Re-watching Season 4

Discussion in 'Dallas Season Reviews' started by James from London, Jan 6, 2017.

  1. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    "Adoption" Directed by Larry Hagman.

    "Adoptions are very routine. There's rarely a problem," claims Bobby's attorney. Tell that to Jeff Farraday, back in Dallas sans tache. (Given his track record, he probably sold it. To John Beck.)

    Miss Ellie stops by the Krebbs' house to invite Donna to the ranch for dinner. (For once they're having something that doesn't look like it came from a cow--unless it's a cow that's shaped like a chicken. With Ray recent hands-off approach to ranching, anything's possible.) "Think you can trust me with your china?" Donna asks wryly, holding up one of several pieces of broken crockery. "Over the years I've thrown a few plates myself," Ellie replies (foreshadow alert! foreshadow alert!). "I caught [Ray] with another woman," Donna explains, "and I was just so upset when I got in that I lost control. I don't think that I've ever been so mad. Ever." (Another dramatic event in the Krebbs house that didn't make it to the screen, but I guess there's only so much plate throwing one season can take.) "Deep down inside, I feel like Ray wanted me to catch him," intuits Donna and of course she's correct--which means that JR, by arranging for Donna to find Ray and Bonnie together, acted an agent for Ray's subconscious, self-destructive need. The valid point Marky makes about Sue Ellen, "she wasn't so much seduced back by JR's deceptive ploys, but by her own. And it clearly reflected how much she was the architect of her own repeated destruction" can be applied equally to Ray. And perhaps also, in a more roundabout way, to Cliff. In this episode, Cliff discovers a connection between Ewing Oil and Olco Industries. Not only do the two companies do a lot of business together, but JR and Wally Hampton were frat brothers. (Can you imagine the kind of hazing rituals those two indulged in? Ouch!) It's always struck me as unlikely that JR would not expect, or even intend, Cliff to make this connection. "Did you really think I'd take that job Wally Hampton offered without checking it out first?" asks Cliff during a confrontation scene with JR. "Like the greedy frog to the juicy fly, I thought you'd snatch it up right up," JR replies. "I must have you worried," Cliff concludes. "I must have you really worried." Isn't this, in fact, what Cliff wants to believe--that he now has what it takes to both undermine and outsmart JR? "There's no way you keep me from seeing Sue Ellen anymore," he continues. (It appears to have escaped Cliff's attention that he has already stopped seeing Sue Ellen, albeit temporarily. They haven't shared a scene for two weeks. The writers needed to keep them apart to enable JR's courtship of Sue Ellen to progress.) "I plan to marry her one of these days." "Barnes, you're gonna have to step over my dead body to do that." "Whatever it takes." It's not hard to imagine that JR has used the Wally Hampton scheme as a red herring, a way of lulling Cliff into a false sense of security before springing the real trap on him. (Larry Hagman's grim expression at the end of this scene doesn't quite bear that theory out, however.)

    The episode contains a classic example of 'When Storylines Collide'. Two separate plot strands, Christopher's adoption and the tentative reconciliation of JR and Sue Ellen, draw ever closer before finally converging towards the end of the episode as Bobby is obliged to ask Sue Ellen for an affidavit disclaiming any knowledge as to the paternity of Kristin's baby. The dance begins as Bobby calls Sue Ellen "to get together for a few minutes early next week. I have a few things I'd like to talk to you about," only seconds before JR arrives at her door with an invitation to dinner at the ranch. "Sue Ellen, those memories of our first meeting were very special to me and I'd like to make that the start of a new friendship between us." So it is that JR, Sue Ellen and John Ross arrive in the Southfork kitchen where John Ross pulls off his most complicated piece of dialogue thus far: "Hi, ganma!" Everyone laughs with relief (who knows how many takes it took to get that line in the can?) and then celebrates in the time honoured family tradition of all licking the cooking spoon. Ewin' saliva--mm hmm!

    As the family gathers for dinner, Sue Ellen initiates a conversation with Donna. A rare exchange not on the theme of "A Ewing is a Ewing is a Krebbs", the awkwardness between these two women is very nicely conveyed. Sue Ellen, aiming for nothing more than social chit chat, ("Donna, it's so nice to see you again") inquires after Ray. In reply, Donna (to paraphrase James Cagney's no-nonsense definition of acting that was recently posted on the forum by Crimson) just plants her feet, looks Sue Ellen right in the eye, and tells the truth: "He's not doing too well... His whole world seems to have crumbled." This is possibly more information than Sue Ellen was anticipating, but her polite responses--"Will he be here tonight?" she asks--only drag her in further. "No, he'll probably be at the Longview Bar," replies Donna. "Well, I'm, er, sorry to hear that Ray's havin' a hard time, Donna. Um, what are you gonna do?" "I don't know yet." " ... Oh, I've gotta admire Donna," interjects an amused JR. "Ray's been treatin' her very badly. She's holdin' up real well." He pats her on the shoulder for good measure. Bobby and Pam, meanwhile, are both shocked (for slightly different reasons) to see Sue Ellen back at Southfork. After dinner, Sue Ellen asks Bobby what it is he wants to discuss with her, and he tells her the conversation will keep. Clearly, he is worried how her renewed closeness with JR will affect his already delicate task. For her part, Sue Ellen is far less hostile towards Bobby than she was throughout Season 3 (when she treated him like dirt) or during their brief, terse meeting at the Southern Cross at the beginning of this season.

    A nice juxtaposition between the domestic and the devious comes when JR steals upstairs to his room during the post-dinner booze up. As John Ross, evidently exhausted from delivering his two words of dialogue, takes a nap face down on the bed, JR makes a call to the Braddock County Sheriff's Department: "Fenton, I'm kind of worried about my brother. No--Ray. He's been takin' my daddy's death pretty hard and I'm afraid he's gonna get himself into some kind of trouble. Could you have a couple of your boys pick him up? He'll be at the Longview Bar. And Fenton, I'm not gonna be able to get to your place until after midnight so just hold him there for me. I appreciate it, bud." (Thus begins the animosity between Sheriff Washburn and Ray which will come to a head at the end of Season 5.) In an episode that features several strong two-hander scenes--Ray and Donna, Donna and Bonnie, Bobby and Sue Ellen--JR's visit to the jail is the best. "Nice little place you got here, Ray," he observes as Ray sits huddled on the floor of his cell. "It's not often a Ewing spends the night in jail." (Seems to be averaging out at once per season--it was Sue Ellen's turn last year and it'll be JR's the next.) "You've fallen as long way since Daddy died," JR continues. "Now I'll admit I was in trouble for a while, but I pulled myself out. Life goes on, Ray. If you're a Ewing, it does." "You never loved him." "Didn't I?" "Not the way I did." And it's true. There was something untainted, unconditional about Ray's love for Jock. Their relationship wasn't corrupted by the desperate need for approval that JR, and to a lesser extent Bobby and even Gary, had towards their father. Untainted, that is, until Ray discovered he was a Ewing. "You loved him so much you're willing to drag his memory down in the gutter with you right now," says JR. Ray gets to his feet and moves towards him, grabbing the cell bars that separate them. "No, I'm not!" he snarls. "Ray, you're carryin' ten votin' shares in his company," JR tells him calmly. "A company that was his life. Now do you in your wildest imagination think that he'd ever have given you those shares if he could see you now? You don't deserve them." "Is that it? The votes? I don't want the damn votes!" shouts Ray. "Well get rid of 'em. Sign this, right now." Then there's a lovely moment of Hagman directing himself where JR wedges the document between the bars of the cell and then steps back nervously as if Ray were an animal in a cage who might suddenly yank his arm off. Ray takes the papers and signs them, (is there a more unthinkable act for a son of Jock Ewing to commit?) holds them out through the bars and then as JR reaches for them, he drops them, forcing JR to bend down and pick them up from the floor. "Go to hell JR," he tells him. This transaction will have no direct repercussions until the Season 5 premiere.

    Having acquired Ray's 10 voting shares, JR makes a play for Lucy's the following morning by claiming to have made a sizeable donation to the hospital where Mitch is employed. After playing dumb for most of the season, Lucy finally gets some decent wisecracks to deliver: "Why are you working at home now?" she asks her uncle. "Is there something you wanna hide from Bobby?" "If Dr Waring had a choice between my donation and firing your husband," JR replies, "what do you suppose he'd do?" "Is this a multiple choice question?" asks Lucy sweetly. (For some reason, that's one of my favourite Lucy lines of the whole series.) She proves a tougher nut to crack than Ray. "I don't care if [Mitch] freezes on Mars. I'm keepin' my ten voting shares ... and don't think I don't know why you're being so nice to Sue Ellen; all you want's John Ross's ten voting shares." First Afton, now Lucy: it's interesting how it's the dumb blondes (supposed or otherwise) who are most adept at pinpointing JR's motives this season. Lucy's remark introduces an interesting ambiguity--how much JR's interest in getting his son back is down to paternal devotion and how much is to do with John Ross's voting shares? (If memory serves, this is JR and Lucy's first one to one scene since Season 2, possibly even earlier. They won't be alone together again until the Season 7 premiere.) Lucy spends the rest of this episode trying to extricate herself from Roger after their one night stand: "I just don't want it to continue," she tells him in her best white disco suit. "I wanna have a professional relationship. Not a love affair." There's that memorable shot of Roger flipping out and throwing a glass of wine (so red! so bloody!) at his bedroom wall which, as the camera pans along, we can see is completely covered with Harry Langdon pics of Lucy.

    Pam invites Sue Ellen to her aerobic studio (where her sole duties seem to consist of padding around in a latex leotard whilst carrying a clipboard) for a good gossip. It's the first time we've seen these two behaving like best girlfriends. "I wanna talk to you about JR," says Pam. Sue Ellen is more girlish and unguarded than ever before. "The trouble is," she confesses, "after all this time, JR still gets to me." During their conversations at Southfork, Sue Ellen was always the cynic and Pam the idealist. In this scene, the roles are reversed. "He's much more considerate, much nicer," says Sue Ellen dreamily. "Well, he's unpredictable," counters Pam dryly with a roll of the eyes and she suddenly seems smarter, even prettier, than she has all season.

    After spending the night in jail, Ray returns home. "I'm cutting my ties with the Ewings," he tells Donna as she kneels by the fireplace snapping twigs for kindling. "I'm gonna stop pretending to be something I'm not. I'm just gonna be my plain old self." Donna's reply, "That's all I ever wanted, Ray," is the most poignant moment of the episode. "I fell in love with Ray Krebbs," she continues. "I never asked you to compete with the Ewing boys." "I wanted you to be proud of me." "I was proud of you, just the way you were." "... If you were smart you'd be long gone by now." Do you wanna divorce, Ray?" "Yes." "Well if you want it, you file for it. Because I'm not ready to give up yet." Later, while Ray is apparently sleeping off the night before, Donna puts a blanket over him. She then takes off her COLUMBO style raincoat and puts on her fur, stuffing a handful of notes into the pocket as she goes. This is Donna's version of Miss Ellie's horse whip.

    Over at the Longview Bar, Bonnie is talking to a fellow barfly who looks suspiciously like future Oil Baron's Club hostess Cassie. "Maureen says this new bar's got two dance floors, one raised above the other," Bonnie tells her. I love this line; it speaks volumes about the size of Bonnie's world. (What's great about Bonnie and the actress who plays her, Lindsay Bloom, is that while we know next to nothing about the character, we know that she's more than just a one-dimensional bimbo or gold digger; she has a past. We might not know what that past is, but it somehow accounts for the "Lookin' for Love in All the Wrong Places" trap she now finds herself caught in.) Enter Donna, all furred up. "What brings you to the Longview Bar?" asks Bonnie. "Slummin'?" "I wanted to see what the competition looked like with clothes on," she replies. "I know why you're trying to steal my husband. He's a very special man ..." "He doesn't want you, so why don't you just let him go?" "Go? You mean go to you, so he can spend the rest of the rest of his life in dumps like this?" (Hmm, wasn't it a dump like this where Donna and Ray first met, the sort of place that provided such a welcome respite from her marriage to Sam? And weren't dumps like this where the Ray Krebbs Donna fell in love with took her on their early dates? Could Ray perhaps sense her thinking from time to time: "What a dump"? Maybe Donna isn't as non-judgemental as she'd have Ray believe. Perhaps some unspoken part of her did or does expect more from him.) "I think he's worth more than that," Donna continues. "Now I want you out of his life and out of mine. ... How much is it gonna cost me?" "You're askin' for a drink in the face, lady." "I'll give you $5,000 to move to Houston." (Katherine Wentworth made Jenna a very similar offer in Season 6.) " ... I'll give you 10,000 if you'll leave the state. How about fifteen?" Bonnie hesitates, seeing a way out of her dead-end, two dance-floor world. "Fifteen'd do it," she says. "Not ten?" taunts Donna. "Now that we know what you are, let's haggle over your fee." Bonnie throws a drink in Donna's face, Donna lands a punch on Bonnie's jaw, and Bonnie falls to the floor, sending Cassie's potato chips flying in the process. (I like to imagine this moment as a turning point for Cassie; that night she called up her best friend Dora Mae and told her, "Girl, get your black cocktail dress outta hock cos we are movin' uptown!") "Drinks are Bonnie!" smiles Donna in triumph, slapping a fistful of dollars down on the bar and making her exit. It's all about money.

