud. Angela’s gesture at the end of FC, meanwhile, skips any pretence at sincerity and goes straight for the laugh. As a result, it falls flat.

    And this week’s Top 5 are …

    1 (1) KNOTS LANDING
    2 (2) DALLAS
    3 (3) THE COLBYS
    4 (5) DYNASTY
    5 (4) FALCON CREST


    Actually, it's the same real life hotel. Not the suites, which are obviously sets on both shows, but the lobby and reception and surrounding area. It was a regular location on FLAMINGO ROAD whenever anyone stayed in Tallahasee and first appeared in Soap Land when JR took Kristin away for a dirty weekend -- the very same episode that spun Gary and Val off into KNOTS.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2017
    • Like Like x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  4. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

    Message Count:
    3,316
    Trophy Points:
    5,561
    Ratings:
    +6,453
    Member Since:
    28th September 2008
    As always, fascinating insights, James.


    There's one example I can think of that preceded this one: Abby used it in conversation in a Sixth Season Lotus Point outdoors scene ("let's cut through the crap here..."). I'm fairly sure it was directed at Karen during her separation from Mack.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  5. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

    Message Count:
    2,035
    Trophy Points:
    6,327
    Ratings:
    +3,213
    19 Feb 87: KNOTS LANDING: In Mourning v. 20 Feb 87: DALLAS: A Death in the Family v. 20 Feb 87: FALCON CREST: Dance of Deception

    Last week, Ben Gibson shot Greg Sumner dead — or did he? That’s the question running through this week’s episode of KNOTS. It’s a mystery tailor-made for a Soap Land audience who have sat through 32 episodes of Pam’s dream on DALLAS, as well as numerous resurrections from the dead, and subsequently know better than to take anything at face value, the offscreen gunshot at the end of last week’s ep being a prime example. Such scepticism is mirrored by the characters on screen. “He’s dead,” Jean Hackney announces in the opening scene. “If he’s dead, why are you the only one who knows it? No police report, no hospital report, no news report,” responds her unnamed associate, as if pointing out the plot holes on our behalf. Whereas the sight of a body bag being loaded into an ambulance was all it took for Val Ewing’s legs to buckle back in ’84 (during the classic Gary-is-dead episode, “Finishing Touches”), times have changed. “You saw a damn body bag, big deal,” Jean’s cohort shrugs. “You didn’t look inside … For all you know, it could have been a sack of potatoes.”

    This spirit of cynicism carries through to the other soaps. “What are the odds Kit Marlowe’s still alive?” muses Richard Channing on FALCON CREST. “Tony Cumson saw her commit suicide,” answers Meredith Braxton. “He says he did,” Richard counters. Meanwhile on DALLAS, Cliff Barnes greets the news of Jamie’s death with a degree of caution (as well he might, given that her last death turned out to be part of Pam’s dream). “How did they know it was her?” he asks.

    The circumstances of Jamie’s demise turn out to be even more freakishly random than the oil barrel mishap she endured last season. “She was mountain-climbing in Mexico with a girlfriend,” Pam explains. “There was a rockslide … and they were buried … They didn’t find her for a week … They took pictures of her before the funeral.” If some of these details seem a tad grim, they pale next to what we learn has become of garrotted hitman Guy Stafford on FALCON CREST. “He’s been on the slab for seven weeks — no fingertips, no teeth,” Meredith informs Richard.

    While this week’s KNOTS is tightly structured — Greg’s disappearance informs every scene, even those involving characters who have no direct involvement in the story — FALCON CREST seems happy to throw anything and everything at the wall and hope some of it will stick. The opening sequence where Maggie goes into labour, for instance, combines elements of melodrama, farce, soapy sentimentality and sitcom self-parody. While some of it works (Dan Fixx playing Chopin on Angela’s piano as Chase and Richard deliver Maggie’s baby behind some Chinese shutters), some of it doesn’t (turning Angela’s secretary into a posh version of Butterfly McQueen in Gone With the Wind for the sake of a couple of lame gags).

    While Ben’s latest storyline is one of KNOTS’ most improbable to date, it paradoxically returns to the show to its roots. Specifically, the three original cul-de-sac housewives — Val, Karen and Laura — react to the circumstances in which they find themselves with their most defining character traits. Obliged to pretend that everything is normal while wondering if her husband is safe, Val remains tremulous and terrified throughout. Kept in the dark by both her husband and her best friend, Karen becomes ferociously curious. Confronted by the rumour of her husband’s death in the morning paper, Laura retreats once more behind her controlled and defensive veneer. “Just stop. Just don’t say anything, OK?” she says firmly when Karen tries to console her. In a different way, Sue Ellen’s recent abduction by BD Calhoun on DALLAS had a similar effect: there was something positively nostalgic about the scene where she returned to Southfork unable to account for her whereabouts the previous night. “You all think I’ve been drinking, don’t you?” she asked the family accusingly.

    The original cul-de-sac relationships are touched upon too: Karen and Val’s, Karen and Laura’s and, most interestingly, Laura and Val’s. When KNOTS first began, these two had the closest friendship on the cul-de-sac until the demands of continuing drama made Karen the most expedient confidante for both women. This dynamic is illustrated vividly in the scene where the news of Greg’s supposed death becomes a front-page headline. Whereas Val, knowing what she knows (or at least suspects), can’t even look at Laura, Karen dashes across the cul-de-sac to her, leading Laura to politely rebuff her attempts at comfort.

    As Peter Hollister worries about the correct way to respond (“If I make a public statement about his death and he’s not dead, I’m a liar. If I act like he’s alive and he’s not, I look like a fool … It’s a no-win situation”), Cliff Barnes’ duties following the demise of his ex-wife are more straightforward. Peter allows himself to be guided by Abby in her capacity as a corporate Lady Macbeth while Cliff is supported by Pam who travels with him to Los Angeles to sort out Jamie’s affairs.

