Re-watching Season 5

Discussion in 'Dallas Season Reviews' started by James from London, Jan 23, 2017.

  1. Presea

    Presea Soap Chat Addict

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    Desperate? How would deciding to do anything with Katherine, who was drop dead gorgeous, seemed very friendly to Bobby and willing to help him however she could, and to his knowledge, not evil, make him desperate? I mean, jeez you make it sound like she's some troll who crawled out from under a bridge or something! (Just my opinion.)
     
  2. Presea

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    I think it was because Katherine was afraid that making any kind of physical advance towards Bobby would make him think that she was being insensitive to Pam and a bad sister (which she was!) and that he wouldn't like that. Pretty ironic when you think about it. Katherine breaks up her sister's marriage, but is concerned about doing it the "right way". She had no idea that Bobby really had no problem with women coming on to him like that like Holly, Jenna, and Kristin did! He was too dim to get the message otherwise.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2017
  3. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    "The Sting"

    (STING, noun: a carefully planned operation, typically one involving deception)

    This is the only episode title DALLAS employed twice. The second usage takes place 166 episodes' later when the carefully planned operation in question involves Miss Ellie and the rest of the family colluding with Carter MacKay to deceive Jeremy Wendell. This time around it's Bobby, Ray and an affable cop named Ted doing the colluding in order to hoodwink Walt Driscoll, and by extension, JR.

    Picking up pretty darn close to where the last episode left off, we find Walt leaving the Low Self Esteem Motel, getting in his car and placing the all-important briefcase on the passenger seat next to him. As soon as he pulls out into the street, he receives a gentle bashing from Ray's pickup truck. Not only does this pre-arranged collision echo the accident JR organised for Walt's wife back in "Hit And Run", it also foreshadows the more lethal sideswipe Walt will take at Sue Ellen and Mickey's car in four episodes' time. Despite Walt's protests, ("Look, fella, I got a plane to catch") Ray wants to exchange driver information. Officer Ted shows up and, as Bobby watches from behind a tree, insists they make out a report. This draws an unfeasibly large crowd, none of whom notice when Bobby reaches through the conveniently open window of Walt's car and switches cases. After making eye contact with Ray, Bobby disappears from view and Officer Ted tells Walt he's free to go. "Sorry about all the trouble," Ray calls as Walt darts back to his car and drives off. "We just didn't wanna do anything illegal!" Bobby reappears and thanks Ted. "Good thing you called me and let me know this was gonna happen," Ted smirks. Inside the pickup, Bobby and Ray open the false bottom of Walt's case and find $100,000 in cash. "We were dead right," nods Ray. "He is on his way to make a payoff." "Wait until he opens that case I slipped him," sniggers Bobby. "The rest of his hair's gonna fall out! Ha ha!" He then gets out of the truck to make "the phone call".

    At airport security, Walt requests that "his" case be hand inspected to reduce the risk of his camera film being exposed. The security guard, aka that distinctive looking day player with Priscilla Pointer/Agnes Moorhead eyes who was a guest at the DYNASTY Season 1 "Dinner Party" before becoming the KNOTS LANDING minister who married Val and Ben in Season 7 and buried Mary Frances in Season 11, complies.

    Walt watches tensely as she pokes and prods and shoots him a Rebecca Wentworth glare of suspicion. Then she smiles and hands him back the case. He sighs with relief, only to be grabbed by another couple of security guards, (also familiar looking bit part actors) who open the case, go straight to the false bottom and find ... two guns. "I think you'll miss that plane," one of them tells him. As he is led away in handcuffs, Bobby is revealed lurking against a wall looking less smug than in the previous scene.

    Meanwhile, a prematurely victorious JR is rolling about in bed with old pal Serena, last seen rolling about in bed with Harve Smithfield's son-in-law twenty episodes earlier. The rape of Holly Harwood aside, this is the first time JR has cheated on Sue Ellen since splitting up with Marilee at the end of Season 4. "Are you gonna tell me ... what we're celebrating?" Serena asks. "I've just finished a deal that's gonna put Ewing Oil right back in my pocket," he tells her cryptically. "Every delicious drop!" Beyond that, he is reluctant to go into detail: "We're not gonna talk about that."

    Indeed, this whole storyline - JR's deal to sell oil to Cuba and Bobby and Ray's sabotage of same - is strictly men's business. Their women are left twiddling their thumbs wondering where they have disappeared to. At Ewing Oil, Sue Ellen and Sly resort to coffee and chit chat as they wait for JR to arrive for his meeting with Roy Ralston. "The two of us wanna work with you side by side," Sue Ellen tells Roy, her face beaming. "It'll be the start of a whole new life for us." "Isn't that nice?" he murmurs politely, not quite able to match her evangelical fervour.

    Like Sue Ellen, Donna has no idea where her husband is and is distinctly unimpressed when he and Bobby eventually show up giggly drunk at the Krebbs' Kennel. Susan Howard makes a great straight man in this scene, grimacing convincingly as Steve Kanaly breathes imaginary alcohol fumes over her. (What other DALLAS actor would bother with an unscripted detail like that? KK maybe.) "Ever since he called," complains Donna, pointing at Bobby, "you two have been running around like crazy. You could have called your wife, Ray Krebbs!" Bobby looks momentarily sad as if suddenly remembering he no longer has a wife to call. "Would you like to tell me what it is you're celebrating?" she asks, only to receive no less cryptic an answer than Serena did. "We rode out in the shpirit in John Wayne, Donna," slurs Bobby, doing bad drunk acting as only P Duffy can (see also "Fallen Idol", Season 1). "JR will never sell guns to the Indians again!" he adds as he and Ray guffaw and Donna rolls her eyes in amused bemusement.

    JR is blissfully unaware that anything has gone wrong with his deal until he returns to Ewing Oil that evening, and Sly tells him that as well as his meeting with Roy Ralston and Sue Ellen, he has also missed a call from Walt Driscoll. "He leave his number in Puerto Rico?" JR asks breezily. "He didn't call from Puerto Rico," Sly replies. "He called from Dallas. Mr Driscoll's in the county jail." This news stops JR in his tracks. Fade to black.

    Lights up on an establishing shot of the Sheriff's Department. The jail scenes in this episode are very effectively staged. "What the hell happened?" a tense JR asks Walt through the wire mesh in the visitors' room. Walt tells him about the loaded guns found at the bottom of his case but is unable to explain how they got there. JR focuses instead on how he can best salvage the deal: "The ships are in Cuba and there's no payoff money in Puerto Rico. I gotta try and reach your contact, see if this deal is still on." Ah, Driscoll's contact with whom he has been meeting off screen during the last few episodes! Finally, we learn his name: "All Garcia cares about is his $100,000 payoff that we didn't get to him," says Walt. After obtaining Garcia's phone number from Walt, JR gets up to leave. "What about me?" Walt asks anxiously. "Just hang loose," he replies distractedly. "You'll be taken care of."

    Feigning humility, JR calls Garcia the following morning. Garcia grumbles that he waited all the previous day for Walt to arrive with his fee. "I can get the hundred thousand dollars to you today, I guarantee that," JR promises. "When I have it, I will then give you the papers showing that you sold me one hundred thousand barrels of oil to my company here in Puerto Rico," replies Garcia. JR then asks about his payment, i.e. "the Swiss bank draft in the amount of $40,000,000 American, that's the cost of the oil I'm talkin' about." "... I don't have that bank draft here," Garcia tells him. "The gentleman from Cuba, he was here with me all day yesterday waiting, he had that bank draft with him ... When Señor Driscoll did not arrive with my money, this Cuban official ... thought maybe I was being double-crossed ... so he took the bank draft back with him to Cuba." "And the oil?" "The oil is also in Cuba," Garcia replies. "You're saying that the oil is in Cuba and I have not been paid??" splutters JR. "I'm not gonna lie down for that, Garcia ... I want my $40,000,000!" "Then I suggest you go to Cuba to get it," retorts Garcia. "Don't involve me any further, please. I don't like the way you do business, Mister." Click.

    This sends JR hot-footing it back to the jail for another juicy scene with Driscoll--in fact, it's the best scene of the episode. This time JR's looking for answers: "Tell me how a buncha cigar chompers got a half million barrels of my crude and another half million that I was responsible for and didn't pay me a single penny for it ... What happened with that $100,000? How'd it turn to guns?" Having had time to think about what happened, Walt correctly concludes that "somebody switched cases on me ... when I had that accident [with] a grey haired cowboy in a white pickup truck." JR is scarcely listening. "I shoulda had my head examined for ever gettin' involved with you," he snaps. "JR, it wasn't my fault," Walt insists. "You can't leave me here. They want $25,000 bail." "You don't expect me to pay that, do you?" JR asks, getting to his feet. "I wouldn't give you the dust off my car." That's one of my all time favourite DALLAS lines. In a transition reminiscent of Sue Ellen's as she is being led away to the sanitarium at the end of the penultimate episode of Season 1, Walt turns on a dime from pleading -- "JR, I lost too! I lost everything, I lost my wife!" -- to vengeful -- "JR, I won't forget this, I swear I'll get back at you!" as he is dragged back to his cell. Thrillingly, he seems to be looking almost directly into the camera while making this threat.

    There's a somewhat jarring edit here, which I presume wasn't intentional but which actually serves to heighten the drama of the moment. As a shouting Walt is being led backwards away from the camera ("I'll get back at you ..."), there is a cut to JR opening the door out of the visitor's room. We then cut back to Walt as he finishes delivering his threat ("... if it's the last thing I ever do!"). Then there's another cut back to JR, still opening the door as if no time whatsoever has past, and then leaving. It's hard to explain the effect this has, but it feels like a weird glitch in time that imbues Walt's threat, and JR's dismissal of it, with a dislocated, eerie quality. This made all the more ominous in hindsight, knowing where Walt's threat will lead.

    Speaking of which: Mickey drives Lucy back to the fake patio after an evening out. Following some chuckly banter, he gets serious: "Lucy, I never asked a girl if I could kiss her. I just always did it. I'm not real sure what to do right at this moment. I really like you. That's not somethin' I'm used to sayin' either." Watching Lucy and Mickey's courtship this time around, it strikes me that what makes it so touchingly effective--and let's face it, it's not the most original storyline of all time: boy meets girl, girl rejects boy, boy snarls at girl, girl needs a ride to the airport, etc.--is that Lucy isn't the only one slowly learning to let her guard down. Mickey is too. Although his past is never explained as fully as hers, there are indicators along the way: "I know what it's like to be scared ... I'm gonna say something I've never said to any girl ... I never asked a girl ... That's not somethin' I'm used to sayin'" And while Mickey (presumably) doesn't have quite the litany of traumatic experiences to overcome that Lucy does, his journey from wise ass rebel to, in Lucy's words, "one of the nicest, most gentle people I've ever met" is just an affecting a journey as hers, if not more so. "Maybe you wouldn't mind if I did kiss you," he says to her at the end of the scene. She doesn't.

    Later, an angry JR returns to Southfork, and all kinds of foreshadowing: Lucy and Mickey are laughing innocently on the patio, just as they will be when an equally angry JR returns home in four episodes time. "There he is, Uncle JR to the rescue," jokes Mickey. In four episodes time, it'll be Mickey going to the rescue of Uncle JR's wife. In the driveway, JR sees Ray's pickup with a broken front light, and puts two and two together: "A grey haired cowboy in a white pickup truck," he remembers Walt saying. "Hey, Ray Krebbs here?" he barks at Lucy and Mickey. "No, just lent me his truck," Mickey replies. Somehow, by driving the offending pickup, Mickey has become fatefully ensnared in the web of vehicular-themed destruction that began with Carol Driscoll's staged hit and run and that will end when he and Sue Ellen stumble into JR's car in four episodes' time. Whenever one member of this family gets behind the wheel of another's car, it invariably ends in disaster: as well as Sue Ellen and Mickey's crash, Bobby is kidnapped in Season 1 after borrowing JR's car and Pam explodes at the end of Season 9 while driving Bobby's.

    Upstairs, JR bursts into his baby bro's bedroom. Bobby's enters from the bathroom where he's evidently been--uh oh--taking a shower. (Quick, pinch me. It's OK, still awake.) A couple of exchanges in passing at the office notwithstanding, this is the first two-hander scene between the brothers since "Mama Dearest", a full nine episodes ago when JR suggested that they band together against Miss Ellie and even went so far as to declare his love for Bobby. Now we're into the final half dozen episodes of the season, there's no longer any room for niceties. Indeed, the enmity between the brothers here is as strong as it has ever been. "You really hit me below the belt, boy," JR snarls. "How dare you jeopardise everything Daddy spent his life building?!" shouts Bobby. "The government's not gonna care which Ewing shipped that oil. They're gonna shut us down, the company, the whole company. Lock, stock and barrel." Which more or less describes what will happen to Ewing Oil at the end of Season 9.

    The following morning (a Sunday) finds JR brooding on the fake patio when Ray drives up. "Morning, JR," he smiles, friendly as can be. "How you doin'? Guess this belongs to you, huh?" He hands him the original case Bobby swiped from Walt's car. "Be sure and look in the bottom of this thing," he adds. "There's $75,000 in it." "It was a hundred thousand," queries JR. "Well, we had to bail your friend outta jail," replies Ray. Oh boy, is Ray ever gonna regret that decision.

    This episode is directed by Larry Elikann, a TV veteran whom Joan van Ark has described as "amazing" and Larry Hagman is glad is dead. His work on KNOTS LANDING, FLAMINGO ROAD and FALCON CREST has a distinctive visual style: intense close-ups, dark shadows, two-hander confrontation scenes where the actors are shot facing one another in profile. There's a lurid, almost comic strip feel to much of his work which chimes perfectly with the melodramatic nature of the prime time soap. While there's clearly a house style for the look of DALLAS, ("Leonard would hire a director and tell him exactly how he wanted them to do the show," says David Paulsen. "DALLAS was wide shot, medium and close up, brightly lit") some of Elikann's signature flourishes nonetheless seep into this episode. As well as Driscoll's direct to camera rant, the argument between Bobby and JR which takes place with each of them on either side of the camera facing one another feels typically Eilkann, as does a similarly staged one between Bobby and Pam in her hotel suite, with Katherine hovering between them in the background.

    There's another striking visual touch at the end of JR and Serena's bedroom scene where JR starts to open a bottle of champagne ... and the cork pops in the foreground of the next scene, which finds Pam and Mark lunching together. Pam laughs her sexy laugh then turns to Mark. "I can't ever thank you enough," she tells him, referring to the oil service company he sold to Cliff. (Was ever so much gratitude expressed to someone for selling something?) "Well, I can think of a way or two!" wisecracks Mark. Drum roll! "You're really a very nice man," she continues. "And I try so hard not to be!" he replies. Cymbal crash! Seems he hasn't given up on that Vegas lounge act just yet. But before we have a chance to slit our wrists at the sheer hilarity of it all, along come Miss Ellie and Clayton.

    Chance meetings in restaurants are nothing new in DALLAS, but this one is particularly tricky. How is Miss Ellie to react when finding her estranged daughter-in-law breaking bread with an eligible young bachelor she herself introduced her to? Pam starts to introduce Mark to Clayton, but there's no need. "We met through Brooks Oliver," says Clayton. Of course they did--points for continuity! There's an awkward pause, finally broken by Clayton. "Well, don't let us interrupt your lunch," he says to Pam and Mark, courteously bringing the chit chat to a end. This is very much like the moment in "Mama Dearest" where JR and Sue Ellen return to Southfork to find Clayton and Ellie sitting on the living room couch together for the first time. JR delivers a quick put down before storming off leaving Sue Ellen to hover awkwardly, not knowing quite what to do or say. "Good-night, Sue Ellen," says Clayton cordially but firmly, once again subtly defining the new post-Jock configuration of characters. "Bring the baby to see me soon, will you, Pam?" says Ellie in parting, the bond between the two women momentarily transcending their social awkwardness. Interestingly, both then refuse to acknowledge that awkwardness. "I was afraid you might be embarrassed by that," says Mark to Pam after Miss Ellie and Clayton have left to be seated at to their own table. "No," insists Pam, looking him right in the eye. "Why should I be?" "Miss Ellie, would you like to go somewhere else?" the ever solicitous Clayton asks his lunching partner. "No of course not," Ellie replies. "Why?" "I just don't want you to feel awkward, that's all," he tells her. "Pam's entitled to have lunch with friends," she maintains, but then goes on to admit: "It does feel strange to bump into her like that ... In many ways, Dallas is a very small place." Dallas is as big or small as the writers require it to be at any given moment, which is part of its charm.

