Re-watching Season 6

Discussion in 'Dallas Season Reviews' started by James from London, Feb 9, 2017.

  1. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    More thanks to @Toni for retrieving these old posts. Opinons are (not necessarily) my own (anymore).

    "The Road Back"

    This does an excellent job of picking up the pieces left at the end of Season 5. The scenes between the Ewing boys are particularly strong. "I can remember a time when he wouldn't walk in this house without first asking permission," says JR of Ray. "None of us have clean hands boys, none of us," he later reminds his brothers. Barbara Bel Geddes' absence is well handled (although quite what Clayton and Miss Ellie are doing at the Takapa resort beats me--there shouldn't even be a Takapa resort), and while it's always a shame when Sue Ellen stops drinking, the beginning of the Cliff/Pam/Mark era means a whole new relaxed Victoria Principal. Everything suddenly looks brighter and prettier, particularly Pam's dingy hotel suite. Director of Photography Bradford May brings a rich, cinematic feel to the show--lots of off centre midshots and imaginative lighting.

    "The Long Goodbye"

    Evocative title, and it seems to refer to almost every storyline, as the characters slowly find themselves unable to escape the consequences of the events of Season 5--Mickey waking from his coma, only to realise he'll never walk again (such good acting, with Donna looking on helplessly at Ray, who looks on helplessly at Mickey); Bobby and Pam drawing closer, only for their divorce to feel more inevitable than ever by the end of the episode (that chilling scene as JR circles Pam in her hotel suite), Sue Ellen agreeing to return to Southfork with JR, but under conditions that mean they are more estranged than ever ("Your sex life is your affair from now on. Oh, I realise it won't be as much fun anymore because you won't be cheating one me, but that's your problem." "You'll pay for this, Sue Ellen." "I already have.").

    "The Letter"

    Several examples of characters putting on a brave face in this episode: Ray, Donna and Bobby joking and laughing at the Fort Worth cattle auction, only for the sequence to ends with an anguished looking Ray on the phone to the hospital. "It's like he's quietly falling apart," Donna tells Bobby as they watch from a distance. Then at the hospital, Mickey wisecracks with Lil and Lucy, ("If you like the side you've been talking to, I guarantee you'll love the flipside!") but once he's alone, his eyes well up. And of course the final scene, beautifully scored and photographed, of Bobby and Pam's meeting in Thanksgiving Square. Pam, after an episode of wide-eyed kewpie doll indecision (not helped by her Tufty the Squirrel hairdo), reclaims the fighting spirit she had at the very beginning of the series, declaring that she and Bobby "have a love that's strong enough" to withstand anything JR or Southfork can throw at it. Bobby, however, in act of misguided sacrifice, tells her that that time has past, that it's "just yesterday's memories", and that he's letting her go. Pam is dumbstruck, and Bobby's eyes fill with tears as he watches her walk away (her sad little walk down the steps). Elsewhere, Peter Richards makes his debut appearance, boinging up and down on old trampoline, appropriately enough.


    "My Brother's Keeper"

    So JR spends the night with Serena, but nothing happens, the implication being that now he has "permission" to cheat on Sue Ellen, he can't get it up. Interesting that the times he can do it this season are with Sue Ellen, when she takes him by surprise, and Katherine, when he has the satisfaction of knowing she's doing it against her will. Gorgeous looking episode--Pam lit so beautifully in the scene where she and Bobby listen while their attorneys to discuss the divorce, the scene in Mark's chariot where she and Afton get all giggly and lightheaded after a night on the town, the scene between Lil and Ray where she's beating a carpet outside his house ... Great scenes and acting from Steve Kanaly, Timothy Patrick Murphy, Susan Howard, and even Charlene Tilton's not bad, as Mickey's story nears its end. Donna bumps into old admirer Paul Morgan in the exact same spot where she first met Cliff Barnes three years earlier. John Ross has his first session with speedo clad Peter, who teaches him everything he needs to know about swimming and dressing to the left. "You don't seem shy," observes Sue Ellen, as Peter practically waves his meat and two veg in her face. Nice little moments: Anita Smithfield looking all blonde and hookerish, Afton rolling her eyes as Katherine talks about how exhausted she is, Pam flinching in the divorce court as her lawyer tells her, "It's all over, Pam."

    "The Quality of Mercy"

    Following their divorce, Bobby and Pam are in very different places. Bob's spending his evenings in all night burger joints ("just so I could be near people!" he sobs to Phyllis, who can't even boil water), his afternoons watching kids' matinees (did he see Peter Richards there? We'll probably never know), his weekends in the office (what is with the Season 6 habit of showing what the Ewings get up to on the weekends?) and his lunchtimes with his ex-wife's sister (and future assassin). Meanwhile Pam's all about the future: moving into Rebecca's house, partying with close friends who we've never seen before and will never see again, and accepting a job at Barnes-Wentworth. Also in this episode, it's the beginning of the Cliff and Sly era, the return of Jackie, and the start of Sue Ellen and Lucy's not very convincing friendship, borne out of dramatic convenience as they're the only two women still living at Southfork. (Lucy suddenly and eagerly chumming up with someone whom she has been so rightly wary of for over ten years just makes her look like a dummy.) And the main story: Mickey's tragic relapse and the what-the-hell-is-going-on? final scene, ending with Steve Kanaly's first ever freeze frame.
     
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  2. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    I like your old opinions. :)
     
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  3. Soaplover

    Soaplover Soap Chat Active Member

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    Wouldnt it have been in character for Lucy to have kept up her friendship with Pam? Early season Lucy never really followed the family motto...and it would have been interesting to see her and others debate over keeping contact with Pam, etc.
     
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  4. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    "Check and Mate"

    This episode closes possibly the most dramatic chapter in DALLAS history: the fight between JR and Bobby for control of Ewing Oil. As Harve Smithfield puts it in the second scene, “When the audit is finished and a winner is declared, it’ll signal the end of a long and very bitter year.” “A year that brought a lot of people a lot of pain, and not all of them named Ewing,” Bobby echoes, while talking to Holly Harwood. “Wounds heal. At least, mine do,” Holly replies gamely. The same, alas, cannot be said for the battle’s more serious casualties: Rebecca Wentworth, Walt Driscoll, and now Mickey Trotter.



    As the episode opens, Donna arrives at Dallas Memorial Hospital to collect Ray and his Aunt Lil, who have been visiting with Mickey. She is met at the entrance by a gaggle of reporters, anxious for a statement. “A statement? About what?” she asks, laughing in suprise. “Haven’t you heard the news report?” asks one, thrusting a microphone towards her. “Your husband’s been arrested for murder!” Stunned, Donna attempts to make her way inside. “DONNA!” calls out a voice in the crowd. She stops and looks. A photographer’s flashlight goes off in her face. Angered, she continues to push past the reporters, more roughly this time: “Get out of my way!” Following the preceding episode’s abrupt climax, (in which Ray blocked the door of Mickey’s room to prevent doctors from saving his life, while Lil looked silently on) the audience are almost as much in the dark as Donna, and we now watch the action unfold through her eyes. The use of a hand held camera adds a sense of immediacy and confusion to the scene. This sequence (reminiscent of the moment in Season 2 in which JR and Sue Ellen arrive at the hospital to collect their new born son, only to be greeted by the press and informed that the baby has been kidnapped) is a very effective start to a very effective instalment in a very effective season. 

As news of Ray’s arrest spreads, (“What’s he done now?,” is JR’s dry response) we follow Donna to the Police and Courts Building where he is being held. In the cold blue waiting room, she finds Lil, sitting quietly in a state of shock. Gently, Donna approaches her. Like the audience, she is looking for answers.

    Donna: Lil, it’s Donna. What happened?


    Lil (staring straight ahead): He’s gone, Donna. Michael’s gone.


    Donna (delicately): I know, but can you tell me how it happened?


    Lil: The Lord took him away.


    Donna: Lil, did Ray do something? Did he?


    Lil: Ray’s a good boy. He loved Michael.


    Donna: Yes, he did, but did he-?


    Lil flinches.


    Donna: Lil, I have to know.


    No response. Donna lowers her head in despair. Soon, they are joined by Bobby. 


    Bobby: Fill me in. What happened?


    Donna: The people at the hospital say Ray did it.


    Bobby: Did what, exactly?


    Donna: Disconnected Mickey’s life support system.



    We are used to seeing Donna depicted as calm and capable. Here, however, she is on unfamiliar ground, where her political savvy and Culver millions count for nothing. Her vulnerable emotional state is again reflected by shaky camera work, as she makes her way to the cell where Ray is being held. “What did you do?” she whispers, addressing her husband from the other side of a glass screen. 


    Ray: Mickey just died with a little dignity. It was important to him. 



    While the mercy killing of Mickey raises the topic of euthanasia, the word itself is never once mentioned during this story line. It is notable that on the occasions where DALLAS addresses what might be loosely termed “social issues”, it often does so through stories involving Ray and Donna. (As well as euthanasia, Season 6 also sees them uncover Edgar Randolph’s history of child molestation, and of course there is there is the Down’s Syndrome story line of Season 8). This is no coincidence. As arguably the most down to earth characters on the show, Ray and Donna are the DALLAS couple who most resemble the residents of KNOTS LANDING. Like their Californian cousins, they stubbornly refuse to move from their modest abode even after acquiring untold wealth. If, to quote David Jacobs, “DALLAS is about ‘them’ and KNOTS is about ‘us’,” then the Krebbses are theoretically the DALLAS characters most “relatable” to their audience. Certainly, Donna is the only Ewing wife whose world view extends beyond her own neuroses. She subsequently has a more defined sense of her own convictions than either Pam or Sue Ellen. 
“Oh Ray, it was wrong. It was WRONG!” she passionately insists in this episode. “Nobody has the right to play God!”

    After being released on bail, Ray returns wearily home. No sooner have he and Donna pulled up in the Krebbs driveway than Lucy bursts out of the house, beside herself with rage and grief. This is Charlene Tilton’s most powerful moment of the series. “HOW COULD YOU? YOU HAD NO RIGHT! YOU MURDERED HIM!” she screams, lashing out at Ray with her fists. He pushes past her, seeking refuge inside the house. In the background we glimpse Lil sitting motionless, apparently unaware of the commotion surrounding her. All three are grieving for the same person, yet isolated from one other by their individual loss. Again, it falls Donna to hold things together. “Stop it!” she insists, pulling Lucy away from Ray and holding tightly onto her. “Don’t you know this is tearing him apart too?” This brief sequence, no longer than forty-five seconds, is one of the most moving in DALLAS history. Once again, the hand held camera work of director of photography Bradford May perfectly captures the raw emotions of the scene. 



    While the others grieve, Donna must deal with the practicalities of the situation, such as finding a lawyer to handle Ray’s case. This proves suprisingly difficult. The more frantic her search becomes, the more fatalistic Ray’s response: “I don’t need a lawyer ... What I did, I did ... There’s just not much I can do about it, except take what’s comin’.” Finally, Donna can take no more: “Who the hell do you think you’re talkin’ to? Do you just think you’re some drifter who just lives all alone? ... You do remember that you have a wife, don’t you? A wife who’d like to see you more than on Sunday afternoons behind iron bars? You listen to me. We’ve been through a lot together, and don’t you dare sit there and tell me it was all in vain ... I’m gonna get you the best lawyer I can find. You’re what I wanted all my life. You may not think your life is worth savin’, but I sure as hell do.”