    Peter’s subsequent behaviour mirrors JR’s attitude to Jamie’s demise. First, both pay lip service to the respective death in their midst. “Laura, I’m so sorry,” Peter tells his fake sister-in-law. “I feel terrible about it,” JR assures April. However, neither is blind to the potential upside. “There’s no reason we shouldn’t make the best of a bad situation,” reasons JR as he points out that Jamie’s death strengthens April’s claim to five percent of Ewing Oil. “I’m only looking after my interests, same as you would yours,” Peter insists as he asserts ownership of Greg’s prized chestnut mare. While April describes JR’s attitude as callous — our first indication that she may not be an entirely bad girl — Laura’s response to Peter is even stronger: “Oh, you’re such a greedy bastard.”

    Of course, there’s far more to Greg’s estate than to Jamie’s. “In the A’s alone, Galveston Industries controls half the businesses in this country,” marvels Peter. Jamie’s fortune, meanwhile, consists of her $2,000,000 divorce settlement and ten percent of Ewing Oil. “It’s no big deal anyway. Jack gets everything she has,” shrugs Cliff.

    However, the final scenes of KNOTS and DALLAS each contain a fab switcheroo. By this point, Val has plucked up sufficient courage to visit Laura at the ranch — whether this is to support her or to make sure Greg is really dead is hard to say. Then suddenly Greg appears. “Oh, brother!” mutters Laura in relief as she embraces him. Cliff also gets a nice surprise at the end of DALLAS when his lawyer informs him that Jamie apparently died before either filing their divorce papers or formalising her will: “It means you were the husband at the time of her death and accordingly, the sole beneficiary of her estate.” Cliff breaks into a smile and then into laughter. “God bless her!” he chuckles as the frame freezes. However, the best ending is on KNOTS when Val turns her head away from Greg and Laura's embrace in alarm — a more abrupt variation on her slow-mo spin the end of Season 6 — and silently asks herself, “If Greg’s alive, where the hell does that leave Ben??”

    DALLAS has a few anomalous moments this week. There are a couple of stabs at comedy — one where Sue Ellen’s associate assures her that he’s found a worthy successor to Mandy Winger as the Valentine Girl, only for Sue Ellen’s face to drop when she lays eyes on the girl in question. We don’t see what she sees so it’s a bit like we’re missing the punchline. Then there’s the scene where Cliff visits Jamie’s rock-climbing pal Mary Elizabeth, who is still on crutches, in LA. Before Cliff appears, we see her struggle across her apartment to answer her phone, only to take so long the line goes dead just as she picks it up. Then she hobbles back to her chair, only for Cliff to knock on the door as soon as she sits down. While neither of these scenes is laugh out loud funny — far from it — there’s a kind of endearing wackiness to them. They don’t undermine the drama in any way, and Sue Ellen’s scene at least serves the purpose of keeping the concept of Valentine Lingerie alive in the viewers’ minds. The same cannot be said for the party scene in FALCON CREST where Melissa angrily cuts the straps off her rival Dina’s dress, leaving her stranded in her sexy underwear as if she were in a 1970s comedy series. As there are no dramatic consequences, the moment seems to exist solely for our amusement. Alas, it’s just not funny.

    The most curious occurrence of the DALLAS week is when Christopher, while playing with John Ross, reaches for his daddy’s real-life gun and fires at his cousin. No one is hurt, the future Josh Henderson and Jesse Metcalfe both cry a lot and are then sent to their rooms, and that’s about it. It’s not terrible, it’s just strange — and again, impossible to imagine occurring prior to the Post-Dream era.

    Another child-related rarity: in spite his premature birth, Maggie Gioberti’s son suffers no ill effects — a refreshing change following the DYNASTY-verse’s recent sick-kiddie pile-up. Instead, the drama comes from Maggie's decision to take a paternity test after all. If Chase is the father, she’ll keep the baby. If it isn’t, she’ll give it up for adoption. All very soapy, but FC manages to make her choice feel both poignant and emotionally mature. (“It’s probably the hardest thing I’ll ever have to do.”) However, the subsequent scene in which a gloved pair of hands open a hospital cupboard helpfully labelled “Blood and Tissue Samples” and switch a vial of Chase’s blood for a fake one is pure nonsensical soap thrillingness.

    And this week’s Top 3 are …

    1 (1) KNOTS LANDING
    2 (2) DALLAS
    3 (5) FALCON CREST
     
    • Like Like x 3
  6. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

    Message Count:
    2,035
    Trophy Points:
    6,327
    Ratings:
    +3,213
    Oh, well remembered! And in fact, Laura refers to “the crap you people print” when talking to a couple of reporters in the above episode. For some reason, it just sounds swearier on DALLAS.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

    Message Count:
    7,039
    Trophy Points:
    8,250
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    somewherie on the prairie
    Ratings:
    +13,420
    Member Since:
    April 2002
    It found it so satisfying when they did that - pointing out those "but wait just a minute" moments. It gave the show a very interactive feel sometimes, or maybe many times.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Seaviewer

    Seaviewer Soap Chat Addict

    Message Count:
    1,049
    Trophy Points:
    3,896
    Location:
    Australia
    Ratings:
    +1,535
    Member Since:
    14 September 2001
    Possibly one of the best non-season-ending cliffhanger episodes. While I was always in doubt that Greg was dead, I did believe in the likelihood that one of them was.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

    Message Count:
    7,039
    Trophy Points:
    8,250
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    somewherie on the prairie
    Ratings:
    +13,420
    Member Since:
    April 2002
    I found it difficult to enjoy that storyline, although there's nothing wrong with completely "destroying" a character, those things (can) happen in soaps - and I think that was the best part of it.
    But it all started so abruptly, and before I had the chance to adjust to the situation, they moved to the next stage: he had to kill Greg Sumner.
    They (Jean Hackney) spent a lot of time and energy to threaten the Gibsons - they could have killed Greg themselves a hundred times already.
    This secret, anti-, underground movement (or whatever it was) must have been able to find a more suitable and professional assassin, after all, Knots Landing proved that it wasn't so difficult to kill Mary Frances in Greg's office. But that was later, of course.