    The repercussions of this encounter are explored in three further scenes. First, when an upbeat Bobby (still on a high from outwitting his bro, no doubt) comes to the hotel to collect a cranky Christopher for the weekend. "I guess Miss Ellie told you that we bumped into each other yesterday," says Pam as Katherine watches in the background. "No, she never mentioned it," he replies. "I was with Mark Graison," she adds. Bobby's face falls. "I see," he says flatly. Katherine seizes the opportunity to passive-aggressively stir up some trouble. "Bobby, it's not the way it sounds," she interjects hurriedly. "Pam was just trying to help Cliff and--" "Katherine, stop it!" Pam snaps, losing patience with her sister for the very first time. "I don't have anything to hide ..." "Everybody around here seems to feel the need to cover up for you," observes Bobby coolly, reacting just the way Katherine has engineered. "Why wouldn't Mama have mentioned it?" he adds. That question forms the basis of a later scene between he and Miss Ellie.

    "Pamela said you bumped into her at lunch yesterday," Bobby asks his mama on the fake patio. "Why didn't you mention that to me? Was it because she was ... with Mark Graison?" True to form, Ellie's first instinct is to stick her head in the sand. "It's not my business," she tells him. "I don't wanna get in the middle of it." However, at the end of the scene, she makes a prediction almost as doom-laden as what she told Bobby during their last conversation, three episodes ago ("Your marriage may soon be dead"): "Your separation might be more than temporary."

    Bobby is late returning Christopher to Pam on Monday morning and while she is busy in the bedroom changing into something less acrylic, he answers the door to ... Mark Graison. It's been established that the two men already know one another, but this is the first time they've come face to face onscreen. "How are you, Bobby?" asks Mark, ever the charmer, but the Bobster isn't in the mood for catching up. "What are you hanging around my wife for?" he asks. "I'm just trying to help her," explains the Markster. "The only thing you're trying to do is help yourself," Bobby replies. "If you were really concerned about her, you'd do something about getting her back," suggests Mark. "You just get the hell outta here!" Bobby barks, making a grab for his moustachioed love rival. Into the room bursts a tightly sweatered Pam, blowing a metaphorical whistle. "This is my home. Not yours, Bobby!" she shouts. Bobby storms out, as it seems he is contractually obliged to do at the end of every scene with Pam since their separation. "If you were my wife, I'd fight for you too, but then I'd never let you get away in the first place," Mark tells Pam, his twinkly-eyed smirk landing just the right side of smug.

    Back at the office, JR has reopened phone negotiations with Señor Garcia once again. "I thought it might be a good idea if you and I huddled with your friend from Cuba," he suggests, adopting a freshly conciliatory tone, "and when he gives me that cashier's cheque, I would give you your money and, I guarantee ya, it's gonna be a lot more than that $100,000 we were talkin' about." "... I'll think it over," Garcia tells him.

    Meanwhile, a Freudian slip from Cliff ("I'm gonna make Barnes Oil into the flagship of the industry") sends Katherine scurrying over to Ewing Oil for her first scene with JR in twenty-one episodes. She also wins this week's prettiest dress award - not that there's much competition. The rest of the women look kinda frumpy in this instalment. Donna wears a drab polo neck and cardigan ensemble during her only scene, (which admittedly suits her) while Sue Ellen sports some nondescript black thing for her one appearance, Pam argues with Bobby in a cheap looking stripy blouse, and Lucy, perhaps understandably, turns up for a motel date with Mickey in a shapeless sweater and jeans.

    "You sure you got the right Ewing?" JR asks Katherine, and you can see his point. Given that all their Season 4 meetings took place in out of the way restaurants, it does seem unusually bold of her to call on him so openly in the middle of a work day. "You and I have similar goals," she states. "Both of us have brothers that we'd like to be free of." She suggests they talk "a little lunchtime strategy," and JR readily agrees. "This day's turning out a lot better than it started," he comments, his mood lifting for the first time since hearing of Walt's arrest.

    "Cliff is a Barnes, not a Wentworth," continues Katherine over lunch. "I want him out of my father's company." "... How do you think we can help each other?" JR asks. She offers to spy on both her brother ("It's easy enough for me to find out what Cliff is up to since we're all part of Wentworth now") and brother-in-law ("I might even get a glimpse into what Bobby's doing with his half of the company") for him, neither of which she'll actually do. "You are a devious little lady, you know that?" chuckles JR appreciatively. The closest thing to a confidante Katherine has, JR takes time out of his busy schedule to probe deeper into her brunette psyche. "I also have a feeling that it's not only Cliff Barnes you wanna hurt," he suggests. "Pam is not a Wentworth and she got more of your father's money than he did. Doesn't that bother you?" "... Maybe," she admits grudgingly. Strangely, this is as much resentment towards her sister as Katherine will acknowledge before trying to mow Pam down in her dream. It always strikes me as odd that Katherine never appeared to begrudge Pam moving into their mother's house in Season 6 while she herself continued to languish in her pokey hotel room. "Things are bad enough for Pam right now," she continues. "She doesn't know whether to go back to [Bobby] or not." "And you think by helping me beat Bobby, it'll make things better for Pam, is that it?" asks JR, trying to follow her logic. "It'll help her make up her mind one way or another," Katherine replies. As it turns out, it's what Katherine does to help Bobby beat JR that forces Pam to make a decision about her marriage.

    Bobby has a meeting with his number cruncher who guesstimates the current state of play between he and JR: "According to our figures, JR should be ten to twelve million ahead of you at this point in time ... " "That includes his five hundred thousand barrels that he still has in storage, doesn't it?" clarifies Bobby. "Oh yes," replies the accountant, "we're talking [$]17,000,000." Bobby smiles slyly, knowing that JR's half a million barrels of crude are in Cuba, apparently lost forever. The accountant has one more crucial piece of information for Bobby, and the audience: "The McLeish deal in Canada, now if that field comes in, it would give you a tremendous advantage."

    Twelve episodes after he first asked her out, one episode after their first date, and two nights after their first kiss, Mickey and Lucy enter their first motel room together. "It's not the penthouse at the Fairview, is it?" he observes ruefully. (Ironically, elsewhere in the episode, the novelty of the Fairview is starting to pall for Pam: "I'm really sick of room service, I'm sick of this room, I'm sick of this hotel.") "You're still afraid, aren't you?" Mickey asks Lucy. "Did something happen with your husband?" Believe me, nothing happened with her husband. Nothing at all. "You can tell me," he continues. "You can trust me." His assurances win Lucy around and she runs through her gamut of recent traumas for the first time: "I was working with this photographer ... and he kidnapped me and he raped me ... Lucky Lucy here got pregnant ... I had an abortion ..." "And I thought you were just some spoiled kid," Mickey admits. Then it's her turn to ask him: "Just kiss me, please?" It's a tricky scene, but it works: Tilton keeps it simple and TPM's reaction to her tale of woe is both understated and tender.

    Needless to say, the scene is a turning point for Lucy. The original airing of this episode took place exactly fifty-two weeks after that of "Vengeance", the instalment where she was kidnapped by Roger. It's been even longer than that since La Tilton has worn anything remotely revealing on the show. She makes up for lost time by squeezing into a low cut top for the penultimate scene of this episode which finds her on the fake patio en route to another date with Mickey. She and Bobby have a rare exchange and she gives him a phone message that refers back to what Bobby was told by his accountant earlier on. "A Mr McLeish called you from Canada," says Lucy. "He's gonna be in Dallas tomorrow and wants to meet with you." Bobby looks anxious - does McLeish's visit spell victory or defeat? Stay tuned, folks.

    Only two weeks ago, JR waited impatiently in his office till dark for an all-important phone call from Walt Driscoll in Puerto Rico. "I've been fighting with my contact here," Walt explained. ""He wants more money ... $100,000 or he says it's a no go." In the closing scene of this episode, JR's in the same position, only it's Walt's contact, Garcia himself, whose call he has been waiting for. Guess what? Garcia's still after more money. "I can put you in touch with my friend in Cuba," he tells JR. "Cuba owes you $40,000,000. I think 25% of that would be fair." Last time, JR gave into Garcia's request: "He's got me over a barrel. I have to make this deal no matter what." This time he's feeling less generous. "Garcia, are you outta your mind??" he barks. "I'm not gonna pay you $10,000,000!" "It's the only way you're gonna get back any of your money," Garcia replies before hanging up.

    JR then receives his second female visitor of the day, only he's far less pleased to see Holly Harwood than he was Katherine. "When it rains, it pours," he sighs. "That oil shoulda been delivered by now," she tells him. "The money hasn't arrived in the Harwood account yet." Sue Ellen, Donna and Serena have all been kept in the dark about JR's Cuban deal, but not so Holly. "Well, my dear," he begins with a weary candour, "the oil was delivered, but the money was not ... and you can blame my brother Bobby for that." "Oh no, JR," she snarls. "This is your fault ... I want my $17,000,000 and I want it right now." "Well, in that case, you better get on the phone and book a flight to Cuba ... because that's where your oil and your money is right now."

    Threats abound in this episode, driving the action inexorably towards the end of the season. "I'll get back at you if it's the last thing I ever do!" Walt vows to JR. "You're gonna pay for this," JR promises Bobby. "I won't forget what you two did to me," JR tells Ray. Now it's Holly's turn. "You'll pay for this. I'll make you pay dearly," she promises JR. "I'm afraid you're just gonna have to stand in line," he tells her.

    There follows the last solo freeze frame of Larry Hagman for a remarkable seventeen episodes:

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    "Hell Hath No Fury"

    As all good googlers know, this title is derived from William Congreve's 17th Century play "The Mourning Bride", specifically the line: "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" which means "No one is angrier than a woman who has been rejected in love." There are three characters in this episode for whom this line is an almost, but not exact, fit. Certainly, no one is angrier than Holly Harwood - but the subject of her fury is money (the loss of $17,000,000 thanks to the combined efforts of JR and Bobby) rather than love. Katherine Wentworth is both angry and in love, but not with the same man - and while she plots against brother Cliff, she has yet to be rejected by brother-in-law Bobby. Lastly, if to be cheated on is the same as being scorned, then Sue Ellen also nearly qualifies - only losing out in the fury stakes as she refuses to believe she's been scorned, at least not until the closing seconds of the episode.

    The opening scene picks up the morning after the end of the last episode when Holly swore revenge on JR for losing her a fortune. This episode finds her scheming to make good on that promise, even as JR devises a plan to get their money out of Cuba. These two separate but related agendas drive much of the episode's action forward, carrying Sue Ellen along with them.

    At the start of the episode, a preoccupied JR is flicking through the Dallas Press. "You were certainly restless last night," Sue Ellen observes. He grunts in reply. Prompted by an article entitled "Senators Visit Cuba: Fact Finding Mission Suggests Exchange With Castro", he makes a call to one Richard McIntire, played by John Anderson - not to be confused with John McIntire, who played Sam Culver in Season 1. (However, Johns Anderson and McIntire both had brief but memorable roles in PSYCHO, as car salesman and deputy sheriff respectively, alongside Talia "Black Market Baby" Balsam's father as the detective pushed down the stairs by Victoria Principal's future boyfriend.) "I'm gonna need your counsel and advice," JR tells McIntire and they arrange to meet later that morning. JR chuckles as he hangs up. "Your attitude certainly has changed," notes Sue Ellen. "You think Bobby would like a nice big box of cigars for his birthday?" he asks cryptically before kissing his puzzled wife goodbye and leaving for the office. Sue Ellen's been out of the loop of every major storyline since she and JR remarried. By the last scene of this episode, thanks to Holly's plan, she will have become the major story-line.

    After some stock footage of JR driving out of Southfork, it's Holly's turn to make her presence felt as we cut straight back inside the house to see Bobby coming downstairs to call Phyllis at the office. Bobby's as focused as his brother is on the fight for Ewing Oil, and anxious to hear about his make-or-break Canadian deal with Thornton McLeish. Phyllis explains that McLeish "won't be able to see you until tonight." Upon hearing that Holly has been trying to reach him all morning, Bobby decides to stop by her office on his way into work.

    Next stop is JR's meeting with Richard McIntire at Ewing Oil. This is an interesting scene where nothing is entirely spelt out, either to the audience or between the characters. We're not entirely sure what function McIntire serves, other than that he is retired from a career in Washington ("I've survived three presidents. That's some kind of a record in the State Department") while retaining a measure of political influence.

    JR, meanwhile, is not being entirely forthcoming with McIntire. "I was thinking of taking Sue Ellen on a second honeymoon," he tells him, "maybe goin' down to the Caribbean ... I really have a hankering to go to Cuba." McIntire sees through this story in a second but doesn't quite say so. "A trip to Cuba could create a lot of visibility for you ... Lots of talk about you running for the state in the next election." "How difficult is it to get into Cuba anyhow?" JR asks, shifting the subject delicately but obviously, thereby allowing McIntire to continue thinking his motivation is political when in truth it is a lot more illegal. "They don't usually allow travel into Cuba except until special circumstances," McIntire replies. "Now maybe if we could somehow make the trip in the national interest ... Generate some enthusiasm in Washington and Havana ... I'm still very well connected in the capital, JR, so anyway I can be of help ..." We don't see Richard McIntire again after this scene, which is kind of a shame. However, John Anderson's performance as Dr Styles in Season 10 will prove one of the highlights of that year.

    Bobby's meeting with Holly is less harmonious. "If it hadn't been for the Ewing brothers, I wouldn't have a million barrels of oil sitting in Cuba right now unpaid for!" she tells him. "You have cost my company $17,000,000 ... the single biggest loss this company has sustained since my daddy opened the doors for business!" She's so angry she accuses him of playing James Bond, thereby reminding the audience of how boring she was in MOONRAKER (as the similarly, brilliantly named Holly Goodhead). "Did you go in on that deal after ... we talked and I advised you not to?" Bobby asks in surprise. "I had no choice," she insists. "JR would have shut me down otherwise." He insists he didn't know of her involvement. "If you had, would it have made any difference?" she asks. "I don't know," he replies honestly.

    Last week, Bobby compared himself to John Wayne, and here Holly makes a similar observation: "It's a real old-fashioned Western shoot-out between you and JR, isn't it? And I've caught in the crossfire ... I think Holly Harwood will survive it, but what I won't survive is having the Ewing brothers run my life and my company. My daddy used to say that when it comes right down to it, there's only one person you can count on, yourself: just think things through carefully and do what has to be done yourself. Well, now I'm gonna start listening to my daddy. I will get the Ewing brothers out of my life all by myself."

    It's not mere chance that Holly should quote her father at this point in the season. In the same way that JR and Bobby have spent this year justifying their destructive behaviour by invoking the example set by their daddy, Holly now does the exact same thing. By rooting the motivation for the actions she is about to take in a masculine context, it means that when she embarks on her plan to get revenge on JR by using his wife, she is simply "taking care of bidness". She might pull a gun on JR, she might make a play for one married Ewing brother and sleep with the other, she might push Sue Ellen over the edge, but DALLAS will not demonise her for her behaviour the way it does Katherine and Kristin, both fatherless "psycho bitches", for theirs. Being part of the oil business, and most crucially, running her daddy's company, grants Holly honorary status as "one of the guys".