    At Bette Davis Towers, JR presents Sue Ellen with a frosted sculpture of two entwined lovers. It's rather nice. "It's beautiful!" Sue Ellen gasps, her taste in art evidently having taken a turn for the traditional since presenting Jock and Ellie with that what-the-hell-is-it on a plinth in Season 1. "I got to thinkin' about everything we've been through and everything I've put you through," JR tells her. "I guess this is my way of asking forgiveness ..." "That's behind us now anyway," she assures him. On his way out, JR turns and looks back at her: "Sue Ellen, there's something I wanna say. I should have said it a long time ago. I love you." As far as I or the Swoonalettes can recall, this is the first time JR has said those three little words to his wife since the series began. He leaves and Sue Ellen's eyes fill up.

    Then Bobby calls: "Can you spare a few minutes tonight?" He comes over. "I wanna talk to you about Christopher ... There just isn't an easy way to say this. Christopher's natural mother was Kristin." Linda Gray's reactions are awfully slow in this scene. I once met an actress who said that the best advice she ever received was when a director reviewed her performance in rehearsal and instructed her, "Half as much and twice as fast!" If only director Hagman had given La Gray a similar note, this could have been a truly dynamic scene instead of merely a very interesting one. As it is, she takes a lengthy pause before (and sometimes during) every line she delivers, resulting in a loss of momentum and a "flattening out" of the scene. "Kristin??" Sue Ellen replies (eventually). "Bobby, are you sure?" "Absolutely ..." "Then it was true. She did have a baby." Her response comes as a shock to Bobby. "You knew she was pregnant?" he asks, then: "You know who the father is?" "Don't you?" she snaps. "Why do you think there were no charges against Kristin for the shooting? ... All of JR's nasty little secrets come back to haunt me sooner or later." "... Sue Ellen, I wouldn't hurt you for the world, you know that." Patrick Duffy's voice quivers here, and one is reminded of the emotional scene between these two when Bobby visited Sue Ellen in the sanitarium at the end of Season 1. At times like these, it feels as though Bobby has a stronger empathetic bond with Sue Ellen than he does with Pam. This scene affords Bobby the opportunity to finally talk to someone about the bizarre situation he now finds himself in and, more importantly, rehash the plot for the benefit of casual viewers: "This whole thing is starting to seem like a nightmare. I had every intention of giving that baby to JR. I brought the baby to the house. Pamela misunderstood, she thought that I adopted it while she was in the hospital." (I remember my father really laughing at that line.) "Then she doesn't know that JR's the father?" Sue Ellen asks. "No, and now I can't tell her the whole story. I don't know what it might to do her." Sue Ellen then poses an interesting question: "And how do you feel about raisin' JR's son?" "I don't have a choice," Bobby replies simply. Oh, how I wish that Christopher had been JR's son. Imagine the dramatic possibilities of Bobby and Sue Ellen trying to keep this secret from Pam and JR for years and years. Bobby asks Sue Ellen to sign the affidavit "disclaiming any interest in your sister's baby and stating you don't know who the father is." After much hesitating and pausing and meaningful looks at the frosted sculpture, she agrees. "You know, just when I was feelin' good about JR this whole thing came back to show me how much he's screwed up my life," she says bitterly, conveniently forgetting that earlier this very day JR apologised for "everything I've put you through" and she forgave him. What did she think she was forgiving him for--farting in bed?

    Kindly Judge Thornby grants temporary conservatorship of Christopher to Bobby and an aerobically absent Pam, while Jeff Farraday lurks unseen in the shadows. As Donna prepares to leave for a research trip to Austin, Ray asks why she punched Bonnie instead of him. "I want you in one piece," she replies. "You see I've decided to take you, anyway that I can have you." Something in her words ignites a small flame of hope inside Ray, and we see him smile to himself and put the cap on the bottle. On this small moment a storyline turns, and it's a moment that convinces.

    JR shows up at Sue Ellen's door to be greeted by some short sharp one-liners. Sue Ellen on the fancy looking box he gives her: "What's the quote, 'Beware of ex-husbands bearing gifts'?" On the necklace inside it: "Reminds me of our former marriage, a very expensive joke." "What did I do?" asks a mystified JR. "You don't have to do anything," retorts Sue Ellen, hurrying upstairs to get away from his questions, lest she incriminate herself or Bobby. "All it takes is for you to be yourself." On the landing, she stops to looks down at him: "Everything between us is the same as it's always been. Sick, sick, sick!" She hurls the necklace in his direction and JR is left wondering what the hell's going on.

    Aw, thanks. I remember we had some nice little exchanges on the old thread, back in the day!
     
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  2. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    "The Maelstrom" ("The Maelstrom", "The Prodigal", "Vengeance", "Blackmail" ... I'm liking me these dramatic one-word titles!)

    There are lots of juicy repercussions from last week's instalment here as different story threads become increasingly interconnected. JR, after being subjected to Sue Ellen's "sick sick sick!" tirade, returns home to finds Bobby proposing a toast to Christopher: "Let's drink to the newest member of the Ewing family now that it's official." Refusing to join them, JR goes upstairs without a word. "What's eating him?" wonders Lucy. "It's hard for him without John Ross," concludes Miss Ellie. Without John Ross or without his ten voting shares? Both seem further away than ever now ... thanks to Bobby and "the newest member of the family".

    The next morning, JR is informed by his detective that Sue Ellen received a visit from Bobby shortly before her mysterious mood swing. Putting two and two together, he summons Bobby to his office: "Mama forced you here on me at Ewing Oil. I accept that, but that doesn't give you the right to go pokin' around in my private life ... What stories you been feedin' Sue Ellen about me? ... How often do you two meet? Once, twice, three times a week? What are you doin' behind my back?" "Get your mind out of the gutter, JR. I don't like what I'm hearin'." This is one of a handful of times during the series that the idea of Bobby and Sue Ellen as a couple is raised. There's the sad pass Sue Ellen makes at Bobby in the Season 1 finale, which she refers back to during Season 10: "I told you before, I married the wrong brother" and also JR's weird fantasy sequence in WAR OF THE EWINGS, the memory of which I've all but suppressed.

    If one bears in mind Marky's suggestion that Sue Ellen's ultimate goal this season is to find a way back onto Southfork, her actions in this episode take on an extra and very interesting dimension. Having vowed to Clayton that JR is "gonna pay ... There must be some way to hurt him as much as he's hurt me and I'm gonna find it", we then see her alone with the sculpture JR gave her during last week's episode, shortly before telling her he loved her. For the first time, she has the advantage over him. She picks up the sculpture of the two lovers, clearly intended to represent herself and JR, and smashes it against the wall. If JR wants her, it will be his job to put the pieces back together. To that end, she picks up the phone: "Hi, it's me. Are you busy tonight? I wanna see you." Next thing we know she's at Cliff's door, all fur coat and no hairspray: "Hi. Don't say anything. Do you realise how long it's been since--? Hold me." The following day, she's on the phone again, this time in front of JR: "Hi. I know you're real busy, but I just wanted to tell you now much I enjoyed being with you last night. Me too. And we're still on for tonight? Seven, that's just fine. Bye, Cliff." By first involving herself with Cliff and then allowing JR to know about it, Sue Ellen has re-created the circumstances of "For Love or Money", the Season 1 episode in which she left the latter for the former. JR's task now, as then, is to find a way to drag her back home. This time, however, she won't make it easy for him. Because what Sue Ellen has learned in the intervening years is how important the chase is to JR.

    Back in those stand alone days, JR was able to undermine Cliff in a single scene. Now a slightly more time-consuming scheme is required. Just as he did in 1979, he pays a visit to Cliff's office. "I'm puttin' you on notice, Barnes ... I'm gonna destroy you." There's a great shot taken from Cliff's point of view as he is looking up at JR from behind his desk. To begin with, JR's stetsoned head is at the bottom of the frame, empty space above. As he takes a step forward, he suddenly fills the whole screen. It's a half sinister, half cartoony moment, somehow reminiscent of Robert Mitchum's funny-scary preacher man in THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER. "I don't wanna just wipe you out. Not anymore," JR continues. "By the time I finish with you there's not gonna be anymore Cliff Barnes. Not in Dallas, not in Texas, not anywhere. You are gonna cease to exist. I promise you that." This echoes the warning Afton gave Cliff three episodes ago, "He'll break you ... This time, you may not be able to pick up all the pieces," thus reinforcing the idea that Cliff is seriously doomed.

    Two chance occurrences then take place that in fact lay the foundation for JR's eventual strike against Cliff. First comes JR's debut onscreen encounter with roving reporter Katherine Wentworth: "Mr Ewing, I'm sure that you're eating out habits haven't changed because of the economy?" (Isn't this an unlikely occupation for an heiress? She may be psychotic but you can't fault her work ethic.) After JR has given his sound-bite, ("I can honestly say that I have great faith in the American economy and America and particularly this city and I know that Dallas is gonna be in the forefront of the new boom comin'" I just love Larry Hagman's off the cuff delivery), there is time for a little chitchat. "That means Rebecca Wentworth is your mother," he asks, "and Cliff Barnes is your brother?" "My half brother," clarifies Katherine. "Is that a fact? So he's runnin' your daddy's business, right?" "Yeah, he's the big star in this family nowadays." Katherine's voice drips with sarcasm even as she maintains a formal distance from JR, refusing an invitation to call him by his first name. "It was nice seeing you, Mr Ewing." JR then meets with Jordan and Marilee, who propose they all option a parcel of land next to their prosperous Wellington field. JR asks about another adjacent parcel and is told that it's worthless. "It's amazing, isn't it?" he reflects thoughtfully. "Two pieces of property side by side. One worth millions of dollars, one worth nothing."

    Clayton stops by Sue Ellen's and finds her and Cliff breakfast interruptus. Yet again, their affair is seen through the eyes of a third party. Cliff smirks while Sue Ellen twitches awkwardly. "Don't say anything," she pleads, once she and Clayton are alone. These are the same words she used to Cliff earlier in the episode. "Does Cliff know you're his way of getting back at JR?" asks Clayton (I think he means to say "he's your way", but obviously these on-the-spot Elby analyses takes a little getting used to.) "I'm not hurting him," shrugs Sue Ellen, not exactly brimming with concern. (Could it be that a part of her is also looking for revenge against Cliff over how their original affair ended?) "I think seeing Cliff for the wrong reason is just about bad for you as getting involved with JR again," Clayton cautions. "Think about that relationship before you are in too deep." But you know she won't. "Clayton, I don't wanna talk about this anymore," she tells him. Curiously, her selfish, irresponsible behaviour seems to endear her to Clayton more than ever. "They have such beautiful things here, don't they?" she later says to him, looking around the antique store. "Sure do," he replies, looking directly at her. He then surprises her with a gift. "It gives me great pleasure to see you happy," he tells her. "Clayton, I wish I could find someone just like you," she replies, as sensitive to other people's feelings as ever.

    Now that JR knows about their affair, Sue Ellen has no further use for Cliff. Of course, she doesn't have the guts to come right out and say so. "Cliff, despite everything that's gone on between us lately, I just think we're movin' a little too fast," she tells him over lunch. "I thought that's what you wanted," he replies. "It's not that I don't wanna see you anymore or be with you, it's just that I'm not ready for a commitment." Boy, what a dishonest, mealy mouthed little coward Sue Ellen can be. "Whatever the lady wants is fine with me," he acquiesces, but admits: "I find myself wondering about Clayton Farlow." "Clayton is very special to me," Sue Ellen smiles. "He's the father that I never knew."

    In fairness, Sue Ellen is not the only usin' Ewin' in the family, but others at least have the decency to admit it. Ray's farewell apology to Bonnie, for example, could also serve as an explanation for Sue Ellen's current behaviour: "There were some things in my life that I just couldn't handle, so I figured I'd better get back to where I belonged," he tells her. "I feel terrible about using about using you. It was wrong. I know it." Bonnie is gracious in defeat, ("Listen, your wife isn't one of my favourite people you understand, but if it can work for you for keeps, then you can't beat it") and her poignant assessment of the single life might well jibe with Sue Ellen's own: "C'mon, you don't think I know the difference between this and somethin' real? What is all this? Musical beds, one night stands, it adds up to nothin'."

    In the first of two enjoyably ludicrous Lucy/Roger scenes, Mitch arrives at his wife's workplace to find her crouching on the bonnet of a car (as one does), pouting for Texas. "Sultry, give me a nice sultry - that's right ..." coaxes Roger. "That was fantastic!" raves psycho-in-waiting Blair Sullivan, telling Lucy that the client is "ecstatic! Out of his mind!" Climbs down off the car, she tells Mitch she can spare him five minutes to discuss their marriage, a sort of inverted version of speed dating: "If you wanna talk, talk." Mitch asks if she wants to get back together, "or do you wanna split up for real, get a divorce? I mean, what do you really want?" "What's your hurry all of a sudden? Who's getting impatient, is it you or Evelyn?" snaps Lucy, rushing back to Roger and planting a big wet smacker on his lips.

    Back at Roger's studio, Lucy reclines stylishly on a beanbag while he gives her the hard sell. "Divorce Mitch," he instructs. "That whole thing is over ... Lucy, can't you see how good we are together, can't you see what a perfect team we make?" "I don't really think of you like that," she replies dreamily. "Well, you do when it's good for you! The other day you kissed me hard in front of a dozen people! ... You used me to get back at Mitch." He grabs her wrist, shocking her awake. "Admit it." "You're right," she concedes meekly. "You're right to be angry." "I don't think you really understand how I feel about you," he continues. "Come with me. I want you to see something." He leads her into the bedroom and shows her his loony shrine to her. (Wouldn't she have already seen this when she spent the night with him two episodes ago? Oh, let's not quibble.) "Now do you see?" he demands. "You're on my mind all the time, all day. Even when I'm working with another model, I'm thinking about you. And when I go to sleep at night, I need you to feel you surrounding me. I need that." He's clearly insane, and so, of course, Lucy is immensely turned on and starts kissing his face off. As a nicely lurid end to the scene (courtesy of director P Duffy), the camera travels up the wall panning over Roger's vast collection of Lucy pins-ups, before finally zooming in on a black and white shot of her, a slightly satanic expression on her face. What is the programme trying to tell us here?