    Apparently it was of the utmost importance that Greg Sumner would die, and yet Jean approached the situation so optimistic and carefree ("I saw the body bag") it almost made me wonder if she had changed her game.

    Why they picked Ben, why they punished him like that, I have no idea.
    If the story had explained, or just hinted at the idea that they intentionally punished him, in a "kill two birds with one stone" sort of way, I think I would have enjoyed that punishment more.
    The ingredients were there, but there was no "glue" to make it complete.

    I was just as bewildered as Lilimae! However, knowing the story for what it is (and what it isn't), I'd probably enjoy it more the second time, without constantly questioning and mentally fighting the story.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

    Message Count:
    1,662
    Trophy Points:
    5,121
    Location:
    Sunny South Florida
    Ratings:
    +2,898
    Member Since:
    June 10, 2000
    It's also worth reminding everyone that while this 180-degree turn for Ben seems abrupt and more than a little mind-blowing, it played out a bit more believably (a BIT more, not a lot more) in the original, one-episode per-week format. It added some time to digest the individual plot points. Or, put another way, gave you some time to talk yourself into believing it might actually happen.

    The limited appearances of Constance McCashin in the story were disappointing for me. At the time I just assumed she was not being used as much due to her pregnancy, but I did not know the proverbial knives were out behind the scenes. When she did appear, her character was well-used, and of course Laura was as observant and witty as always; her absence from so much of the action was glaring when you take into account how much more of an ally/confidant Laura was to Greg when suddenly...she wasn't. The producers/writers proved that they could put Greg into a front burner story threatening his life and not have his own wife play a significant role. Can you picture such a story written for Mack and not have Karen playing a major role in the story?
     
  11. Seaviewer

    Seaviewer Soap Chat Addict

    Message Count:
    1,049
    Trophy Points:
    3,896
    Location:
    Australia
    Ratings:
    +1,535
    Member Since:
    14 September 2001
    I was on tenterhooks that week, all right. The first time in a while that I'd felt that involved.
     
  12. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

    Message Count:
    7,039
    Trophy Points:
    8,250
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    somewherie on the prairie
    Ratings:
    +13,420
    Member Since:
    April 2002
    Maybe you're right, I watched it non-stop.
     
  13. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

    Message Count:
    2,035
    Trophy Points:
    6,327
    Ratings:
    +3,213
    04 Mar 87: DYNASTY: The Surgery v. 05 Mar 87: THE COLBYS: Return Engagement v. 05 Mar 87: KNOTS LANDING: Nightmare v. 06 Mar 87: FALCON CREST: Battle Lines

    The most interesting scenes in this week’s DYNASTY-verse delve into the past to evoke themes of identity and betrayal. First, on DYNASTY itself, Adam visits Dr Edwards, that most reliable of recurring characters who pops up every season or two to doggedly recount the same old story of Adam’s unhappy childhood — an unhappiness due to some intuitive sense that he was an outsider (i.e., a Carrington) who didn’t belong in the backwoods of Montana. However, pressed by Adam this week, the good doctor admits that he has been lying all along, that he has always secretly believed Adam to be Michael Torrance. It’s a surprising admission that casts everything that went before in a new light. “You were playing with my life, do you realise that?” Adam/Michael barks at him. On the following night’s COLBYS, Jeff finally comes face to face with the man he grew up believing to be his dead father. Turns out he was wrong on both counts. “I knew your mother would raise you as my son,” Phillip tells him. “In the POW camps, I used to imagine a kid halfway across the world growing up in this house talking about his dad. Sometimes it hurt, sometimes it helped.”

    “This prison camp — how long did the Vietcong keep you there?” Jeff asks. “The first one? Twelve years,” Phillip replies. It occurs to me that, with the exception of Chase Gioberti, virtually all the Soap Land characters to have served in the Vietnam War have been depicted as morally twisted. The duplicitous Ed Haynes (Pam Ewing’s first husband who used his wartime internment as a ruse to pretend they were still married), the vengeful Nick Toscanni, Michael Brandon’s disturbed character on EMERALD POINT NAS and now Phillip Colby — they all carry a trace of Colonel Kurtz in their DNA.

    Phillip is a first-class Soap Land addition. Simply by his presence, without appearing to do anything, he pits the Colby family against itself. All of a sudden, there are newly divided loyalties, power struggles and love triangles everywhere you look. As for Phillip himself, he has a charismatically subversive presence reminiscent of Greg Sumner or Joshua Rush. The actor has a habit of looking downwards during conversations, averting his eyes from whomever he is speaking to. This is common enough human behaviour in the real world, but within the stylised environment of Soap Land where most scenes consist of close-ups of faces looking at one another, it feels quietly transgressive.

    In the same way that the appearance of Frankie’s first husband on last week’s COLBYS wrecked her wedding to Jason, the actions of Gary’s first wife on this week’s KNOTS scupper his plans to marry Jill. Only a few weeks after her former brothers-in-law took it upon themselves to shoot BD Calhoun on DALLAS, Val decides to the same thing to Jean Hackney (whom she thinks has murdered Ben) . However, Val being Val, and KNOTS being KNOTS, procuring a gun proves more complicated than it usually does when a Soap Land character is suddenly possessed by an urge for murderous vengeance. Throughout the episode, Val makes several thwarted attempts to obtain a weapon before finally ransacking Gary’s bedroom to find his gun. “It was my grandfather’s. I inherited it,” Gary later explains, neatly connecting this latest drama to the Ewing family backstory.