    This side of Sue Ellen's foray into the movie business, pop culture references are comparatively rare on DALLAS, but in this episode, we get two in a row. Holly's already name-checked James Bond, and now it's Roy Ralston's turn. "This is a lovely home," he says while standing in the Southfork living room with JR and Sue Ellen. "Maybe we should do our next show from here like Edward R Morrow used to do on PERSON TO PERSON." (I'd never heard of Edward R Morrow before first watching this scene, and still didn't know too much about him until I saw the movie GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK, directed by George Clooney, last year.) In any case, JR turns down Roy's suggestion on the basis that "family frictions are running pretty high these days." As if to illustrate his point, Clayton appears in the living room prompting a succession of enjoyable put downs. "I'm sure you share my enthusiasm for JR's appearances on my show," ventures Roy after being introduced to Clayton. "Not really," Clayton answers with a cordial smile. "I have a feeling he'll be leaving for Washington right after the next election," Roy continues. "Well, Dallas's gain will be Washington's loss," comes the reply. Ellie's entrance affords JR the opportunity to get his own back. "Clayton, I'm so sorry I kept you waiting," she says. "No more than we are, Mama," he smirks. Only after Clayton and Ellie leave does it become apparent that by inviting Roy to Southfork, JR is acting on John McIntire's advice to "generate some enthusiasm in Washington" about his proposed visit to Cuba. Again, he uses his supposed political ambitions as his smokescreen. "If I'm gonna come off as a well-rounded candidate, I think we oughta cover a wider range of topics, don't you?" he says to Roy regarding their next TV interview. He suggests they work out a strategy over dinner. "JR, the show is usually unrehearsed," laughs Roy in surprise. "Well, the three of us are in this together, aren't we?" replies JR smoothly, including Sue Ellen in the conversation. Not for much longer they're not.

    Lucy appears only once in this episode when Mickey collects her from a photo shoot. On the surface a throwaway little scene, Lucy's comments regarding modelling and men -- "Thanks to you, I've really started to enjoy my work again," she tells Funky Annie; "I'd just rather be alone with you," she coos suggestively when Mickey mentions dinner -- contrast sharply with the negative attitude she has demonstrated towards both for much of the season. This indicates that she has finally put her ordeal with Roger behind her ... just in time for her next traumatic experience. "I could never feel cheap being anyplace with you," she assures Mickey when he worries that a motel room is unworthy of her. So eager is she to be with him that she leaves the studio in the same clothes she was modelling in. It's perhaps fortunate therefore that this wasn't another of her Shirley-Temple-on-roller-skates sessions.

    If JR's Cuban plans and Holly's revenge plot are the two most dominant storylines of this episode, Bobby's Canadian conundrum runs them a close third. After simmering in the background for the past eighteen episodes, the McLeish deal finally achieves front burner status as Thornton arrives from Toronto to give Bobby the bad news: "Storm after storm ... Drilling has slowed to a snail's pace ... We've tried every piece of Arctic equipment we can lay our hands on ... I just don't think we're gonna make your deadline without some kind of miracle." Bobby gives it to him straight: "If those fields don't pay off in time, JR is gonna be runnin' this company when the year's up." Thornton delivers the plot twist: "There is a company ready to pick up your investment." Bobby spells out the bottom line: "Those fields have got to come in and they've got to come in on time ... I've lost too much to give up now."

    "There is a company ready to pick up your investment." ... "I've lost too much to give up now." These two plot components coalesce in the very next scene as Cliff and the Cliffettes (Afton, Pam and Katherine) assemble at the blue and white condo for some hors d'oeuvres and intrigue. Yep, the next company in line for the Canadian deal is Barnes-Wentworth. "It's the same deal that you helped Bobby beat me out of," Cliff tactfully reminds Pam. Ah, how long ago that seems now (and how ironic, in retrospect, that Pam helped Bobby land the deal that will eventually break up their marriage). But there is a bright side, Cliff assures her: "Without the McLeish deal, Bobby will probably lose Ewing Oil to JR and then you get him back." "... It doesn't make me happy to see Bobby hurt!" objects Pam, and therein lies her dilemma for the remainder of the season: does she want Bobby back or does she want Bobby happy? Ever the intuitive, Afton deflects the conversation away from her common-law sister-in-law. "You certainly can't be happy with the prospect of JR running all of Ewing Oil again," she says to Cliff. "When it comes to business, all Ewings are alike," he shrugs. This has been his refrain all season: "The Ewings are all the same. Bobby, JR; it doesn't make any difference ... A Ewing is a Ewing is a Ewing". In fact, one might say that's been the overriding theme of Season 5.

    Then following day, Holly goes in search of Sue Ellen and finds her at Mr David's, her hairdresser's. Here, yet another parallel in this storyline presents itself: Sue Ellen and Carol Driscoll, two idle, ignorant wives, both easily tracked down to the hair salon by those who would use them as bait with which to ensnare their respective husbands. And just as one scheme begins with a hit and run car accident, so the other results in one.

    In the same way that JR arranged for a drunk to accidentally-on-purpose walk in front of Carol's car, so Holly accidentally-on-purpose bumps into Sue Ellen at the hair salon. An honorary member of the boys' club she may be, but she has no trouble ingratiating herself with Sue Ellen via a little girl talk. "I'm a little nervous," she faux-confides. "I've never been here before." "Mr David will take great care of you," gushes Sue Ellen in full brunette-on-the-couch mode. "He's wonderful. You know he also does emergency hospital visits? Yes, a few months ago I was visiting an old friend I'd driven to the brink of suicide, and he came by intensive care and gave me the sweetest mullet."

    After piling on the feminine flattery, ("You're the reason I made the appointment - I saw you on TV and your hair looked so sensational, I just had to find out where you had it done") Holly smoothly shifts the conversation to Sue Ellen's marriage: "So nice to see a wife helping a husband like that ... I had heard that you all had had some problems at one time." Sue Ellen responds with her familiar mantra: "Everything is just fine." "... I've been propositioned so often by married men that I guess I've become a little sceptical," smiles Holly disingenuously. "Is there any wife who can really be sure that her husband isn't playing around? ... I couldn't live with it." "Well, neither could I," Sue Ellen replies solemnly. "JR knows that that's something that could cost him his marriage and his son." It's an odd conversation for two virtual strangers to be having, but Linda Gray manages to imbue Sue Ellen with a certain wariness even as she's being as friendly as pie. Their chat is interrupted by Mr David, who bears a disturbing resemblance to Uri Gellar. Maybe he intends to change Holly's hairstyle using only his psychic powers.

    Something unusual has also happened to Katherine's hair in this episode - it's suddenly all whipped up and curly like it never has been before nor will be again. She lunches with JR for the second week in a row but is a little more circumspect about their meeting this time around. "I didn't think our little luncheons should become the subject of gossip," she tells him, explaining her obscure choice of restaurant. She then passes along what she learned the previous evening about Bobby's Canadian deal. "Looks like those wells won't be in in the time limit set in your daddy's will ... The last thing I want is for Cliff to make a success of Barnes-Wentworth ... Isn't there anything you can do cut him out of that deal?" JR assures her that Bobby will most likely hang onto the Canadian fields "to the bitter end", even if that means losing the contest. He then spells out the situation as he sees it: "Katherine, if Bobby loses, Pam might just take pity on him ... If I lose and Bobby takes over, their marriage is finished for good. If you want Bobby-"

    This is the first time Katherine's romantic interest in Bobby, first visible to viewers when they danced together at the Season 4 barbecue over a year earlier, has been articulated on screen. There is a similar moment during "A Family Matter", a David Paulsen-penned episode from the second season of KNOTS LANDING, when JR becomes the first character to voice Abby's interest in Gary (“You want my little brother Gary, honey”) - an interest which had already been brewing for half a year. In each case, the woman in question chooses neither to confirm or deny. "Who said I wanted Bobby?" asks Katherine coyly in this scene, while in KNOTS Abby merely smiles knowingly. "If you want Bobby," JR persists, "you better move fast while this contest for Ewing Oil is still on."

    And as Katherine's scheming moves up a gear so too does Holly's. That evening, she puts the next phase of her plan into action when she pays an after-hours visit to Ewing Oil. "I come in peace," she assures JR, perching herself on the edge of his desk with a sexy cross of the legs. "When I cooled down, I realised you'd lost as much as I had ... If anyone can get the money out of Cuba, JR Ewing can ... and I'm not gonna get anything being JR's enemy. So I'd like to declare a truce, business and personal ... I know I teased you in the beginning, but I've always found you terribly attractive." "I admire your taste, my dear," JR replies tartly. "I also remember a pistol about as big as a cannon pointed right between my eyes." She laughs. "I've put away my gun," she tells him. They kiss, and he leads her off in the direction of a "quiet restaurant, little music."

    This leads them to an intimate little bar where a smiley black crooner serenades them with a rendition of "I've Got You Under My Skin" (although "Lipstick On Your Collar" might have been a more apposite choice). The fact that JR's all about the chase works to Holly's advantage as she decides against inviting him home. "I'm not trying to be coy or play the professional virgin or anything," she tells him, "I just don't think it's right for tonight ... It'll be worth the wait." She rewards him with a few little nibbles on his face and neck.
     
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  5. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    "Hell Hath No Fury" (continued)

    "If Bobby loses, Pam might just take pity on him ..." As if to prove JR right, Pam calls Bobby to commiserate over the downward turn his Canadian deal has taken, and even goes so far as to invite him to her hotel suite for a drink.

    Once there, they find themselves taking a rare trip down memory lane. "Pam, I remember the first time I saw you," says Bobby. Perhaps surprisingly, we've never heard the couple themselves describe their initial meeting before. "I couldn’t believe that Ray was taking me to a Ewing barbecue - and that I went," remembers Pam. It's also very unusual for Pam's relationship with Ray to be recalled. In fact, this is the first reference to it for 110 episodes ("Bobby got you, I'll be damned if I let JR get Garnet!" Ray told her in "Triangle") and it won't be spoken of again for another hundred ("Way back, once upon a time, Pam was my girl," Ray tells Jenna in "Once and Future King"). "After everything Digger had told me about the Ewings, I thought they were a family of monsters," Pam continues. This echoes what she told Bobby in "For Love Or Money" (Season 1): "I [was] always so sure that the Ewings were the bad guys. They’re the ones who’d do anything to anyone."

    The remainder of their shared reminiscence doesn't chime quite neatly with the impression we were given at the beginning of the series, but hey, memory's a subjective thing. "You looked so pretty that night," Bobby recalls. "I couldn’t stand the fact that you spent the whole evening dancing with Ray Krebbs. I can still remember the look on Ray’s face when I cut in on that dance." According to what we were told in "Digger's Daughter", Ray was scarcely aware of any attraction between Bobby and Pam: "I didn't realise they were gettin' on that well." It took Lucy to explain that the "last couple of barbecues you brought her here to, while you were gettin' soused, they were gettin' chummy." That she mentions barbecues suggests that Bobby and Pam's relationship unfolded more gradually than in the picture Pam and Bobby are now painting. "I’m sure he had big plans for me for the rest of the evening," says Pam of Ray, somewhat disingenuously. "I’m sure he did," agrees Bobby, "and I’m glad I spoiled them." The implication here is that Bobby swept Pam off her feet before rugged Ray could have his wicked way with her. However, it was fairly well established in the mini-series that Pam and Ray had had an on-off sexual relationship for quite some time, ("We was good. Real good") and that it most likely continued after the first time Pam and Bobby met.

    After all that looking backwards, the scene ends with a foreshadowing of Bobby and Pam's big reconciliation at the end of Season 7. A kiss good-night turns into a "Maybe I don't have to leave right yet," followed by a big smooch on the couch and Pam leaning over to turn out the light, mid-kiss.

    Pam wakes up the next morning to hear Bobby say "Good morning ... Did you sleep well?" If she's had "a nightmare, a terrible nightmare" lasting the duration of thirty-one episodes, she mercifully keeps it to herself on this occasion. Instead, it's her turn to give Bobby a rude awakening: he's labouring under the delusion that their roll in the hay denotes a permanent reconciliation. "Bobby, I'm not coming back to Southfork," she tells him--she'll repeat those same words in their final scene of the season. "I love you, but sex hasn't changed anything. As long as you're obsessed with winning the company, you'll never be the Bobby Ewing I fell in love with." "Honey, if I start giving up on the things that I try and do now, the Bobby Ewing you knew is gonna cease to exist anyway," he tells her. "He ceased to exist a long time ago!" "Then who the hell were you in bed with last night? You make me feel like I should give you a bill for services rendered!" Bobby leaves, but instead of running into a car driven by Katherine, he walks into a bunch of flowers carried by Mark. "Oh, my timing's terrific again," observes the moustachioed one.

    Following their bust up, Bobby and Pam return to their respective corners to lick their wounds. Bobby receives moral support from Ray and Donna, Pam from Katherine and Mark. Interestingly, the Krebbses appear to have undergone an attitude adjustment regarding the battle for Ewing Oil. Only three episodes ago, Ray asked Bobby "whether winning Ewing Oil is worth losing your wife?" Here, his attitude is much more sanguine. "Your sense of humour and Pam are both gonna come back as soon as this fight with JR is over," he assures his bro. This sentiment is echoed by Donna: "Once the problem with Ewing Oil is over with, she's bound to come around." When Bobby expresses some reluctance about continuing the contest, Donna goes a step further. "Now wait a minute. You are not gonna throw in the towel and let JR win?" she asks, practically egging him on. The scene also affords Ray the opportunity of making one of his periodic offers to give away his entire legacy: "If you just lookin' for some cash to bring that field in, I've got $10,000,000 just sittin' around lookin' for a good home, Bob ... I can't think of a better way to spend it than throwin' it in with you." "You are some kind of brother," Bobby marvels, perhaps forgetting that he himself made a similar offer to Gary after the reading of Jock's will: "You really wanna share of Ewing Oil? I'll give you half of my half."

    Bobby's pessimism about the future ("I think it's already too late") is equalled only by Pam's. "[Things] are as bad as they can get," she sighs. "I need to get away by myself for a while. Maybe a resort." Mark suggests "a small, very elegant hotel on the French Riviera." "With you as my guide?" she asks sceptically. "That would just complicate things more." "... Go ahead, Pam!" urges Katherine from the sidelines, practically having to sit on her own hands to prevent herself from pushing Pam out the door. "I don't know," concludes Pam, as decisive as ever.

    Watching in hindsight, my favourite scene of the episode takes place at the Vagabond Motor Hotel, when Harry and JR barge into Walt Driscoll's room. (Note the unmade bed--always a soapy indication of an unhinged mind.) "Keep your gorilla away from me!" cries Walt. "Wait a minute," JR replies, in that laid-back-yet-steely of his. "This is Sergeant McSween. You remember him, don'tcha? He's the man that got your wife off that hit-and-run rap and he can help you too ... I'm willing to pay all your court costs and your legal fees, and the good sergeant here is gonna do everything in his power to have those charges against you reduced .. All you have to do is give me the name of that Cuban contact of yours and I'll make sure you're a free man." " ... I don't want your help," replies a shivering, trembling Walt. "You've destroyed me, JR. I have nothing left, nothing. No wife, no job, nothing. All I have is a record and I was gonna make you MILLIONS!" He lunges for JR's throat, Harry gives him a rubbish head-butt from behind, and he collapses to the floor. Ever helpful, Harry offers to stick around and beat the information JR needs out of Walt. "He's too far gone," is JR's cold assessment. "Just have to find another way." Left alone, Walt gasps and clutches his chest. First time around, I thought he was having a heart attack.

    On the Roy Ralston show that night, JR comes as close as he ever will to explaining his political ideology, and a pretty chilly one it is too: "There is nothing else beside of business ... Government is big business. The biggest. They're in the police business and the land management business and the health and education business. All those bureaux are just departments of one big department store." "Would you say that foreign policy also comes under the heading of business?" asks a pre-prepared Ralston. "Absolutely," JR nods. "Look. It just boils down to two guys haggling over the price of somethin'. Now the price could be a piece of property or mineral rights to the rights to grow a certain kind of food, and when they arrange the right price, be it bullets or [I'm not sure if he says border or butter here], they strike a deal and the deal holds until somebody else comes along with a deal for something else."

    On the other hand ... is this really JR's philosophy, or just the words he needs to mouth to get onto the all-important subject of Cuba? ("There's a little island ninety miles off the coast of our great country here and I think we oughta be better friends ... The best way to do it is man to man.") In other words, is JR too self-oriented to have an opinion on anything beyond his own parochial ambitions, i.e., winning Ewing Oil and making it the biggest independent oil company in Texas?