    To make another Krebbs/KNOTS comparison, the dynamic of Ray and Donna’s relationship here closely resembles that of Gary and Val at the end of KNOTS LANDING’s fourth season, originally broadcast seven months earlier than this episode. Like his half brother, Gary is charged with murder and, wracked with guilt and self loathing, refuses to defend himself (despite his innocence). It is only the love of a good woman--in his case, estranged wife Val--that persuades him that his life is worth fighting for. Ray and Gary are the “weaker” Ewing brothers that have married “stronger” women. The difference between the two series--KNOTS depicts a matriarchal community which nurtures its female members, while DALLAS portrays a patriarchal family that breeds dominant men--explains why Gary and Val are major characters, and Ray and Donna largely supporting players, in their respective show. The only time the Krebbses are featured heavily in DALLAS is in Season 8, a result of the series’ “feminization” by former KNOTS LANDING writer/producer Peter Dunne. Donna’s quest for a lawyer takes her to attorney Paul Morgan, cleverly introduced two episodes earlier as a one time associate of her late husband Sam who nursed a secret crush on her.

    Donna: Harve’s talked to all the top criminal firms around, but they all seem to be too tied up to do the case justice.


    Paul: C’mon, Donna. Smithfield’s just tryin’ to spare your feelings ... Look, this case is gonna have a terrific fee attached to it, and the only reason I know for a good lawyer to turn it down is because he’s afraid he might lose ... A lawyer’s win record is more important to him than his fee ... You’re not on very solid legal ground here. You’re dealing with sensitive issues and the judge might react emotionally rather than with clear legal logic. 


    Donna: ... Especially the whole thing’s gonna be swimming in a sea of publicity.


    Paul: Another good reason for a lawyer to duck it if he thinks he’s gonna lose.


    This discussion, which takes place in one of Dallas’s landmark squares (Thanksgiving? Energy?) puts Ray’s upcoming trial into a wider perspective, adding another layer of reality and complexity to the story. Once more, Bradford May’s photography expresses this visually by literally placing the characters in a larger context. The scene begins with an impressive overview of the Square. Although we can hear can Donna speaking, she and Paul are visually indistinguishable from the rest of the crowd--they are simply people amongst people--until the camera slowly pans in to find them.



    Donna: Do you think he’s gonna lose? ... Look, I’ve checked y’out. I know you have a good reputation. 


    Paul: Aha! So we’re down to me - the best of what’s left?


    Donna: No, I’m serious ... Will you take the case?


    Paul: All right ... I’ll represent your husband.


    Paul’s feelings for Donna, which don’t lead anywhere and are barely referred to, nonetheless add an extra dimension to their scenes together (reminiscent of the dynamic between old flames Mack Mackenzie and Janet Baines during KNOTS’ Season 4 murder investigation). Both are in the dark as to exactly what took place between Ray and Lil in the moments leading up to Mickey’s death, as are the audience. Ray is uncommunicative, while Lil is almost catatonic with grief.

    Towards the end of this instalment, there is a beautifully acted scene between Steve Kanaly and Kate Reid as Ray broaches the subject of Mickey’s funeral: “Seein’ how much Mickey loved it on Southfork this past year, I was wonderin’, Aunt Lil, if maybe he woulda liked it if we buried him here. There’s this corner up above the meadow beneath this big old tree. He used to go up there whenever he wanted to be by himself. I just keep thinkin’ how much he mighta liked it if we laid him to rest up there. Are you hearin’ me, Aunt Lil? I hope so ... I’ll understand whatever you wanna do about this, of course. It sure would mean somethin’ to me.” Throughout this speech, Lil sits silently, staring straight ahead. The only indication that she can hear Ray are the tears running down her face. In hindsight, it’s almost impossible to watch this episode without thinking of the premature death of Timothy Patrick Murphy, who played Mickey, which only adds to the deep poignance of the scene.



    The Krebbs’ crisis is the subject of conversation elsewhere in this episode. JR is naturally delighted by the arrest of “that half-breed”, (“with any luck he’ll be in jail for the next ten to fifteen years”) while in the Gulf, Clayton wonders how he can keep the newspaper headlines (“EWING RELATIVE ARRESTED FOR MURDER”) from an off screen and ailing Ellie. “What if you took her some place where nobody cares what a Ewing does?” suggests her physician. For Pam, Ray’s arrest proves something of a turning point. “I talked to Donna on the phone ... but I didn’t go to be with them,” she tells Mark. “They were my family for six years ... I’ve always been there when there was trouble.”


    Mark: That was before the divorce.


    Pam: Well, it’s hard.


    Mark: Pam, you’re doing the right thing. You’ve got your own house to put in order.


    Part of Pam’s fresh start includes a new oil venture with Mark and Cliff, (neatly, this episode marks the beginning of two sibling business partnerships - Pam and Cliff’s, and JR and Bobby’s) and a new office at Barnes/Wentworth. The set of Pam’s office, a mainstay of the show for the next four seasons, gets its unveiling here. “Cliff, this is lovely!” Pam gasps, and indeed it is. But if Pam thinks her new partnership is a step away from her old life, she is mistaken. “Barnes/Wentworth/Graisco is officially in business,” crows Cliff, celebrating their first deal. “What’s sweeter is who I stole it from ... JR Ewing!”“Oh no, not again,” exclaims Pam, her face dropping in horror: “That means the Barnes/Ewing feud is gonna start up all over again!” 



    Curiously, two characters who don’t acknowledge Mickey’s passing in this episode are Holly Harwood (making her penultimate appearance) and Sue Ellen, both of whom had a key part to play in his demise. Instead, each shares a scene with Bobby, in which they emerge from the wreckage of Season 5 to look towards the future. “It’s hard to fall out of love,” Holly admits, “and I was just wondering if I was gonna get another chance with you now that you’re a free man.” Bobby tries to let her down gently, but she isn’t satisfied with his “we can be friends” spiel. “Tell me somethin’, is it because I set JR up that time?” she asks, “ ... or because I slept with him to do it?” “Maybe both,” he concedes, establishing his rule of never sleeping with any of JR’s casts off, and thereby giving JR a means of blackmailing Katherine and April later in the series. (Katherine’s rejection of JR in this episode - “You’re not your brother, and he’s the one I’m in love with” - is reminiscent of Holly’s rebuff a year earlier: “JR, if I had wanted a package that included sex, I would’ve hired your brother Bobby.” In both cases, JR subsequently resorts to coercion to force the woman into sex.) Holly and Bobby say their good-byes. “Guess that’s the end of the road. Not that there ever really was a road for you and me,” Holly smiles ruefully. 



    Sue Ellen’s discussion with Bobby has a similarly bittersweet quality. It takes place in the Southfork living room, as did their most recent previous encounter shortly before the Southfork fire, in which Bobby attempted to wrest a large vodka from Sue Ellen’s bandaged grasp. Just as the room itself has been freshly painted since then, so the Sue Ellen is once again composed and cordial. “No thank you,” she smiles, turning down Bobby’s offer of a pre dinner drink. “I do make a pretty mean club soda,” he smiles back, in muted reference to her newly sober status. Beneath this cheerful veneer, however, there is a deep sense of melancholy coming from both characters. Sue Ellen tells Bobby about John Ross’s camp counsellor, Peter Richards: “He reminds me a lot of how you used to be. There’s a youthful sincerity about him. Life is important to him, Bobby. Not business, not deals - but life.” It is here, rather than in any scene involving Christopher Atkins, that we most clearly understand what draws Sue Ellen to Peter; the same qualities that first attracted her to Dusty, when he was “just” a rodeo rider: hope, freedom, a lack of corruption. By contrast, Sue Ellen sees herself as hopeless, trapped and tainted. Peter also possess the purity of youth. He has yet to be corrupted by greed and a lust for power in the same way the Ewings, including Bobby and Sue Ellen herself, have been.



    Bobby: Well, just give him time, Sue Ellen. He’ll change.


    Sue Ellen: Maybe not. If he doesn’t look for the things that are important to you, then maybe he’ll grow up to be as wholesome as he is right now.


    Sue Ellen’s remembrance of Bobby as a young man (“JR’s kid brother - you were so sweet and dashing and handsome”) and Holly’s final words to him (“There’s someone out there somewhere who’s gonna end up with you, and it won’t be me”) subtly pave the way for the return of Jenna Wade, his childhood sweetheart and future fiancee, in the following instalment.

    At the end of the episode, JR, Bobby, Punk Anderson and Harve reassemble in Harve’s office for the final audit. But is the result a foregone conclusion? Despite the agreement has existed between Bobby and JR for the past six episodes to split the company equally regardless of who comes out ahead, it is apparent that JR, the most likely winner, is planning to double cross his brother at the last minute and claim control of Ewing Oil for himself. 

“You haven’t called off the fight, have you?” twigs Katherine, early on in the episode. “You just tricked him into thinking you did.”


    JR: That’ll be our little secret.


    Katherine: And what if I want Bobby to have his rightful share of Ewing Oil?


    JR: You may be lovesick, but you’re not stupid, honey. I don’t think you want Pam or Bobby to find out how you manipulated their divorce ... Now, you’re gonna be happy with Bobby far away from here, and I’ll finally have my daddy’s company all to myself.

    Does Bobby know what JR is planning? More intriguingly, does he even care? There is an interesting ambivalence in Patrick Duffy’s performance in this episode. In most of his scenes, he exudes a weary air of resignation, even defeat, as if all the fight has gone out of him. When Sue Ellen compares the man he has become to the sweet, naive boy she once knew, his response - “Life has a tendency to change people, and I’ve had more than my share lately,” - is a clear reference to what the battle for Ewing Oil has cost him: his marriage and, to some extent, his integrity. “Bobby, we both know JR,” warns Sue Ellen, with reference to the brothers’ supposed truce. “Don’t take too much for granted.” “Sue Ellen, I never take JR granted.” 



    Despite his governmental duties and bout of malaria, Jock was evidently quite the prolific writer during his stay in South America: legal documents, codicils, and love letters have all found their way back to Texas to be read aloud at family gatherings, in lawyers’ offices, and even courts of law. Now comes Jock’s final word from beyond the grave (his World War II instruction to his first born to not “let the bastards grind you down” notwithstanding). “This letter came to Harve a year ago,” Punk explains to JR and Bobby, “and [he] gave it to me, with the instruction not to open it until the contest year had finished and the winner was about to be announced. (This alludes to a scene in the Season 5 episode “Aftermath”, which originally aired--with almost perfect accuracy--exactly 53 weeks earlier!)

    “Bobby, JR,” the letter begins. “By the time you read these words, a year will have passed since I died. Now, I know you never have been able to work together, but in throwing you against each other as I decided to, I will have been able to prove a point. I’m convinced that the fight for Ewing Oil will bring out the best in both of you -” 

Hmm, let’s recap on the fight here: leaving aside his usual chicanery, JR sold oil to Cuba, flooded the local market with cheap gasoline, thus turning every independent oil man in Texas against him, and raped Holly Harwood - all in the name of Ewing Oil. Bobby, meanwhile, double-crossed the cartel, and used cocaine and prostitutes to blackmail George Hicks. The brothers have also managed to destroy their respective marriages, drive their mother first into court and then to the edge of a breakdown, and wreck Walt Driscoll’s marriage, career and reputation, resulting in attempted murder and his own suicide. Either Jock Ewing had a very warped concept of what “the best in both of you” means, or he got it very, very badly wrong. 

“- and that when you add up your two halves of the company, you’ll find that together you have taken Ewing Oil to the heights of success and profitability.”



    The legacy Jock has bequeathed his sons is source of both human suffering and capital gain. That that none of Jock’s sons (including Ray and Gary) are able to escape that legacy brings a layer of tragedy to the Ewing saga - as well as an element of subversion. Unlike DYNASTY, which depicts the wisdom and goodness of its patriarch Blake Carrington with unquestioning adoration, DALLAS is a critique as much as a celebration of capitalism; if the Ewings represent the American Dream, they also symbolise the American Nightmare - at least during its first six seasons. (Season 7 rewrites Ewing history in an attempt to depict Jock - and subsequently his legacy - in a far more noble and heroic light. Season 9, with its depiction of the Ewings from the point of view of “the little man”, restores some complexity and ambiguity to the drama, and the series is all the stronger for it.)