    Gary’s subsequent efforts to prevent his ex from doing something crazy prompts the second Mrs Ewing (Abby) to give the soon-to-be third Mrs Ewing (Jill) “a friendly warning: the first Mrs Ewing doesn’t go away. Ever.” The same, of course, could be said for the first Mrs Colby. When we initially encounter Sable this week, she is in a Moroccan hotel bedroom with Zach, claiming to have come to terms with the past. “I was reborn the moment I knew Jason and Frankie were finally married,” she declares. “I feel a sense of freedom, a release … What’s past is gone.” As soon she receives word that the marriage didn’t take place, however, her first instinct is to fly home to console Jason and taunt Frankie.

    “My sister’s about to say, ‘I do’ when the groom’s dead brother, coincidentally the bride’s ex-husband, returns from the dead,” Sable recounts mockingly. She’s not the only character to acknowledge the farfetched nature of recent events in Soap Land. “This just can’t be true! … That is insane! … I just don’t believe this! It’s crazy!” interjects Karen Mackenzie at regular intervals as Mack finally brings her up to speed on the Jean Hackney storyline with the aid of multiple flashbacks and reams of exposition-heavy dialogue that resembles the summation at the end of an especially complicated SCOOBY DOO episode.

    Phillip and his “widow” don’t meet until the end of this week’s COLBYS when Frankie comes out of her bathroom to find that he has let himself into the pool house. He proceeds to reminisce about the visits they made there years earlier. (“We used to come here in winter. Nobody would come near it then. You remember — just the two of us.”) The scene takes place at night, as did a similar encounter earlier in this season’s DALLAS. Then it was Miss Ellie who was surprised when her previously dead husband, Wes Parmalee, stole onto the Southfork patio and began recalling intimate moments from their marriage. (“That time that Punk lent us his lodge down at the lake for that second honeymoon I took you on … Neither one of us were kids then, Ellie, but it was like we were eighteen again.”) In each instance, the man’s words exert a power over the woman which has nothing to do with logic and everything to do with emotion and sensuality. Frankie’s hair is damp and she is clad in a simple bathrobe. Consequently, she looks more naturally beautiful and less like a Nolan Miller mannequin than she ever has before. It feels both shocking and inevitable when she and Phillip kiss. The wonderfully ridiculous living arrangements of the Colby household mean that Sable is just closing her bedroom window for the night when she spies them together across the grounds.

    Just as THE COLBYS concentrates on the fall-out from Phillip’s shock resurrection at the end of last week’s instalment, this week’s KNOTS focuses on the repercussions of Greg Sumner’s surprise reappearance at the end of its previous episode. As a result, this ep resembles a slightly less bloodthirsty version of recent FALCON CREST. Instead of Meredith Braxton bursting out of her own coffin, we have Ben Gibson discovered alive and well inside a body bag. In lieu of Meredith blowing away a bunch of bad guys with relative ease, we’ve got Jean Hackney bungling a last-ditch attempt to assassinate Greg during a faux seduction scene where he ends up pulling a gun on her. Meanwhile, Gary prevents Val from inadvertently shooting a cleaning woman.

    Ben finally makes it home in the third-to-last scene of the ep. Instead of Val fainting Frankie Colby-style when she sees him, she, Ben, the twins and Lilimae enjoy a touchingly emotional reunion reminiscent of the one that took place between Val and her babies after their kidnapping.

    The stolen twins storyline is also echoed on FALCON CREST. Such is the unsympathetic reaction Maggie receives from those around her as she agonises over whether or not to put her son up for adoption, it’s almost as if they were conspiring to force her to give her baby away. While Angela is characteristically cruel (“It’s amazing how much he looks like his father,” she sneers upon visiting the baby and threatening to one day tell him the truth about his paternity), Vicky is surprisingly callous, calling her mother “totally insane” to even contemplate keeping “Wainwright’s bastard.” Meanwhile, Emma’s insensitivity (“You don’t have to give Douglas up for adoption — you can give him to me!” she suggests excitedly) is matched by Chase’s — he chooses this week to begin sleeping with his younger girlfriend. And the cold efficiency of her adoption lawyer prompts to Maggie to exclaim that “we are talking a living breathing helpless little baby here, not some kind of a business merger!” Such behaviour allows Richard to emerge as the sole voice of compassion, suggesting to Maggie that they leave the valley and raise their sons together. However, she is not convinced and tearfully hands over her baby to a stern-looking nurse.

    Even though it’s never had quite the same impact on me as it did on first viewing, the final scene of this week’s KNOTS is very memorable. It takes place the morning after Ben’s return and begins with an establishing shot of the cul-de-sac looking idyllically peaceful. It then cuts to the happily reunited Gibsons lying next to each other in bed. “Good morning,” they say to one another. After promising to clean out the garage, Ben gets up and Val starts to follow him to the shower. (All the clues were there …) Suddenly Jean Hackney appears and pumps three bullets into Val. Ben rushes back to find his blood-splattered wife lying on the floor. Before we can process what has happened, Ben wakes up again, this time frightened, gasping and covered in sweat. This is his reality now. The sequence is kind of a metaphor for KNOTS itself: There’s no going back. This is no longer a show about everyday suburban folk who can contentedly revert to the mundane status quo once their latest storyline is over. Neither the characters’ own psyches nor the inflationary demands of Soap Land drama will allow it.

    And this week’s Top 4 are …

    1 (1) THE COLBYS
    2 (-) KNOTS LANDING
    3 (3) DYNASTY
    4 (4) FALCON CREST
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
  14. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

    Message Count:
    3,316
    Trophy Points:
    5,561
    Ratings:
    +6,453
    Member Since:
    28th September 2008
    Fascinating observation, James. I hadn't consciously noticed this.