    Six years later, in the episode "Mission To Moscow", Carter Mackay will take the argument JR presents on TALK TIME, carry it through to its logical conclusion, and then throw it back in his face: "Like it or not, JR, there are no more borders, there are no more countries. There are just dollars and yen and pounds and marks, and investors don't care who owns them or who loses them. We're making Japanese cars in America, we're making American cars in Europe, and guess where we're making European cars? In Asia. There's just one world. There's just one country. There's just one language. That language is power. Do you think the people that own West Star stock care where their dividends come from? They only care that they get them. Their only loyalty is to profit and to the man that brings it to them. And that's going to be me." The JR of Season 11 reacts to this notion of globalisation with a queasy mixture of xenophobia and sentimentality: "I don't know if it's patriotism or you can call it Texas pride or whatever the hell you want, but I don't want any foreigners runnin' my state."

    Roy asks Sue Ellen--oh yeah, she's there too--how she feels about the idea of her hubby going to Cuba. "Well I really hadn't thought about it, but, um, I know he'd do some good," she declares with piercing political insight. (Clearly, all those hours spent flicking through magazines at Mr David's weren't wasted.)

    The next morning, two scorned and/or furious women get on the telephone to further lure the Ewings into their respective webs. First, Sue Ellen's breakfast in bed (well deserved after her awesome intellectual contribution on TALK TIME the previous evening) is interrupted by a call from Holly summoning her to lunch: "It's very important that we talk". Then Katherine (her choice of outfit--smoking jacket, frilly blouse with a big bow, red clown trousers, topped off by a massive poodle perm--as baffling as Morgan Brittany's politics) phones Bobby. "Could I see you right away?" she asks urgently.

    Holly feigns remorse over lunch with Sue Ellen, ("I had an enormous attack of conscience, especially after you told me how much your marriage means to you") while Katherine oozes sympathy when she meets with Bobby ("The whole world is caving in on you ... Cliff wasted no time telling us about your problems in Canada"). From behind a veneer of "doing the right thing", each scheming minx then drops a marriage-rocking bombshell. "The last thing I ever wanted to do was come between a husband and a wife ... I'm gonna try to end our relationship," says Holly, "now that both of you are so much in the public eye." "[Pam] left for a few days, very suddenly," says Katherine. "I think Mark made one of his planes available." "You're a liar," Sue Ellen hisses furiously at Holly. "You're a good friend," Bobby smiles sadly at Katherine. Katherine and Holly each then move in for the kill. "D'you know where he was the night before last?" asks Holly, dropping her Mrs Nice Guy Act. "He was wearing a white shirt. My colour lipstick is on the collar. Why don'tcha look for it?" "If I can't help you win Pam back, maybe I can help you win Ewing Oil," offers Katherine, playing Little Miss Indispensable for all she's worth. "I do have some influence with some pretty smart people at Wentworth Industries ... Bobby, you know I'd do anything for you."

    The instalment ends as it began, with JR and Sue Ellen downstairs at Southfork. Once again, he's on the phone to Richard McIntire while she hovers in the background. At the beginning of the episode, he was troubled and preoccupied, she comparatively upbeat. Now their positions are reversed - as he laughs down the phone, she paces up and down in front of the liquor cabinet. In the first scene, Sue Ellen tried in vain to get JR to tell her about his phone conversation. Now when he happily volunteers the information, ("We've kicked up quite a stir ... The State Department would approve my visit to Cuba ... Now all we need is the OK from Cuba") her mind is elsewhere. "Where were you night before last?" she asks. "Out with Fred Hayes and old Bill Cantro," he lies before leaving for a meeting. She steals another glance at the booze cabinet before heading upstairs to the marital bedroom. Wringing her hands, she makes for the wardrobe (the same wardrobe where she secreted a bottle of booze in a hat box in Season 1). She opens the laundry hamper and pulls out a shirt. Sure enough, there's lipstick on the collar. Cue Linda Gray's first eye waterin', lip tremblin' freeze frame of the season.

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Guzzler Bennett Jr.

    Guzzler Bennett Jr. Soap Chat Active Member

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  7. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    "Cuba Libre"

    An unusual episode this, with the show's two central protagonists, JR and Pam, removed from the rest of the characters for virtually the entire hour. Unlike on DYNASTY, DALLAS storylines rarely stray beyond their Texas confines, but here we travel to no less than three foreign climes: Pam's in France with Mark Graison, while JR (save for a couple of scenes at Ewing Oil and one at Southfork) spends the first half of the instalment in Puerto Rico and the second in Cuba.

    Their absence has an interesting effect on those left behind: it creates a kind of breathing space, a hiatus whereby certain characters have the opportunity to reflect and take stock of their lives and relationships. For Miss Ellie and Mickey, it's a chance to look back and see how far they have travelled since beginning this season as widow-in-mourning and angry-young-punk respectively. "You have come a long way, Miss Ellie," Donna acknowledges. "I've changed so much since I seen her last," says Mickey with reference to his mother. Pam, after a year of emotional turbulence, achieves a level of serenity. "I feel wonderful," she says. "For the first time in a long time, you're at ease, you're at peace with yourself and you're not tearing yourself apart," agrees Mark. Even Sue Ellen, last seen on the floor of her bedroom, the proof of her husband's apparent fidelity in her hands, uses JR's absence positively, as a way of putting her house in order - the same house, ironically, that will go up in flames in four episodes' time.

    She declines JR's offer to join him in Puerto Rico. "I have some things I have to do," she explains. Indeed she does. First, she pays an unexpected visit to Bobby at Ewing Oil. He greets her cordially, but warily: "Sue Ellen, if this has to do with Pamela or my marriage, I'd just as soon not discuss it." She assures him it doesn't. "Whatever our relationship has been, I've always trusted you," she tells him, conveniently forgetting what she told Dr Elby during Bobby's reign of Ewing Oil in Season 3 ("I don't trust Bobby Ewing!"). "I always knew I could come to you with anything and you would never lie to me," she continues. "That's pretty much true ... I wouldn't lie to you," he acknowledges, his voice growing softer. "Is there a connection between JR and Holly Harwood?" she asks hesitantly. "Holly hired him to run her company," Bobby replies. "JR got her company into a deal that lost her $17,000,000 ... Holly despises your husband." As far as Sue Ellen is concerned, this is all good news. "You've helped me a great deal," she smiles. "I don't know what I did, but if it helped, I'm glad," Bobby tells her sincerely. The rest of the scene focuses on Sue Ellen's attempt to bridge the gap that has developed between her and Bobby during the fight for Ewing Oil. "I'm really sorry that this has happened for all of us," she says. "I truly like you ... I know you're alone right now, but I'm behind JR all the way." "Well that's the way it should be," he replies. "It's not often that I envy JR. Maybe today I do, just a little." This is as close as Bobby will ever get to reciprocating the compliment Sue Ellen paid him at the end of Season 1: "If I'd only met you first, Bobby, I'da married you instead of JR."

    Then, after JR is detained in Puerto Rico overnight, ("They left me coolin' my heels all day, I missed the last flight out") Sue Ellen arranges a meeting with Holly Harwood. "Someplace ... private," she specifies. "Why don't you come to my home about three?" Holly suggests. At the appointed hour, Sue Ellen is shown up to Holly's bedroom by male secretary Elliot (all the easier for her navigate the route herself at the end of next week's episode). She faces Holly and delivers her opening salvo: "I want you to know that your rotten little attempt to destroy my marriage has failed." Female confrontations of the bitchy Alexis/Krystle variety are comparatively rare on DALLAS. Until Holly trained her sights on Sue Ellen in the previous episode, the last such scene occurred almost exactly a year earlier when Afton paid a visit to Sue Ellen's townhouse to ask her to stay away from Cliff. It's notable that Sue Ellen is now in the role Afton was then, that of the "stay-away-from-my man" accuser. Accordingly, both favour a similar Joan Crawford-style suit jacket, white with shoulder-pads, for that "aggressive martyr" look. "You are beneath contempt," Sue Ellen continues, circling Holly. "By your vicious lies ... you tried to ruin our marriage. You're a very sick little girl." "A sick little girl" is also what she called Afton in their confrontation scene. "I don't ever wanna see you or hear of you again," she concludes, heading for the door. Holly has kept quiet during the scene thus far, allowing Sue Ellen her short-lived moment of glory. Now she speaks up. "Sue Ellen, I'm afraid we will see each other again," she tells her prophetically. "I doubt that," Sue Ellen replies confidently, standing in the very same position she'll be in when she sees JR and Holly together in the next instalment.

    A seemingly inconsequential plot development in the Krebbs' household begins with Donna answering the phone in her best Steve Austin jumpsuit. It's Aunt Lil, sitting in a reasonable studio approximation of the Emporia kitchen last seen nineteen episodes ago. "I do miss him," she says of son Mickey. "He's behaving himself? He's not getting into any trouble?" "No," smiles Donna, her apparent sincerity contrasting with the telling off she gave Mickey three weeks ago. She even goes so far as to invite Lil to "fly out here and spend some time with us ... It'd make Mickey real happy." (In hindsight, the journey between Dallas and Emporia represents death - Ray and Donna's initial trip was prompted by Amos Krebbs' demise; now Lil's flight in the opposite direction heralds Mickey's.)

    Lil's visit also gives the show a chance to revisit the poor boy/rich girl class divide, but from a different angle than the Lucy/Mitch version. Whereas Mitch's discomfort focused on the Ewings and their profligate ways, Mickey is more concerned about his mother's behaviour. "This place is so different than old Emporia," he tells Ray. "I just don't know how well Ma would fit in." Ray accuses him of being "ashamed of your mama ... She's just a fine a lady as anybody lives here on Southfork ... You, me, your ma, we're all out of the same stock. We're just as good as anyone. Don't you forget that." It's touching to hear Ray of all people espouse such a principle -- he can believe in it as it applies to Lil, and even Mickey, but we know that deep down he still regards himself as a half-breed, a lesser man than the rest of the Ewings.

    Refreshingly, Ray's egalitarian outlook seem to be shared by the programme itself. Lil is shown to be impressed by Southfork, ("Oh my!" she gasps when Donna tells her about the "almost six hundred acres" Ray owns) but not diminished by it the way poor folks are when exposed to the Carrington wealth on DYNASTY. While she's certainly more enthusiastic about the Krebbs' house ("Raymond built this with his own two hands??") than Mickey was when he compared it to a dog kennel, the writers portray her reaction to the Ewing lifestyle with comic affection without patronising her. "It tastes much better than it sounds on the menu," she opines during a restaurant dinner with Ray, Donna, Mickey and Lucy. "Not till I finish everything on my plate," she insists when Ray suggests dessert. This last declaration seems particularly pointed when contrasted with the Ewings' habit of abandoning their breakfasts after one mouthful. (This was something my childhood parish priest regularly denounced DALLAS for during his Sunday sermons.)

    "You two sound as if you're gettin' pretty serious," Lil observes as Mickey and Lucy play twiddly-fingers at the dinner table. "Oh, I think they're just real good friends," chips in Donna, shooting Mickey a look of utter contempt. This unscripted touch is one of the reasons you gotta love Susan Howard: it suggests Donna isn't convinced by Mickey's transformation after all. Meanwhile, Lil is troubled by her son's relationship with an heiress in a way that Mitch's mother was not. "You and she got nothing in common," she tells Mickey when they're alone together. "She's rich. She's really rich. And rich is different from us ..." "They're people, Ma," he insists, echoing Ray's earlier words, "just like you and me. Ray's good enough for 'em and so am I."

    Just as Pam spent the first half of the season anticipating a disaster that turned out to be her mother's death, so Lil's uneasiness about Mickey and Lucy's relationship turns her into an unwitting Cassandra. "I don't know," she frets, "it seems today that young folks just go rushing right into things without even stoppin' to think where they're goin'" -- like into cars driven by drunk women. With hindsight, these words of warning seem especially portentous: "I don't wanna see you get hurt, son ... All I'm sayin' is go slow."

    In the class debate, such as it is, Lil gets the last word. "Just how would easy would you feel around here if you were just plain Michael Trotter from Emporia and not Ray Krebbs' cousin?" she asks rhetorically.

    Lucy and Mickey aren't the only fledgeling couple held up to scrutiny in this episode. Clayton and Miss Ellie are each individually quizzed about the nature of their relationship. First Punk takes Clayton to one side during pre-dinner drinks at Southfork. "You wanna know if my intentions are honourable?" Clayton asks wryly, before accurately predicting the obstacles that lie in wait for him in Season 6 ("I don't think Ellie'll ever leave Southfork for anyone") and, with a sideways glance at Jock's portrait, Season 7 ("I don't think this house is big enough for another man").

    The following morning, Donna puts on her chunkiest cardigan and invites Miss Ellie over for breakfast to repay her for all the coffee she's mooched off her over the years. Over scrambled egg, tomato and bacon, (none of which gets eaten, of course; no Lil Trotter they) she gently interrogates Miss Ellie about her new best friend. "Clayton's move to Dallas came at a good time," Ellie reflects, BBG doing far away, staring-into-the-middle-distance acting as only she can. "He's fun to be with. We have so much in common. He loved the land the way my daddy did." "You have come a long way, Miss Ellie," Donna observes. "I can remember a time in the not too distant past when you didn't even wanna talk about goin' out with another man." "Clayton's a special friend," Ellie smiles, going all twinkly. "We're comfortable together. It's never seemed necessary to put a label on it." "Well he is a very attractive man," says Donna, a tad disingenuously. "I've seen him at parties and most women find him very appealing." (Wait a minute - Donna goes to parties??) "What are you saying?" Ellie asks her, suddenly serious. "Look, Miss Ellie," she replies, matching her intensity, "Clayton is a good guy. You and he enjoy each other's company. Have you given any thought to what your feelings for him really are?" "I don't think I wanna examine my feelings," Ellie demurs. "I like the way it is between Clayton and me. I'm not ready for any changes."

    Miss Ellie's wish to preserve the status quo and Sue Ellen's efforts to clean house collide towards the end of the episode. Sue Ellen happens upon Clayton when he stops by Southfork to escort Miss Ellie to yet another restaurant. Some polite chit chat ensues, which Sue Ellen brings to an abrupt halt. "Clayton, let's stop this," she says. "I am so tired of this cocktail party talk ... Whatever the situation is now, we really did care about each other a great deal." It seems a bit of straight talking is all that was needed to dissolve Clayton's resentment towards her. "We will always be friends," he assures her warmly. "You don't know how happy that makes me feel," she says, smiling with relief. "You're still one of the finest men that I've ever known." They hug in profile, and there's great reveal when they separate of Ellie standing in the living room entrance-way looking at them in dismay. It's not unlike the end of the restaurant scene in "The Wedding", where we discover Rebecca watching as Clayton takes Miss Ellie's hand across the table.

    And so Sue Ellen has regained her closest allies, Bobby and Clayton - for all the good they'll do her.

    Just as JR's absence has galvanised Sue Ellen into action, Katherine is quick to take advantage of Pam's absenteeism. As well as passive-aggressively calling her sister's maternal instincts into question, ("Oh, he's adorable," she says of Christopher, "I don't know how Pam could--" "Run off and leave him?" asks Bobby. "I didn't mean that," she lies) she aims to make herself indispensable to Bobby by solving his business problems in Canada. To that end, she arranges a meeting for him with a honcho from Wentworth Industries, Andrew Forrest - not to be confused with the doddery Forrest who was the controller of Wentworth Tool and Die in Season 4. While Katherine perches herself on Bobby's desk, flashing a bit of leg Holly Harwood-style, Forrest helpfully articulates Bobby's requirements: "What you're really after is a new drill bit, one that will work under the extreme conditions you're encountering." He refers Katherine to "Preston over at Tool and Die."

    Subsequently, we are introduced to the Tundra Torque, "a prototype cold weather drill bit" and, perhaps surprisingly, the DALLAS storyline of which David Paulsen is most proud ("I got on the phone with a lot of oil-men about that and paid attention to getting it right"). From Forrest to Preston, Katherine then hooks Bobby up with project developer Speery. "We think that the Tundra Torque can bite through anything, but that's only theory," Speery tells him. "We have a prototype model. It hasn't for been tested yet." Bobby volunteers to be the guinea pig. "A practical field test would be invaluable like that to us," replies Mr Speery, "but ... we only have one." Bobby explains that he only intends to drill one well in Canada before selling out. "The bit should be yours within the week," Speery assures him. Bobby hugs Katherine who squeals with delight, looking almost as excited as Morgan Brittany did at that creepy tea party rally thing the other month. "Listen, if I can do anything for you, anything at all, please just let me know," he tells her. Rather prosaically, she chooses dinner at the Cattleman's Club.