    “I don’t care which of you ends up with the higher profit,” Jock’s letter continues. “I truly don’t. My deepest wish is that at the end of the year, you two will have learned that you’re far better off together than apart, and if you just took the same energy you used to fight each other and went to work side by side, there’d be no limit to what you’d be able to accomplish in the future. Sons, that was the point of your contest, not to make one of you a winner and another a loser, it was to make you look at each other as family.” This sentiment is in stark contrast to the declaration made in the codicil to Jock’s will, heard on-screen a year earlier, but supposedly written at the same time at this letter: “Ewing Oil can have only one man at the helm and that’s got to be the man that wants it the most.” This contradiction embodies the paradox that Jock has left his loved ones (as well as the series itself) to try and make sense of: that that which brings the family together will also tear them apart.



    The letter ends with a simple request: “JR, Bobby - do it without me, for your Mama’s sake and mine. Put your arms around each other and work that company like brothers.”

    “Harve, that’s not a legal document, is it?” JR asks coolly, and we understand that he still has no intention of sharing the company with his brother. “After all the trouble this battle has caused, shouldn’t we at least found out who won? How do you feel about that, Bob?” 
“Whatever you say, JR,” replies Bobby, his eyes lowered.

    As predicted, JR is the clear winner, totalling $40,220,000 to Bobby’s $24,160,000. He is just on the verge of wheedling out of his agreement with Bobby, when an unexpected visitor makes an appearance. Enter Thornton McLeish, “my partner in those Canadian frozen fields that I was involved with,” Bobby explains. Thornton makes a boring expositional speech: “When Bobby came in with us, we were sure our fields would come in and come in big. What we couldn’t tell was when ...” ending with the words, “I just wanted to give Bobby his cheque for twenty six million dollars.” JR’s face drops. “It’s his share of the profits from the Canadian fields ... The test well came in gushing and we just sold out to the majors.” “That means you win the contest, Bob!” declares Punk.



    Now it’s time to watch JR squirm as he rapidly shifts from smug victor (“Well, yes, there’s some truth to the idea that we were gonna share the company ... but that was in the aftermath of what happened at Southfork ... Both Bobby and I were highly emotional at the time-”) to outraged loser (“Contest is over! The winner’s been declared!”) to Uriah Heep in a stetson (“Well, I’ll be damned!” he chuckles, slapping Bobby on the back. “I’ve never been a sore loser. Congratulations on your win, Bob - not that it makes any difference. I mean, we have decided to be partners, right? ... Bob, you’ve never gone back on a deal. We are partners, right? Just the way Daddy wanted it?”) That such a crucial turning point in the saga should be played for laughs does not perhaps bode well for the series’ future credibility, but Larry Hagman’s depiction of a JR rapidly shifting gears in pursuit of his own interests is just too skilfully comic to resist.



    Like Jock’s last minute request, Bobby’s eleventh hour victory is, of course, a cop-out on the part of the writers - JR is by far the more ruthless, determined and experienced oilman. It’s a dramatic compromise, a device to keep both the show’s villain in check, and “the JR & Bobby Show” on the road. Nevertheless, the final shot of the episode is an intriguing one. JR, the contest loser, is all smiles with his arm around with his baby brother. By contrast, Bobby--the nominal winner --looks hunched, uncomfortable, trapped. “Yeah, JR. It’s gonna be just like Daddy wanted,” he murmurs, that same look of resignation on his face.
     
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  5. Rove

    Rove Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    I see your point. And does anyone else notice how Larry's voice goes into a higher pitch as the series progresses. This scene was playing beautifully up till when JR rises from his chair to help himself to a drink. The subtle reaction from Bobby was executed brilliantly, just that slight flinch knowing that JR was about to renege.

    After the reveal that Bobby had in fact won the contest I was expecting a different reaction from JR. Perhaps this was JR's way of dealing with defeat, a nervous laugh.
     
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  6. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    "Ray's Trial"

    And it's goodbye Holly Harwood, hello Jenna Wade. After losing the contest for control of Ewing Oil, JR spends the episode trying to reassert himself, urging the cartel to side with him against Mark and Cliff, teaching John Ross to swim (only to find he's been eclipsed by Peeeedurrrr) and making two failed attempts to get Sue Ellen into bed. (She just rubs her legs together and laughs in his face.) We get two nice scenes of the Pam Gang hanging out. In the first--which is the one that Pisces got prematurely moist about--they're at the polo club, watching Mark upchucking or whatever it's called. Afton wears a big hat, Cliff salivates over all the wealth on display, and Pam feels guilty cos she hasn't spread her legs yet. In the second Pam Gang scene, Sunday brunch is interrupted by the news that Jenna Wade is back in town. Pam's face drops, to Mark's chagrin, and so does Katherine's, to Cliff and Afton's silent amusement. Katherine and Sue Ellen have their only scene together, ogling all of the camp counsellors' nubile flesh: "Oh, they're beautiful!" Could this be the scene where Sue Ellen's feelings for little Peter turn ever so slightly carnal? Ray's trial is squeezed into the last ten minutes of the show. Understandably, it's a somewhat dry affair, but I do wish the rest of the family had been integrated more into this storyline. How does Sue Ellen feel about her role in this affair? And how do Ray and Donna feel about her? Charlene Tilton looks very lovely in the witness box but is totally unconvincing. Somebody call Aunt Lil to the stand!

    "The Oil Baron's Ball"

    The trial is done and dusted in the first fifteen minutes, and Ray gets off with a light scolding from the twinkly judge (later Val's twinkly psychiatrist on KNOTS). Sue Ellen gets off also when she virtually rapes JR after cruising for fresh meat in the park. The rest of the episode is all about the Oil Baron's Ball--last season, a glorified chicken-in-a-basket industry do; now a glitzy, thousands-of-dollars-a-table charity affair complete with coveted Oil Man of the Year Award. The Ball gets neatly folded into the DALLAS mythology as the event where Jenna jilted Bobby first time round (1970). Jenna's history is expanded in other ways in this episode. Thanks to a gossipy Cliff, ("Well, I wasn't exactly taken into the Ewings' confidence but ...") we learn that, after running out on Bobby, she fled to Europe where she actually married a count, (at least I think that's what Cliff calls him) thus making Charlie slightly more legitimate and Jenna a tad less slutty than when she was played by Morgan Fairchild back in Season 1. The question mark over Charlie's paternity, previously erased by Jenna #1, now reappears. "Who really knows but Jenna?" muses Cliff, posing the question that will bug both Katherine and viewers for most of the season. At the Ball, Jenna is introduced to Sue Ellen, Lucy and Ray apparently for the first time, which doesn't quite fit with the character's history. There is an unusually catty scene in the powder room, with Sue Ellen, Katherine and Pam all taking potshots at Jenna, and Katherine and Afton exchanging digs. The impact of Jenna's presence on the other characters (she's Bobby's first love, Pam's nemesis, Katherine's rival and JR's ally), her strong backstory, (the "heiress turned waitress" gimmick, those missing years in Europe) and her stunning looks completely atone for Priscilla Presley's lack of acting talent. For this season, anyway ...

    "Morning After"

    Cliff's Oil Baron of the Year speech and the fight that follows are both great, but what really impresses is how good the rest of the episode is when there's so little going on in the way of high drama. Pam starts work at Barnes-Wentworth, JR and Katherine each respond to Bobby's relationship with Jenna, Peter admits he's sweet on Sue Ellen and that's kind of it, yet the episode still feels rich and satisfying. Part of reason is the beautiful filming courtesy of Bradford May--a scene in which Peter declares his impossible love for Sue Ellen is immediately followed by one of Katherine (never more sympathetic) declaring hers to Bobby, and both are shot in gorgeously leafy, watery sunlight--and part is the nice attention to detail. After the ball, for example, we check in on Jenna nursing Bobby's injuries at her apartment, Pam doing the same for Mark at her place, (Jenna takes the brawl in her stride while Pam is comparatively prim and disapproving) and Sue Ellen attending to Peter at Southfork leaving JR to fend for himself ("Cliff Barnes, that rodent! He bit me!"). Then next morning, we return to each location to pick up where we left off: we learn that, contrary to appearances, Bobby and Jenna didn't end up in bed together and neither did Pam and Mark, while Lucy wonders aloud about the nature of Peter's feelings for Sue Ellen. Looking at the Peter/Sue Ellen relationship with fresh eyes, it's actually quite sweet (Christopher Atkins' rent boy attire notwithstanding). It does pose a philosophical question, however: does a Sue Ellen that considers another character's feelings before her own still remain Sue Ellen, or is Linda Gray now playing Linda Gray?
     
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  7. Soaplover

    Soaplover Soap Chat Active Member

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    I often wonder how Jenna would have been different had Morgan Fairchild resumed the role.

    A tthis point, Katherine isnt all evil...and I liked how Afton had Katherine's number. Also, the changes going on in Pam's life with the death of her mom, divorce from Bobby, starting anew with Mark, and working at Barnes Wentworth...an actors dream to play all those things. I can see why VP stayed on because of the excitement of acting...and I can see why she quit when in her final season..Pam turned into a stepford wife (though having her play Pam with a scarred face from the accident wpuld have been interesting.).
     
  8. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    “The Buck Stops Here”

    It’s 1983. DALLAS is still Number One in the ratings, but DYNASTY--now into its fourth season --is nipping at its heels. The opulent excesses of the Carrington clan, such as the Nolan Miller gowns and the forty-eight room mansion, have by now become firmly embedded in the American psyche and the Ewings of Dallas, with their stetsons and store-bought clothes, are in danger of looking parochial by comparison. It’s no surprise, therefore, when DALLAS begins upping its glamour quotient during Season 6. While the programme itself is undergoing a makeover, several DALLAS characters are faced with the challenge of rebuilding their lives (as well as the ranch house) following the events of Season 5.

    The aftermath of the battle for control of Ewing Oil finds the emotional lives of Bobby, Pam, Sue Ellen, Miss Ellie and Ray in tatters. Rather than starting afresh, however, this episode finds all but two of these characters seeking refuge in the familiar. Unable to contemplate a new life away from Southfork, Sue Ellen has reverted to hiding behind her self-described “mockery of a marriage”, while Bobby has retreated even further into the past by dating childhood sweetheart Jenna Wade. As for Ray, well, Donna has finally managed to get him to New York for that long-delayed honeymoon (a jaunt which effectively bridges the gap between the Mickey Trotter and Edgar Randolph story lines), but his reaction in this episode makes it clear how open he is to change: “New York? It’s a great place, but I don’t belong here. I wanna go home.” 



    While Ellie is broadening her horizons overseas with Clayton, Pam is the only on-screen character who is truly attempting to leave her past behind and make a new life for herself. In addition, it is in the lifestyle that she has adopted following her divorce from Bobby that the show’s new DYNASTY influence can most clearly be detected. The house on Antioch Drive, for instance, which she inherited from her mother, may lack Southfork’s vast acreage, but is altogether a grander, more luxurious abode than the Ewings’ ranch house. (This sense of “authentic” wealth is accentuated by the fact that, unlike Southfork, the interiors of Pam’s house have been shot in a real house, as opposed to a soundstage.) Her work surroundings have also become more salubrious, as she follows Alexis and Fallon into the executive world, taking her place alongside brother Cliff in a super-sexy new office suite at Barnes-Wentworth.