    Aren't they just?!


    My goodness. I hadn't noticed this either. If this was deliberate it's rather brilliant.


    As you were describing the idyllic moments of Ben and Val waking up I was reminded of early Knots denouement scenes. I love how you've taken this similarity to its logical conclusion.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Julia's Gun

    Julia's Gun Soap Chat Member

    Message Count:
    43
    Trophy Points:
    628
    Location:
    England
    Ratings:
    +122
    Member Since:
    Oct 2011
    I always thought this was a deliberate nod to the Knots audience (and snub) to Dallas' dream season. I remember the brief shock and horror seeing Val do a swooning Karen (but this time with visible bullet wounds), and then the relief and an oh! I get it moment. It was like the writers saying - we don't mess with our viewers for a whole season, we can do it in 5 seconds.

    It's kind of symbolic of the break with Dallas that occurred around this time, with Knots deciding to leave Bobby dead to maintain its own credibility and marking the break for good from their so-called big brother, who wasn't so big anymore.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

    Message Count:
    2,035
    Trophy Points:
    6,327
    Ratings:
    +3,213
    You're right, of course, but I have to say that never really occurred to me. I just found the effect on Ben himself so interesting -- how cynical and jaded he became once he was forced to give up his beloved journalism, and the way his behaviour then affected those around him -- that I didn't really think too much about the bigger picture.

    There's a moment when she's listening in when Ben is threatening to shoot Greg and Greg tells him that Laura's pregnant, and Jean's expression is such that it seems that maybe she has had second thoughts about killing him after all. But later you realise she hasn't.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

    Message Count:
    7,039
    Trophy Points:
    8,250
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    somewherie on the prairie
    Ratings:
    +13,420
    Member Since:
    April 2002
    Yes, I think there was something with the alarm system...Lilimae accidentally switched it off or something like that, and then Ben exploded because he was so obsessed with that thing.
     
  18. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

    Message Count:
    2,035
    Trophy Points:
    6,327
    Ratings:
    +3,213
    11 Mar 87: DYNASTY: The Garage v. 12 Mar 87: THE COLBYS: Devil's Advocate v. 12 Mar 87: KNOTS LANDING: Neighborly Conduct v. 13 Mar 87: DALLAS: The Ten Percent Solution v. 13 Mar 87: FALCON CREST: Nowhere to Run

    Still grieving for her husband and daughter, Sarah Curtis tries to kill herself on this week’s DYNASTY. Krystle finds her in time, gets her to hospital and then invites her to move into the Carrington mansion to recuperate. At the end of the episode, Sarah speaks to Krystle’s daughter as if she were her own lost child. The loss of her family, a suicide attempt, lodging with the Carringtons, confusing one child for another — this is more or less Claudia Blaisdel’s entire Season 2 arc compressed into a couple of episodes. Whereas we’d had the previous season to get to know Claudia, Sarah’s almost as much a stranger to us as, well, New Claudia on New DYNASTY who has also been bereaved twice over — and what’s the betting she too will to be invited to stay at the mansion after being knocked down by New Blake?

    Old Blake, meanwhile, has his doubts about Sarah’s visit. “I think it’s a bad idea,” he tells Krystle. “It’s not good for her, not good for the baby, not good for any of us.” Frankie feels much the same about Phillip on THE COLBYS: “He shouldn’t be staying at the house … Please, Jason, make him leave. You’re gambling with our happiness.” Karen Mackenzie is just as unhappy on KNOTS when she finds that Anne Matheson has moved into the cul-de-sac: “I don’t even like seeing her occasionally. Now she’s gonna be right next door!”

    If Sarah Curtis is following in Claudia Blaisdel’s footsteps, then Anne is following in Susan Philby’s. Just as the sophisticated ex of Karen’s last husband showed up on her doorstep to find her with dirt on her face and her hair in bunches (back in the Season 1 episode “Civil Wives”), Mack’s old flame arrives in Seaview Circle on the very morning that Karen is clearing out the garage whilst wearing a headscarf. Nor are these the only examples of Soap Land déjà vu this week. Back on DYNASTY, Neil McVane sidles up to Michael Culhane at Dirk Maurier’s cocktail party and tries to enlist him in his anti-Alexis gang (“Welcome to the club. From the inner circle to the bleachers … she tossed you out”), just as he did Mark Jennings at the Carousel Ball three seasons earlier.

    A week after Val Gibson went after Jean Hackney with a gun on KNOTS, Kim Novak pulls a pistol on her tormentor, Roland Saunders, on FALCON CREST. “Go ahead,” Saunders tells her. “Pull the trigger, Susan. Or is it Kit? Or Madeline? You couldn’t still be Skylar.” Indeed, at this point, Novak's aliases are proving almost impossible to keep track of. The double lives led by Adam Carrington/Michael Torrance and Phillip Colby/Hoyt Parker are relatively straightforward in comparison. Both of these DYNASTY-verse “impostors” (the jury’s still out on Adam) receive an unexpected windfall this week. Blake reinstates Adam/Michael in his will while Jeff promises Phillip/Hoyt a third of his shares in Colby Enterprises. Even though this is what both men have wanted all along, their reactions are interestingly ambivalent. “You’re acting like Blake just invited you out for lunch,” observes Adam’s fiancee Dana as he hides his identity crisis behind a veneer of indifference. Phillip’s response to Jeff, meanwhile, is possibly the Soap Land highlight of the week. Upon learning he’s in line for $150,000,000, the normally impassive Phillip doubles over in sudden laughter which subsides as abruptly as it began. He then apologises and seems genuinely moved. “I didn’t expect it, your generosity,” he murmurs. “I wish things were different. I wish you were my son … I don’t know how to thank you.” He embraces Jeff with an edge of desperation, then collects himself again.