    Crucial, but seemingly unrelated, to this storyline is an earlier scene between Bobby and Cliff, which also takes place at the Cattleman's. The recent showdown at the Ewing barbecue notwithstanding, this is the first confrontation between the two men since Bobby fired Cliff as his senatorial assistant at the beginning of Season 4. Cliff is sitting by the bar reminiscing with Punk about a storyline from Season 3 ("Punk was in that Takapa deal, that turned out pretty well, didn't it?") when Bobby appears. Cliff wastes no time in gloating over his problems in Canada and how he himself is next in line to take over the deal. "Hell will freeze a lot colder than that field before I sell anything to you," Bobby tells him. "So will your marriage," he replies snidely. "You know, Barnes, you are a nasty little man and no wonder my brother stepped all over you every chance he got," says Bobby, "Now you just keep your nose out of my affairs--" and here he grabs Cliff by the lapel of his jacket and pulls him out of his chair "--or I'm gonna do the same thing." As Cliff hides behind a rictus grin, Punk intervenes in his own unique style. "Comeonboysbackoffletskeepitundercontrolwhaddyasay?" he suggests, all on one breath. (Lovely Mavis has an equally idiosyncratic line in a later scene where she is enthusing about a restaurant to Ellie and Clayton: "They have a lemon butter that's just heaven!") "He always was a hot head," says Cliff after Bobby has gone, perhaps remembering the punch he received from him at the end of Season 1. "No, I think that battle with JR is getting him down," demurs Punk. "Good," Cliff shrugs unrepentantly, every inch the "nasty little man" Bobby described. An enjoyably volatile scene in its right, this also serves as a timely reminder that there is no love lost between the brothers-in-law.

    "Aren't you with the wrong sister?" smirks Cliff when he and Bobby meet again later in the episode, during Bobby and Katherine's champagne celebration. Afton apologises on his behalf and they make to leave. (Afton's appearance in the scene might appear to be window dressing, but her involvement in this storyline will also prove pivotal.) Cliff turns back, apparently as an afterthought, and addresses himself to Katherine: "I got a call from Mr Speery over at Research and Development at Wentworth Tool and Die ... He told me you'd agreed to let Bobby field test this new drill bit ... " "Cliff, if that drill bit works, it'll mean millions of dollars in future sales for you and Wentworth Tool and Die," interjects Bobby. Cliff then delivers the dramatic pay-off from Rebecca's will reading five episodes ago: "Katherine, you're only one vote and that's not enough, and never in this life am I gonna let a Ewing get his hands on anything from Wentworth Tool and Die." For reasons best known to Ken Kercheval, Cliff delivers this last line in a camp, Truman Capote-esque drawl. He then exits, leaving Katherine glaring furiously - but is she secretly pleased? Has Cliff played directly into her hands by forcing Pam to choose whether or not Bobby gets the Canadian deal? Or is she not thinking that far ahead?

    Over in CANNES, FRANCE, (unlike on DYNASTY, there is no establishing travelogue footage, no cheesy accordion music on the soundtrack to stereotypically set the scene) Pam is having a gay old time laughing her dirty laugh at Mark's naughty jokes (he makes her a gift of an invisible swimsuit) and taking idyllic walks along the whatever-the-Cannes-equivalent-of-the-Seine-is. Little does she know of the dilemma waiting for her back in Dallas, thanks to the combined greed of Cliff, Katherine and Bobby. Indeed, Pam, Miss Ellie, Mickey and Sue Ellen all achieve a kind of equilibrium in this episode which renders them completely unprepared for what is around the corner. By the end of the season--now only four episodes away--each of their lives will have changed beyond recognition.

    And what of JR? Well, the episode that ends with him locked in a foreign jail cell begins in more familiar surroundings: his own bedroom at Southfork where he is on the phone with Señor Garcia, Walt Driscoll's man in Puerto Rico. Their last conversation took place two episodes ago and ended abruptly ("Garcia, are you outta your mind?? I'm not gonna pay you $10,000,000!"). Now JR's back to making nice--and who can blame him with $40,000,000 still at stake? "You know, in our last conversation I felt I acted a little hasty," he tells him. "I'd really like to meet with you in person ... I booked a flight to San Juan just this very day." Blissfully unaware of what's going on in his wife's head, he invites her along. "There's a fella down there who holds the keys to a lotta money Ewing Oil could use," he explains. When she refuses, he promises to "bring you somethin' back real pretty." "Don't bother," she replies coolly, before apologising and bidding him "a nice flight."

    To establish JR's jaunt to SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO, we get a quick glimpse of shoreline before cutting to a generic office set of the kind we've seen a hundred times on DALLAS (its only distinguishing features: a model ship and the afternoon sun casting shadows on the walls). Make no mistake - this trip is all business, a fact underlined by JR having been kept waiting outside Garcia's door for four hours. "I understand," he says graciously when finally granted an audience. "When I have the upper hand, I play it to the hilt myself." He and Garcia then perform a little dance with regard to Garcia's commission. "You don't think I'm fool enough to pay you $10,000,000, do you?" JR asks. "But I'm sure you realise that $1,000,000 is a lot better than nothin'." The sight of a million dollar cheque with his name on it (and the satisfaction of having had the upper hand for the past four hours) is enough for Garcia for to concede. JR's victory is short-lived, however. "I want you to call your contact in Cuba and tell him to meet me here with my forty million," he tells Garcia. "That he will not do," Garcia replies flatly. "He already has your oil and your money. Why should he come to see you?" Garcia offers to arrange a meeting in exchange for "certain considerations". "I have to pay him off too," sighs JR, "and I have to meet him in Cuba."

    JR returns to Dallas for a couple of quick scenes at Ewing Oil, one in which John McIntire delivers him his Cuban visa ("The same grease still makes the same wheels turn") and another in which he divulges his plans to Holly: "I'm planning a little trip, at great personal expense I might add, to Cuba ... When I come back, I'll have all our money, minus a few bribes along the way." Holly rewards him with a big smile, a tight hug and something to look forward to: "Once you get back, I promise you a night you will never forget."

    And so to HAVANA, CUBA where, after carefully avoiding portraying Aunt Lil as a mere stereotype, the show is quite happy to caricature the "concerned citizens" chosen by John McIntire to accompany JR on his "fact finding excursion". Puffed up Texas businessmen, they visibly preen when the "little lady" delegated to escort them through airport customs refers to "visitors of such importance as yourselves". Not so a clearly preoccupied JR. The Texan party is approached by a phalanx of armed men in uniform. "Signor JR Ewing? ... You are to come with me. Do not question ... Do not cause trouble!" "Wait a minute, dammit! I'm an American citizen!" he protests as he is led away. His fellow businessmen watch bug-eyed.

    From there, he is taken first to some sort of interrogation room, (although JR's the only one doing any talking: "That officer of yours ... I'm gonna have his ears for breakfast!") then to a jail cell. "You can't do this to me now, boys. C'mon ... I'm not gonna be silent for anybody. You can't do this to me. Hey, hey. My name is ..." and by now, the cell door has been slammed shut and we're in total darkness "... JR EWING!"
     
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  8. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    "Tangled Web"

    "We're in the home stretch now," reports Bobby. He's talking about the contest for control of Ewing Oil, which actually won't be over for another ten episodes, but might more fittingly be describing this season, which now has only four more weeks to go. "We're neck and neck," he says of his fight with JR. Indeed, the brothers now even have competing storylines: JR's Cuban windfall versus Bobby's search for his elusive drill bit. Bobby spells out his situation to Holly early on in the episode: "There's no way I can be assured of winning unless I bring in that Canadian oil, and I can't do that without the right drill bit." "Unless of course, JR takes an unforeseen spill," Holly suggests brightly. "Home stretch is full potholes. JR might just stumble into one yet." This is before they learn the outcome of JR's trip to Cuba.

    Ah yes, Cuba - where it turns out JR's night in a military jail cell was nothing too serious. ("Doggone, old JR went to Cuba. And they let him out?" wisecracks Clayton back at Southfork, unaware of how close he is to the truth.) "I wanted only to teach you a little lesson, Signor," explains the oft-referred-to-but-never-before-seen Lasio Perez to JR. "I wanted to show you what would have happened to me the other day if I, a Cuban national, had been caught by the American authorities while I was waiting for your friend in Puerto Rico." With that, the two men conclude their business: JR signs over a cheque in exchange for "what I came to Cuba for, payment for my one million barrels of oil." Perez hands him a Swiss bank draft for $40,000,000. "We pay our debts, Signor," he tells him solemnly. "We are honourable people." "I never once doubted you wouldn't be," JR replies. Is his double negative intentional, I wonder?

    It's fun to watch the news of JR's Cuban success spread. He returns to Ewing Oil with gifts for not only Sly and Phyllis, but also his brother whom he invites into his office. JR and Bobby's last scene together was three episodes ago when a furious JR confronted Bobby over the sting he and Ray pulled on Walt Driscoll at the airport. Now the boot is on the other foot. "Close the door, will you, Bob?" JR asks lightly. "I don't want the girls to overhear this because what I did was highly illegal. I had to snuggle this through customs." He then presents Bobby with "a nice big box of Cuban cigars." It's a good gag. "You went to Cuba," Bobby realises. "Mm-hm, as a future public servant," JR replies. "I might be a senator one of these days and I thought it my civic duty to go on a little fact-finding mission." Bobby sees through this in a heartbeat: "You went there to collect on a million barrels of oil." "I did manage to squeeze in a little business on the side, yeah," JR concedes nonchalantly. "Did you get your money?" asks Bobby. "Every penny," he gloats. "And since I'm sure you're keeping as close a count as I am on this, that little deal I made down in Cuba is gonna make me the new daddy of Ewing Oil. Have a Havana?" "It's not over yet," mutters Bobby as he turns to leave. "Yes it is, Bob," JR insists, "because your assets in Canada are frozen solid. You took the high road and I took the low road, and I got the company before you."

    Bobby heads straight for Holly's office. "I have some news," he tells her grimly. "JR just got back from Cuba and he got all the money for your oil deal." "So he made it!" she gasps delightedly. "You knew he was going," he realises. "I can't really blame you for not tellin' me." "I didn't want you to mess up the deal, Bobby," she admits. "Half the money is mine." "... That's why I'm here," he replies coolly. "I wouldn't put it past my big brother to try and keep both halves ... It's bad enough for my position with the company that he made a $17,000,000 profit. I sure as hell don't want him to double it by keeping your half too." Holly sets aside her delight long enough to offer a few words of encouragement: "Don't give up yet," she tells Bobby. "Your battle's not over." The scene concludes with him urging her to make good on the cryptic remark she made during their previous conversation ("Home stretch is full potholes; JR might just stumble into one yet"): "I didn't understand what you were saying about 'something might happen to JR'. If something is gonna happen to him, it better be soon." What Bobby is doing here, albeit unwittingly, is encouraging Holly to go through with her plan to ensnare JR and Sue Ellen in her honey trap. With hindsight, this further increases Bobby's culpability in the end-of-season none-of-us-have-clean-hands tragedy troika: Mickey's coma, Walt's suicide and the Southfork fire.

    Meanwhile, Holly is not the only scheming minx concerned about Bobby's position in the contest. "How dare you embarrass me in front of Bobby last night?!" demands a furious Katherine, barging into Cliff's condo. "Without that drill, Bobby'll lose Ewing Oil ... You want JR to win?" "Doesn't make any difference to me," Cliff shrugs. "Oh, you vicious little man!" she exclaims, echoing both Bobby's line last week ("Barnes, you are a nasty little man") and what she herself called her half-brother a year ago ("You disgusting little man"). As well bringing to an end the uneasy truce that has existed between her and Cliff for the past seven episodes, this scene marks the first time Katherine has dropped her veneer of niceness in front of someone other than Cliff and JR, namely Afton.

    Yet how angry is Katherine, deep down? After all, Cliff refusing to allow Bobby to use the Wentworth drill bit puts Pam in an impossible situation that her marriage cannot survive--which is what Katherine has wanted all along. Despite countless viewings of Season 5, I'm still unclear as to how much of Katherine's marriage-wrecking design was planned in advance, and how much is a result of her capitalising on events as they unfold. (The same can be asked of Holly's scheme: was she originally hoping that the lipstick on JR's collar would be enough to convince Sue Ellen of his infidelity, or did she realise from the beginning that she would have to bed the man who raped her?)

    "I'm warning you, Cliff," Katherine continues. "This time you have gone too far!" At this, Afton steps up to the plate. "No, you have gone too far," she tells Katherine. "You just don't understand what's going on," Katherine snarls at her. "I understand a lot more than you think," Afton replies knowingly. After showing Katherine the door, ("Get out of here now!") she expands on this remark to a bemused Cliff. "Can't you see what she's doing?" she asks him. "Why do you think Katherine is being so wonderfully helpful to Bobby? His own wife isn't. Katherine is taking advantage of every little opening she can get."

    This is the first time Afton's not-such-a-dumb-blonde perceptivity has manifested itself since the latter part of Season 4 when she intuited the motivations and actions of, well, just about everybody. Chief among her insights were Clayton's clandestine feelings for Sue Ellen. Coincidentally, that same secret resurfaces in this episode, thanks to Miss Ellie's recently acquired habit of loitering outside the Southfork living room eavesdropping on Clayton and Sue Ellen's mutual appreciation society. "You've meant a lot to me ..." "You've meant a lot to me," she hears them coo from her vantage point on the staircase.

    While Sue Ellen heads for Ewing Oil to welcome JR back from Cuba, Clayton escorts Ellie to dinner at the Cattleman's Club. Compared to the other restaurants we've seen the couple in recently, the Cattleman's is kinda rinky-dink. Little wonder the Texas business community will decamp en masse to the Oil Baron's next season. The decor does not account for Ellie's subdued mood, however. "Why did you leave San Angelo?" she asks Clayton abruptly. "You told me that you were running away from memories." "... Memories that concerned the Southern Cross," he confirms. "They had no place in my life anymore. I wanted to erase them from my mind." An interesting choice of words, given the bout of amnesia he will suffer in six years' time. His eagerness to eradicate his past takes on additional significance in light of what we'll learn about the Farlow back-story next season: the slutty, nutty sister; the sickly wife who burns to death; the son who's really a nephew. "When we met at Galveston that time," Ellie continues, "you were very troubled over a woman ... Were you in love with this woman?" "Yes, I was," he replies. Ellie swallows hard. "Clayton, was Sue Ellen that woman?" she asks. "Yes," he admits. "Try to understand ... She was desperately in need and I felt that I had to comfort her some way and before I knew it, I found myself in love with her ... Ellie, that part of my life is over now." "Is it?" she asks dubiously. Given that Miss Ellie will find Sue Ellen in Clayton's hotel suite in two days' time, half-naked and more desperately in need than ever, could this confession have come at a worse time? Of course not - which is precisely what makes it so great.

    Following their scene together at Harwood Oil, Holly and Bobby take diverging paths. Bobby returns to Southfork to find his other would-be love interest - Katherine - waiting for him. "I brought over a bag of Christopher's toys," she explains angelically, back on best behaviour following her outburst at Cliff's. Meanwhile, a preoccupied JR receives a knock on his office door. "Come in, darlin'," he replies, before realising he's talking to the wrong darlin'. "Holly, what are you doin' here?? ... I am expecting my wife any minute!" Indeed, Sue Ellen's impending arrival adds an exciting tension to the scene--especially as Holly doesn't appear in any hurry to leave. "A little bird told me you were back," she smiles, "with the money." (Back at Southfork, the same topic is under discussion, but the mood is very different. "JR pulled a coup that put him very much ahead of me in the race for Ewing Oil," Bobby tells Katherine gloomily.) "Your part of the payment's gonna be in your account tomorrow morning," JR assures Holly as he ushers her briskly towards the office elevators. "Why don't I bring you the receipt myself?" "Great!" she replies. "Bring it to my house tomorrow night, say around 9 o'clock? Then we can have that little celebration I promised." While they are busy kissing, we see the doors of the right-side elevator slide open. On first viewing, this moment was heart-thumpingly exciting: Is Sue Ellen about to step out and find them together?? Not yet, she isn't. JR ain't about to push his luck any further, however. "My wife is comin'," he reminds Holly, hastily bundling her into the elevator. "Gonna take her to dinner at the Madison. Now you scoot outta here like a good girl." As the doors close, he has barely enough time for a salacious chuckle and to wipe the lipstick off his face (he surely won't make that mistake again) before the doors of the other elevator open and Sue Ellen emerges, burbling an apology about the traffic. "It's all right," he assures her with a peck on the cheek. "I had something I had to get outta the way first anyhow."