    Along with the new house and the new job comes the new beau, Mark Graison. Like JR and Bobby, Mark has inherited his fortune, yet seems far more to the manor born than either of the Ewing boys. He travels regularly by private jet, plays polo, (a rich man’s game if ever there was one) and, despite having been on the show less than a year, has already whisked the lovely Pam off to the South of France on vacation. In comparison, the Ewings make do with an occasional helicopter trip, JR has yet to even mount a horse, and it will take until the end of season 11 for Bobby to leave US soil. (For the sake of argument, I’m discounting Bobby’s brief searches for Jock and/or Wes Parmalee in the jungles of South America, as well as his year-long sabbatical in the afterlife.) That’s nearly twelve years without an overseas vacation.



    This sense of provinciality (see again Ray’s reaction to New York) has always been part of the Ewings’ down-home charm. As JR boasts in this episode, “My daddy made Ewing Oil the number one independent oil company in Dallas,” and so, as far as he and the rest of the Ewings are concerned, the world outside of Texas might as well not exist. Sure, JR might finance the overthrow of a South East Asian government from time to time, but the nation in question is regarded in such a vague, abstract way that it isn’t even given a name. This narrow perspective on the part of the characters has assisted the show in forging its own strong sense of place and identity. Whereas the generic goings on in DYNASTY could be taking place almost anywhere, DALLAS is nearly always about, well, Dallas. Although it would later struggle to maintain this sense of identity (Season 8, anyone?), the series manages, during this period, to sustain a delicate balance between its origins and its new influences. 



    “The Buck Stops Here” takes place two episodes after the annual Oil Baron’s Ball, and two episodes before the annual Ewing barbecue. This means that it’s time for the annual (though never referred to on-screen before or since) Good Ole Boys Charity Rodeo. While the main dramatic reason behind all the social activity in Season 6 is the plentiful opportunities it affords Bobby and Pam, cruelly divorced yet desperately in love, to gaze yearningly at each other across various crowded rooms and dance floors, it also provides an opportunity to counterbalance the DYNASTY-esque glitz of this season’s Oil Baron’s Ball (all posh frocks and champagne oil rigs) with an occasion more in keeping with DALLAS’s down-home Western tradition. The rodeo is strictly a jeans and stetsons, “No Shoulder Pads Allowed” type affair that takes place at Billy Bob’s, the Fort Worth bar where Jenna Wade makes a living waiting tables while trying to avoid getting her ass pinched.



    We first hear about the rodeo from Tracy Anders, Mark’s bitchy ex, whom he runs into at the polo club, where Pam is developing a keen interest in the sport: “It looks so exciting, I bet I could learn to play!” By contrast, Pam displays little interest in attending the rodeo. If polo symbolises the new, glamorous (i.e. Bobby-less) world that Pam is attempting to master, then the rodeo (regularly attended by Bobby and other Ewings) represents the more traditional “cowboy” lifestyle that she is endeavouring to leave behind. Once again Pam, as the programme’s emotional centre, is caught between two worlds: the past and the future, “traditional DALLAS” and “Dynasty-DALLAS”, and unable to fully commit to either. As a result, Mark is also in a kind of limbo. He has renounced his playboy past for Pam (“or haven’t you told her you were the first man to skydive in the nude?” Tracy asks him slyly), yet Pam has yet to truly renounce her past with Bobby for him. (“In all the time we’ve been going together, we’ve never made love,” she later confesses to Katherine.) Tracy baits Mark into signing up for the charity event by tapping into his feelings of impotence surrounding Pam (and Bobby): “I think Mark prefers this gentleman’s game [polo] to the rough and tumble of the rodeo.” Mark bites, and it is now time for Pam to step up to the plate. In order to renounce her past, she must be willing to face it - by attending the rodeo. “We can’t go around living our lives trying to avoid the Ewings,” Mark insists. “We all live in Dallas - you, me, your ex-husband, your ex-husband’s family ... You’re still emotionally tied to him aren’t you? ... Pam, when is it time for you to give? When is this gonna be a two-way relationship?”



    When a confused Pam confides in her sister that she has “made a total mess of my life”, Katherine--who, with her big hats, much-stamped passport and two-dimensional persona, is very much a product of the new “Dynasty-DALLAS”--insists that “that’s nonsense, Pam. You’ve moved into this lovely house, you’ve started working with Cliff, and you’ve got a man who’s in love with you. Now that doesn’t sound like a total mess to me.” “I know, but that’s all on the surface. I can’t seem to let myself go, to really start feeling again.” In other words, Pam might be moving into a brave new designer world, but her heart and identity remain in the past. This dilemma applies not just to Pam, but to the series itself and to many of its characters. Much of the drama of Season 6 (in many ways, the beginning of the post-Jock era) lies in the tension that exists between the past and the future.



    While Pam’s journey has taken her from rags to riches to even richer, Jenna’s fortunes have gone in the opposite direction. (“I’m still the same [dress] size, just a couple of million dollars lighter,” she tells Bobby over dinner at the Oil Baron’s Club, making its debut appearance in this episode). While she remains the “poor little rich girl”, there exists a bluntness and independence about her character (“If you’re with me because you think you’re Charlie’s father and you feel obligated to me, then I think we should stop seeing each other right now”) that is largely absent later on, when she simply becomes a passive victim of both circumstance and Katherine Wentworth (Season 9 notwithstanding).

    Surprisingly, Jenna and Katherine only share one conversation during the entire series, and it takes place in this episode. Katherine pays Jenna a visit at Billy Bob’s (“It’s not Wentworth Industries, but the tips are good”) and, claiming to be acting on her sister’s behalf, attempts to bribe Jenna into relocating to Houston. Jenna is impressively unimpressed, and in fact manages to verbally wipe the beer stained floor with her upmarket rival: “Suppose things really worked out between Bobby and me, suppose he really fell in love with me again, and suppose I was still in love with him. And, to carry this little fantasy to its ultimate conclusion, suppose we got married. That would make me a Ewing and then, Katherine, I’d be as rich as you! But I don’t have any plans to marry Bobby Ewing, and I don’t have any plans to move to Houston, but that doesn’t mean that Pam shouldn’t be concerned ... If your sister Pam is still in love with Bobby, I don’t think I’m the only one she has to worry about.”



    The Good Ol' Boys Charity Rodeo takes place, and Ray (who cut his New York honeymoon short in order to compete!) is declared the winner with 82 points. Bobby comes in second, leaving Mark to score a respectable 77. “Boy, that man can do anything!” marvels Cliff in his only line of the episode. Had this been the Good Ol' Boys Nude Skydiving Event, Mark would have doubtless done even better. During the competition, the air is thick with overripe dialogue and double meanings.

    
Donna: Tell me somethin’, Jenna. Would it make you happy if you could beat Pam in the mechanical bull competition?

    
Jenna: I’m not sure I can! 


    Then it’s over to the Dallas Palace for some dancing (Jenna: “Well, go ahead - wouldn’t you like one dance with him, Pam?”) followed by the Ladies’ Mechanical Bull Competition which, I tell ya, is a website just waiting to happen. As the contest heats up, the double entendres are flying thick and fast. 
“You’re a tough act to follow,” coos Jenna as she climbs into Pam’s still warm saddle. “I am a tough act to follow,” agrees Pam. “She’s followin’ some great ridin’!” chips in the commentator, just to ram the point home. For those of you keeping count, Donna bags the winning trophy with 77 points, Pam manages 76, while Jenna scrapes by with 58.


    Jenna: I hope you’re not disappointed in me?


    Bobby: I think you’re wonderful.



    Cue some impressive out-of-competition tongue action from these two runners up. However, Mark is the one who really scores, as he and Pam take Bobby and Jenna’s saliva exchange as their cue to leave. Back at Pam’s fancy mansion, they embrace passionately at the bottom of the stairs. Mark makes a symbolic point of taking the phone off the hook to “make sure we finish what we started a long time ago in France.” Yes, this time there will be no frantic message from Afton to interrupt their coitus. This time the buck stops with Pam and, as he carries her up the stairs, it looks like he’s stopping the night.
     
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  9. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    "To Catch a Sly"

    The morning after Pam and Mark's first night together. In spite of the sheer oddness of Pam confiding in Christopher that Mark didn't make the earth move for her ("He's not your daddy!") and some seriously dodgy dubbing undermining the scene in which Pam intimates to Bobby what has occurred, there's a nice chain reaction from Bobby and Jenna's public kiss at Billy Bob's last episode to Pam going to bed with Mark to Bobby and Jenna's date fizzling out the next day ("For one former All-American Boy and one madcap heiress, we sure haven't done much to set any tongues wagging," reflects Jenna wryly).

    Bobby and Jenna's backstory adds a lot of flavour to the season. Jenna and Pam aren't terribly interesting characters in themselves--what really matters in Pam's case is the position she occupies at the heart of the Barnes/Ewing feud and in Jenna's, how much history she brings to the show. During a very nice scene between Jenna and Charlie at the Southfork gate, (a rarely used location other than in establishing shots) we learn that Lucas Wade's ranch was only three miles away from Southfork (this expands to five miles in Season 7) and that the teenage Bobby used to ride a motorcycle (presumably, not through the showroom window like big brother Gary did his).

    When Lucy declares her interest in Peter, nice woman Linda Gray doesn't know what to do for the best so she attempts to be honest about her own emotions ("I started to feel jealous," she admits to Peter. "I didn't know that I felt that way towards you") while taking other people's feelings into consideration. In other words, she behaves in the exact opposite way to that Sue Ellen chick who sometimes occupies the same body.

    JR spends the episode looking for the company mole that has been leaking information to Cliff Barnes. Back in Season 1 or 2, he would have had this figured out in a scene or two, but a slower burn is more suitable for this story. Similarly, when he finds out it's Sly, one expects her punishment to come hard and swift (Rudy Millington style), but instead JR--as well as David Paulsen and co.--are thinking of the bigger picture.

    "Barbecue Four"

    The action subtly moves up a gear in this episode. JR is now playing Cliff at his own game, using Sly to feed him information (which enables Cliff to swipe the Travis Boyd deal from under Bobby's nose), Katherine sets sail for Rome to find the truth about Jenna, Peter and Lucy begin their weird remedial dating thing, (resulting in some of the most cringeworthy moments of the entire series, e.g. Christopher Atkins eeking out an uncomfortable grunt in order for Charlene Tilton to respond with the earnestly delivered line, "You have a nice laugh") and Dr Rudy Wells debuts as Edgar Randolph, this season's Walt Driscoll. Most notably, Miss Ellie returns with Clayton in time to set off the annual barbecue bombshell: this time, it's their engagement.

    Linda Gray indulges in some extremely un-Sue Ellen body language, walking arm in arm with the caterer in the opening scene and holding hands with Miss Ellie later on. In explaining her need for separate bedrooms, ("I wanted to stay here at Southfork; this was really the only way I could do it") Sue Ellen has her first ever sober conversation with Miss Ellie where she isn't hiding behind her "everything is just fine" veneer.

    Ellie also shares a nice emotional touchstone scene with her other daughter-in-law: "You still love him, don't you, Pam?" "Yes." This is one of several interesting encounters at the barbecue. Pam and Charlie: "We have met; very briefly, a long time ago," remembers Pam in a call back to the Morgan Fairchild-as-Jenna episode, "Old Acquaintance" (written by Camille Marchetta, presumably the inspiration for Naldo's surname, mentioned for the first time in this episode). Bobby and Mark, in their only real conversation of the show: "I love her, Bobby." "I know you do." There's also Ray's reaction upon being introduced by Lucy to Peter Richards ("Seems like a nice young man," proffers Donna. "But he's no Mickey," comes Ray's unspoken reply) and a jealous Afton observing an envious Cliff spying on a duplicitous Sly watching a scheming JR in conversation with an unwitting Edgar.
     
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  10. Ray&Donna

    Ray&Donna Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    Oh, I love this season (especially the early, on location part). It's interesting that you don't notice Miss Ellie's absence due to the heightened drama of the circumstances. Flash forward a year later, and no BBG in the opening credits, all you can think is, "Where the f*** is Mama?" :mad:

    Bradford May's camera work, the redone interiors at Southfork and the Krebbs house, the Oil Barons Club...the show finally takes on the rich look it always should've had.