    What a strange group of characters: Sue Ellen and Ray both bedding old flames in the hopes that the people they really love will find out and be hurt, while Clayton and Lucy, having been shown how twisted Sue Ellen and Roger are, grow more attracted to them as a result. Sick, sick, sick, indeed!

    There are some tender moments to be found, such as when Miss Ellie says to a newly clean-shaven and sober Ray, "Ray, you're looking very well," and he replies, "Yes ma'am. I'm fine. Thank you." There's so much unspoken in that line; Steve Kanaly does humility very well. When Donna calls him from Austin to say that she's stumbled across another storyline, ("It's a little upsetting") he takes the opportunity to make amends: "I don't know how you've stuck it out with me. When you come back, it'll be different. There's somethin' else I haven't said to you in a long time ... I love you ... It's truer now than it ever was before." Susan Howard milks her reaction ("Oh Ray, I needed to hear that!"), but what the hell, she's earned it.

    There's also a nice morning-at-Southfork sequence towards the end of the episode which brings us back to the roots of the show. We watch from a respectful distance, through the reflection in her bedroom mirror, as Miss Ellie contemplates a framed picture of Jock on her dresser. The moment is interrupted as Bobby puts his head round the door. "Mama, Pam and I are going to work," he tells her. "I'll walk down with you," she replies. As Miss Ellie leaves, the camera lingers on the picture. Jock's photograph alone in an empty room--it's a terribly poignant moment. (This is one of two scenes, Lucy's loony love scene being the other, that ends with a shot of an unobserved photograph. Will this prove a recurring flourish in director Duffy's DALLAS oeuvre? Only reruns will tell.) Out on the fake Southfork patio, Ray invites Bobby to come do some male bonding cattle branding. "You know, that's what I've been missin', workin' this ranch," replies Bobby enthusiastically. "Bobby? Me too," adds Ray, again conveying more by what he doesn't say than what he does. Pam and Ellie look on, pleased. Hard at work branding cattle, Ray and Bobby both suddenly look about four years younger--not surprising, really, as this footage was lifted from the Season 1 episode "Bypass".

    Pam gets points for finally perspiring during an impressively gratuitous aerobics routine. She ends up with a flattering sweat patch under her bosoms for all the world to see. Pretty boy Farraday then steps out of the shadows, asking her to pass his contact details onto her husband. "Bobby, who's Jeff Farraday?" she asks that evening. "He's just a guy I know," replies Bobby, as his legs turn to jelly and his bowels to water. "Just remember, you and I share a little secret," Jeff tells him over the phone the next morning. "I'll be in touch."

    The episode ends as it began, with JR brooding in the living room as Pam, Bobby and Miss Ellie indulge in some ad-libby baby talk with Christopher. Then comes the highlight of the episode, an out of the blue call from California: "Good evening JR, this is Lowell Greer calling from Los Angeles. ... I ran across something in a Los Angeles legal newspaper that I thought might interest you. I see that your brother is adopting a baby ... I'm a little surprised that Bobby is adopting a baby born in California, especially since he called me a few months ago ... He was asking about the money you were sending to Kristin Shepherd." The guy playing Greer has just the right amount of sinister subservience, while the more calculating JR's thinking becomes, the gentler, more coaxing and more Texan Hagman's tone: "Is that a fact?" JR asks softly. "Wha'choo tell him?" "Nothin'. That's privileged information ... There may or may not be a connection here, but I felt that you oughta know." Lowell, I'm very grateful for this call ... You must have a private investigator you call on occasionally ... Put him to work for me, would you? I'd like to find out everything possible about Kristin and her baby ... and most important I want a copy of the child's birth certificate ... Start on it first thing in the morning, would you?" JR turns and looks at the happy family tableau in the living room. "I'm mighty interested in that little baby," he adds. "Yessir. Good night." He hangs up. As the frame freezes on his face, there's the hint of a smile while the eyes remain hard and cold.
     
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  3. markymark

    markymark Soap Chat Active Member

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    Loving these daily episodes James, thanks.
     
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  4. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    "The Prodigal"

    Over this episode and the next, there are some very interesting two-hander scenes that include long-awaited confrontations, the forging of new alliances, and some one-off encounters with unexpected repercussions.

    After half of season of being little more than beautifully enigmatic, Katherine finally gets to speak her mind. Her outburst is prompted by the opening scene in which Cliff, after re-igniting his affair with Sue Ellen in last week's episode, comes up for air long enough to recount the events of two episodes ago. "JR thought I was just gonna breeze off to Tulsa without checking out Wally Hampton ... I was too smart for 'em," he boasts. "That's awful!" exclaims Rebecca, while a quiet Katherine gets that familiar glint in her eye. Mother and daughter also have opposing reactions to Cliff's next bombshell: "I want the power to run Tool and Die myself," he tells them. "I need autonomy. I can't run to Houston hat in hand every time I need something." Katherine is dead set against the idea but is overruled by Rebecca: "Cliff's right. I gave him the job. He's got to have the power to perform it."

    "Why are you ruining my father's company?" Katherine asks her half-brother on a visit to his office. "It wasn't enough that Mama gave you the job when you were down and out ... now you need autonomy. King Barnes doesn't wanna answer to the corporate board ... He wants to wheel and deal like the Ewing brothers. He wants to be a big man just like them and he knows the board wouldn't allow that." "Be careful, Katherine. Your jealousy's showing," Cliff replies calmly. "Look, my father built this company, dammit!" she snaps. "I'm not gonna see it destroyed because Cliff Barnes happens to be obsessed ... with JR Ewing." "... You don't stop, do you?" smiles Cliff, affecting amusement. "You haven't stopped needling me since I took over this office ... You didn't like the way I redecorated, you didn't like the expansion I instituted, you haven't liked one thing I've done." "My father never would have run things like that," she retorts. "He had class." Here, Katherine has most definitely hit a nerve. "Let me share some information with you," Cliff tells her coldly. "Your father's dead and I'm running this company." "You disgusting little man," she replies contemptuously. "I might be a disgusting little man," he barks, finally losing his cool, "but I'm the president of Wentworth Tool and Die now and nobody is gonna stop me from running this company exactly the way I please!" I love Ken Kercheval's delivery of that line. His brilliance is that he doesn't run away from the "disgusting little man" aspect of Cliff the way a more vain actor might. On the contrary, he brings an element of self-loathing to the character that is as compelling and recognisable as it is ugly.

    Thanks to his tale about Wally Hampton and JR, Katherine now knows who to talk to about cutting Cliff down to size. Following their fortuitous meeting in last week's episode, she invites JR to dinner. It's a rare meeting between JR and an attractive woman that does not include any kind of sexual undercurrent, but aside from the obligatory compliment, ("How could I refuse such a lovely lady?") it remains a strictly business dinner. Katherine tells JR how Cliff has persuaded their mother to give him autonomy. "He's her son. She trusts him," she explains bitterly. "My father put his life into that company," she continues. "If anything happened to it, it would break my mother's heart." JR seizes on this last remark: "Lemme ask you something. If Cliff betrays that trust, abuses that autonomy, what do you think your mama would do ...?" "I don't Mama would let anybody destroy Daddy's first company. Not even Cliff," she replies. A-ha! JR has now acquired the magic ingredient he needs to ensure Cliff's downfall.

    Back at Ewing Oil, JR once again refers to the worthless piece of property next to the Wellington field he and the cartel now own. "I want some reports to say that there is oil ... oceans and oceans of oil under that property," he says to an underling by the name of Murphy. "What do you want me to do," the underling replies, "forge 'em?" "Well, unless you can think of a better way." When Murphy expresses some reluctance, JR indulges in a spot of breezy blackmail. "Seems to me you could have lost your business licence and your home if I hadn't bailed you out recently," he reminds him. "Now wait a minute, I've got that deed round here somewhere ..." And that's all it takes. It's interesting that while some of JR's blackmail schemes are quite elaborate affairs--getting Walt Driscoll to grant him a variance in Season 5 requires two cliffhangers and a car accident, for instance--others can be executed with just a line or two of throwaway dialogue.

    The next stage of JR's plan is to get Marilee Stone onboard, which he does following some afternoon delight. "I've got a situation that's kind of put a crimp in my operation," he tells her cryptically. "I'm sure JR Ewing can solve that problem," she purrs. "I can, and with your help, we'll be able to spend a lot more time together," he promises. "I've been considering that worthless section of property ... Let me explain to you ..."

    Clayton's scene with Cliff--an awkward encounter between two gentleman callers at Bette Davis Towers--might be brief, but it sets in motion a domino effect of scenes that continues through to the next episode. "You keep droppin' by, you'll keep seeing me," Cliff tells him as he helps himself from Sue Ellen's drinks cabinet. Clearly, this is not a prospect that fills Clayton's heart with joy and it prompts his visit to Afton's dressing room where she is preparing to go on stage. "I'm sorry this is such an intrusion," he begins. "Miss Cooper, it's not my nature to pry, it's just that Sue Ellen's very close to my family." "I heard. Your son, right? She had a thing with him, too." It's very interesting to see these two characters interact. Clayton is every inch the old fashioned Texas gentleman, while Afton has never appeared more blunt and cynical. "I want to make sure this man is worthy of her," he explains, in reference to Cliff and Sue Ellen. "'Worthy'," repeats Afton drily. "What a word for this day and age." If this were one of Howard Keel's 1950s westerns, Afton would easily fit the stereotype of "the painted lady", a woman of easy virtue surrounded by feather boas and sequins, the tawdry trappings of show business. Once again, however, she transcends the stereotype to become the truth teller, exposing the murkier motivations that lie beneath Clayton's paternal image. "If it's your son Sue Ellen was involved with, what are you doing here?" "... I consider Sue Ellen family. She's an extraordinary woman ..." "You know something, Mr Farlow, I don't think your son needs protecting. I think you might, though ... It just sounds to me like you're the one in love with that lady, not your son."

    Just as Clayton's encounter with Cliff leads him to Afton, Afton's visit from Clayton leads her to ring Sue Ellen's doorbell of doom. "This is very nice," she concedes, surveying Bette Davis Towers. "It's not Southfork, but it is lovely." This is another confrontation that has been a long time coming. The last time these two characters spoke was on Lucy's wedding day, moments before Sue Ellen uncovered the bed-sheets so recently, um, rumpled by Afton and JR. "I thought we should talk," Afton explains. "We both do seem to have the same taste in men." "The fact that you were sleeping with my ex-husband doesn't mean we have the same taste in anything," counters Sue Ellen. Afton cuts to the chase: "Listen, Cliff and I were doing just fine till you got free of JR. Then Cliff left me for you." "Maybe he's growing up," retorts Sue Ellen. "And maybe he's just being used," replies Afton. "What better weapon than Cliff to help you get back at JR?" Once again, Afton accurately pinpoints her opponent's motives. (She and Donna should start their own detective agency.) "Sue Ellen, I love Cliff Barnes," she declares. "Is that before or after he became president of his mother's company?" Sue Ellen sneers, before accusing her of fronting for JR. "JR doesn't send me anywhere," she insists. "Lemme tell you who did come to see me, though. Clayton Farlow ... You remember, another one of your boyfriends?" "... You're a sick little girl to say that," replies Sue Ellen. (This is the second time in the scene that Sue Ellen has drawn attention to the age difference between her and Afton; she will use the same insult on Holly Harwood a year later.) "Sue Ellen, the man's in love with you," Afton persists, "and let me tell you something, if I had the choice between Cliff Barnes and JR, well I would dump them both for Clayton. At least he's a man you can count on."

    This scene leads on to yet another two-hander as Sue Ellen invites Clayton over on the pretext of "tryin' out a new brand of coffee". (God, she really lives on the edge, doesn't she?) "Afton said that you were in love with me," she tells him finally. "I do love you," he explains, choosing his words carefully, "but much differently than anyone else you know." "I knew it!" Sue Ellen replies happily. "You are the father I never had." "Believe what you want to, Sue Ellen," were Afton's parting words to her, and here she is doing just that.

    In other two-hander scenes, Lucy and Bobby are both under pressure. First, word gets back to Roger that Lucy has requested another photographer for the Holiday Mascara(!) photo session. "You're too possessive," she whimpers when he confronts her. "You scare me sometimes. You're scaring me now." "Nobody else is going to take pictures of you," he snarls. "No one is taking pictures of you but me. You understand?" When Lucy turns to Aunty Pam for help, the change in VP is remarkable. After spending most of the past three years in fluffy kitten land, she dusts down the "Stay away from Lucy" routine she used in the mini-series and marches into Roger's studio. "I'm here to give you a warning," Pam announces. "... You're much too pretty to give warnings!" cheeses Roger. "Cut the phoney charm and stay away from Lucy, understand?" she snaps. "Hands off!" "My, you're a tough lady," marvels Rog. "Yes, I am," she replies ["about once every four years"]. "Pammy Solves Something" is an impressive sight to behold--even if she does slightly undermine her "I can take care of people like you myself" line by following it with "Next time, you will deal with my husband." (And ultimately, Pammy doesn't resolve the situation so much as inflame it.)