    But while Sue Ellen unwittingly avoids a nasty surprise, Bobby is about to receive his second overseas bombshell of the day (as if learning of JR's Cuban coup wasn't enough). His decision to join Pam in France ("I'm gonna book a flight and talk to her face to face. If I can convince her ... I might just get that drill bit despite Cliff Barnes") prompts this revelation from Katherine: "Pam didn't go to France alone. You remember I told you Mark Graison made one of his jets available to her? Well what I didn't tell you was, he was on it."

    Over in Cannes, Pam is reclining on the beach when she is spotted by George and Marie Walker, "old friends from Dallas". Gee, what are the odds of that? Slightly higher than those of her and Sue Ellen meeting a fellow Texan in Hong Kong, I'd wager; a bit lower than Miss Ellie running into Clayton in Galveston; and a lot lower than JR bumping into his first love in Vienna (or was that meeting pre-arranged by the lovely Vanessa? I can't quite remember). The Walkers' screen time is brief but amusing--I've always enjoyed both George's affronted reaction when Marie nods sympathetically at Pam's needing "a little time for myself" away from her husband, and his lascivious wink in Mark's direction ("Have a good time!") as they take their leave. According to IMDb, George (Dennis Holahan) was also in "Jock's Trial, Part I" and Marie (Jacqueline Ray) was once married to Tom Selleck. (Accordingly, Selleck joins George Clooney, Michelle Pfeiffer, David Soul, Ryan O'Neal, Kirk Douglas, Rachel from FRIENDS, Elvis Presley and David Hemmings in a select band of famous people whose ex-spouses have appeared in DALLAS.) Once the Walkers have gone, Pam and Mark's conversation turns to the nature of their relationship. "The truth is there is an enormous attraction between us and it's a truth you're purposely ignoring," he tells her. "I don't have any choice," she replies. "I'm married."

    Indeed she is. Which begs the question, just what is a nice married girl like Pam doing sunning herself on the other side of the world with an amorous playboy bachelor? Well, if she were a real person instead of a TV saint, her behaviour might not be too hard to understand or even justify: After a traumatic year spent dealing with her husband's workaholism and loss of integrity, her mother's vengeful obsession and subsequent death, and her brother's suicidal depression and instability, not to mention the constant in-fighting amongst the Ewings, who wouldn't be tempted by a few days' responsibility-free luxury in the sun? But this reasoning isn't presented on screen. "I don't know," she told Mark and Katherine doubtfully when they tried to persuade her two episodes ago that such a vacation would be a good idea. Next thing we see, she's in a French cafe laughing at Mark's invisible bikini gag. What happened in-between? Where is the pivotal moment where Pam changes her mind and decides to embark on a trip that will have far reaching consequences for her relationships with both Mark and Bobby? It's a strange omission, especially when one considers that Pam was initially the audience's point of identification: It was through her eyes and ears that we watched the drama unfold. However, it is now in the writers' interests to keep Pam's thought processes (such as they are) at a distance from us. Her position within the show, straddling as it does the Barneses and the Ewings, is still central, but by depicting her as passive and indecisive, it means her actions can more easily be dictated by the needs of the plot. She is more vulnerable to the influence and/or manipulation of others: in this case, Cliff, JR, Bobby, Katherine and Mark.

    There are a couple of nicely executed scenes in this episode which, although not vital in terms of advancing the action, serve to further flesh out the characters, therefore deepening the drama. One is a dinner scene at the Krebbs house where Lil is the guest of honour. (No sign of Mickey this week. In fact, the closest the episode gets to acknowledging him is Lucy's casual mention to her grandma that she is thinking of buying a condo--for them both to live in, presumably.) Thanks to "that last sip o' wine before dinner", Lil is less guarded than we've seen previously and when the subject of Amos Krebbs arises, ("Now I'm not one to speak ill of the dead, but ... ") Ray spots an opportunity to break the news of his true paternity. Donna has little to say but remains a strong presence throughout the scene. The small, unspoken interactions between her and Ray - an exchange of glances when Lil talks of Amos's parenting skills ("he certainly wasn't the right father for Raymond"); the way she discreetly clears the table and moves to the kitchen area as Ray begins his speech ("Aunt Lil, there's somethin' I wanna tell ya ...") - speak volumes. "Amos Krebbs was not my father," Ray tells his aunt. "Jock Ewing was my father." "No!" Lil exclaims in shock. She then turns to Donna who nods in silent confirmation. Lil's next immediate thought is perhaps surprising but will be paid off in next week's episode: "Does Miss Ellie know?" she asks. "Jock told Miss Ellie right after he told Ray," Donna replies. "Musta been awful hard on her," suggests Lil, turning to Ray. "Didn't she dislike you after she found out?" As Ray hesitates, the second half of Season 3 dancing in front of his eyes, Donna's political instincts come to the fore. "I think the point is now," she interjects, "Miss Ellie looks at Ray as though he were one of her own sons."

    The second non-crucial scene is between Bobby and Thornton McLeish. A discussion about a dry, remote business deal is given a personal, emotional significance, not just by Bobby but also McLeish, a character of whom we know little and care even less. He has a request to make regarding the contest for control of Ewing Oil, and it's a delicate one. "If it does come close to decision time," he begins awkwardly, "and the fields still haven't paid off and you feel strongly that you're going to lose, would you please sell your shares in the deal to Cliff Barnes, or anybody else? We just don't wanna end up in partnership with JR. It's not an easy thing to ask." "You've always been fair to me," Bobby replies solemnly. "I can promise you I'll be fair with you." After a long period where Bobby's selfishness has been at the fore, it's kind of refreshing to see his decent side resurfacing.
     
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  9. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    "Tangled Web" (continued)

    While the oil business continues to be the engine driving the drama, much of the rest of the episode focuses on the Ewing wives, Pam and Sue Ellen, whose marriages hang so precariously in the balance. Making good on her promise in last week's episode, ("I'm afraid we will see each other again") Holly pays another visit Mr David's. "Did you and JR have a nice dinner last night at Madison's?" she asks a freshly manicured Sue Ellen. "You and I just missed each other at the office ... He'll be with me again tonight ..." "You're a very strange and awful woman," Sue Ellen replies quietly and deliberately, "and I don't believe a single word that you're telling me. All you're trying to do is to avenge some business loss." "Loss?" chuckles Holly. "Not anymore. He just got back from Cuba. What did he tell you he was doing there?" "He was on a political trip," Sue Ellen replies confidently, unaware that she is now the only character still buying into the fantasy of JR-as-future-senator. ("I'd love it," she admits to Clayton in an earlier scene when he asks how she'd feel about moving to Washington.) In fact, this scene is the final time we'll hear of JR's political aspirations. The last of his excess oil sold, he has no longer has need of his "man of the people" smokescreen. (This means we've also seen the last of Sue Ellen's love interest that never was, Roy Ralston, and that Dave Culver can sleep easy in his bed once more.) "No, Sue Ellen," Holly tells her, with something approaching pity, "Our deal was in Cuba. He went there to pick up our money and he's coming to my house at 9 o'clock tonight to celebrate." "You're lying," Sue Ellen replies, even as her sense of certainty begins to ebb away. As Holly takes her leave, ("I've said what I have to say") the camera moves in on Sue Ellen and the screen fades to black.

    I cannot tell you how exciting it was watching this episode unfold back in 1982--specifically, the moments involving JR, Sue Ellen and Holly: the elevator door sliding open as JR and Holly smooch in front of it; the stirring "Bam! Bam! Bam!" on the soundtrack as the camera closes in on Sue Ellen after Holly tells her of the assignation planned for that night. As great as Season 5 had been up until this point, I'd be lying if I claimed to appreciate on first viewing just how cleverly structured it is. Part of me still hankered for the days of the 1979/80 season, the year I fell in love with DALLAS, when Jock still presided over the Ewing dinner table and Southfork was filled with secrets. A large part of what gripped me then was the viscerally combative relationship between JR and Sue Ellen, particularly their coldly repressed and/or violently explosive marital bedroom scenes. By this point in Season 5, that all seemed like a distant memory. Sue Ellen, all the angry passion and unpredictability drained out of her, has been once again relegated to "brunette on the couch" status, lucky to appear in more than a couple of scenes a week. In those distant, pre-internet, pre-spoiler days, I was naive enough to think Sue Ellen's story was essentially over. I had no clue the writers were setting her up for a fall. Praise the Lord then for Holly Harwood and her delightful plan to pull Sue Ellen's mulleted head out of the ground where she has buried it. Surely any objective Sue Ellen fan (if such a thing exists) would agree.

    Fade up on an establishing shot of Southfork at night. The house looks isolated and melancholic, even a little ominous. Cut to JR and Sue Ellen's bedroom and a close up of Sue Ellen's left hand, her fingers drumming in that twitchy way of hers, wedding ring featured prominently. A clock in the background reads 9.40. She's trying to reach JR at Ewing Oil, only to be informed by the switchboard that the office is closed for the night.

    On the other side of the globe, Pam and Mark amble down a hotel corridor. As they reach her door, a kiss good-night turns from a peck on the cheek to full blown pashing. As has become his wont, Mark then tells Pam how she's feeling ("You want me as much as I want you") and she meekly acquiesces. They kiss some more and he follows her into the room for a passionate embrace. So far, so Pam and Alex Ward in a hotel room in Port Aransas hotel room in Season 3. Back then, Pam's virtue was saved by a timely phone call from Bobby. This time, it's a call from Afton with news about Bobby that prevents her from becoming a scarlet woman. (Two more examples of Pam's behaviour being motivated by external events rather than any independent decision-making on her part.) "Katherine is trying to move in on Bobby!" yells Afton over the line. "You could lose your husband, you could lose your child!" The call is abruptly terminated and Victoria Principal is left dangling on the end of the line doing rubbish 'bad connection' acting: "Afton? Afton? Afton, hello?" She hangs up. "I guess I have to go home," she sighs. "Let's face what's going on between us," demands a hot and bothered Mark. "There can't be anything between us, Mark until I take care of what's waiting for me in Dallas," she replies. This is the same refrain they'll both continue to sing for the next several episodes.

    Afton's warning about Katherine marks the first time one supporting character has attempted to sabotage the scheme of another since Kristin told Lucy about Alan Beam's relationship with Betty Lou in Season 2. And just as Kristin expected to gain brownie points from JR only to incur his wrath, so Afton is surprised by Cliff's reaction when she tells him about the call. "Have you lost your mind?" he barks at her. "Are you crazy? ... For once I get a shot at the big brass ring and you call my sister, the only one that can knock it out of my reach!" "You don't care at all what happens to Pam, do you?" Afton realises. "For once I think about myself," he replies. "For once?!" she gasps. "No, not for once - for always! Cliff, you are the only person you ever do think of!"

    Back at Southfork, Sue Ellen has slipped on her best fur coat (all the better to insulate herself from the harsh reality she is being confronted with) and wandered out onto the patio. She cuts a lonely figure. At the sound of a car pulling into the drive, her face lights up momentarily. But it turns out not to be JR returning home, but Bobby. (This small instance of mistaken-driver-identity ever so slightly foreshadows Walt Driscoll's sideswipe at JR's car the following night.) "I'm supposed to have a meeting with Holly Harwood," she explains. "Does JR know any of this?" asks Bobby, not unreasonably. After all, had Sue Ellen chosen to tell JR about her meeting with Holly when he returned from Cuba, Holly's plan would have been over before it began. Sue Ellen declines Bobby's invitation to "come inside. We'll talk." "... I just want some time alone," she tells him.

    The remainder of the episode takes place at the Harwood residence. It's an unusual looking sequence by DALLAS standards, cross-cutting as it does between JR and Holly upstairs in bed (shot on a regular sound stage) and the exterior of the house with Sue Ellen in the driveway (filmed in Dallas). It's extremely rare for the show to return to Texas for location shooting so late in a season. In fact, the only other time it happens is for the events outside Pam's house leading up to Bobby's death in "Swan Song". It's also relatively uncommon, after the first year or two of the show, to see the actors filmed outside at night. (See the cold breath coming out of Linda Gray's mouth!) All of these atypical elements add to the tension, the uneasy feeling that Something Major Is About To Happen.

    An overhead shot of Holly's boudoir sets the scene. She and JR are lying next to each other in bed, discarded clothing strewn around the room (JR's Stetson on the bedpost is a particularly nice touch). Holly, apparently nude aside from a pearl necklace, legs wide apart under a strategically placed sheet, pours champagne for JR, who even flashes a bit of leg himself. All in all, it has more authentically sexual vibe than the average post-coital scene on DALLAS. Elevator muzak plays in the background (all the better to muffle the sound of an angry wife climbing the stairs). "You weren't lyin', Holly," JR pants, "You sure know how to celebrate." "Some things even a woman can do well, JR," she purrs.

    Outside, Sue Ellen pulls up in the driveway and sees her husband's car ...

    JR sits up in bed, holding a sheet over his man boobs. Holly puts on a slip and suggests opening another bottle of champagne. As she leans over to reach the ice bucket at the bottom of the bed, JR is momentarily transfixed by the sight of her ass. Then he abruptly comes to. "I gotta get outta here and I go home," he realises. She wraps her arms around him from behind. "No, not yet," she objects. "Stay awhile." "You don't really expect me to stay the night, do ya?" he asks in surprise. "I wish you would," she lies. (That was always Julie Grey's aim, wasn't it -- "Stay until mornin'. I'll cook you breakfast.") She nibbles his ear; he chuckles. "What on earth am I gonna tell my wife?" "Just tell her you're gonna leave her - for me."

    Sue Ellen gets out of her car. We can just about hear the muzak coming from inside the house ...

    JR uncorks the champagne. "You are the most contradictory woman I have ever met," he tells Holly. "Now you want me to leave Sue Ellen for you!" "Well why not?" she asks, refilling their glasses. "I didn't think you approved of the way I led my life," he replies, starting to put on his shirt. "I didn't approve of the way you led your business life," she clarifies, handing him back his glass, "but it's not the business that fascinates me, it's you." He laughs sceptically.

    Sue Ellen walks slowly towards the house, touching the bonnet of JR's car as she passes it. (I'd say she was checking how warm the engine is, but her hands are gloved.) She stands in front of the door, registering the muzak, and does her lip tremble thingy. The camera gives us her POV of the door, as she looks down towards its handle. Dare she try it? She does; the door is unlocked! It's like something from Alice in Wonderland: "Open Me" says the door. "Climb Me" beckons the staircase, visible through the glass ...

    Holly takes charge, removing the champagne from JR's hand and peeling off his shirt. "Anyway," she continues, "I'd even approve of the way you led your business life if you and I were together." "Well, we are together," he replies. "No, I mean really together, JR," she persists. "You think about it - a merger between Harwood and Ewing." She kisses him sexily, then rubs her hands on his chest. "Do you realise what that would mean to the industry? We'd be the most powerful couple in Southwest Oil." (What an intriguing idea.) JR chuckles some more. "I don't what's gotten into you," he tells her, "but I sure do like it." We see them from the point of view of the bedroom door. Holly is propped up against the pillows, her legs spread under the covers. JR is leaning in towards her. "Now I really gotta go," he murmurs. "Ah know," she replies. They kiss. "No now, I really should," he insists. "Ah know you should!" she teases. "Just stay just a little while longer, won't'cha, huh?" "Well, maybe just a little." They start to get their groove on, he nuzzles his face into her neck. "I've never met a man like you," she says over his shoulder. She seems to be looking directly into the camera. "And I sure as hell ..."

    Sue Ellen stands in the doorway, watching. It's the same doorway where she stood in last week's episode and confidently refuted Holly's prediction that they would ever see each other again. Her eyes are wet and her mouth hangs open.