    I had to pick just one episode of the entire series to watch and rewatch and call my favorite, "Check and Mate" is it.
     
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  11. Ray&Donna

    Ray&Donna Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    Also, it took me several viewings to note that the mechanical bull operator (as a friend or colleague, we assume) deliberately puts Jenna on a lower setting so as not to humiliate her or smoosh down her hair.
     
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  12. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    "Past Imperfect"

    As Marky's pointed out, there's quite a KNOTSian vibe to Season 6. It's something to do with the depth and texture of the photography, (Southfork feels like a real house here, in much the same way that Seaview Circle feels like a real cul-de-sac) but also a sense of the everyday lives the characters are leading, against which the larger than life events take place. An example in this episode is the gorgeously shot scene of a candlelit dinner for four at Cliff's apartment, which is as much about Afton trying to get Cliff to taste her cooking as it is about Cliff attempting to persuade Mark and Pam to commit to a multi-million dollar offshore oil deal. (And that's why Afton is such an important part of Season 6--she doesn't have to do, it's enough that she is.)

    Elsewhere, Bobby and Peter are both curiously bone-headed in their dealings with the women in their lives. Jenna hits the roof when Bobby tells her he's bought her a boutique to run. It falls to Donna--smartly, brightly, warmly, sternly--to put Jenna's point of view across ("It's like you're sayin' that all she's done to support herself and Charlie all these years is just not good enough in your eyes") and still Bobby doesn't get it. When he allows Jenna to think that making the boutique a business arrangement is her idea, he does so in a hugely patronising way, and the show seems to side with him in that. (Still, Jenna will get the last word when she flings the boutique back in his face in the supposedly anti-women Season 9.)

    The story of Nice Woman Linda Gray and her well-meaning stalker continues confusingly--having made it clear that she is extremely uncomfortable about conducting any sort of relationship with him, Peter's solution is to ... rent them an apartment! He can't understand Nice Woman's appalled reaction. "I thought you'd be thrilled to death about it!" I'm not sure how we're meant to read Peter--as a naive man/child blinded by his own infatuation, as a rational man thwarted by the Rules of a Society That Does Not Understand The Beautiful Love of A Younger Man For An Older Woman, or as an emotionally retarded sociopath? Or is it all some sort of convoluted metaphor for homosexual love? Whichever, Peter comes across as nothing so much as A Soap Character Required to Behave Irrationally In Order To Further The Plot. Oh, and there's also the Ewing boys' reaction to Miss Ellie and Clayton's engagement. JR learns Clayton has a sister called Jessica, there's the beginning of Clayton and Ray's friendship, and a fab scene at the end where Howard Keel bursts into JR's office and tears him a new stetson. Season 7 needed more of that kind of stuff, instead of turning The Keelster into some sort of wild boar Donna Reed has had stuffed and mounted to give her something tall to stand in front of.

    "Peter's Principles"

    After making such a big deal of forming a consortium with Mark and Pam, Cliff wastes no time in jumping ship when they start to drag their heels on the offshore deal. He makes overtures to Jordan and Marilee instead. Jordan bails, but Marilee's interested. Season 6 makes the best use of Marilee Stone of the whole series. She and Cliff are really good together. Their clandestine meeting at Cliff's apartment sets in motion a succession of great scenes full of conflict. Firstly, Afton arrives home unexpectedly and catches them both, martini glass-handed. ("My performance was cancelled. It looks like yours just was too. Don't come near me.") She storms out and pitches up at Pam's door. This leads to the best scene of the episode in which Pam bursts into Cliff office demanding to know, "What the hell are you doing to Afton?" Pam and Cliff end up having the same conversation they've been having for six years, (Cliff: "I've been kicked and kicked hard." Pam: "You mean by the Ewings? You're still singing that old song??") but because Ken Kercheval is so imaginative a performer (especially vocally) and Victoria Principal has suddenly sprung to life as an actress, it feels fresh and important and resonant. Worried that Cliff's offshore plans could re-ignite the Barnes/Ewing feud, Pam turns to Bobby. This leads to a sweet dinner scene between the ex-lovers, some arched eyebrows from Jenna, and a shouting match between Pam and Mark, which is interrupted by Afton, looking awfully pretty and on her way back to Cliff's, thus bringing the chain of events full circle.

    Elsewhere, there is a sly reference to Howard Keel's musical past ("I used to sing a little when I was younger," claims Clayton coyly) and the introduction of Peter's roommate Jerry Hunter, who in three short scenes manages to convey more sexiness and danger than Christopher Atkins does in an entire season. I think the problem with the Sue Ellen/Peter story is that it is extraneous to the rest of the Ewing saga. Everything that's happened to Sue Ellen up till now has been a direct result of her marriage to JR which, in turn, is a direct result of the way she was raised. Peter's kittenish infatuation with an older woman, however, feels random in the same way as Pam's Season 9 collision; it could have happened to anyone. That's probably why it feels like Linda Gray could be playing any well-meaning middle-aged woman in any nicely lit TV movie.


    "Offshore Crude"

    The offshore stuff is great: JR continues to screw Bobby over, albeit in a much milder, more subtle way than he did last year, by sending him off on a wild goose chase scouting for potential offshore partners for Ewing Oil, when it's all part of his scam to set Cliff up. So JR's lying to Bobby and using Sly to lie to Cliff who's lying to Afton over his involvement with Marilee, who is very funny in this episode (Cliff: "You're sure no one will see us together?" Marilee: "In a dump like this? Sure hope nobody sees me"). Not so much Texas oil baroness, more wisecracking New York Jew with a bit of Mae West thrown in.

    The most (only?) interesting thing about Sue Ellen's involvement with Peter is how it impacts on her relationship with JR, like in the opening scene where she returns home in the middle of dinner after having rubbish sex with Peter. (She's wearing a different outfit to the one she was wearing earlier the same day at his apartment, and you just know he got prematurely excited and spoffed all over her skirt.) Sue Ellen excuses herself and goes straight upstairs. JR follows her: "Are you forgetting our agreement? We always have dinner together." This is the first we hear of a formal arrangement existing between them during their separate bedrooms period, (other than "shag who you want") and it points up the lonely emptiness of their marriage at this time.

    Elsewhere, John Ross's over-excitement regarding Peter's re-appearance feels totally believable (intentionally or not, Omri Katz really captures what a pain in the arse kids become when they get all giddy and demanding), while Lucy's over-excitement for the same reason feels plain weird. Tottering around in her swimsuit and high heels, acting all wide-eyed and breathless, she seems like a creature that's just been hatched rather than a fully grown woman who's gone through a succession of traumatic, life changing experiences.

    And because Sue Ellen no longer has scenes with former confidantes Clayton and Dr Elby, in which her true feelings can be articulated to the audience, we're also treated to the lame Kirby-from-DYNASTY type scene where she shows up at Peter's apartment and, standing with her back to him, opens her heart while he's in the bathroom with the taps on full blast. "Oh I'm sorry, I couldn't hear a word you were saying!" chirrups Peter at the end of her whispered speech. Duh!

    JR summons Edgar Randolph to Ewing Oil late at night--the mood and camera work are very similar to the scene where he raped Holly Harwood--to begin blackmailing him over we know not what. It is now established that Edgar Randolph, Jenna Wade and Clayton Farlow all have Deep Dark Secrets Hidden in Their Pasts, and much of the rest of the season will be taken up by Ray and Donna, Katherine and JR respectively trying to uncover what each of those secrets is.

    "Some Do ... Some Don't"

    Some do or don't do ... what? I think they're talking about it. Y'know--it. Bobby and Jenna do do it, for the first time in fourteen years (which means it's not just Jenna's boutique that opens in this episode). Sue Ellen and JR don't do it--in fact, the mere suggestion of creating a brother or sister for John Ross practically has Sue Ellen heaving all over the upstairs hallway--and neither do Sue Ellen and Peter, busy getting their kicks from ice skating and tacos instead. (Ice skating and tacos?? Whichever version of Sue Ellen Linda Gray is playing in these scenes, it bares no resemblance to the one we've seen during the first five seasons.) JR records himself and Katherine doing it, Pam tells Marilee she doesn't want her and Cliff to do it, Clayton suggests doing it--Jenna's opening seems to have got him in the mood as well--but Miss Ellie is horrified at the prospect and leaves him to strike a Rhett Butler style pose at the bottom of the Southfork staircase instead.

    Nice touches: Clayton and Miss Ellie's kitchen reminiscences of their vacation mishaps (Clayton exposing himself in front of half the spinsters of Pyramus, New Jersey; Ellie eating a calf's head), the Pam Gang playing Space Invaders, Clayton and Ray bonding during the cattle auction scene that establishes ranching as Clayton's first love, and a glimpse of the fab Kate Vernon (later so sweet as Lorraine in FALCON CREST and currently excellent as Lady Macbeth-alike Ellen Tighe in BATTLESTAR GALACTICA) as one of Peter's sneering friends in the otherwise crappy Taco scene.


    "Eye of the Beholder"

    Victoria Principal's great in this episode. From the opening scene where Christopher (dry-eyed for once) bursts into his mother's room to wake her, she's spontaneous and playful, cheerfully ad-libbing dialogue in a way that would have been inconceivable during PAM: THE KEWPIE DOLL YEARS (i.e. Seasons 1-4). It's interesting in retrospect to see how future storylines are being set up--Mark is away in Houston, having the secret medical check up that will later reveal his terminal illness (and hello to Abby Ewing's first husband as Dr Kenderson!)--and so, to ensure maximum heartache for Pam down the line, it's important that she start growing closer to Bobby again, hence the scene where they run into one another at the Oil Baron's Club and spend the afternoon reminiscing over lunch. Ironically, there's a real onscreen rapport between Bobby and Pam here that just wasn't present during their marriage. Again, a lot of that comes down to Principal. From her peal of laughter after Pam informs Bobby that she's ordered watercress sandwiches for them both through their trip down memory lane (recalling the moments that led up to the beginning of the series during "the coldest winter in the history of Texas") to her silent realisation (following Bobby's casual remark that "I haven't been home the last couple of nights") that he and Jenna are now sleeping together, there's a lovely lightness to her performance. It all feels unforced and natural. Adding hugely to the atmosphere of this sequence is Bradford May's photography--when Bobby and Pam suddenly realise they've been talking for hours, the lighting really makes one feel that it's now late afternoon on a sunny day, even though the characters are still indoors. And it's a slick touch to have them run into a boozy Clayton at the bar, where he's carrying the weight of the episode's primary storyline on his shoulders.

    For reasons unknown, Miss Ellie has broken off their engagement and turned on the cold tap, freezing out anyone--Clayton, JR--who dares ask for an explanation. Donna is the only character who won't be intimidated by her. Any emotionally charged scene between BBG and Susan Howard is always a standout and the one in this episode is no exception. It's interesting to see where Clayton turns in his hour of need--while he and Sue Ellen have a nice scene together (again, beautifully shot with Linda Gray looking lovelier than she has all season), he now seems to have replaced her with Ray and Donna as his closest allies. The final scene is great--a bellowing Clayton bursts into Southfork at night looking for Ellie (for a second, one imagines he might burst into song), JR pulls a gun out of his PJs, Miss Ellie goes from angry to heartbroken as she tells Clayton about her mastectomy, they embrace and the episode ends on that great shot of him looking ambivalent over her shoulder.