    Meanwhile, at Mr Zee's groovy sounding bar, Jeff Farraday is trying to blackmail Bobby. "You know it's sad," he reflects. "Before inflation got so bad, that $35,000 you gave me could have gone a respectable way." "Listen, you little weasel," replies the Bobster. "Nobody blackmails me ... Get it out of your mind, you understand, or somethin' very unpleasant is gonna happen to you ... You ever, ever come near my wife again, I'll kill you!" This is the first of three DALLAS scenes in which a major character publicly makes a death threat against a two-bit hustler who later turns up murdered. Bobby does it again to Naldo Marchetta in Season 7, and then it's Clayton turn with David Shulton in Season 10.

    It's a lot of fun to watch JR connect the dots between Kristin's child and Bobby and Pam's bundle of joy back at Southfork. "Christopher. My, my what a coincidence," he says to himself after reading the name on the birth certificate sent to him from Lowell Greer in California. Over breakfast in the Southfork kitchen (a first!), he oh-so-casually quizzes Pam about Christopher's age. "Seven months. Is that how old that child is? Amazing how quickly they grow up, isn't it? ... Seven months. Let's see. That would make him born in July? August?" "In August," replies Pam, unwittingly confirming the date on the birth certificate. "Li'l Christopher, born in August," sighs JR. At the end of the episode, Greer informs him "that Kristin had the baby with her when she came to Texas. The baby and the man she was living with. Jeff Farraday ... He returned to California shortly after her death ... Alone." "Correct me if I'm wrong," JR replies, "but what you're saying is that baby's here in Texas? ... You know, I might just know where that child is right about now ..." It's interesting to see how enigmatically Larry Hagman plays these scenes--sometimes with an amused chuckle, sometimes narrowing his eyes dangerously--as if the character himself hasn't yet decided what his reaction should be.

    The pause button on my DVD remote picked up a few interesting tit-bits in this episode. Freeze on a shot of Christopher's birth certificate long enough and one learns that Christopher's middle name is Mark, his date of birth is 18th August 1981, Kristin is actually spelt with an e, she was born in New Mexico, her middle name was Marie and she was 23 when she gave birth, making her ten years younger than Sue Ellen. (This suggests that Sue Ellen's claim earlier in the season that "all I remember about my daddy is the smell of liquor on his breath" isn't entirely accurate.) Meanwhile, Donna's investigation into Sam Culver's early life leads her to examine his diaries from 1930. A freeze framed inspection reveals that the hand-written entry for January 27th begins with the words, "Old MacDonald had a farm ..." and seems to suggest (alas I have lost the ability to "zoom" since dropping my DVD remote in a mug of tea) that Jock Ewing wanted to drill for oil on his property too. Ee-eye, ee-eye, oh no!
     
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  5. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    "Vengeance"

    As with last week's episode, the growing tension between JR and Cliff and the complications surrounding Sue Ellen's love life inspire a succession of juicy two-hander scenes, this time between Rebecca and Miss Ellie, Miss Ellie and Sue Ellen, Miss Ellie and JR, Cliff and Rebecca, Afton and JR, and JR and Clayton.

    At the beginning of the previous instalment, Cliff told Rebecca and Katherine about JR's failed attempt to get him out of Dallas. We then saw Katherine ask JR for help in preventing Cliff from running riot at Wentworth Tool and Die. This week it's Rebecca's turn to act, and she also turns to a Ewing for help, this time visiting Miss Ellie at Southfork. This scene foreshadows the confrontation between the two women at the end of the season when Rebecca returns to the ranch, swearing revenge on the Ewings for what JR has done to her son. "Cliff had a job offer in Tulsa with Wally Hampton of Olco Industries. The offer turned out to be a trap set by JR to humiliate and discredit my son." "But why would he do that?" asks Miss Ellie. "Sue Ellen," Rebecca explains. "Cliff is seeing her."

    Now, this is--or at least should be--a key moment for Miss Ellie, the moment when she realises that if Sue Ellen and Cliff are seeing each other now, then perhaps Cliff's fiercely contested paternity suit over John Ross two years earlier had some basis in fact. This realisation isn't present in the writing of the scene, but it's interesting to imagine it taking place under the surface. "If Sue Ellen's the battleground, things will get worse," she predicts. "JR went to great lengths to get her away from the Farlows ... Cliff is facing the same fight. So would any man who courts Sue Ellen. She's John Ross's mother and JR doesn't want any man between himself and his son." This is one of three motives posited in this episode as to precisely why JR is so determined to win back Sue Ellen: (1) because he wants John Ross; (2) because he wants John Ross's voting shares; (3) because he wants Sue Ellen herself. The truth would appear to be a combination of all three.

    Rebecca's revelation leads to an interesting scene in which Miss Ellie visits Sue Ellen (looking curlier and prettier than she has all season) at Bette Davis Towers. "I wanna talk about you and JR and Cliff Barnes," she announces. In so doing, Miss Ellie immediately violates an unspoken agreement that has existed between the two women presumably since Sue Ellen first married JR: to not discuss anything that might penetrate Sue Ellen's "everything is just fine" facade. Sue Ellen's drinking, her husband's affairs, her rejection of her son after his birth--all subjects that Miss Ellie was well aware of while Sue Ellen was living at Southfork, but which remained strictly no-go areas. "Miss Ellie, this is quite unlike you to question me about my personal life," Sue Ellen points out. "Normally I wouldn't, but there's a lot more at stake than just your personal interests," Ellie points out. "Two whole families are involved." This explanation echoes a line from the first part of "John Ewing III", the Season 1 finale in which both Ellie and Jock no longer felt able to look the other way when it came to JR and Sue Ellen's marriage. "The life of my grandchild's involved," Jock told JR back then.

    "I'm sure you know what your seeing Cliff Barnes is doing to JR," Miss Ellie tells Sue Ellen in this scene. "JR and Cliff are already at each other's throats and it's beginning to have its effect on too many people." Ellie wonders if Sue Ellen is really serious about Cliff: "Are you, Sue Ellen? Or are you using him to get back at JR?" All of this is too near the knuckle for Sue Ellen and, not for the first time, she avoids the truth by taking refuge behind social etiquette. "Miss Ellie, I really don't think it's any of your business," she says politely. "This thing almost destroyed the three of you before," says Ellie, referring to the first JR/Sue Ellen/Cliff triangle back in Season 1--a triangle she knew nothing about at the time. This line can, therefore, be regarded as a continuity gaffe (which, let's face it, it is) or, more interestingly, as a tacit acknowledgement that she now realises that Sue Ellen did have an affair with Cliff and then lied about it to the family. "Do you think you're strong enough to handle it again?" she continues. "I don't know, Miss Ellie. I really don't know," replies Sue Ellen tearfully, seizing the opportunity to adopt the familiar role of helpless victim rather than admit that this is a situation that she has created. What a dreadful, manipulative woman she can be.

    Ellie turns to her firstborn for answers. "JR, what happened between you and Sue Ellen?" she asks over a restaurant lunch. "Everything was going so well. I even thought there might be a reconciliation ... I'll admit that I was a little suspicious at the beginning. I was afraid that all you were interested in was John Ross's voting shares ... but I've come to understand that you really do love your son." As Miss Ellie delves into JR's emotional life, it's interesting to compare this scene with the one in "John Ewing III" where she confronted him over his marriage: "Is there anyone you love?" she asked him, to which he replied, "I love Sue Ellen." Back then, she reacted cynically ("From the moment you brought that girl into this house you've neglected her ..."). In this scene, however, when he professes his love for his ex-wife, ("I love Sue Ellen. I just didn't realise it until after the divorce") Miss Ellie takes him at face value ("Yes, I think I believe that, JR") and it feels like we're meant to as well. The topic of conversation then turns to Cliff. "The thought of that man with my Sue Ellen ... it just flat drives me crazy," says JR sincerely. Again this is a simplified, less emotionally interesting JR than we saw in Season 1. "You know how I feel about this rivalry," Ellie insists, "and Rebecca feels the same way. We're not happy to see this feud start up again."

    Towards the end of the episode, Rebecca has an equivalent scene with her son: "I wanna talk to you about Sue Ellen ... I'm sorry to pry into your private business, but I have to know, are you using her to get back at JR? ... Your relationship with Sue Ellen frightens me. I don't wanna see you and JR destroy each other because of her ... This is not a fight I want." "It's not a fight I wanted," replies Cliff emphatically, "but I'm gonna fight and I'm gonna win!"

    Uh-uh; for this is the episode in which JR and Marilee put their plan to ruin Cliff into action. Armed with the fake reports JR blackmailed out of glum geologist Murphy, ("They'll lead anybody to believe they're sittin' on another Spindletop") Marilee marches into Cliff's office vowing fake revenge on "JR Ewing, this town's resident snake in the grass ... I wanna get back at him ... He was full of sweetness and promises, promises he didn't keep ... He's too obsessed with that ex-wife of his ... I wanna hurt him, Cliff, where it matters. I wanna hurt his pride and his pocketbook!" Despite Fern Fitzgerald's decision to do "bad lying" acting in this scene, Cliff is taken in by her tale. "JR and I are involved in a land deal, a big one," she continues. "We're talkin' lots of oil, Cliff ... West Star just bought the adjacent piece ... It's a full section at $10,000 an acre. That's six and a half million. We come in at three and a quarter a piece and steal it right out of JR's greedy little paws. You can cover that, can't you?" Cliff assures her that he can. So far so easy, but it's when Cliff gets greedy that things get interesting.

    Once his expert peruses the geological reports and gives him the thumbs up, ("I'd go ahead," the expert advises, "without hesitation") Cliff's eyes become blinded by dollar signs. First, we see the confused, alarmed reaction of Mr Forrest, the Tool and Die company controller, when Cliff invokes his newly granted autonomy to demand "a Wentworth cheque for $4,000,000 and make it payable to the Wellington escrow account." "We don't have that much money," Forrest protests. "It's going to stop some of our most important projects cold!" Cliff couldn't care less. Then we see Cliff's tongue dart greedily out of his mouth as he insists to Marilee that he "assume a larger portion of the risk in this venture", and the look of surprise on her face when he instructs their banker to make the legal papers out to "Barnes (as opposed to Wentworth) Stonehurst".

    "Not only did Cliff Barnes go for our deal," Marilee later reports to JR, "but he was greedy enough to insist on coming in at four and a half million ... Four million came from Wentworth, five hundred thousand from his own funds." JR is delighted: "That's even better than I hoped for! Not only did he embezzle from his mother, but he obviously used up most of his own money. And the best is yet to come. Wait till he starts to drill, and drill, and drill. Ha ha!" "JR, I've got this powerful urge to celebrate right now ..." she purrs. "Marilee, you are insatiable!"

    Afton meets JR at the Cattleman's Club for a scene in which the romantic, opportunist and perceptive sides of her character all come into play. "Afton, what brings you here?" "Your ex-wife's love life." Boy, Sue Ellen's ears must be burning in this episode. "Look, I know you're gunning for Cliff. I also know you can destroy him ... I don't want you to do it ... Sue Ellen's gonna dump him real soon, then he'll come back to me. I want him back with all his assets intact ... I don't think even she realises it yet, but there's another man in her life, a man who's really in love with her ... I can't believe you haven't figured it out either. I'm talking about Clayton Farlow."

    This leads to the best scene of the episode as JR meets Clayton for a drink to discuss--who else?--Sue Ellen. "I understand she depends on you for guidance, among other things," he says. "I had a little visit from Afton Cooper ... Sometimes women can see things that men tend to overlook, like for instance why you were so fiercely protective of Sue Ellen when she was on Southern Cross." "For the sake of my son." "For the sake of yourself. You weren't acting for Dusty Farlow, you were acting for Clayton Farlow ... You're a fraud. Call yourself a gentleman, her friend, her protector, and all the time you wanted her for yourself." We're so used to seeing Clayton atop the moral high ground that it's positively refreshing to see him compromised in this way--mortified, yet unable to refute JR's accusations. "You're a contemptible man, JR," he says quietly, drained of all pomposity. This would probably rank as my favourite of Howard Keel's line readings as Clayton.

    Each of these story threads--the Cliff/Sue Ellen/JR triangle, JR and Marilee's scheme, Clayton's feelings for Sue Ellen--come together in one scene as Cliff proposes marriage to Sue Ellen: "I let you get away from me once. I was a fool ... I'm on the verge of one of the biggest deals in my life ... I'm gonna be able to give you everything JR did and more plus I'll make you happy in a way he never did." (What Cliff has failed to realise is that Sue Ellen isn't interested in happiness; all she's interested in is JR.) "Cliff, I need some time," she replies. She clearly has no intention of marrying him but lacks the moral courage to say so. Instead, she telephones Clayton and tries to suck him into her little drama, but he is no longer there for her. Following his conversation with JR, he has some serious pipe sucking to do instead. "Clayton, I have to talk to you," persists Sue Ellen, as if her needs should override all other considerations. "We'll talk some other time, OK?" he tells her and hangs up.

    Meanwhile, Donna has discovered that the suicide of Sam Culver's uncle Jonas was directly responsible for Sam and Jock striking it rich. "Jonas's property was the field that started the entire Culver/Ewing fortunes," she tells step-son Dave. Without specifically contradicting the DALLAS back story, this statement does suggest that Jock was already a man of means when he hooked up with Digger, which doesn't quite fit in with the way their early partnership has been described. (I guess it all depends on one's definition of the word "fortune".) As Donna attempts to separate Jock Ewing the Man from Jock Ewing the Myth, she taps into a theme that will recur throughout the following season. "You came to Southfork fifteen, twenty years ago," she says to Ray. (Actually, it's closer to twenty-five years, but who's counting?) "What was Jock like then?" "Jock was a great man ... the best man I ever knew," Ray replies. "Practically perfect," she muses, almost ironically.