    "... never met a woman like you," replies JR, his face buried in Holly's neck and hair. She caresses him, her hands all over his back. while staring straight ahead at Sue Ellen, a defiant expression on her face. There's a remarkably similar shot of Pam in "Making of A President" (Season 3), even down to the curly hair, where she embraces Bobby in the Southfork living room for Sue Ellen's benefit, giving her a dirty, sexy look over his shoulder.

    Back in 1983, I was beside myself with the excitement and tension of the scene--I have vague memories of sliding off the couch and onto the floor and gnawing on a chair leg--as the background music seemed to hurtle the episode to its end: a freeze frame of Sue Ellen's devastated face. On the DVD version, there is no music, and the scene concludes not with a bang (JR and Holly's notwithstanding), but with just the sound of Sue Ellen whimpering quietly.

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    "Things Ain't Goin' Too Good At Southfork" ... Or What Sue Ellen Did Next.

    We pick up exactly where we left off. Sue Ellen is still standing in the doorway of Holly's bedroom watching JR nosh happily on Holly's neck, and Holly still stares directly back at her.

    Landmark No. 1: This is the second (of four) occasions where Sue Ellen, believing herself to be happily married, is confronted with proof of JR's infidelity. The last time was during Lucy's wedding reception in "End of the Road" (Season 3) when she found their marital bedclothes crumpled following his romp with Afton. It's notable that her discovery is presented as a much bigger event here than it was then when it was just one of several plot points in a mid-season episode. The story then jumped forward a week in time; we did not see what the immediate impact was on Sue Ellen or her marriage.

    This time around, as the season heads towards its finale, just the suspicion of infidelity was enough to warrant Sue Ellen a freeze frame in "Hell Hath No Fury", followed by second at the end of last week's episode when that suspicion was confirmed. Why the difference in emphasis, particularly following a season in which Sue Ellen has been a decidedly minor player? Well, from a character perspective, the stakes are much higher now: she has bet everything on her second marriage to JR being a monogamous success. There is no Plan B to fall back on, no psychiatrist's office or townhouse to retreat to, no Clint or Dusty waiting in the wings. "I don't know where I'm goin'," she'll admit in this episode when a bar manager politely eighty-sixes her. "There's no place else for me to go," she'll tell Clayton. And from a narrative standpoint, Sue Ellen and JR's marriage is now part of a much bigger picture: it's become a pawn in Holly's feud with JR, which in turn has become a weapon in the fight for Ewing Oil. As a result, what Sue Ellen does next has a greater significance, and her actions will have major repercussions not just for herself, but for several other characters and relationships: most immediately, Miss Ellie and Clayton, and Lucy and Mickey.

    Consequently, the episode keeps close tabs on her for the rest of the night and the following day. To start with, we follow her as she flees down the Harwood staircase and out of the house. Not for the last time this episode, we then see her drive off in an emotional state. This time, it's in her own car.

    As indicated by the self-parodic episode title, (and the only one not related to a barbecue or ball to warrant a sequel, 151 episodes later in Season 10) things ain't goin' too good. So far, however, Sue Ellen and Pam over in France are the only Ewings to realise it. (How unlike those two to be ahead of the pack.) Back at Holly's, for instance, JR has no idea he has just been caught with his boots parked under the wrong bed. "I liked that little tune. Why'd d'you turn it off?" he asks, as Holly cuts dead the background muzak which has conveniently (if unconvincingly) drowned out any audible trace of Sue Ellen's visit.

    And that ain't all Holly has turned off: "I'm just exhausted," she sighs, squeezing out from under him and getting out of bed (the camera lingering over her legs and tush as she does so). Unseen by JR, she wears the same look of distaste as Garnet McGee did when she lay with him to further her career in "Triangle". It makes a refreshing change whenever one of JR's bed partners is shown to find this paunchy, toupee-wearing, middle-aged man less than irresistible. Almost all of JR's dialogue in this scene serves to reinforce his ignorance of the honey trap in which he has been caught. "What Sue Ellen doesn't know is not gonna hurt her," he replies confidently when Holly 'admits' to feeling guilty about sleeping with a married man. When she tells him she's going away on a short trip, he urges her not to stay away too long. "We'll see how you feel when I get back," she replies. "Coupla days is not gonna make that much difference," he shrugs. "You never know, JR," she tells him enigmatically.

    After checking in briefly with Sue Ellen, driving tearfully through the night, our attention turns to Southfork ... and what is that strange, tinkling noise reverberating from the dining room? Why it's laughter--and not just the phoney Stepford laughter of Season 8 either--but the warm, genuine sound of characters blissfully unaware their lives are just about to plummet headfirst into the crapper. We join the party as Clayton and Ray lead a mini-procession of assorted Ewings, Krebbs and Trotters from the dining area to the living room. "I can't tell you how nice it is to have a full dinner table again," Ellie sighs happily. "Just like the old days!" chirrups Lucy. To mark the occasion, Donna is wearing her largest, woolliest, who-needs-Travilla sweater.

    Back in Dallas, a trophy wife walks into a bar ... Landmark No. 2: This is second (of three) occasions where Sue Ellen, having been sober for a considerable length of time, (in this case, seventy-five episodes) starts drinking again. The last time she fell off the waggon was in "Jock's Trial" (Season 2), following the TV news report of Dusty's plane crash. On that occasion, it was as if she was on auto-pilot: Upon hearing of Dusty's death, she walks over to the bar, pours herself a shot and swallows it in one continuous movement. There is no hesitation; it's a reflex action brought on by shock. Here, partly because of the logistics of her situation, i.e. she has to travel to find alcohol, there is some deliberation involved. By the time she reaches the bar, she is all too aware of what she is about to do. She sits down at the counter, pulls off her gloves, hesitates for so long when the bartender asks for her order that he has to repeat himself, and eventually requests a vodka on the rocks. She then takes off her fur coat, stares at the glass on the counter with dewy eyes while doing her patented lip-wobble, picks it up, closes her eyes, and then finally, slowly but surely, downs it in two gulps.

    Back at Southfork, they're all still smiling. Miss Ellie's words take on a poignant irony in hindsight. A warm exchange with Aunt Lil ("Call me Ellie, and I'm so happy you're here ... Come by often") plant the seeds of a friendship that will be cut down before it has a chance to grow. When Lil compliments her on what Ray told her in last week's episode, ("how fine you were to him after you found out your husband was his father") she re-affirms some of the family solidarity that will soon be blown apart: "I consider Ray one of my sons as much as the other boys." Even her parting words to Lucy and Mickey as they leave to go 'dancing' carry an unintentional foreboding: "Drive carefully, Mickey."

    The Krebbses and Lil also bid good-night, bowing out of the episode early and thereby ensuring the smiles won't be wiped off their faces until next week. There is a final beat of undiluted contentment ("Mama, you look absolutely radiant," smiles Bobby. "It's been a long time since we've had that many people at dinner," beams Ellie, "and there were no arguments and no nasty remarks, just people enjoying themselves") before the first breeze from the ill wind blowing through the episode is felt at the ranch. It takes the form of a long distance call from a pyjama clad Pam (makes sense: if it's roughly 10 pm in Dallas, it must be 6 am in France). "I'm very upset!" she informs Bobby crossly. "Wait for me at Southfork and I'll see you tomorrow!"

    We rejoin Sue Ellen at the bar. (Again, this is in contrast to "Jock's Trial" where the next we hear of Sue Ellen after she falls off the waggon is when JR receives a call at Southfork to say that "the police picked her up in Fort Worth. She was so drunk, they had to break down a door to some apartment to keep her from destroying it." She doesn't actually reappear on screen until the next morning when she's back at Southfork, sitting up in bed.) She picks up another drink, less steadily than before, and it takes a little longer to find its way to her mouth. A flute type instrument plays forlornly on the soundtrack. She then orders another, giggles at the bartender's dubious reaction, playfully strokes his face and slides off her stool to make a phone call. She cradles the receiver under her chin while fuzzily running her fingers through her hair, giving her the appearance of a double chin. (Now that's what I call brave drunk acting--forget all the silly jail cell writhing in Season 8.) She asks for 7-12 on the phone, (whatever that is) then hangs up. She returns to the bar to find the bartender has yet to pour her next drink. Instead, she is approached by the manager who gently offers to call her a cab to take her home. (The men Sue Ellen encounters during her drunken evening are refreshingly benign; it's not like her lost weekend in Season 8 where every man she meets is a low life predator conspiring to bring her to the gutter.) "Thank-you very much," she replies, "but I'm not goin' home ... I don't know where I'm goin'." Her buzz starting to wear off, she slopes out with her fur coat slung over one shoulder.

    Pam's call is also proving a buzz kill at the ranch, and Clayton decides to call it a night. "I feel sorry for Bobby," he sighs as Ellie walks him out. "The separation from Pam." "... I'm very worried about them," she admits. The atmosphere turns worse still as JR arrives home with a couple of barbs for his mama's beau: "Hello, Clayton. Here again? ... If you're going someplace, don't let me hold you up." "... It was a pleasant evening until now," Clayton reflects. "Hey Bob," says JR cheerily upon finding his brother moping in the living room, "you have a nice evening with Mama and Clayton?" He grins smugly if the very idea were laughable. "Sue Ellen upstairs already?" he asks casually, fixing himself a drink at the bar. "No," Bobby replies, "she had a meeting with Holly Harwood. She was going over there for some reason." And this is when JR's good mood evaporates--but he decides to bluff if it out in front of his little brother. "You musta heard her wrong," he insists, "cos I was just with Holly, settlin' up some details on my little Cuban triumph." He turns around to gloat at his brother, Jock's portrait looking over his shoulder. "The one that's gonna win me Ewing Oil ... She'll be home any minute now with some sort of explanation." But despite his bravado, he looks nervous.

    Lucy and Mickey are at the Low Self Esteem Motel, the same dive frequented by Ray and Bonnie last season. In fact, the same white truck is parked outside what looks like the same room in what is probably the same establishing shot. Contrary to what they told the folks at Southfork, the only dancing Lucy and Mickey (what should be their collective noun: Lickey or Mucy?) been doing is the horizontal tango, and Mickey is in a post-coitally reflective mood. As with Ellie's, his words take on extra pathos in hindsight: "All my life up till now, I've been pretty satisfied just bein' me. Havin' a few bucks in my pocket, no worries ... For the first time, I wish I was doin' better, makin' somethin' of myself. I mean, I'm the fiftieth ranch hand on a forty-nine hand ranch ... I just wish I had more, could do more ... I could buy a house or somethin'." "What happened to the Kansas City gold digger?" cracks Lucy. "Please don't get noble on me. I really can't handle noble." This reference to her marriage to Mitch suggests Lucy may have actually learned something from a previous experience, which must be a first. But whatever points she gains for this insight are immediately lost when she refers to Mickey as "a butter heart". However, it's a sweet scene so let's not dwell on that.

    Clayton returns to his rather drab looking suite, (which has the same sort of biscuity colour scheme as Pam's, even though it's in a different hotel) goes to pour himself a brandy, and notices a near-empty vodka bottle on the bar. But that's nothing to what's waiting for him in the other room: a half-naked Sue Ellen passed out on his bed. Fade to black!

    Lights up on Clayton's POV. The camera moves from Sue Ellen on the bed to a glass on the dresser beside her. Clayton picks it up and sniffs it, (just as he will sip from her glass when he finds her slumped over a table at the Oil Baron's in "Swan Song") then tries to rouse her. She's aroused all right. She sits up and starts kissing him. "Where have you been?" she mumbles. "I've been calling you all night long [ah, so 7-12 is Clayton's room number!] ... You're the only one in the world who loves me ... I know that you love me and you'll be true to me." This is reminiscent of the scene where she kissed Bobby in the sanitarium in "John Ewing III", ("If I'd only met you first, Bobby, I'd have married you instead of JR. You are so kind and strong and loving, just like a man should be") only here she's persistent. Clayton lays her head back down on the pillow and she looks up at him, her eyes all squiffy, her mouth a little twisted. "You wanna make love to me," she slurs. "You've always wanted me. Now I want you." She reaches up to kiss him some more - and is it my imagination, or is he not quite as resistant this time around? The point becomes moot when she passes out again.

    The next morning, Pam is suddenly back in Dallas. Bobby is trying to force feed Christopher in the Southfork kitchen when she comes "roaring in here like I'm Public Enemy Number 1," as he describes it, her hair noticeably bigger than it was in France and her nostrils aquiver with indignation. But with every explanation she demands, it becomes increasingly apparent that she is no position to take the moral high ground. "It wasn't me who ran off to France," Bobby reminds her when she wants to know why he brought Christopher back to the ranch in her absence. In response to her next line of enquiry--"What is Katherine to you?"--he really lets her have it: "She's everything you should be, but aren't. She's doing everything she can right now to help me. She really cares whether I win or lose. She listens to me. And you know the strange thing? Rebecca was her mother too, Pam, but she doesn't blame me for what happened to her ... Right now, Katherine is about the best friend I have in the whole world. And that's all, period. Can you say the same thing about Mark Graison? Is he just a friend to you?" "I don't know, Bobby," Pam feebly admits. "This isn't how I wanted things to work out at all." "That makes it sound pretty final," replies Bobby grimly. And he's right--there is a feeling of finality about this scene. At least, that's what I thought when I first saw it. Knowing this to be the twenty-sixth episode of Season 5, and twenty-six weeks to be the average length of a season, I naturally assumed this instalment to be the finale.

    Sue Ellen wakes up to find Clayton on the sofa. "Why are you here?" he asks. "But above that, why in God's name did you start drinking?" "For the same reason I do almost everything I shouldn't," she replies ruefully, "JR." "What happened?" he persists. "No matter how hard it is for me to believe, you two did seem happy together." She smiles and nods tearfully. "Didn't we? Well, there's nobody to blame but me. I believed him. He told me there would be no games and no other women and I did believe him until last night ... I saw him with my very own eyes, and all those vows and promises didn't mean anything ... He and Holly Harwood." At this, Clayton does a sort of double take. There's no obvious reason--he and Holly have had no direct dealings with each other--but there's a small pay-off to his reaction in the next episode. "So I just drove to a little bar," Sue Ellen continues, "and I wanted to drink so much so that everything would just get out of my mind. And I tried calling you. Clayton, I'm afraid that the entire hotel staff thinks you have a terrible drunk for a sister ... I convinced them that that's who I was and they let me in." Sue Ellen's masquerade becomes a little ironic in retrospect when Clayton's actual sister has to disguise herself as a chambermaid in order to gain entrance to his hotel room in Season 12.

    Following his argument with Pam, it's a surprisingly chipper Bobby who arrives at Ewing Oil. Phyllis points him in the direction of "a very interesting article" in the morning paper. "Walt Driscoll Disappears," the headline reads. "Former OLM Chief Jumps Bail on Day of Trial". Before he can ponder the implications of this, Bobby receives a call from Sue Ellen. "I won't be coming back to Southfork for a while," she tells him. "I don't think I can stand seeing JR." "Oh Sue Ellen," he sighs sympathetically, "is there anything I can do?" This echoes Bobby and Sue Ellen's very first one-to-one scene where he happens upon her with a couple of suitcases about to leave Southfork. Now as then, it falls to him to break the bad news to JR (who turns up at the office a few moments later in a much grumpier mood than his brother). JR's characteristic response is to go on the attack. "I think you're lying, Bobby," he says. "You wanna take advantage of this little problem that Sue Ellen and I seem to have, but it's not gonna work because I have you between a rock and a hard place and I'm not gonna let you up." As a parting shot, Bobby gives him the news about Walt Driscoll. "Maybe he's on his way to the Justice Department," Bobby suggests, foreshadowing the end of Season 9. "We might not have a Ewing Oil left for you to win." Just as he did during their exchange at Southfork the previous evening, JR tries to end the scene on a smile to convey his lack of concern, can't quite manage it. Fade to Black!

    This being an even more Ewing-centric episode than usual, Cliff does well to chalk up three scenes. The first takes place in his condo, where he plays host to Thornton McLeish. A nervous Afton serves them up "a home cooked breakfast" of something bright yellow and dumpling shaped. Using the Tundra Torque and a cheque for $2,000,000 as bait, Cliff hopes to persuade Thornton to let him take over Bobby's partnership in the Canadian deal. But Mr McLeish is too nice a man for that. "My brother and I went into this deal with Bobby in good faith," he explains. "Unless he tells us he wants out, we'll go along with him." Cliff scowls.