    Other highlights: Pam's cheeky reference to THE MAN FROM ATLANTIS; a funny scene in which, after Peter comes to pick Lucy up for a date, JR's wisecracks have Sue Ellen squirming so much she practically turns inside out; Afton's bizarre announcement that Mitch has become chief resident of a hospital only two years after qualifying as a doctor; and a subtle link between Mark lying to Pam about where he stayed in Houston and Cliff asking Mark to recommend a hotel so that he can not stay there during his illicit liaison with Marilee Stone. And let's not spoil the fun by pondering too closely the likelihood of Marilee basing a million dollar investment on whether or not she can getting Cliff into the sack.
     
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  13. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    "Twelve Mile Limit"

    A few firsts in this episode: the first glimpse of the Southfork exercise room and, even odder, the first time we see JR working out (which never seemed quite in character to me; he should have just grown fatter and more disgusting as the years went on). There's the first indication as to what Clayton's Big Secret might be: "Are you sayin' he killed his wife for her money?" asks JR. This leads to a great scene in which JR delivers breakfast in bed to an aloof (and queasy) Sue Ellen and manipulates her into revealing a conversation she and Clayton had in Season 4 about his first wife. Linda Gray's great here. You can keep her foaming at the mouth, drunk tank, "Look Ma, I'm Acting!" stuff from Season 8, it's in negotiating the subtle shifts of scenes like this that she really excels. There's also the first mention of Gold Canyon 340, the offshore field that will make Cliff's fortune. As the oil companies ready themselves for the offshore bidding, Weststar Oil is reintroduced as an off-screen presence, even though Jeremy Wendell doesn't reappear for another year. (Curiously, Weststar--the largest oil company in the South West, lest we forget--wasn't referred at all during Season 5 when, thanks to the fight for Ewing Oil, the Dallas oil community as a whole were featured more strongly than at any other time.)

    The fall-out from Miss Ellie's mastectomy revelation leads to some lovely scenes, as she and Clayton both fret separately about how he will react to seeing her undressed. "Please, Donna!" she cries in frustration during another terrifically acted Bel Geddes/Howard scene. "Forgive me, but you just don't know! Unless you've been through it, you can't." Out on the range, Clayton articulates his fears to Ray. "Dammit, why do I feel the way I do? ... I'm a little scared." Arguably, this conversation, about feelings and love and fear and stuff, is an unrealistic one for two such strong and silent men's men to be having, but the combined talents of Keel, Kanaly and writer David Paulsen manage to make it plausible, without sacrificing the characters' credibility. Of all of the negative repercussions of Donna Reed assuming the role of Ellie, perhaps the discontinuation of this storyline is the most unfortunate. How powerful might a scene (discreetly and sensitively filmed) of Ellie showing herself to Clayton for the first time have been.

    The detail of the offshore plot means there's lots of fun to be had watching JR and Sly sucker a further $10,000 out of "cheap penny pincher" Cliff in return for the geological surveys of the fields JR is supposedly interested in. ("I can't believe anyone would do what you're doing!" says Edgar Randolph as he hands over the information JR has demanded. The irony is JR isn't doing what Edgar thinks he is. What he is doing is even worse!) At first, Cliff decides he can do without the surveys, but then he and Marilee get down to some post-coital negotiation in Houston. "Sweetheart," she tells him. "Sex is sex, but when it comes to business, I wanna see more than your pretty face ... I wanna examine the geologicals." So Cliff, miffed, has to pay up. Lord knows, Sly could use the money; she's still wearing the other actresses' hand-me-downs--Pam's dress from the Season 4 cast photo, in this instance. There's a pretty scene of Pam and Katherine being all Playmate of the Month-ish, as they recline on Katherine's bed in their lingerie. Pam prattles dreamily on about Bobby, ("I don't think a day goes by that I don't think about him and how it used to be") somehow oblivious to the glowering expression on Katherine's face. One can imagine Katherine donning a strap-on at the end this scene and ... well, maybe that's just me.

    The writers of Season 6 (all three of them) have a clever juggling act to perform over the next ten episodes by bringing Bobby and Pam to the brink of reconciliation, only to then spin each of them off into a credible engagement to someone else. Accordingly, in this episode, both Charlie (off screen) and Miss Ellie drop hints in Bobby's (and the viewer's) ear about the possibility of him marrying Jenna.

    Edgar's overdose prompts some great confrontations. First, Donna and Ray banging into JR's office to accuse him of blackmail (the first time Ray and JR have locked horns since the Southfork fire). JR manoeuvres his way out of it, forcing Donna to back down for once. "Just maybe I owe you an apology," she concedes through gritted teeth. Then that terrific final scene in the hospital room with poor Edgar in torment and JR at his most chilling. Edgar: "At least if I had died, they wouldn't know about my past." JR: "Sure they would. I'd break your story to the newspapers before you were even cold in the ground." Edgar: "...You're not a human being, you're scum." JR: "... Oh, and by the way, don't you ever mention my name to Donna Krebbs again, or you'll really regret that you didn't die today."

    "Where is Poppa?"

    An interesting aspect of Season 6 is the lack of high drama for much of the year. This isn't one of those seasons where JR is in "the fight of his life", or where there's a huge sense of urgency or melodrama surrounding the Ewing family. Ordinarily, this might cause the show to drag, but thanks to an attention to detail--both visually and in the writing--the characters have arguably never seemed more like real people leading believable lives. (Season 9 has a similar vibe.) That's not to say the season is short on plot--in this episode, JR is quietly scheming against Clayton and Cliff, Katherine is doing the same against Jenna, Mark has proposed to Pam, JR and Sue Ellen are continuing their illicit but low-key relationships with Katherine and Peter, Ray and Donna are nosing about trying to find a connection between JR and Edgar Randolph--but at the same time we get a sense of the characters leading stable, day to day, normal lives (and not "cutesy normal" either, such as in Season 8 when Miss Ellie starts incongruously rearranging the furniture, or Season 10 when she girlishly confesses to od'ing on hot dogs whilst on a "date" with Bobby). So we get Mark surprising Pam with an impromptu lunch in her office, Cliff standing up Sly to take a cranky Afton to dinner upon her return from Mitch Land, and some early morning bickering from JR and Sue Ellen (JR: "I remember when you used to warm your cold feet on my back." Sue Ellen: "I've found an electric blanket works just as well and it saves the wear and tear on my emotions.").

    Mavis stops by to invite the Ewings to her and Punk's wedding anniversary party, and then admits to Ellie during a nicely acted heart to heart that she felt guilty after Jock died "because I still had my man and you didn't". The Andersons' party (which we never actually see) also impacts the JR/Sue Ellen/Peter/Lucy storyline: Sue Ellen is reluctant to attend the party, ("This marriage of ours depresses me so much I don't think I wanna go to parties") but JR is anxious for them to be seen together as a married couple. "A lot of Daddy's friends are gonna be there," he reminds her. Who these friends are we aren't told, but they appear to be part of a Dallas hierarchy that doesn't exist during any other season.

    Lucy wants to invite Peter, so Sue Ellen pays him a visit to warn him to stay away. During their conversation, we learn that Peter and Sue Ellen are no longer sexually involved, ("Except for that one wonderful day, you won't let me come close to you," he whines) so it's hard to know exactly what their relationship is at this point. Do they still go ice skating together, or have they graduated to getting their nails done? Sue Ellen stops by Jenna's boutique for a new dress for the party (the chilliness that existed between these two at the Oil Baron's Ball now apparently forgotten) and promptly gets knocked down by car.

    After being randomly stalked by the lovesick Peedur and now being randomly run over which in turn leads to a random miscarriage, Sue Ellen is in danger of becoming less of a complex, resonant, near-tragic dramatic figure and more of a generic TV character to whom shit has to happen simply because she's in a soap. Katherine, meanwhile, is a lot funnier, and more Southern, than usual: "I don't why you want me to go to bed with you when you know I can't stand you," she pouts after an afternoon in the sack with JR. "My favourite lady of the evening is out of town," he explains charmingly. And I love it when she lies solemnly to Pam--"There's an old friend of my father's who's very sick"--to cover up her trip to LA to track down Jenna's ex.

    "When the Bough Breaks"

    The story of Sue Ellen's mysterious miscarriage is a strange one. Twelve episodes have passed since her "stud service" scene with JR--if he were the father, she would surely have had some inkling of her condition, yet she is literally the last to know. And her doctor--that weird woman with the Anne Robinson style rictus grin--refuses to tell her how long she had been pregnant. ("Sue Ellen, relax. Does that really matter now?") Then there's Peter, of course, who remains such a bizarre character. His little bedside speech to a sleeping Sue Ellen ("I guess after this, we'll never have a child together ...") is heartfelt but incredibly wet. I can't decide whether Christopher Atkins is really bad, or very good and it's just that his character doesn't belong in the DALLAS world.

    On the plus side, we get Sue Ellen talking about her and JR's one night stand for the first time ("In the middle of the night, I went back to my room and we became strangers again," she tells Pam) and her and Peter's silly relationship breaks out of the holding pattern it has been for several weeks. In the episode's final scene, where she visits him in his dreary apartment, the various threads of Sue Ellen's personality--the cold, materialistic Sue Ellen of old, and the well-meaning, slightly generic character she has been for much of this season--finally come together. The miscarriage has sent Peter off into fantasies about their unborn child, but for Sue Ellen, it has brought the impossibility of their relationship into sharp focus. "You expect me to leave Southfork, JR for you? To raise a child and live here with you?" she asks him cruelly. "I wouldn't have had that child anyway," she continues, "I would have aborted it. The pregnancy was a mistake, our relationship was a mistake ... Oh, I know the pain you're going through right now cos I've been there. But it passes, it always does. You just stay out of my life." Jenna's involvement in the accident is a clever way for her and Bobby to get onto the subject of their kids (although her total lack of reaction upon learning that Christopher is adopted is very strange; it's as though Bobby were telling her how many Sweetex Pam used to take in her coffee) and the importance that Bobby places on his bond with Charlie. "I think the three of us have something very special, he tells Jenna romantically. "So damn the torpedoes, head full speed ahead."

    This neatly coincides with Katherine finally tracking down Naldo Marchetta amid some sexy shots of Malibu. Naldo's appearance is nothing if not long awaited (after all, it's 143 episodes since the character was first mentioned), even if the impact is somewhat undermined by the shorts and knee high white socks ensemble he sports in his first scene. "I am Naldo Marchetta," he proclaims. "I'm not surprised," purrs Katherine. Morgan Brittany looks particularly lovely in this episode and plays the role of ... whatever it is that she is (not exactly a bitch, not really a vamp, not yet a psychopath; an obsessed woman in a big hat? yes that'll do) to perfection. "I knew it! I knew if I found you, you'd have the answer!" she exclaims gleefully, striding past the camera lens and leaving the audience none the wiser. Katherine isn't the only one to uncover a secret, as Donna and Ray learn that Edgar Randolph was institutionalised as a young man.

    There are two lovely scenes with Pam, both in her office, which feel quintessentially Season 6. The first is with Cliff (if Bobby and JR had the most interesting sibling relationship in Season 5, then Pam and Cliff take the prize this season) where he makes a heartfelt plea to her to be his partner in the offshore drilling deal. One of the things that make this story work so well is that, although Cliff is ultimately motivated by greed (just as he was the last time he was suckered by JR back in Season 4) the writers enrich the plot by giving his character flashes of humanity along the way (his reluctance prior to cheating on Afton with Marilee; his sincere appeal to Pam here.) "Why is it so important to you that I invest with you?" Pam asks. "Because you're my sister and it's always been you and me against the world," he replies. "... Well, maybe it's time we showed the Ewings they aren't the only family in town," she half-promises. There is also a small but gorgeous scene between Pam and Mark--she's gorgeous, the lighting's gorgeous, Mark's dashing and handsome, both actors are unaffected and great, Bruce Broughton's score is subtle and unobtrusive. Mark, growing impatient for an answer to his marriage proposal, tells Pam that he's going overseas on business. "I want to marry you," he tells her, "and when I get back, I want an answer and more than anything in my life, I want the answer to be yes." There is a beautiful final shot of Pam looking wistfully at Mark as he leaves. This is the last time she will see him without knowing he is dying ...
     