    Roger Larsen and Jeff Farraday grow increasingly desperate as Lucy and Bobby attempt to extricate themselves from their respective grip. "No more Roger!" insists Lucy to agent Blair Sullivan. "There's no way I'm paying you a dime!" Bobby tells Farraday. But neither creep is taking no for an answer. "I discovered her!" rants Roger to Blair. "I made her! Without my pictures, she has no career!" "You think I care about jail?" sneers Jeff after Bobby threatens him with the police. "I got worse problems. I don't have a whole lot left to lose, so you better decide how important that child is to you because if I don't get paid, I blow the whistle."

    Mitch calls Lucy and asks her over to the condo to talk. "If I have my way I won't be back tonight, or for several nights!" she tells Pam and Miss Ellie giddily. "You know, it's funny, but I really believe the whole thing is gonna come together!" Sure it is, Lucy--you've now been separated from your husband for longer than you were living with him, you've accused him of having an affair, and the last time you saw each other, you deliberately kissed your own lover in front of him--of course it's all gonna come together! Only a drooling moron would think otherwise! "Pam, help me pick out something terrific to wear," she trills. "I need something that's fancy enough for a lunch date, but also comfortable enough in case I get kidnapped and tied to a chair for the next couple of episodes."

    After Mitch bursts her balloon, ("I want a divorce ... Our marriage has been dead for ages. Let's bury it") Lucy does her usual running-away-in-tears thing and ends up at Jimmy's Singles Bar where she is treated to the following joyous pick-up line: "You know what, pretty lady? If women were oil wells, you'd be a gusher!" (This reminds me of the delightfully lurid oil-drilling-as-sex symbolism that can be found in Lee Raintree's DALLAS novel--lots of spurting gushers and eruptions of black semen and when Digger fails to strike oil, he can't get it up with Miss Ellie anymore). Snubbing her would-be suitor, ("I hate blondes," he scowls. "Every one of 'em born plain sour") Lucy leaves the bar to walk the short distance from the frying pan into the fire. No sooner is she back in her car than Roger appears in the passenger seat: "Drive. I'll tell you where. Drive. Now!"

    Meanwhile, Jeff Farraday drops the hard sell to make one final plea to Bobby: "I'm in trouble. I've gotta get out of the country fast ... 50,000 and a one-way ticket to Rio de Janeiro ... I'll give you documents. They'll ensure that I'll never be back to bother you." We then see Bobby bonding with his son for the first time, as he delivers one of those nursery monologues Sue Ellen became so fond of during Season 2: "Christopher, son. I've gotten into a heck of a lot of trouble cos of you, but you're worth it. I'm not gonna take a chance on losin' you now."

    Throughout the episode, JR continues to puzzle over Sue Ellen's change of attitude towards him. ("I don't suppose you're responsible for her turning against me, are you?" he asks Clayton.) The mystery is unexpectedly solved in the final scene (the third end-of-episode in a row to focus on JR's suspicions about Christopher's true identity). Harry McSween delivers the good news: "Here's a copy of baby Christopher's pre-adoption records like you asked. The baby's natural mother was Kristin Shepherd, and furthermore your ex-wife Sue Ellen knows it ... She signed an affidavit for your brother Bobby to use at the adoption proceeding." "So that's what Bobby and Sue Ellen were talkin' about!" JR murmurs to himself. "Oh Bobby, what you did to me. Because of you, I almost lost John Ross. But now I can turn everything around. With my twenty shares and ten from Ray--well Bobby, if you wanna keep little Christopher for your very own, you're just gonna have to fork over your twenty shares--and with fifty shares, nothin' and nobody can touch me." He picks up John Ross's photograph. "And soon, my son, very soon, with your ten shares, I'll have total control of Ewing Oil."
     
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  6. Soaplover

    Soaplover Soap Chat Active Member

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    I often thought moving Sue Ellen and Jr back together this soon was a misstep...

    At this point in time, Katherine proved to have a dark side...and it was focused on Cliff at this time. I'm not sure if the writers intended Katherine to set her sights on Bobby during the season...but the clues were in place all the way back at the start of the season when she remarked she could see why Pam married Bobby.
     
  7. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    "Blackmail"

    Episode 100, written by Leonard Katzman. This is a juicy instalment with every major character (save Ray) facing some kind of crisis or turning point.

    As thunder rumbles ominously overhead, JR returns to Southfork. "I thought Lucy and Mitch were gonna get a divorce," Pam is saying to Miss Ellie as he enters the living room carrying the documents which prove that Kristin's child and Bobby and Pam's baby son are one and the same. "You put Christopher to bed already?" he asks, fixing himself a drink. "Doggone, I wanted to see him, gettin' real fond of that little fella. I sure am glad we have at least one child around this house," he continues. "You know, I never appreciated how John Ross filled this house with joy until he was gone." Oh yeah, Tyler Banks--laugh a minute, that kid, but JR is saying all this for the pleasure of watching Bobby's discomfort. "Thought for a while we were gonna get him back but somebody turned Sue Ellen against me," he adds pointedly. Then, in a scene that echoes the moment in "Paternity Suit" where he first held John Ross, JR steals into the nursery where baby Christopher lies in his cot. This time, however, his instinct isn't to pick up the child that he now believes to be his flesh and blood. Instead, he looks down at him dispassionately: "Hello, Christopher. You don't know it yet but I'm your daddy. I wonder how your Aunt Pam would feel if she found out?"

    "Mah lahf is in such a turmoil," exclaims Sue Ellen, but it's a quote that could easily be attributed to any of the main characters here. Bobby is in particularly deep doo doo. As well as fretting over his mama (grieving) and his niece (missing), he finds time to buy Jeff Farraday a one-way ticket (coach) to Rio before finding him dead on the floor of his Dwyer Street hotel apartment. Pausing only to wipe his fingerprints and make an anonymous call to the police ("I have to report a homicide"), Bobby beats a hasty retreat - unaware that he has been observed by a shady looking fella played by Jonathan Goldsmith. (Goldsmith's involvement with the Ewings will span seven years: after playing a drug dealer in this storyline, he'll defect to KNOTS LANDING as the doomed Frank Elliot who gets too close to the truth at Empire Valley before returning to DALLAS as seedy movie producer Bruce Harvey in Seasons 9 and 11.)

    Bobby gets home that evening as another storm rages (oh, the symbolism!) to find JR waiting with copies of Christopher's adoption papers and Sue Ellen's signed affidavit. "Bobby, I'm delighted that you and Pam are adopting my child," says JR, presenting him with the evidence. "I don't mind his calling me 'Uncle JR' ... I won't say a word about Christopher to anyone as long as I know you'll vote my twenty shares of Ewing Oil my way, anytime I want ... See you at breakfast!" Yes, Bobby--as one blackmailer dies, another turns up in your living room.

    And the Award for Best Acted Scene Between Two Women on DALLAS Ever goes to ... Susan Howard and BBG for their kitchen confrontation in this episode. The time has come for Donna to tell Miss Ellie what she has uncovered about Sam Culver and Jock. Does Miss Ellie already know? And if not, given her ongoing denial of Jock's death, what will her reaction be? To say that Donna is trepidatious is an understatement. (It might also be grammatically incorrect, as I'm not entirely sure trepidatious is an actual word.) She finds Ellie sitting at the kitchen table.

    "It was fifty years ago," Donna begins. "Sam and a partner, they wanted some land that Sam's Uncle Jonas had. Because he wouldn't sell it to them, well, they had him committed in order to get the land."

    She says all this focusing on Ellie's face, looking for a glimmer of recognition. But there isn't one.

    "Oh no," replies Ellie, "how could they?"

    "Oh, they paid him a fair price," Donna continues. "They even gave him 25% of the royalties. They intended to release him once they owned the land."

    She waits, looking at Ellie, who looks back at her expectantly.

    "But?" prompts Ellie.

    Donna looks away. Without words, just from the strength of Susan Howard's performance, you can sense her heart sinking. By now, it's clear that Miss Ellie's knows nothing of this story or of Jock's involvement.

    "But he committed suicide," Donna explains while avoiding eye contact with the older woman, "and he'd left everything in the will to Sam, so you can see how that looks for Sam."

    "Yes, I can," says Ellie. "That poor man killing himself."

    Donna looks back at her. "Miss Ellie, I am really sorry that you didn't know anything about this."

    "Well, why would I know about it?"

    Donna sits down at the table. "I had thought that Jock might have told you."

    "Well, why would Jock know anything about it?"

    Donna hesitates. "Because Jock was Sam's partner, Miss Ellie. It was beginning of both of their fortunes."

    Ellie's voice hardens: "How can you believe such lies about Jock?" Then a note of pleading is added: "Of all the men in the world, he could never do that. His first wife ended up in an asylum. He hated them."

    "I understand how you feel."

    "Oh no, you don't. You don't understand anything."

    It may not be the most melodramatic or over-the-top scene in the history of DALLAS, but Susan Howard's performance is heartfelt and subtle, while Barbara Bel Geddes expertly conveys compassion, sorrow, disbelief, fury and grief, all in one scene.

    Donna: "Miss Ellie, I would never print anything without your permission. That's why I came here."

    Miss Ellie: "You came here to get my permission? To destroy the reputation of the finest man who ever lived? To tell lies about him? When he's not here to defend himself? All for the sake of some cheap book? How dare you?!"

    Donna (upset): "I don't care about the book. I don't wanna hurt you."

    Miss Ellie: "Then how could you come here and tell me this? It's not true."

    Donna: "It's true."

    Miss Ellie: "It's not!" She bangs her fist on the table. Richard Lewis Warren's score kicks in.

    Donna (whispering): "Please, Miss Ellie."

    Miss Ellie: "All right. You go ahead and write your book and the day it's published, I'll sue you through every court in the land if I have to. I will not allow you to do this to my husband!"

    With various story strands reaching boiling point in this episode, the beleaguered Bobby serves as unifying link between them. While Pam witters on about what colour the towels should be at her aerobic centre (or some such), Bobby is obliged to explain that he has "a few other things on my mind". As if a dead hustler and a power hungry brother weren't enough to deal with, he now has a sad mama to worry about. (The scene in which Miss Ellie finally emerges from her room only to slowly and quietly break down at an empty dining table is very poignant.) Even in the midst of being blackmailed by JR, Bobby still finds time to discuss Miss Ellie's state of mind with his brother. "I'm afraid she might be comin' to grips with Daddy's death for the first time," he says.

    With that out of the way, Bobby and JR settle down to a game of emotional poker. "I think you got just about as much to lose as I do," claims Bobby. "How is Mama gonna react when she finds out that Christopher is your son by Kristin?" "I'll admit that be rough for a while," concedes JR. "Bobby, what worries me is how is Pamela gonna take givin' up that boy? Are those voting shares really worth takin' that chance for you?" "JR, I think you're bluffin'." "If I am, I'm bluffin' with the best hand ... I want a son to follow in my footsteps at Ewing Oil, and if John Ross can't do it, Christopher will do just fine." How deliciously cold is that? Judging by this episode, JR views children more as commodities to be traded than human beings to be nurtured. "I don't think you're really low enough to do that," replies Bobby, "and if you are, I'm warning you, JR, you're gonna need a surgeon by the time I'm done with you." On one hand, I like the ambivalence of this scene--like Bobby, we can't be certain of what JR is capable. On the other, it would have been fascinating to explore the consequences of JR carrying out his threat to take Christopher away from Pam and Bobby and then continue to raise him under the Southfork roof. Could the series itself have withstood that much melodrama, or would it have devolved into a Texas version of THE COLBYS, with Bobby and JR trying to push each other off a skyscraper every other week?

    JR also finds time in this busy episode to dispose of a couple of Sue Ellen's suitors. Taking advantage of Cliff's greed and Clayton's sense of honour, he sets the former on the road to financial ruin and shames the latter into leaving the country. "You have destroyed my relationship with the finest man that I have ever known," Sue Ellen yelps down the phone after learning of Clayton's travel plans. "I despise you for that!" "One down, Cliff Barnes to go," JR says to himself.

    He then feigns outrage when Cliff stops by Ewing Oil to say that he has "bought the Wentworth property right next door to you in Lubbock ... Now that I own that Wellington property, there isn't anything I can't give Sue Ellen ... Hell, I might even invite you to the wedding." This foreshadows the scene in Season 5 where JR visits Cliff's office to invite him to his wedding to Sue Ellen. Cliff ignores advice to seek a second geologist's opinion on his new field: "My daddy never needed any reports to find oil. He just followed his nose and he never missed. My nose tells me to start drilling."

    Observing Sue Ellen's behaviour in this episode, one is faced with the choice that she is either incredibly stupid or one of the most horrendous women that ever lived. Firstly Cliff comes to her, talking about "the biggest deal of my life! ... Something I've worked on all my life and finally it's almost here ... oil, rivers of oil, oceans of oil! I'm sitting on one of the biggest oil deposits in the entire South West!" "Oh Cliff, I'm so happy for you," she coos. Then JR tells her he's set Cliff up. "He's ridin' for the biggest fall of his life." Does Sue Ellen lift a manicured finger to warn Cliff? Does she shoulder-pads! Even though this a situation that she's created.

    JR breaks the bad news to Cliff himself: "I set you up, Barnes. I told you that if you didn't stop seein' Sue Ellen I was gonna destroy you and I did. You just don't know it yet." "Get the hell out of my office," snaps Cliff. "Now I have a feeling that if I come back in about a week, this is not gonna be your office anymore," predicts JR. Cliff gets straight on the phone: "Double the crews," he orders. "There has to be oil there!"