    Jeff’s gift provides Phillip with the chance to repay a $2,000,000 debt owed to “some people you don’t disappoint” — unless Jason can find a way to discredit his brother before the transaction is finalised. Cliff faces a similar deadline on DALLAS. When he refuses to sell Jamie’s 10% of Ewing Oil to West Star, Jeremy Wendell calls in his $6,000,000 debt. “You have three days to come up with the money,” he tells him. After an attempt to seduce Marilee Stone into giving him a loan goes amusingly wrong, Cliff contemplates selling his share of Wentworth Tool & Die, a company that has acquired sacrosanct status within the Barnes family almost overnight. (“Wentworth Tool & Die was Mama’s legacy to us!” Pam exclaims. “I can’t believe you would even think of selling it. Do you know what that company meant to her? Don’t you have any integrity?!”)

    Hoping to find some dirt on Phillip, Jason makes a secret trip to Singapore. He soon runs into some red tape and goes to the British Embassy Vice Consul for help. Rather neatly, this turns out to be Roger Langdon — the very man whom Frankie recently divorced in order to marry Jason. “Ironic isn’t it? Her next husband consulting her last husband about her first,” muses Roger. The third Mr Frankie then gives the soon-to-be-fourth Mr Frankie a friendly warning about the woman they both love: “She’s quite a woman, but she does have her flaws … I don’t think she knows herself what she wants. You see, when it comes to men, the latest voice seems to be the most persuasive.” And that’s not the only COLBYS conversation to echo Abby’s advice to Jill on last week’s KNOTS. “I want to give you a tip,” Adrienne Cassidy tells Monica during a drunken late night phone call. “Try stepping down off that pedestal. Cash likes that … You see, he thinks he wants a lady, but what he really wants is a whore.”

    As the episode title suggests, much of this week’s KNOTS is set in the cul-de-sac, with the action taking place against a backdrop of everyday life — spring-cleaning, jogging, a neighbourly dinner party. However, this is less a depiction of suburbia than suburbia-with-a-twist. To the left of the Mackenzie house, we have fish-out-of-water Anne attempting to adhere to the norms of neighbourhood life whilst simultaneously exhibiting a passive-aggressive desire to disrupt the domestic status quo. This results in a kind of sly parody of suburbia, the high point of which is Karen and Mack’s response to the nude photos of Anne hanging on her living room wall: “They’re very … nude.” To the right, we have Ben and Val, each trying to move on from their recent ordeal at the hands of Jean Hackney by retreating behind a facade of normalcy. “It’s like nothing ever happened,” whispers Val, still clearly traumatised, while Ben sits staring into space as Lilimae tries to talk to him.

    Consequently, when a delivery package is left on the Mackenzie doorstep, it is not simply a delivery package left on the Mackenzie doorstep. For Ben, it’s potentially a bomb sent by Jean Hackney to wipe he and his family off the face of the earth; for Anne (to whom the package is addressed and who has pre-arranged for it to be dropped off next door), it’s a way of luring Mack over to her place while Karen is working late. I don’t think this is a precise example what the following passage in @TommyK's fascinating essay describes, but the basic principle still applies:

    ”The brilliance of Knots Landing -- as with the best domestic dramas -- is that the mundane tasks were always a backdrop (and more often than not, an outlet) for issues of real importance. If Val helped Karen stretch a sweater that seemed tight, it wasn't about the sweater: it was about Karen's insecurities, after spending time away from her family and coming back to find so much changed. If Mack and Karen started squabbling about trivial matters -- like what color the living room should be painted, and which way the toilet paper should come off the roll -- it wasn't about paint chips and toilet paper; it was about Mack having a midlife crisis. (As I mentioned in my Season 6 essay, that season's headwriter, Richard Gollance, would always ask, "What is the scene about?" There had to be something simmering subtextually that the actors could play.)”

    http://thatsallsiknow.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/knots-landing-season-13.html

    What happens when there isn’t “something simmering subtextually that the actors could play” is illustrated by a couple of domestic-themed scenes in this week’s DALLAS. First, Clayton chortles as Miss Ellie mock-chides him for eating salsa and chips late at night, then John Ross coos over a puppy in a pet shop as Sue Ellen looks on in mock-exasperation. “What is the scene about?” indeed. Presumably, each of these scenes is intended to show the Ewings as more relatable, rounded characters. Instead, the absence of subtext robs those characters of what made them interesting and unique in the first place and so they end up sounding the same as any other bland, generic characters on any other bland, generic TV show. Scenes of this nature were prevalent on DALLAS during the Dream Season so it’s probably significant that this episode was written by cast member Susan Howard, a vocal champion of that period of the show.

    A more intriguing idiosyncrasy of Howard’s writing reveals itself at the start of this episode. Her previous ep, last season’s “Overture”, began with JR in a meeting with his boot supplier and this instalment also opens by focusing on a major character’s choice of footwear. “I heard they do that in Los Angeles, but this is Dallas,” says secretary Jackie with reference to Pam’s hightop trainers (or the 80s equivalent thereof).

    There are three awkward social gatherings in Soap Land this week. The first is set up, somewhat uncharacteristically, by Jason on THE COLBYS. Upon his return from Singapore, he summons the entire family to a formal dinner party at the house. He then springs a nasty surprise on them: Bianca Jagger. She promptly identifies Phillip as “Hoyt Parker. So this is where you’ve been hiding yourself!” Cue dramatic music, shocked close-ups and a freeze frame of Phillip looking shifty. Anne’s housewarming-cum-dinner party on KNOTS, meanwhile, is played for light comedy rather than melodrama with a reluctant Karen obliged to make nice to her hostess while Mack is slowly bored to death by Anne’s stockbroker date. The engagement party Angela throws for Dan and Vicky on FALCON CREST, meanwhile, is not so much awkward as an unmitigated disaster. The groom-to-be is a no-show while the bride arrives drunk and tries to get Eric Stavros into bed. Not to mention the small matter of Roland Saunders' dead body being found in the winery, after Kit/Skylar/Madeline/Susan has chosen cigar-injected-with-poison over an everyday shooting as her preferred method of murder.