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  14. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    "True Confessions"

    The secrets of Charlie's paternity and Edgar's past are finally revealed. During their investigative trip to Marilyn, Donna and Ray have short but memorable encounters with three strongly written, impressively acted characters: Percival, the Randolphs' former gardener, who feels it would be improper to repeat the gossip he'd heard about Edgar's behaviour, Sarah Mulgravy, who had been the family's housekeeper, and her daughter, Barbara. Erica Yohn is particularly good as Sarah--in the space of one brief scene, she shifts from cheerfully domestic ("Don't think we don't have a clothes dryer, we do; I just think clothes smell better when they're hanging outside") to angry and tormented ("Oh LORD!! Why didn't I have a gun in my hand when I went into that room?!").

    It is Barbara Mulgravy who provides the Krebbs with the information they've been seeking. Conveniently, she's a one stop shop--Edgar's child victim turned clinical psychologist. The episode does a commendable job of showing compassion towards the abuser, ("It's a horrible stigma ... He's led an exemplary life since then") without diminishing the suffering of the abused ("I still sometimes wonder why it is I'm in my thirties and still living with my mother."). In these more hysterical times, it's hard to imagine the topic of child abuse being handled so, well, unsensationally. During a scene with Edgar, JR delivers the line Larry Hagman often quotes on talk shows as his favourite. (In fact, sometimes he quotes it apropos of nothing and you can see the confusion in the interviewer's eyes.) JR: "Who filed intentions to bid?" Edgar: "I don't know how you can live with yourself." JR: "Oh, it's not hard, you'll see. Once you give up integrity, the rest is a piece of cake." It's a funny line if a little too knowing of the character.

    Pam stops by Southfork to see Sue Ellen, stays to reminisce with Miss Ellie, and ends up having pre-dinner drinks with Bobby. "Say, weren't you here a couple of months ago?" JR asks her by way of a greeting. "You're not gonna make a habit out of this, are you?" Just when Jenna's so in love with Bobby she's about to pop, along comes Naldo wielding the birth certificate that makes her out to be a big fat liar. His job done, he picks up his cheque from Katherine. "You really don't know what kind of a viper you are," he tells her. "I do what I have to to get what I want," she replies--which is as much insight as we ever get into what makes Katherine tick. On a darkly lit Southfork soundstage, Jenna tells Bob why she put his name on Charlie's birth certificate even though he isn't her father. Priscilla Presley remembers her lines and says them in the right order, which is all one can reasonably expect, while Patrick Duffy does some very good listening acting. Lucy tries to talk Peter into going on a modelling assignment. It's a fashion layout, which means he'll have to wear clothes, and so he isn't keen until he realises that now Sue Ellen has dumped him, it's the only way he'll get to stay on the show.

    "And the Winner is ..."

    The title refers to the offshore lease auction. I love how many characters are tied into JR's scheme, without even realising it. Edgar tells JR what the other oil companies are bidding, and Sly then tells Cliff that the lowest bid will be $105,000,000 and the highest bid will be Ewing Oil's at $153,000,000. "Then why don't you have a copy of it?" snaps a very nervous Cliff. "JR stood over my shoulder while I typed out the form. I had no chance to make a copy," lies Sly. This is the beginning of CLIFF: THE NUTTY YEARS. Before the auction, he's jiggling the ice in his glass, pacing and waving his hands around, as a bemused Afton looks on.

    There's a really terrific argument between Ray and Donna upon their return from Marilyn or Maryland or Marineville or wherever it is. Ray is unable to get beyond Edgar's past and finds it hard to believe that the treatment he underwent could have been successful: "You read about their mistakes all the time." "That exactly what I read about--mistakes," replies Donna, emphatically. "Do you ever read about the successes, about people who did something with their lives and went on?" It's hard to imagine Pam or Sue Ellen being involved in such a debate, or indeed having an opinion on anything outside of their own emotional peripheries. When I read the Susan Howard interview in which she said she sometimes rewrote her scenes, this is the one that immediately sprung to mind. Donna: "Tell me somethin'. Have you ever done somethin' in your life that you were really ashamed of?" Ray: "Sure." Donna: "'Sure, sure.' Lookee here, I don't mean just 'sure, sure, sure'. I mean, did you ever do anything that you were really ashamed of, that nobody ever found out?" (You know, like screwing your teenage niece and your drunken sister-in-law?) Ray: "I guess so!" "Well, what if they found out? What if I found out? Wouldn't you hope that I would be understanding, that I would be forgiving?" Eventually, Ray is persuaded and he and Donna attend the offshore auction, along with Cliff, JR and the rest of the oil community.

    JR bids a low $103,000,000 against Cliff's bid of $157,000,000 which wins Barnes Wentworth the leases for Gold Canyon 340. What's so clever about the writing here is that the Krebbses, Edgar, Cliff and Bobby are all shocked by Ewing Oil's bid, but for different reasons. Bobby is angry that JR even bid at all. JR comes up with an excuse that is neither the truth nor what Bobby is accusing him of. Bobby doesn't buy it: "You're sounding more and more like you did before the fire at Southfork. I think you wanna go back to running this company all by yourself!" Sly uses Bobby's conflict with JR as an excuse when Cliff asks: "I want to know why you said JR's bid would be the highest when it was the lowest?" Sly claims that Bobby refused to let JR make a high bid, and then piles on the flattery: "Until the fight with Bobby, I don't think I realised how much JR has changed ... He's just not the same old JR. In fact, you remind me of the way JR used to be. A little ruthless and smart, very smart."

    Most puzzled of all is Edgar who cannot understand why JR didn't use the information he gave him to secure himself the highest bid. "What was it - a game to you?!" he asks, before delivering JR a blow to the belly. Wife Martha (excellently played by Joanna Miles) also wants answers from JR: "You were prepared to ruin Edgar and me and our two children. Who are you? I find it hard to believe that anyone could be that inhuman!" The episode also finds time to resolve Edgar's back story in a way that is satisfyingly complete, but that doesn't unbalance the rest of the show (something Season 10 was unable to achieve with its Nicholas Pearce plot). We learn that Ray was correct in assuming that Edgar's sanatorium treatment was inadequate, and in fact, his stay there was simply a way to avoid a family scandal. ("I was a disgrace, I was an embarrassment," Edgar admits.) It was only after years of additional counselling that he eventually became "well".

    Bobby turns to Pam after his fight with JR. She has already told a quietly seething Katherine that "if weren't for Jenna, I'd consider" going back to Bobby. Now Bobby tells her he's stopped seeing Jenna. Pam hopes he'll invite her to the Andersons' anniversary do, but Katherine insists she attend a Wentworth board meeting instead. Amusingly, Cliff's victory has rendered him incapable of putting ice in a glass, and he has to summon Jackie to his office to pour him a drink. Pam has refused to invest with him and Marilee has jumped ship, so it's left JR to goad Cliff into continuing with the offshore deal via his public reply to the anti-Jock speech Cliff made at the Oil Baron's Ball: "Barnes, you're as dumb as your daddy used to be ... You're gonna bankrupt your momma's company and wind up just like your daddy, a drunk and a bum." It has the desired effect: "There isn't anybody gonna stop me," yells Cliff, "and when I hit, I'm gonna buy and sell Ewing Oil!" Elsewhere, we learn that Miss Ellie and Jock played cupid to Punk and Mavis 25 years earlier, and scary Jean Hackney pops up at Southfork, checking out Sue Ellen's tush. Peter does his Specs Savers photo shoot with Lucy. ("You sure you don't just want me nude with a snake?") There's something kinda sad about his lovelorn looks to Sue Ellen across a crowded patio accompanied by plinky piano music, followed by a nice reveal of JR overhearing him pledge his undying love to Sue Ellen for the 763rd time.

    "
Fools Rush In"

    Vaughn Leland returns, along with his real-life wife who plays Iris Porter, the amusingly daffy government lady who stops by Cliff's office to remind him that he still owes $125.6 million in payment on his offshore tract. "And may I say," she gushes, "you are the type of American who has made our country what it is today." What--greedy and corrupt? Not to mention clueless. Cliff seems to have gotten into this deal with no idea how much it's gonna cost him to keep his rig afloat.

    Enter Vaughn Leland and an offer to loan him $220 million at a reasonable interest rate. In a nice call back to their Season 4 storyline, Afton arrives home and is less than pleased to find "that disgusting man" sitting on the couch. Ken Kercheval does a brilliant, almost frightening, job of portraying Cliff's anxiety as he manically helps Afton unpack groceries. "I've got to make this deal! I mean everything I've worked for is ON THE LINE!!!" He then slams the refrigerator door with such force that it springs open again, its contents spilling onto the floor. It's a classic Season 6 moment. Then we learn that Vaughn is really in cahoots with old enemy JR, ("Never in my wildest imagination did I ever dream that you and I would be working together again.") and that while Vaughn's bank "is going to put up $120 million with Barnes Wentworth as collateral," JR will be feeding the remaining hundred million to Cliff anonymously. Then "at a certain time ... Mr Barnes's credit is mysteriously going to dry up. He'll be halfway into his wells by then and he'll be forced to sell off some valuable property just to keep going"--specifically, the deals he stole from under JR at the beginning of the season--"and I'm gonna be out there buying up all that property he sells ... Your bank is gonna foreclose on Barnes Wentworth, and I might be able to pick up that offshore tract for a little loose change."

    Elsewhere, Ellie sets the date for the season finale ("How does eight weeks from Sunday sound?") and Christopher Atkins comes to work at Southfork. "Peter, I just can't handle any more bad scenes," Sue Ellen tells him. "Neither can we," say the audience. However, the chief focus of the episode is on the love lives of Bobby and Pam (and, by extension, those of Katherine, Mark and Jenna.) In an atmospheric yet delightfully funny scene, JR summons Katherine, wearing her best turban, to a late-night meeting in his office: "I don't give a damn who Bobby ends up with as long as it's not Pamela Barnes," he snaps. "Jenna was perfect, just perfect. Well, I guess you'll have to do." He tells her to make sure Pam accepts Mark's proposal. "I'll do my best," Katherine shrugs haughtily. "Your best better be real good," snarls JR, "or else I'm gonna play Bobby that little tape I made. Remember - you and me in the sack? And after he hears that, he'll never even look at you again."

    Pam, however, has other ideas, as she lets slip to Sue Ellen when she stops by Southfork on her way to the Wentworth board meeting. Sue Ellen wastes no time in passing on the news to Bobby: "She has decided not to marry Mark Graison ... because of the way she still feels about you." Meanwhile, through the episode, hints are being dropped that all is not well on Planet Graison. Jackie tells Pam that Mark's friend Jerry has been trying urgently to reach him, and during a phone conversation with Cliff, Mark admits that "I'm a little exhausted and I've picked up some sort of bug." Finally, Jerry bumps into Pam at Katherine's dreary party in Houston, where he casts his Hippocratic oath to the wind: "He's going to need all the love you can give him in the next few months ..." he tells her. "Are you telling me that Mark is going to die?" falters Pam. "I'm so sorry."

    "The Unexpected"

    Katherine finds Pam sitting alone in her Houston hotel room (which, confusingly, looks exactly the same as Pam's Dallas bedroom). After confiding in her sister about Mark's illness, ("a rare blood disease, a form of leukaemia") Pam stops by Mack Mackenzie's office building to convince Jerry to delay telling Mark. Meanwhile, Katherine keeps the pressure on: "You can't walk out on a dying man." Back in Dallas, Bobby stops by Jenna's for a have-my-cake-and-it-eat-it reconciliation scene. "Pam's still got a hold on me," he tells her, "but I don't wanna lose you." Jenna is remarkably accepting of this situation: "Please promise me one thing. If you're finished with me, if you want out, tell me, nice and direct, and that'll be that." Of course, she won't be so calm when he eventually does tell her, nice and direct.