    Also not having the time of her life in this episode is Lucy, currently being held hostage by dodgy Roger. "This could be some of the best work we've ever done together," he says, snapping pictures of her miserable, crying face (although I must admit, the dishevelled look does quite suit Lucy). "Don't you try and get away from me. I won't let you go! ... Make love to this camera!" he orders. There's an exciting bird's eye view shot of Lucy making a run for the door while Roger's asleep. He catches up with her, slaps her and then ... rapes her, maybe?

    Sadly, Lucy's absence goes unnoticed for most of the episode, but Mitch and Miss Ellie (an unlikely detective team, it must be said) finally get on the case. Ray and Donna come by to lend a hand, and Ellie seizes the opportunity to snub her step-daughter-in-law: "Leave me alone, Donna. We have nothing to say to each other." Nobody on DALLAS withholds affection quite like BBG.

    Finally, just as most of the major characters are going through hell in Episode 100, so Sly is going through her own private nightmare--being forced by the wardrobe department to wear one of Susan Howard's Season 3 cast-offs: a horizontally striped purple, orange, brown and black dress, which is possibly the most hideous outfit ever worn by anyone on the show. And Bobby--as the police arrive in the closing moments to question him over Faraday's death--thinks he's got problems.
     
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  8. Ms Southworth

    Ms Southworth Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Loved BBG's performance in this episode :) World class :clap::clap::clap:
     
  9. Presea

    Presea Soap Chat Addict

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    This was quite possibly my favorite season of Dallas. (It's hard for me to pick between this and the next one.) I absolutely loved Katherine's character in this season. She was a strong, smart, independent woman with a cool career who also had a deep loyalty to her late father and his business. I always thought it was a waste for them to remake her character so that it solely focused on a psycho obsession with Bobby after they decided to let Morgan Brittany come back in the season after this one. In my opinion, there could have been so many more opportunities for Katherine's character and storylines to really keep fleshing out if they had stuck with the formula for this season. I am honestly not sure if a lot of people know this, but Katherine was not designed to be crazy in this season since the original plan was only to keep her for about seven episodes.
     
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  10. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    "The Investigation"

    There are a couple of storylines in this episode which don't hold up to close examination, but everything moves along at such a pace that it doesn't really matter.

    First Bobby is interrogated by the police. He claims to have known Jeff Faraday "through my sister-in-law Kristin Shepherd. He wanted to borrow some money. I gave it to him cos he was a friend of hers'. He called me a couple of days ago and said he was in some kind of trouble, wanted more money." Smells like blackmail to me, but that doesn't seem to even occur to the detectives questioning Bobby. "I went to the address he gave me," he continues. "I saw a bunch of police cars. I didn't go in ... I'm in the process of trying to adopt a baby. They're very particular about the parents' behaviour." Bobby is released. "Maybe he's telling the truth--maybe he isn't," is Detective White's brilliant deduction. NYPD BLUE this ain't.

    Then Joe Smith, aka Bruce-Harvey-to-be, and his pal stop by Bobby's office and reveal themselves to be Jeff Faraday's drug suppliers, ("We'd done business with him in LA. He called a couple of days ago and ordered $50,000 worth of cocaine") before casually confessing to killing him ("When we showed up to deliver it, he didn't have the fifty thousand ... We were going to teach Faraday a lesson. He pulled a gun. We had no choice."). They even leave Bobby their number. How considerate.

    Meanwhile, Detective White has a witness who heard Bobby threaten to kill Faraday. Not only that, but Bobby's fingerprints were found in his apartment. Despite this compelling evidence, White assures Bobby that "we know you're the least likely suspect in this killing." NYPD BLUE? This isn't even DIAGNOSIS MURDER.

    Back at the ranch, JR hovers nervously as Pam risks tearing a hole in the space/time continuum by calling a character on another TV show: "Now Valene, I'm sure there's nothing to worry about. We just wanted to know if Lucy had been in touch with you." "Did you let Mama know you were callin' them?" he asks when she gets off the phone. "Can you see what Lucy's doin' to Mama? I tell you, it would serve her right if we took her ten votin' shares away from her." "... There's no way you can take those shares away from the people that have them," replies Pam snakily. "Yeah, I suppose you're right, Pam," concedes a faux-contrite JR. "Well, I think I'll go upstairs and say goodnight to Christopher." He exits the scene, stealing a sideways glance at Bobby. All Bobby can do is glare helplessly.

    Pam's amnesia pills wear off the following morning when she hears Miss Ellie, still frantic over Lucy's disappearance, utter the magic words: "I can't imagine anyone waiting to hurt her." Ping! You can almost hear the penny dropping in Pam's otherwise empty head as she suddenly recalls the Lucy-obsessed photographer whom she herself confronted three whole episodes ago. "Bobby, I have an idea where she might be ..." she whispers. Finally--give that woman a leg-warmer! Pam and Bobby rush over to Roger's studio where he denies kidnapping Lucy. Bobby is about to leave without even looking round, when Lucy, trussed up in the bedroom, manages to knock over a conveniently large and breakable lamp. Bobby shoves Roger against a wall, which is apparently enough to render Roger unconscious unless he just decided to take a nap. (Being a loony is tiring work.) Bobby bursts through the bedroom door--what lock could withstand his sonic biceps?--to find Lucy equally unconscious on the floor. (I wonder if Patrick Duffy was wearing his Superman costume underneath his suit for this scene?)

    "Thank God you remembered that photographer," a grateful Miss Ellie tells Pam in Lucy's hospital room. Yeah--better late than never, eh Pam? After all, what's an off-screen rape between Ewings? Mitch visits Lucy. "We could try again," he offers, but both finally realise that their storyline is in tatters. "I guess sometimes love just isn't enough," Lucy says sadly. Sue Ellen will repeat these exact same words at the beginning of Season 6. This is something of a recurring theme in DALLAS. Look at all the socially mismatched couples there have been over the years--The Princess & The Pauper (Lucy and Mitch); The Cowboy & The Lady (Ray and Donna); Romeo & Juliet (Pam & Bobby); The Rodeo Rider & The Society Queen (Dusty and Sue Ellen. All of these failed relationships bear witness to the fact that (to quote Donna in Season 3), love doesn't conquer all. "I'm gonna miss you, Lucy Cooper," Mitch tells her. (He's gonna miss those Lorimar paycheques too, I'm guessing.)

    Ellie's dirty looks towards Donna aside, the rest of the episode is devoted to the downfall of one Cliff Barnes. I like very much the character of Mr Forrest, the earnest Tool and Die controller who pays a visit to Rebecca's apartment: "You know I was employed by your late husband when he first started Wentworth Tool and Die ... He was as fine a man as ever I met--honest, loyal. When the company began to expand to become the conglomerate it now is, he moved the corporate headquarters to Houston ... but my loyalty was not only to him but to that little company he started. In a sense, it's been my home now for almost forty years. Through thick and thin, good times and bad, I've been with Wentworth Tool and Die. That's why I'm sad, very sad, to see it end ... Things have happened, and I regret to say that I have been a part of them, that make it impossible for me to stay on ... It's Mr Barnes. He's been withdrawing very large amounts of money from the company. We've had to halt all our Research and Development projects because of it." "Do you know for what purpose he's taken the money?" Rebecca asks. "For something called the Wellington Escrow account," Mr Forrest replies. "He just had me issue a cashier's cheque to that name ... $4,000,000 and another for 500,000. That's when I thought I had to see you and tell you." "... I'm sure there's a logical reason for what Cliff is doing," insists Rebecca. "I trust my son implicitly."

    Over at Tool and Die, you can hear the sound of straws being clutched at. "I'm stickin' with the geology reports," insists Cliff even as the foreman on his own oil field is telling him it's a lost cause. "You're tellin' me to throw away $5,000,00? What the hell kind of advice is that??" yells Cliff. He tries to contact Marilee, but she and JR are busy telling each other bad jokes and having sex in his office again. (I'd hate to be the Ewing Oil cleaner.)

    Following Sue Ellen's announcement that "I'm a very wealthy woman," Cliff turns to her for help: "I lost a lot of money, most of it borrowed. It was over $4,000,000 ... I'll pay you back just as soon as I possibly can." This is a golden opportunity for Sue Ellen. She was never serious about Cliff in the first place, she was simply stringing him along for her own selfish ends, and now she can use his misfortune to extricate herself from his marriage proposal while painting him as the bad guy and herself as the blameless victim. Suddenly he's been the one using her! "Oh no," she gasps. "Don't do this to me, Cliff ... The only thing that you love is power. How could I have been so stupid? ... Do you know how I feel right now? Used! ... Just get out!" "We could have been so good together," Cliff tells her sadly on his way out the door. (You're better off out of it, son.)

    Of course, it's no fun playing the victim without an audience, so Sue Ellen invites Pam round to Bette Davis Towers. "Look at me," she instructs. "I haven't had the strength to get dressed all day and I can't stop cryin'." Oh for God's sake, woman! All the man did was ask you for was a loan, it's not like he spoffed on your mooey without consent. And you haven't got dressed all day because you're a lazy slut--take responsibility for that much at least. "You know, Pamela, he's changed so much recently," she says in reference to Cliff. "He's become so strong, so self-assured. Even asked me to marry him ... He told me that he loved me and he'd be able to support me in the way that JR did ... His big deal collapsed and he was tryin' to dig himself out by borrowin' money from me to pay back another loan ... Pamela, he's let me down again." Her main grievance here seems to be that Cliff has failed to become as rich as JR. "Cliff's been usin' me," she adds with breathtaking hypocrisy. "Well, I have a feeling that you're not the only one who's been used," replies Pam, her eyes narrowing. For a second, it looks as though someone is finally going to call Sue Ellen on the way she has used Cliff, but it transpires Pam is referring to Cliff's treatment of their mother.

    Pam and Rebecca meet and pool the information they have gleaned from Sue Ellen and Mr Forrest respectively. "Are you telling me that Cliff went into a deal of his own using Wentworth money and the deal went sour??" exclaims Pam. "Well, this is just what I was afraid of. Once Cliff was exposed to all that Wentworth money and power, he'd try to use it for himself." From a dramatic standpoint, there's something satisfying about the way Pam's prediction from over a year ago is now paying off. "He took advantage of you, of your love," she tells her mother. "Yes, he did," Rebecca replies sadly.

    Good ol' Russell Slater, JR's ginger broker who recurs in Seasons 5, 6 and 10, makes his debut in this episode as Cliff tries desperately to claw back the money he has embezzled from his mother's company. "I have an oil field I'm thinking of selling," he tells him. "The old Ewing 6 field," guesses Russell correctly. "How much you asking?" "$7,000,000. It's worth every cent ... It's pumping to commission limits." "If you're pumping that much out of it, it'll be bone dry in a couple of years," Slater replies dismissively. (There's something poignant about the way Cliff's inexperience is so callously exposed here.) "You're gonna have to drop your price," Cliff is informed. "We're talkin' millions." Reluctantly, he agrees.

    Katherine, all curls and piercing blue eyes, makes her last appearance before her mother's plane crash as JR assures her that his plan to ruin Cliff has succeeded. "He borrowed some money that he just can't pay back," he explains. "My only regret is that it was so easy." In fact, JR (or at least the writers) will use the same dramatic blueprint to execute a much more complicated (and satisfying) scheme when he goes up against Cliff in Season 6. The two storylines bear some remarkable similarities. Both start with Cliff acquiring property that JR feels is rightfully his (Ewing 6 in Season 4; the Kesey and Murphy lands in Season 6). In order to exact his revenge, JR feigns interest in an even more enticing looking property, (the Wellington land; Gold Canyon 340) which Cliff delights stealing away from him. Marilee Stone comes onboard as Cliff's partner only to betray him. Cliff pours more and more money into this new investment, getting deeper and deeper into debt until he is forced to sell off the asset he originally "stole" from JR. However, due to his own greed (pumping Ewing 6 to capacity; paying over the odds for the Kesey and Murphy lands in order to outbid JR), the property is now worth considerably less than he paid for it.

    Towards the end of the episode, Russell returns with news of a buyer offering $3,000,000 for the Ewing 6 field. "You can tell him he's a thief!" snaps Cliff. "Well, that's an interesting word comin' from you, Cliff," says JR walking into the office. "Here's your buyer, Mr Barnes," reveals Russell. JR's entrance is almost identical to the one he makes at the end of Season 6 when Cliff is in mid-conversation with Vaughn the banker (substituting for Russell the broker) and JR, having apparently been listening outside the door, reveals that, not only is he the anonymous purchaser of the Kesey and Murphy fields, but he has also been acting Cliff's secret banker. "I'm the only prospective buyer you have in the state of Texas," JR informs him here. "Because of my high regard for your lovely mother, I'm gonna up the price of my offer. I mean, there's no reason that she should have to pay for your mistakes, is there, huh? $4,000,000 when you sign this little old deed. How does it feel, Cliff? A couple of days ago, you owned my oil field, you were gonna marry my wife, you were expecting a big gusher. Oh yeah, millionaire time, that's what it was! And now you're over your head in debt and the only property you own is a dry hole north o' Lubbock. You have succeeded in becoming the perfect failure."