    It’s notable that Maya Kumara, Bianca Jagger’s character on THE COLBYS, is introduced as Hoyt Parker’s “mistress”, despite being the wealthier and more powerful of the couple and the fact that she rather than he was married during their affair. Soap Land’s other current big name guest star, FC’s Kim Novak, is defined in the same way. “You were born to be the mistress of a man like me,” Roland Saunders tells her prior to puffing on that fatal cigar.

    Sartorial trend of the week: Donna Krebbs and Maggie Gioberti each turning up to a black-tie affair in a plain winter coat. In Donna’s case, she unintentionally crashes a formal dinner party in order to apologise to Senator Dowling for rebuffing his offer of support earlier in the episode. Maggie, meanwhile, marches into Angela’s house during the engagement do demanding to see the child Emma has secretly adopted, believing it to be the baby she gave away (and now wants back, having found out Chase is the father after all). She is stunned into silence when a ten-year-old black boy appears. (Unless one counts Dominique Devereaux’s “the same daddy” revelation to Blake back in ’84 or the non-reaction to Eric Fairgate's black girlfriend on KNOTS a year later, this is the first time race has been used as a punchline in Soap Land — and it works, in a DIFF’RENT STROKES sort of way. It’s certainly funnier than most of FC’s recent attempts at humour).

    Just as the first soap of the week ended with a mother addressing someone else’s baby as her own (“Goodnight, my darling,” said Sarah Curtis to Krystina) so does the last. In the final scene of FALCON CREST, we discover that Melissa has somehow taken possession of the child Maggie put up for adoption. “You’re not Maggie’s, you’re not Chase’s — you’re my little Roberto, my little Bobby,” she coos.

    And this week’s Top 5 are …

    1 (1) THE COLBYS
    2 (2) KNOTS LANDING
    3 (-) DALLAS
    4 (4) FALCON CREST
    5 (3) DYNASTY
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2017
    • Like Like x 3
  19. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

    Message Count:
    2,035
    Trophy Points:
    6,327
    Ratings:
    +3,213
    25 Mar 87: DYNASTY: The Dress v. 25/6 Mar 87: THE COLBYS: The Dead End/Crossroads v. 26 Mar: KNOTS LANDING: Deadly Combination v. 27 Mar 87: FALCON CREST: Cold Hands

    At the end of last week’s COLBYS, Jason found his fiancee Frankie in bed with his brother Phillip. At the beginning of this week’s FALCON CREST, Dan Fixx discovers his fiancee Vicky in bed with Eric Stavros. When confronted, Frankie and Vicky both try to deflect the blame onto the men they have cheated on. “I asked you to keep him away and you wouldn’t listen!” Frankie tells Jason. “It wouldn’t have happened if you were there!” Vicky tells Dan. Neither man is impressed by this method of defence. “This marriage — maybe we’re making a mistake,” Jason suggests. “I want you to move out,” Dan insists.

    While Dan and Eric discuss their differences over a bottle of whisky, Jason favours a more violent approach when dealing with Phillip. First, he contemplates a shotgun (echoing the time Sable aimed the same weapon at him), then a horsewhip (evoking memories of Miss Ellie and Jock in DALLAS: THE EARLY YEARS), before finally settling for a messy, muddy fistfight in the grounds of the Colby mansion (a cross between Roy and Chance’s cattle pen punch-up on THE YELLOW ROSE and Eric and Michael’s fight in the Mackenzie living room on KNOTS).

    Exes drifting back together is another common trend this week. On DYNASTY, fireside reminiscing between Steven and Sammy Jo (“Remember the first time we made love?”) leads to montage sex and even a shared freeze-frame. On THE COLBYS, Jason’s discovery of Frankie with her former husband (“the pull of the past,” she explains) leads to an unexpected rapprochement between him and Sable who describes their relationship as “some sort of curse. Every time I nearly accept that it’s over, something happens to give me hope.” FALCON CREST’s Chase and Maggie also reunite — if only in a failed attempt to retrieve their baby son from whoever adopted him. Meanwhile on KNOTS, Mack and “the passion of his youth”, Anne Matheson, spend a nostalgic evening in her house imbibing pizza and beer and grooving to her collection of sixties records, most notably Mamas and the Papas’ ‘Dedicated to the One I Love’.

    In this most meta of seasons — who could forget Val Gibson’s dealings with Ramilar Productions on KNOTS, Mandy Winger’s MIAMI VICE pastiche on DALLAS or FALCON CREST’s ongoing homage to VERTIGO? — the use of ‘Dedicated to the One I Love’ is surely the most satisfying intertextual moment of them all. Even if the viewer is unaware that the actress playing Anne Matheson was one of the singers performing the song, it would still be the perfect soundtrack for the trip down memory lane that Anne has orchestrated. And for those who are aware, the track works on many levels: as well as being gorgeously romantic, it’s also dreamily nostalgic, hearkening back to an era when Anne and Michelle Phillips were each in her youthful prime. It’s also slyly manipulative — both Anne and KNOTS itself know precisely what buttons they are pushing. Heck, a Mamas and the Papas LP cover can even be glimpsed on Anne’s living room floor.