    After receiving short shrift from Bobby, Pam turns her self-righteous ire towards Katherine ("I got a very disturbing phone call last night about you and Bobby ... I got the impression that the two of you were involved"). In so doing, she seems to conveniently forget that she herself was snogging Mark Graison in a hotel room less than twenty-four hours earlier. This kind of compartmentalization is what real people do all the time of course, but isn't necessarily what one expects from a TV saint. Katherine does her wide-eyed innocent act ("I care about him ... but as a brother-in-law, nothing more") before directing Pam towards the dilemma that now faces her: "Wentworth Tool Die has a drill bit that Bobby needs very badly up in Canada. I want him to have it and Cliff doesn't ... You're gonna be the one who decides whether Bobby gets that drill bit or not." "Katherine, I can't handle anything like that right now!" Pam wails. "But you've gotta start handling things pretty soon," Katherine insists, her eyes narrowing as she moves in on her prey, "and whatever decisions you make, they're gonna affect all our lives."

    While a naively trusting Clayton leaves Sue Ellen alone with easy access to room service, JR pays his last ever visit to the Cattleman's Club. To mark the occasion, Cassie, the only surviving eyewitness to Donna's "Drinks are on Bonnie" smack down of the previous year, finally emerges from hiding, cunningly disguised as a scantily clad waitress. Cliff is also in attendance. "I got some good news for you," he tells JR. "You got a fatal illness?" JR asks hopefully. "... Wentworth Tool and Die has a drill that Bobby wants to bring in that Canadian field and I'm not gonna let him have it," boasts Cliff. "I want you back at Ewing Oil so when I take it on and destroy it, I can watch you down with it." "... Somewhere in that feeble excuse for a brain, you really believe you can compete with me," mock-marvels JR. This is the episode's only non-essential scene. It does nothing to further the plot and contains no information we don't already know. Seemingly, it exists simply as an opportunity for the two men, who haven't come face to face since the Ewing barbecue, to trade a few insults. However, JR's kiss-off line ("I almost forgot how much fun it was grinding you into the dirt") is a nod to last season's cliff-hanger where he drove Cliff to the verge of suicide, while Cliff's central threat, to destroy JR and Ewing Oil, points towards next season and the storyline involving Sly and Gold Canyon 340.

    Clayton returns to his suite to find another near-empty vodka bottle on the bar and Sue Ellen back in his monogrammed jim-jam jacket. Pretty soon, she's all over him again: "Everybody lies except you. Honourable, honourable Clayton!" There's a knock at the door: it's Miss Ellie! On the DVD, there's a cheeky little fade to black we never got on the BBC. Instead, they always cut straight to Ellie entering the room to find Clayton holding a semi-nude and sloshed Sue Ellen. "JR," slurs Sue Ellen by way of explanation, "he did it to me again, Miss Ellie ... Don't you go blaming Clayton ... He's the only man that ever really loved me ... I'm gonna stay right here and I'm gonna drink." "Sue Ellen," Ellie snaps, taking a firm hold of both her daughter-in-law and the situation, "now you listen to me. Get into bed and sleep. Try to sober up. And then we're taking you home!" Sue Ellen meekly obeys. Clayton attempts to talk his way out of the situation. "You don't have to explain it to me," Miss Ellie replies tersely. "I do!" he insists. "You're a part of my life now." This is as close to a verbal acknowledgement of their relationship as Clayton and Miss Ellie have come. Like Katherine did two scenes earlier, Clayton goes on to protest that his feelings for a married member of the Ewing family are strictly platonic. "Well that may be, Clayton," says Ellie angrily. "I just wish I'd never come here today. I just wish I'd never seen any of this!" I kind of like the selfishness she exhibits in this line. Just in this moment, she is less concerned about her daughter-in-law than that her own sense of equilibrium has been shattered.

    Having been wound up by Afton's phone call and set first in the direction of Bobby and then Katherine, Pam now retrains her anger on Afton herself. ""It wasn't true!" she barks at her, marching into the Barnes condo and interrupting Cliff in the middle of a crowing session about JR. "I talked to Bobby and Katherine and you were wrong!" "Then you're just as blind as Cliff was," Afton replies coolly. "She's just trying to get close to Bobby by giving him everything he wants from you, and that includes turning over that drill bit from Wentworth Tool & Die." Cliff uses this as a chance to pressure Pam into making a decision: "Bobby wants the drill, so do I. Katherine wants him to have it, I don't. Now, who's side are you on?" "Why does it always come down to taking sides?" Pam asks wearily -- as well she might. This is the question she has been asking ever since the series began. But Cliff has a brand new reply, and it's a doozy: "Because you promised Mama ... You said that you would do everything you could to help. I need your help." "Cliff, don't use that," says Afton, appalled. Pam, meanwhile, seems to grasp for the first time the no-win nature of her situation: "If I don't let Bobby have that drill, our marriage is all over. He'd never forgive me." "Then let him have it," urges Afton. "And help him win the fight?" she asks. "He's changed so much already I hardly know him. Winning would just finish the job." As I say, on first viewing, I assumed this to be the season finale, and it seemed appropriate to leave Pam faced with such a cliff-hangingly insolvable dilemma.

    It's a woozy, shamefaced Sue Ellen who, assisted by Miss Ellie, climbs out of the back of Clayton's Rolls Royce upon her return to Southfork (her own car, importantly, having been left behind in Dallas). "I never meant to hurt you," she tells her mother-in-law before weaving her way upstairs. Clayton asks Ellie if she's all right. "I will be," she replies stiffly. "It's just a little difficult now. Bobby and Pam separated, now this with JR and Sue Ellen." (Not to mention an equally boozed up Gary currently estranged from his wife and locked up on a murder charge in California.) This scene also ends on a note of finality, with Ellie declining Clayton's offer to stick around. "I just wanna be alone," she tells him. "Bye, Ellie," he replies sadly. "Good-bye, Clayton," she murmurs, almost to herself, as if she were bidding him farewell for the last time.
     
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  11. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    "Things Ain't Goin' Too Good At Southfork" (continued)

    Southfork. Night. Mickey and Lucy, the only remaining characters yet to receive the memo on how good things ain't goin', are barbecuing on the fake patio and talking about the future. "I've even figured out a way we could live together," joshes Mickey. "Move back to Emporia, lot cheaper there. I'll get my job back at the gas station. I could probably get you a good job at the packin' plant." Lucy smiles at the idea of menial labour, blissfully unaware that in just over a year she'll be slinging hash at The Hot Biscuit. "What about making an honest woman out of me?" she asks playfully. JR arrives home. "Evening, Lucy, uh -" "Mickey," prompts Mickey. "Mickey." And so ends the running gag of JR having to be reminded of his step-cousin's name every time they meet. (The same joke recurs through all of Alexis's scenes with her distant hayseed relative, Sammy Jo, in Season 2 of DYNASTY.)

    The standout scene of an already great episode comes as JR enters the house, dumps his hat and case on the hall table, and makes for the stairs. "You bastard!" shouts a voice from behind him. He turns to see Sue Ellen standing by his daddy's portrait, glass in hand. She's more energised than when we last saw her. In fact, she's downright livid. "You finally came home," she observes bitterly. He enters the darkened living room, switching on a light. She turns her back on him to down her drink, then pours herself another. In a move that becomes significant in hindsight, he drops his car keys loudly on a small table and she reacts slightly to the sound. "And you came back to Southfork, I'm happy to see," he says guardedly. He approaches her and she back turns to face him. "Not because I wanted to," she replies. "I was so worried about you, Sue Ellen," he tells her. In a closer shot, we can see she's really drunk. Her face is flushed and sweaty, her eyes glazed and glistening. Linda Gray makes up for a season of not doing very much by being pretty excellent throughout this episode, and in this scene in particular. "When were you the most worried?" she asks mockingly. "Before or after you made love to Holly Harwood?" JR's reply feels pre-arranged: "Sue Ellen, just because you may have seen my car in front of her house doesn't mean anything happened." "Your car?" she sneers, swaying. "You think this has anything to do with your car?" (More foreshadowing here: pretty soon, this will have everything to do with JR's car.) She bares her teeth, spitting her words at him: "I saw you and Holly in bed." "You couldn't have." "Why not? Because you didn't see me? No, because you were too damn busy doing other things to see anything!" JR moves closer towards her. "Sue Ellen, don't fly off the handle. I can explain all of this." She bats his hand away. "Don't you touch me!" She hurls her drink on his face, moves past him, picks up those loud car keys, and runs out of the house. "Sue Ellen!" cries Ellie from her vantage point on the Naughty Step. "Sue Ellen!" JR shouts, coming to the entrance of the living room. The camera darts over to track Ellie marching up to him from the stairwell. "So you've destroyed her again!" she scolds. "Don't you ever LEARN?!"

    Outside, Sue Ellen makes her way across the patio doing the Drunk Woman's Stagger and Lucy joins in the chorus of family members calling her name ("Sue Ellen? Sue Ellen?"). We hear, rather than see, Lucy and Mickey's reactions for most of this scene. Their voices sound slightly odd and disembodied as if recorded separately and dubbed in afterwards (which they probably were). "Is she sick or somethin'? She can hardly walk," observes Mickey from off screen. (Not as my friend Tony misheard back in 1983, "Is she six or somethin'? She can hardly walk.") "She's getting into JR's car!" exclaims Lucy, as if providing a commentary for the blind. Sue Ellen puts the keys in the ignition. "Doesn't look to me like she should be drivin'," says Mickey's voice. "No she shouldn't," concurs Lucy in the commentary box. "Drunk as I was," Sue Ellen will later recall, "I don't know how I remembered to put on my seat belt," but remember she does. As she starts the engine, Mickey and Lucy suddenly spring to life and become active participants in the scene. "Mickey, stop her! She's drunk!" shouts Lucy (thereby making her partially culpable in Mickey's subsequent demise). Obediently, the fiftieth ranch hand on a forty-nine hand ranch runs to the car and jumps into the passenger seat just before Sue Ellen drives off. "Mrs Ewing! Stop the car!" he pleads in vain. "Get out!" she snaps, accompanied by the screech of tyres, and they disappear from view. A damp looking JR runs out of the house followed by Ellie. Lucy joins them for a three-shot as they look off into the distance in alarm.

    Location shooting so late in the season! The Southfork gates! At night! The car tears along the driveway as Sue Ellen and Mickey's voices play on the soundtrack: "Mrs Ewing, please stop the car!" "Lemme alone!" "You shouldn't be driving!" " ... Stay away from that key!" "I'm gonna stop you, Mrs Ewing, whether you like it or not!" "Get away!" "Slow down!" She drives out of the gate. "Look out!" cries Mickey. Too late. No sooner do they turn onto the Braddock Road than they are struck by another car. "NOOOO!" Sue Ellen's scream merges with the noise of the cars colliding. JR's Mercedes turns over three times before landing upside down in front of the Southfork fence, smoke billowing. Unlike "Swan Song"'s Bobby/car slow-motion interface, it all happens so quickly. Is this DALLAS's most exciting stunt? Well, it's certainly up there in the Top 2.

    Not a season finale then, but a pretty fine impression of one.

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. Ray&Donna

    Ray&Donna Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    I'm not sure that I could ever convey it properly, but I remember thinking that there was an interesting sort of symmetry between Ray and Donna, and Mickey and Lucy. Donna was obviously a far more intelligent person than Lucy, but in each relationship the woman holds the upper hand. At least financially. I don't know--it sounded better in my head than here on the screen. :oops:
     
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  13. Ray&Donna

    Ray&Donna Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    Also I wish I knew where my capture of Donna's hideous fuzzy sweater was. :lol:
     
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  14. Jon Ewing Jr.

    Jon Ewing Jr. Soap Chat Member

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    I never understood how Sue ellen totally escaped criminal charges on this deal.
     
  15. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    "Penultimate"

    This one's all about the characters reacting, confronting and blaming each other over the events of the previous two episodes--the crash, Sue Ellen drinking, JR's fling with Holly. "For a man who's just destroyed the lives of a handful of people, you cover your remorse remarkably well," Bobby tells JR. And in the final scene, we realise JR is covering.

    There's a sense of hopes dashed, dreams shattered. "I just wish I woulda left him back in Kansas," Ray says of Mickey. "Anything would have been better than this." A bruised and boozed Sue Ellen is contrasted with her idyllic wedding photo of only a few months before. Even Miss Ellie and Clayton's sweet friendship has been soured, as Ellie overhears JR taunting Clayton: "You have a lot of gall. You're in love with my wife, you're courting my mother ..."

    And in a season already chock full of dramatic irony, how fitting that Pam and Holly, two characters who have taken drastic steps to remove themselves from the Ewing Oil battleground, should now each find herself in the position of possibly deciding who will win the contest: Pam by casting the deciding vote over the Tundra Torque, Holly if she agrees to JR's demand of $20,000,000 to leave her company.

    "Ewings Inferno"

    I always thought it should be called Ewing Inferno after THE TOWERING INFERNO, until I realized it's really a play on DANTE'S INFERNO--a far more hellish proposition. With most cliffhanging episodes, the action seems bulid and build and get faster and faster until the explosive climax, but with this episode the mood is solemn, almost funereal, with the characters speaking introspectively throughout: Aunt Lil's speech about how she can't recognise her son anymore, JR pledging his love to an unconscious Sue Ellen (oh sure: whenever she's bruised and unconscious, he loves her!) and his scene with Bobby where he takes stock of the destruction they have caused and proposes that they call a halt to the fight. "By my calculations I'm way ahead of you, but I just don't give a damn". (The scene ends on an ambiguous note: before Bobby can respond, Pam calls telling him "the Wentworth drill bit's yours"--thus potentially putting Bobby way ahead. "I can't quit," he says subsequently.) Then there's the sad inevitability of Pam telling Bobby that she wants a divorce (it's from this scene onwards that Duffy's chemistry with Principal really starts sparking) and Bobby's "I was never a knight in shining armour" speech to Katherine. Southfork itself is like an abandoned ship--Sue Ellen no longer hides her drinking because there's no one left to hide it from.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2017
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  16. Barbara Fan

    Barbara Fan Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Well @James from London - what can i say
    I have purposelfully not read your synopsis but copied and pasted into a word document then i emailed S4 - 6 to myslef as i was going on a long train journey
    That was my "book" of choice on the train and you got me beyond warrington bank quay

    It took me right back there and really captured the heart and the essence of each epiosde
    Just brilliant
    thanks
    really enjoyed going back to the glory days of Dallas
     
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  17. Pammy P

    Pammy P Soap Chat Active Member

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    Good idea BF, might do same with Season 7 when I go to Elgin on the Choo Choo.
     
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  18. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Active Member

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    You described that very well. And both Ray and Mickey discovered the same thing: Their lives are a lot better when they don't let pride get in the way and listen to what their wives have to say. (Assuming that Mickey and Lucy would have eventually married).
     
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  19. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Active Member

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    What hypocrisy. Pam should have said "Bobby you wry perfectly content to try to steal a child you though was JR's own; you're scum"! Let'tslook objectively at the situation: JR was willing to let his favorite brother adopt a child he thought belonged to him because they couldn't have a child of their own. That's an incredibly generous gesture. In return, JR asked Bobby if he was grateful enough to do him one favor - to vote with JR and Bobby refused! So much for gratitude.

    Who is being more generous: JR giving away his child to his brother or Bobby who just had to have shown his gratitude to JR by voting with him? Weigh it!

    The shortest book in the world is the book in which Rebecca lists the things for which she feels responsible. Rebecca conveniently forgets that after he found out JR was behind the deal, Cliff atill kept a positive attitude and kept trying. However when Rebecca said she was not only firing Cliff but also was cutting Cliff out of her llife. Cliff said "But Momma it took us so long to find each other; I don't want to lose that"! Rebecca coldly looks at him and says "Goodbye Cliff and then walks out and shutts the townhouse door.. It was only after that that Cliff attempt suicide but Rebecca doesn't care..She'll put all the blame on Jr no matter how inaccurate that is.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2017
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  20. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Well, most people in real life are a mass of contradictions so it would be surprising (and quite boring to watch) if fictional characters, especially those living complicated soap opera lives, weren't as well.

    Bobby didn't seem perfectly content to me. He looked quite anxious a lot of the time.
     
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