    The episode ends with JR making a persuasive case to Sue Ellen about why she belongs at Southfork. Smartly, he starts off by pandering to her own image of herself as a victim. "A lot of people have let you down lately," he begins. "You leaned heavily on Clayton and he took off, and then there's Cliff Barnes. What can anybody say about Cliff Barnes? ... Sue Ellen, listen to me, you belong with people who really care about you, and you're gonna be in trouble as long as you put your trust in outsiders ... You're a Ewing. Remember that. I've hurt you so much in the past and I'm sorry. I love you. You know that. We're the same kind. We have our shortcomings, our faults, but we look at the world the same way. There are no two people that are meant for each other more than you and I ... It's time for you to come home to Southfork, to your husband." They're the same kind, all right. Sick, sick, sick!
     
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  11. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    "Acceptance"

    The penultimate episode of the season starts with JR at the flower shop, shifting his seduction of Sue Ellen up a gear by placing an order for two dozen yellow roses to be sent to her every day. "Not too early. 9 o'clock will be fine," he specifies (while apparently nursing a heavy cold). With Bette Davis Towers starting to resemble a rather cheerful funeral parlour, he soon has Sue Ellen eating out of his hand.

    Cliff has less success in getting through to Sue Ellen; she's too busy watching herself on TV (that Miss Texas beauty pageant again) to take his calls. He does receive a visit from an icy Rebecca, however. "This is one of the hardest things I've ever had to say," she begins. "I've had to face something that I didn't want to face, the fact that my own son is an embezzler ... I'm not a business woman. I'm not talking about how you betrayed this company, but you betrayed me. I trusted you. I made you president here at a time when you were down and out ... Everybody warned me against doing business with you: Pam, Katherine. You yourself warned me about how ambitious you were." Cliff tries to explain how he has been set up, but Rebecca isn't interested. "You haven't heard a word I've said," she tells him sadly. "I don't care about deals--good, bad or fake--I'm not talking about deals! You used me for your own selfish greed ... I want you to resign now ... What you did was criminal." She turns to leave. "Mama, I've made restitution," says Cliff pleadingly. "I will resign, but I don't wanna lose you. It took too long for us to find each other. Can't we keep that?" "Goodbye, Cliff." The timing here is a little ironic: Cliff accepted Rebecca back into his life during the penultimate episode of Season 3; exactly one year later, she now disowns him. There's something interesting, if unexplored, about the way Rebecca gives up so easily on the son she hardly knows. It's as if the bond between them is too fragile to sustain itself. A similar dynamic (albeit for different reasons) seems to exist between Lucy and her parents after their reconciliation.

    Pam is fully supportive of her mother's decision. "You know you did the only thing you did letting him go," she tells Rebecca. Considering how indulgent she has been of her brother in the past, (and will be in the future) it's notable how harsh Pam is here. "Shouldn't a person be allowed to make mistakes?" asks Rebecca, wondering if she has been too hard on Cliff. "Oh yes," replies Pam, "but shouldn't they be prepared to pay a price if they do? You did." (I'm not sure what Pam is referring to as Rebecca's mistake--abandoning her children in the past, or trusting Cliff in the present?) Although it is never stated directly, Pam and Cliff are virtually estranged throughout Season 4. Since Cliff reconciled with their mother, they have only shared one scene--a brief visit at the psychiatric hospital--and don't truly come together again until after Rebecca's death midway through Season 5. Could it be that there is an unspoken rivalry between them for their mother's affection?

    As Donna seriously considers abandoning her book on Sam Culver, Ray visits Miss Ellie for a lovely scene in the Southfork living room. "I know Jock being gone has been on everybody's mind, the whole family, but nobody seems to talk to you about him," he tells her. "He'd be the last man to ever want to put him on a pedestal. There's never gonna be another man like Jock, not for me, not for you. He was my father and your husband, but the truth is until we start remembering him like he really was, we're never gonna be able to do justice to his memory." She is moved by Ray's words, but walks away rather than admit her feelings. It's only dawned on me recently how characteristic this is of Ellie (pre-Donna Reed, at least). Most of her displays of emotion are out of view of the rest of the characters. This is something she has in common with William Devane's Greg and Donna Mills's Abby on KNOTS LANDING. (Devane: "I started out very carefully trying to create a private persona and a public persona [for Greg]. I tried to create situations that only the audience saw." Mills: "I always insisted that Abby never cried or showed any weakness except when she was alone. She'd walk into the bathroom to cry.") In times of great disturbance, Miss Ellie will retreat behind a cold rage rather than give into her emotions, and use that rage to keep at bay those closest to her--she does it to Jock following her mastectomy in Season 2 and again a year later she realises she has "lost" Gary for good. Now, as the reality of Jock's death becomes harder to ignore, she withdraws again. Donna might be the central focus of her anger, but she also avoids the rest of the family, skipping meals and staying close to her room.

    Only for Punk Anderson does Ellie deign to come downstairs. "Punk, oh Punk," she says, hugging him. Such is their closeness, it comes as a surprise to realise that, save for a brief exchange at Jock and Ellie's going away party, this is the first time these two have spoken on screen. Their scene also includes the first references to two soon-to-be fixtures of the series, lovely Mavis Anderson and the Oil Baron's Ball. Both are introduced in the same sentence: "Mavis and I wanna invite you to go with us to the Oil Baron's Ball," says Punk. "It's gonna be terrific!" "I've never gone without Jock," Ellie demurs, "I wouldn't feel right." But Punk is insistent: "Me and some of the boys got together and we're gonna establish a memorial scholarship out at SMU in Jock's name ..." "Memorial scholarship?" "Ellie, I know how that sounds to you ... but Jock is dead." Once again, Ellie turns on her heel and walks away. There follows more private moments that only the audience is privy to: Ellie running her hands through Jock's suits in the bedroom closet; her visit to the stables where she touchingly pets Jock's horse. "Blazer, you miss him too, don't you? I wish I had some sugar for you. No, he's not here."

    JR stops by Afton's dressing room to give her the latest. "You remember Cliff Barnes, the entrepreneur at large? Well, his nearest and dearest have dumped him. His company, his mama, his sisters, and now Sue Ellen. He's all yours, honey." "I'd rather have lost him than have this happen," she replies. "You really put him through a meat grinder, didn't you? Just when everything started to look so good for Cliff, I knew, I just knew, it was just a matter of time before you'd be sitting right where you are, gloating." JR thanks her for her tip off regarding Clayton Farlow: "I owe you one. Anytime you need a favour." "JR, your favours are too expensive. There's nothing I want from you." "You never can tell," he says. "I'll see you round, honey." I wonder whether the writers were planning to have Afton call in her favour at some point in the future, as per Michelle Stevens and Carter Mackay's quid pro quo arrangement in Season 12. As it turns out, this will be JR and Afton's final one-to-one conversation of the series. They will speak only twice more, first when Afton comes to the ranch with the news of Rebecca's plane crash and then at the hospital following Bobby's shooting.

    Alone in his apartment, we see Cliff brooding and then take a gun from his bureau. He is interrupted by a knock at the door. It's Afton. "If you ever decide to stop singing," he tells her, "you really should take up fortune telling. You know you're really quite good at it. You called me to a turn. Everything you predicted came true ... Now I've got you here to tell me I told you so." This echoes Pam's line to Rebecca in an earlier scene: "I never wanted to say I told you so". In common with Shakespeare's Macbeth, Cliff has, according to Pam, "a fatal weakness. His ambition." This all contributes to a sense of inevitability about Cliff's downfall, as though he were doomed from the outset.

    "I bet you haven't eaten all day," says Afton to Cliff. "Can I fix you something? Would you like a drink? ... Would you like me?" He shakes head. "Afton, look, what do you wanna tie up with a loser for?" "Cliff, you don't have to be a loser," she insists. "I can help you. Together, the two of us, we can beat JR and come out winners all around. I know a way." Hmm, could Afton be referring to her knowledge of how JR was able to beat the senate committee's charges against him at the end of Season 3? We'll never know. "Baby, there isn't any way I'm ever gonna beat JR," Cliff tells her, and the subject is dropped.

    As Afton the opportunist starts following her heart, Mitch the idealist is off to Atlanta to earn the big bucks. "Good-bye, Lucy," he says. "I wish only good things for you." Lucy weeps into her sun block.

    Bobby, meanwhile, is still trapped in some dumb 80s cop show. "There's still the evidence that led us to you in the first place," he is told. "There was an envelope in Faraday's apartment with your name on it." "That envelope's very important to me!" exclaims Bobby. Surely what any half decent cop would want to know is, if Bobby's involvement with Jeff Faraday was as innocent as he claims, why the envelope is so important? Moreover, what is in the envelope? These questions and many more will not be asked on tonight's episode of ... DIAGNOSIS DALLAS. Instead, Bobby goes undercover to lure drug dealer Joe to a warehouse bust. "How about a $100,000 buy to start?" Joe and the other dumb dealer turn up for the meet, practically waving a banner that reads, "We Sold Drugs to Jeff Faraday and Then Shot Him." The police make their move and Bobby punches the dumb dealer, who then falls over some conveniently placed empty boxes. "The bullet from Smith's gun matched the one that killed Faraday," announces the rubbish cop. "They'll both be put away for a long time." (Did he really just say that?) As thanks, Bobby is presented with Faraday's envelope, containing a Los Angeles medical bill in Kristin's name. "I guess you understand what that is cos we don't," shrug the un-curious cops. It's evidence of baby buying and blackmail is what it is, ya bozos!

    JR invites a mannishly-bloused Sue Ellen and John Ross to dinner at Southfork. The table is full, but all Ellie can see is Jock's empty chair. Close to breaking point, she bolts for the privacy of the kitchen. "Teresa, see if they want anything," she orders. Left alone, she finally gives into the truth. "Jock, oh damn you. Why? Why? Oh, Jock. Why did you leave me, why? Why did you die?"

    Whenever I've watched this episode, it's been a different scene of Miss Ellie's that I've found the most touching. This time, it's the final scene. Ellie's reconciliation with Donna is very similar to the one she shares Jock near the end of Season 3. Both take place in the Krebbs' house, both are partially prompted by a speech of Ray's, and both entail Miss Ellie letting go of her anger to face a truth she was running away from. "Donna, would you forgive me?" she asks. "I want you to write your book your way, the way you see fit ... I realise now that Jock was a great man, but only human. Jock may have done things in his life that he lived to regret, but he'd never, never lie about it. Jock didn't lie. Did he, Ray? ... Jock is dead ... but I have my memories of him, and my memories are forever."
     
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  12. Pammy P

    Pammy P Soap Chat Active Member

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    Brilliant, just Brilliant.

    I just love the quote as below describing the couples, that was just magic writing - shame you did not write for the show James from London.

    "The Princess & The Pauper (Lucy and Mitch); The Cowboy & The Lady (Ray and Donna); Romeo & Juliet (Pam & Bobby); The Rodeo Rider & The Society Queen (Dusty and Sue Ellen"
     
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  13. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    "Goodbye, Cliff Barnes" The second of four season finales written by Arthur Bernard Lewis.

    Bobby decides to go to Los Angeles to investigate Kristin's hospital bill. For some reason, he chooses this time, just when he's so close to wrapping the whole thing up, to come clean to Pam about Christopher's paternity. When one considers all the dramatic ways she could have found out that JR was her son's apparent father, Bobby's confession (which we don't actually see on screen) is somewhat anti-climactic. "Christopher belongs to us," Pam insists. "I'd fight JR to my last breath before I'd give him up!" There is a parallel between this situation and the events of the Season 3 finale, where it was Pam taking JR's son away from him. Now the cowboy boot is on the other foot. This dramatic irony could have formed the basis of some very meaty drama between JR and Pam, but the two characters never confront each another over this situation. While Pam rails against JR in the privacy of her marital bedroom, ("That child's just another thing for him to manipulate. He was going to use a child he fathered to blackmail you. He doesn't give a damn about anybody or anything but power!") Bobby keeps a cool head. ("I just want to get as much information as possible before we confront JR ... I think we oughta save Mama heartache as long as possible.") By the end of the episode, this dynamic will have been reversed, with Bobby bursting with moral outrage and Pam acting as the voice of reason.

    They travel to LA together and head straight for 90210 Memorial Hospital. "I want to know why she was in the hospital," Bobby tells the records clerk. "What was wrong with her?" When told such matters are confidential, he simply snatches the report from the clerk's hand then throws some money at her to make her complicit. It transpires that Kristin's bill was for a miscarriage. "If she had a miscarriage on this date, that means she lost JR's baby," says Pam. "She must've gotten pregnant again," Bobby replies. "That means JR isn't Christopher's father," Pam concludes. "It says here that Christopher was premature, that he had to spend some time in an incubator," continues Bobby. "Kristin miscarried JR's baby, got pregnant by another man, gave birth to Christopher." They visit Kristin's old apartment building where a sexy android named Sharon reveals that "[Kristin] and Faraday got married. It was right after she knew she was pregnant." Back at their hotel, Bobby and Pam take it in turns to explain the plot to each other. "Honey, when Kristin lost that first baby, she could've lost all the money that was comin' in from JR and Jordan Lee, and so she substituted Christopher for the child she miscarried. That way, the money keeps coming in indefinitely." "And Faraday continued the blackmail after she died." "Using me." "And his own baby."

    Clayton returns from his vacation, tanned, relaxed and taking an awful lot for granted. He meets Sue Ellen for lunch, an engagement ring burning a hole in his pocket. "I was lonely after Amy died," he begins, in the mistaken belief that Sue Ellen is remotely interested in hearing about someone else's life, "and I really wasn't aware of it. Steven was always around at first and I found a way to make my work fill my days ... I know exactly how I'd like our relationship to be and I feel very good about it." "Oh Clayton, I'm so happy that we can still be friends," she interrupts, anxious to turn the conversation around to herself. "I have so many things that I've wanted to talk to you about ... JR and I have been seeing quite a lot of each other lately ... Frankly, our relationship has never been better." "Are you sure, Sue Ellen?" asks a quietly disappointed Clayton. "There might be someone who could care for you a lot more than JR ever could." Sue Ellen doesn't agree. Is it really only six episodes since she was ranting to Clayton about how much JR had screwed up her life? ("When am I ever gonna learn?!") Since then, of course, JR has successfully completed the task she set for him--to paper over the cracks in her fantasy of their relationship.