    The first Soap Land Song Wars in, well, ages, is between Marvin Gaye’s ‘I’ll be Doggone,’ as performed by Mack and Anne as part of their boozy night in, and Melissa’s rendition of the old standard ‘Goody Goody’ during an amateur talent night on FALCON CREST. Whereas the KNOTS couple are drunkenly uninhibited as they dance and sing along in the privacy of Anne’s home — Mack’s use of a beer bottle as a pretend mic and his sweat-stained shirt only add to the impromptu vibe of the occasion — Melissa delivers her performance, for reasons yet to be explained, under the alias of Veronique the Slumming Socialite. Her heavily stylised, semi-spoken, innuendo-laden rendition could not be further from the raucous fun going on over at Anne’s house. If one also remembers that we are witnessing Michelle freaking Phillips performing a song from the era that defined her in throwaway circumstances similar to those in which Howard flipping Keel casually serenaded a bedridden Miss Ellie with ‘Don’t Get Around Much Anymore’ on DALLAS a few episodes ago, then Anne and Mack are the clear winners. Admittedly, Melissa’s cabaret act on FC drives the crowd of on-screen extras wild, but that doesn’t prevent it being Soap Land’s possibly most cringe-inducing sequence to date.

    Two weeks after Sarah Curtis tried to end it all on DYNASTY come two more Soap Land suicide attempts. Following rejections from Jason Colby and Mack Mackenzie, Frankie and Anne each decide that life is no longer worth living. But whereas Frankie retreats to an out of the way motel to shuffle off this mortal coil, Anne has prearranged for Mack to come round for breakfast the morning after her pill overdose and thus presumably find her before it’s too late. (“And the darkest hour is just before dawn,” sing those Mamas and their Papas) But while Jeff manages to track Frankie down and save her in the nick of time, Mack changes his breakfast plans at the last minute (“I am gonna have breakfast in my house at that table with my wife,” he insists) and so the episode ends with Anne’s life hanging in the balance.

    It’s coming up to a year since the historic moment when Pam Ewing awoke from her season-long nightmare. Turns out on this week’s COLBYS that the only thing more outrageous than a thirty-one episode dream is not dreaming at all. “I haven’t been sleeping well lately. Maybe that’s part of it,” Fallon tells Jeff in an effort to explain her slightly-more-highly-strung-than-usual behaviour. “Bad dreams?” he enquires. “No dreams,” she replies. “I just wake up in the middle of the night with this terrible feeling — as if I’ve lost something.” He suggests she might be suffering “West Coast postpartum depression”, but the reality turns out to be something even stranger.

    Prior to other I-can’t-believe-this-is-actually-happening moments in Soap Land, the norm had already been departed from. DYNASTY invented an entire foreign country and accompanying royal family weeks before gunning down all the show’s major characters during a military coup. Bobby’s return in the shower came at the end of a very strange year in DALLAS that combined international espionage with Down’s Syndrome. By contrast, recent events on THE COLBYS could scarcely have been more traditionally soapy: a long-lost brother returning from the dead, an aborted wedding, a love triangle, a suicide attempt, a pregnant wife running off to have an abortion … what could be more comfortingly familiar? I’m not convinced we really needed a UFO (a UFO!) landing in front of Fallon and then whisking her away — not when we’ve already seen the earthly equivalent in the very same episode, i.e., Jason’s helicopter, in hot pursuit of a car containing Phillip and Frankie. The car crashes. While Phillip disappears into thin air (in the same tradition as recent Big Bads Jean Hackney and Wes Parmalee), Frankie is left behind, badly injured. Although I’m no fictional doctor, I’ll wager her prognosis isn’t great, especially when she smiles bravely and urges Jason and Jeff to “be a family.” Now where have I heard those last words before?

    While THE COLBYS’ final scene is undoubtedly impressive, it suffers from having little relation to the episode surrounding it. Perhaps the UFO sequence would carry more resonance had the series been granted a third season that showed Fallon’s alien abduction being somehow absorbed into the traditional Soap Land genre. Might there have been some connection between Fallon whizzing around the galaxy and Jason’s space-age IMOS project? As it is, the sequence, however memorable, pales next to the exquisitely executed scene in KNOTS where Anne Matheson interrupts the Mackenzies’ evening to ask her new neighbours about “garbage day”. She looks as mystified by the concept as Fallon is by the extra-terrestrial who beckons her onto his ship. “What exactly does that mean?” she enquires nervously. “It means that, early in the morning, the garbage trucks come by and pick up everyone’s garbage,” Mack explains patiently. “We have to move the cans to the kerb — all by ourselves,” adds Karen with a little more edge.

    The bulk of this week’s FALCON CREST, meanwhile, is dominated by the investigation into Roland Saunders’ murder which is given a distinctly KNOTSian treatment. In an effort to bestow the story with an extra dimension, we are granted a brief glimpse into the local DA’s backstory (“For the first time in seventeen years, I’ve got a case that’s worthy of me!”) just as we were into Detective Baines’s past when she began looking into Cji’s death. There is much jump-cutting between witness interrogations just as there was after Ciji’s murder, and as in that storyline, one character willingly takes the rap to protect another. The big difference is that here the plot is so convoluted, and the characters chiefly involved so remote, it’s hard to really care what happens.

    1 (-) KNOTS LANDING
    2 (1) THE COLBYS
    3 (3) DYNASTY
    4 (-) FALCON CREST
     
    • Like Like x 2
  20. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

    Message Count:
    3,951
    Trophy Points:
    5,636
    Location:
    Haunting that cozy cellar under Falcon Crest
    Ratings:
    +5,140
    Member Since:
    September 2000
    Funny, whenever I think of the last half of KNOTS' run, this is the scene I seem to think of first. Even before Jill forcing Valene to attempt suicide.

    Maybe it's because it felt like another '80s nostalgic nod to the '60s (aside from everything else the scene was doing) only it actually seemed to not be all about the '80s.
     
    • Like Like x 1

Share This Page