    Denial fully restored, JR proposes ("Sue Ellen, I need you. Marry me.") and she accepts. A family announcement garners a muted response from all but Miss Ellie. "Here's to the bride," says Ray dryly (virtually his sole contribution to this season finale) while Lucy puts her post-kidnap/rape/divorce trauma to one side long enough to snigger derisively.

    Even more exciting than JR and Sue Ellen's re-engagement is the return of Muriel, who hasn't been seen since Lucy's wedding. "I guess that business with Roger was pretty rough," she tells Lucy perceptively. "Muriel, Roger raped me." "Oh no! Lucy, you should have told your family or doctor or the police." "I couldn't." "What if you're pregnant?" (Cliff-hanger #1.)

    JR tries to let Marilee down gently. "I gotta turn over a new leaf," he explains. "From now on, my life is gonna be strictly monogamous ... I'm gonna remarry Sue Ellen and I'm gonna get my little boy back on Southfork permanently." Marilee's reaction seems a tad extreme. "You used me to get Cliff Barnes out of Sue Ellen's life!" she yells, (well, duh) before hurling an unspecified object from her bed as he walks out the door (just as Lucy would do to Eddie Cronin in Season 7). She then comes to Cliff's apartment to confess all: "Cliff, I'm sorry ... I was a very foolish woman. I thought I had something going with JR, maybe marriage, and I wanted to please him. I was the front for the Wellington land deal, but it was all JR's money. He had the geologists' reports doctored. He used me to set you up and to get Sue Ellen back, and then he dropped me." "I don't give a damn about your love life," Cliff tells her. Indeed, Marilee's "wronged woman" performance isn't much more convincing than the one she gave in order to sucker Cliff into the Wellington deal in the first place, but the most important thing about her confession from a story-telling standpoint is that Afton overhears it, so that she can relay the information to Rebecca, who in turn passes it onto Miss Ellie, who then confronts JR with it.

    Afton later finds Cliff propping up a bar recounting a similar tale of woe to the one Cliff and Pam heard Digger telling when they tracked him down to a bar back at the very beginning of the series. "I was about that far from being a millionaire and marrying the prettiest girl in Dallas .... and the Ewings did it. They broke me ..." "We have to go," Afton tells him. "I'm not gonna let you drink yourself to death the way your daddy did."

    The following morning, Cliff gets rid of Afton ("I gotta tell you, you're makin' me feel uncomfortable with all you're doin'. Why don't you go home?") in order to pay a visit to Bette Davis Towers. "I don't want you here," declares Sue Ellen. "I just have to tell you something," Cliff pleads. "I have to tell you that I shouldn't have asked to borrow the money. I was panicked and I didn't know where to turn. It was a mistake. I shouldn't have done that ... We had a good thing goin' and we could've had a great life and we still can. Sue Ellen, I need you, I love you and I've lost everything, but I know I can start over ... I know I can build a new life if you'll just believe in me and love me." "Cliff, I think you should know that JR has asked me to marry him and I accepted," she replies. "I don't wanna see you again. Please go." By now, they're both crying. Cliff's tears I understand--this is a man on the edge--but Sue Ellen's don't quite make sense. In the next episode, the character herself describes her rejection of Cliff here as "pretty cold"--so cold it leads directly to his suicide attempt. So why does Linda Gray feel the need to emote? Could it be there's a part of the actress that doesn't want to be seen in such a harsh and unsympathetic light? Is it perhaps an attempt--even a subconscious one--to upstage Ken Kercheval (who does an excellent job of conveying Cliff's desperation) and claim some of the audience's sympathy for herself? In any case, Sue Ellen's tears miraculously evaporate at the sight of a sable coat presented to her by JR. While she slips upstairs to admire herself, he steals a few words with his son that serve as a reminder of his ulterior motives: "I'm gonna take you back to Southfork permanently and we'll be one big happy family. And of course, I'll have your ten shares, and with sixty shares, well, I'll be able to run Ewing Oil as I see fit."

    Cliff returns to both his condo and the bottle. Afton has arranged to meet him there at 8 pm. "Sorry I'm late," she says prior to noticing Cliff unconscious on the floor next to an empty bottle of tranquillizers. "There was an accident on the expressway." This suggests that Cliff took the overdose in the expectation of being found (and rescued) earlier than he was. Although the suicide attempt is generally referred to as the Season 4 cliff-hanger, this scene takes place roughly ten minutes before the end of the episode. It's what happens as a result of Cliff's actions that is really interesting. Cliff is taken to hospital where Afton gives a guilt-ridden Rebecca ("I'm responsible ... I should have been able to forgive him") the information that will galvanise the final minutes of the season. "Oh Afton," replies Rebecca, "I never thought JR was capable of this!" Along comes Dr Cliche with the latest: "He's still comatose ... It's too soon to tell ... The next twenty-four hours will be critical." (Cliff-hanger #2.)

    Back in Los Angeles, Bobby and Pam are still explaining the switched-baby plot to each another. "Faraday's blood type was B, the same as JR's. That is such a coincidence!" exclaims Bobby. You said it, Bob. "I still can't believe that he sold his baby," marvels Pam. "Faraday was a cheap hustler, but what does that make JR?" replies Bobby, his Ewing blood starting to boil. "He thought Christopher was his son, but he was perfectly content to be known as Uncle JR as long as I voted my twenty shares of Ewing Oil his way ... I thought that deep down inside when it came to children, he'd have some human feelings, a spark of decency ... My own brother tried to blackmail me. If I have my way, when we get back to Dallas, I'm gonna vote to throw him out of Ewing Oil. But not until I've taken him apart." (Cliff-hanger #3)

    The climax of the episode is the scene in which Rebecca confronts Miss Ellie in the Southfork living room. Priscilla Pointer is particularly impressive here. Like Barbara Bel Geddes, Pointer occasionally falls into the too-serene-for-the-scene trap that Donna Reed was particularly prone to, where the actress seems to hover above the action rather than being a part of it. (Has Pointer ever played a nun? She'd look great in a wimple.) However, Pointer also possesses an interesting combination of imperiousness and grit reminiscent of Agnes Moorhead. In spite of Rebecca being a fundamentally underwritten character, Pointer is believable as a woman that "clawed her way over the tough side of the tracks."

    "This is not a social call, Ellie," Rebecca declares. "Maybe Digger was right, and when I was married to him, I was too young or too stupid to realise it ... Digger never had a chance. Jock was too shrewd, too strong and too fast. And now it's happening between JR and Cliff. It's the same fight all over again ... When I found out that Cliff was using Wentworth funds, I fired him. I think it's time that you did the same with JR. He used Ewing funds to destroy my son!" JR and Sue Ellen join a bewildered Ellie in listening to Rebecca's rant. "Cliff is in Dallas Memorial in a coma," she continues. "JR set him up. He lost everything. Last night, he tried to kill himself ... I'm here to warn you. The Barnes/Ewing feud is still going on. It's always been an uneven fight, the rich Ewings against the poor Barnes. Well, now it's even. I swear I'll break the Ewing family and I have the money to do it." (Cliff-hanger #4) Rebecca exits, swiftly followed by a hyperventilating Sue Ellen ("I have to go to the hospital to see Cliff!").

    Left alone together, Miss Ellie confronts her first born. "I wanna hear it from you, JR. Did Rebecca tell me the truth?" "Yes, she did." "You drove Cliff to attempt suicide?" "If that man is dyin', it's because of his own greed." "You don't care, do you?" This moment of appalled realisation on Ellie's part is almost identical to the one she has when she appeals to JR at the end of Season 1--"Sue Ellen's in trouble, JR, and your child's life is in danger. You must do something!"--only for him to reply coldly, "It's too late." Back then, she lamented sorrowfully, ("I gave you up too soon, JR") but now she adopts a tougher stance. "You're a cold and insensitive man, JR," she tells him, " and I'm gonna remove you as President of Ewing Oil as soon as Bobby gets back." "Well, you don't know it yet, but you won't be able to that," he replies. Well, you don't know it yet, JR, but yes, she will! (Umm, let's call this Cliff-hanger #3a)

    Sue Ellen joins Rebecca and Afton at Cliff's bedside. "It's all my fault," she admits. "It's too bad Cliff didn't know how guilty everyone felt before he swallowed those pills," replies Afton bitterly, before being led away by Rebecca. "I never realised how much in love with me you were," Sue Ellen whispers to Cliff (although "I never cared how much in love with me you were," would perhaps be more accurate) "Cliff, please get better. Please." JR enters the room. "Sue Ellen--" he begins. "Look what we've both done to him," she says. "He did it to himself," JR replies. "Come on home, Sue Ellen," he urges, his words echoing the speech he gave her two episodes ago: "It's time for you to come home to Southfork, to your husband". This time, however, she is not seduced. "No, JR. We did it to him," she insists, "and I feel so guilty." If, as has often been suggested, Sue Ellen is as addicted to JR as she is to alcohol, Cliff's overdose--and, more importantly, her own sense of guilt because of it--has the effect of sobering her up, of tearing a hole in her denial much bigger than the one created by Bobby's revelation over Christopher's parentage. Can that hole be repaired? Sue Ellen is doubtful: "If Cliff dies, I don't think I'll ever be able to marry you." (Cliff-hanger #4)

    It may not have been as easy as in previous years to reduce the 1982 season finale to a simple "Who Did What to Who?" water-cooler question, but this is arguably DALLAS's most sophisticated use of the cliff-hanger convention, whereby the cumulative effect of four or five mini cliff-hangers, none of which are especially earth-shattering or original when viewed in isolation, creates something more than the sum of its parts. With Rebecca's vow to the Ewings and Ellie's to JR, there is a palpable sense of a New Ewing Order afoot, (not for nothing is the next episode called "Changing of the Guard") which ensures the Season 5 premiere will be compulsory viewing, while avoiding the almost built-in feeling of anti-climax that accompanies some of the bigger, more life and death season cliff-hangers.

    Aww, thanks!
     
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  14. Rove

    Rove Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    Far too many secondary characters like Rebecca were written out of Dallas way ahead of their time. Priscilla Pointer's casting was spot on. I thoroughly enjoyed this era of Dallas with particular interest in the ever-growing Barnes/Wentworth family. The Ewing family finally had a threat on the horizon in Rebecca. I also enjoyed what appeared to be a sub-plot growing between Clayton, Miss Ellie and Rebecca. What a shame the writers did not explore the possibility of a relationship entanglement between those three, it would have made for great viewing and given the trio some juicy bits to explore.
     
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  15. markymark

    markymark Soap Chat Active Member

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    Do you have Season 5 James?
     
  16. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    Some of it. There's a chunk missing in the middle.
     
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  17. NickLundy0911

    NickLundy0911 Soap Chat Member

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    This is one of a handful of times during the series that the idea of Bobby and Sue Ellen as a couple is raised. There's the sad pass Sue Ellen makes at Bobby in the Season 1 finale, which she refers back to during Season 10: "I told you before, I married the wrong brother" and also JR's weird fantasy sequence in WAR OF THE EWINGS, the memory of which I've all but suppressed." I've always wondered the missed opportunity to pair Sue Ellen and Bobby. Could have created a whole new dynamic to the show especially by seasons 9-14. Of course the weird incest angle might be too much for Ellie. (I wished they could have played the whole Adam/Fallon relationship for a few more seasons. It's obvious that Adam got a bigger kick out of it than Fallon. I can imagine the fallout if they slept together.) Though Season 9 (DVD) would have been perfect to showcase J.R. and Pam relationship especially after Bobby's death.
     
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  18. Soaplover

    Soaplover Soap Chat Active Member

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    I think the cliff suicide cliffhanger didn't really lead to a lot of long term fall oit. Even if Cliff hadn't died, I think sue Ellen not remarrying JR would have been more interesting.

    I do.think having Rebecca start to fight in the battle was a good move...but by the 2nd half of season 5, she's killed off..so that potential is wasted. I recall reading somewhere that the show said in order to have Katherine go full out evil..they had to kill Rebecca to make that happen...but I think having Rebecca alive would have been more interesting
     
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  19. Rove

    Rove Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    I agree. Extending the Barnes/Wentworth family made more sense and I loved the idea that Rebecca had Cliff and Pam's back, especially against the likes of JR. Rebecca was not afraid of him or telling Miss Ellie what she really thought of her son.

    Instead of having Cliff living in that ridiculous apartment we could have had a secondary mansion with Rebecca, Cliff, Afton, Katherine and Pam visiting with Christopher and Bobby. Friction of course would always be on the cards.
     
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  20. Presea

    Presea Soap Chat Addict

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    Even though I hated Rebecca, her presence added more to the story with the Barnes vs. Ewing dynamic. And there were certainly a lot more possibilities for her, too. I would have enjoyed seeing them go more into a Clayton, Miss Ellie, and Rebecca love triangle. Priscilla Pointer played her role perfectly. I hated Rebecca for a lot of things, but it was the fact that I loved to hate her which made it so engaging for me. For me, I hate characters like April and James just because they were an annoyance to me. There was no passion with the hate I had for them like I had with Rebecca and Bobby. If you can actively enjoy hating a character, that is good entertainment and acting!
     

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