    Pam returns from Houston to find Mark, dashing but nervous, back from his travels: "Just take a deep breath and answer the question I asked before I left." "The answer's yes, Mark. I want to marry you." Katherine wastes no time in passing along this information to JR. "I've been waitin' six long years for that news!" he crows. Katherine takes full credit for the engagement, but declines JR's offer of a "celebratory eye-opener": "I don't care to drink with you either." She is anxious to conclude their arrangement, but he is in less of a hurry: "You'll get that tape when Pamela Ewing becomes Mrs Mark Graison." The following night, Bobby and Pam have a poignant exchange on the Southfork patio, reminiscent of their Thanksgiving Square scene at the end of "The Letter". Then it was Pam about to suggest a reconciliation, only for Bobby to tell her he was letting her go. Now their roles are reversed. In both scenes, the emotional ache lies in what remains unsaid. 
Bobby: "Pam, you and I had a couple of real nice days together. All that tension that was there when JR and I were fighting over Ewing Oil, that's all gone now." 
Pam: "Bobby-" 
Bobby: "Sue Ellen already told me you decided not to marry Mark Graison, so I-" 
Pam: "Bobby, Sue Ellen was wrong. I told Mark yesterday that I would marry him." 
Bobby: "That's the last thing I was expecting to hear ..."
Pam: "Bobby, what we had was very special ... Please, just wish me luck?" 
Bobby: "Maybe later." 



    Peter finds himself the centre of attention, both from a bunny-boilerish Lucy ("I've practically thrown myself at you, Peter Richards, and I don't see you throwing anything back!" she complains after he politely declines her invitation to become a supermodel) and a suddenly gregarious JR, of whom Sue Ellen observes suspiciously, "You go from accusing me of having Peter as a lover to almost making him a member of the family ... Do me one favour. Just don't corrupt the young man." JR helpfully alludes to his plans for Peter and Sue Ellen during some post-coital exposition with Serena: "I could destroy him just by pickin' up a telephone, but what I really want is to teach her a lesson. I tell you, she is like a runaway mare with a bit between her teeth." It's hard to get overexcited about this storyline when one already knows how it will, um, peter out.

    More interesting is Afton's unspoken behaviour in the background of a business breakfast scene at Cliff's condo. Tired of being patronised, she quietly abandons the coffee and eggs she is preparing for Vaughn Leland and Cliff, throws down her apron and exits the scene. (Vaughn: "I don't think she likes me." Cliff: "No, no, no. She's just ... peculiar sometimes.") As well as being a perfect example of why we love Afton so, it is an indication of how far the DALLAS women have come since the scene in Season 3 in which Pam seethed inwardly but still made the coffee for Bobby and his condescending political cronies during a senatorial campaign meeting.

    Leo Wakefield, Barnes Wentworth's not-so-fat controller, questions the wording of Cliff's loan agreement with Vaughn, and urges him to have the banker define the term "acceptable collateral". "I need the money now!" wails Cliff, but nevertheless sits down to hash it out at the Oil Baron's Club. They are interrupted by JR, who has pre-arranged with Vaughn to stop by their table: "What a combination--the crook from Houston sitting down with the incompetent from Dallas," he observes before banging on about how rubbish a businessman Cliff is. Lest Vaughn be scared off, Cliff signs the agreement there and then, ambivalent wording and all. On one level, this is outrageous pantomime, but we buy the storyline because the writers address each stage of Cliff's deal (and JR's scheme) with wit and ingenuity, if not realism.

    As news of Pam's engagement circulates, the Ewings gather to welcome Clayton's sister, Lady Jessica Montford, to Southfork. Offhand, it's hard to think of any guest character who is given such a lengthy introduction scene as Jessica. There again, the scene is as much an opportunity to examine the Ewings through the eyes of an outsider as it is to examine the outsider herself. It's fun to watch Sue Ellen's discomfort when Jessica says of Clayton, "I thought he was gonna stay single for the rest of his life; either that or marry someone half his age!" and of the Ewing brothers, "All I wanna know is which ones are married and which ones play around, or both!" Finally, she says of JR: "I have the feeling you're the dangerous one." If one discounts the Donna Reed Casting Disaster of 84, Alexis Smith is really the only example of DALLAS jumping on the 80s prime time soap bandwagon of casting Old Hollywood actresses in guest starring roles (DYNASTY had Barbara Stanwyck, KNOTS LANDING Ava Gardner, and FALCON CREST, well, everyone else).

    It's an interesting choice to give Jessica such a grand sounding title and then have the actress play against it. ("Please, don't Lady Montford me to death ... As Clayton can tell you, folks used to say I rassled mountain lions down in San Angelo.") Immediately, Jessica has roots, a history, an earthiness, which fits in with the down-home atmosphere embodied by the Ewings ("You forgot to untie the drapes," she observes of them). Interestingly, her down to earth qualities and lack of pretention don't prevent Jessica from being completely mad. In fact, her apparent openness make her dark side ("Family? Oh, I don't think so. I wouldn't count on your marrying brother Clayton") all the more interesting. (The sword belonging to her late husband's family that she presents to JR captures both aspects of the character--it's a generous gesture, but also slightly weird.) A year after this season, FALCON CREST exhumed movie veteran Celeste Holm for a suspiciously similar storyline also involving a back story of fire, murder, madness and illegitimacy. However, FALCON CREST thought it sufficient to cast a glamorous old actress in the role of a nutter without bothering to give her a personality, and as a result, both her character and the storyline lacked the substance of DALLAS's version.

    "Strange Alliance"

    There's something daring, almost kinky, about JR and Jessica's scenes in this episode. Each of them senses the other feels the same way about Clayton and Miss Ellie's union, but neither wants to be the first to step out of the anti-wedding closet. So they drop teasing little hints for each other. In the opening scene, they chat on the Southfork patio over an early morning coffee. Jessica: "Your mother's a very attractive woman, JR. I'm sure she and Clayton will be very happy together." JR: "Yeah, I'm sure they will." Jessica: "When I know you better, I'll know whether or not you meant that." Later, they flirt knowingly in front of an uneasy Sue Ellen. "I'm quite flattered to know that you find me attractive," JR tells Jessica, "and may I say I find you a very becoming woman."

    Sue Ellen continues to play the gracious hostess. "Southfork has turned into a house of domestic bliss," sighs JR mockingly. "There's only one thing can make it better ... When Clayton joins us full time." By the end of the episode, JR is confident enough to bring Jessica breakfast in bed, and the tension builds as they get closer to saying what's on their minds. "I'm beginning to think we feel the same way about many things," Jessica hints. JR: "... Somehow I get the idea that you may not think this wedding is made in Heaven." Jessica: "What a strange idea. I'm sure I feel about it the same as you do." JR: "Wouldn't it be awful if something happened and it didn't come off? ... But on the other hand, what could possibly go wrong?" Jessica: "I don't know. What could?" JR: "Almost anything."

    Elsewhere, Jessica unnerves Clayton by talking about the past: "We lost our home at Southern Cross in a fire ... Poor Amy died in that fire ... Some of our past is always with us, Clayton." Pam is sweet and touching as she wonders whether she has done the right thing by accepting Mark's proposal. ("Maybe if Mark did know, he wouldn't want to get married. Maybe he'd want to do other things - travel to places he's never been, make love to other women. Do all the things he has such little time left to do.") She's unusually pro-active as she tries to persuade Jerry Kenderson not to tell Mark about his illness until after the wedding. ("I'll do everything I can to make him happy, to lessen his pain," she pleads.)

    Just to rub salt into the wounds, Pam is on the receiving end of the kind of unheeding remarks she used to make to Bobby during Season 4 when she was blissfully unaware that Christopher could be JR's son. (Mark on Jerry: "When I'm gone, he'll be the last great bachelor left in Texas!") VP is awfully good in these scenes. So is Barry Jenner as Jerry. It's a nice touch to have him question Pam's motives: "Forgive me, I'm going to be very blunt. Is it possible that you just want to inherit Graisco Industries?" And Morgan Brittany makes the interesting choice not to have Katherine appear anything but sympathetic to Pam's situation. ("Mark's been everywhere, he's done everything. All he really wants now is you.") Is it possible she has some genuine feeling for her sister here, or at least for Mark? We'll never know for sure. And then, of course, there's the Bobby Factor. "If I marry Mark, I lose Bobby forever," whispers Pam tearfully. Bobby manages to shake Mark's hand: "This isn't easy to say. I wish the best for you. I hope you'll be very happy together." Jenna, meanwhile, is running out of patience. "You're worth waiting for," she tells Bobby, "but not forever."

    Meanwhile, Lucy's attempts to fathom her own resistibility continue to amuse: "Sue Ellen, do you think Peter's gay or anything? ... I know I'm not the world's greatest sex symbol, but I'm not exactly a dog either!" Very funny. Sue Ellen--who has developed a smouldering Jackie O look in recent episodes, except in that scene with Lucy where she looks strangely cadaverous--uses Lucy's unrequited feelings as an excuse to try and get Peter away from Southfork before her "bubble-headed niece" can uncover the truth about their affair. JR, for reasons of his own, decrees that Peter stay.
     
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  15. Rove

    Rove Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    I'll admit this was my favourite season. I understand many had issues with the relationship between Sue Ellen and Peter but I could easily identify with Peter's fascination with an older woman...and in this case who wouldn't. But what I really loved about this season was how the writers weaved J.R.'s black magic across multiple characters, stories and finally ending in a "Didn't see that one coming," Dallas cliffhanger.

    Without knowing what was to come the following season, Donna Reed and the mis-cast of Jennilee Harrison as Jamie, I'd say this was the last great season that was Dallas. And just when it seemed to find its groove.
     
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  16. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    "Blow Up"

    It seems that in the three years following Jim Davis's death, each season of DALLAS has its own individual theme. Season 4 deals with transition, with the Ewing dynasty having to adjust, not only to the loss of its patriarch, (which in turn forces Miss Ellie, JR and Ray to redefine their roles within the family) but also to JR and Sue Ellen's divorce and custody fight, and Bobby and Pam's adoption of Christopher. Season 5 focuses on the legacy Jock leaves behind--specifically Ewing Oil, and the fierce sibling rivalry it inspires. By season's end, the family as we know it has effectively been destroyed by this rivalry, and the family home is in flames. 

The theme of Season 6 has been rebirth. The series began back in '78 with three Ewing marriages that are now over: Jock is dead, Pam and Bobby divorced, and JR and Sue Ellen a couple in name only. The focus of the show during 1983/4 moves away from the past (Jock's legacy), and towards the future, in the shape of new alliances (Bobby and JR running the company together, John Ross able to relate to his parents in complete sentences) and love affairs. There is also less emphasis on business storylines in Season 6, which allows the romantic element to dominate. As Ray observes in this episode, while commenting on Bobby's on-again, off-again relationship with Jenna: "Southfork's getting to be a regular emotional rollercoaster. Can't tell who's up or down anymore - between those two, Sue Ellen and JR, even Miss Ellie and Clayton." In fact, "emotional rollercoaster" effectively sums up the whole of the 1983/4 season.

    

This sense of romance is also reflected in the look of Season 6. Doubtless feeling the pressure of DYNASTY's success, the show's producers upped the glamour quotient during this season. Not only has the Cattleman's Club, with its tacky decor and virtually topless waitresses, been replaced by the sophisticated Oil Baron's Club as the Ewings' hangout du jour but, for the first time in the show's history, the healthy bank balances of the Dallas women are actually reflected in their wardrobes. It is not until Season 7 that Bill Travilla comes onboard as the DALLAS designer and starts drowning everyone in sequins, so for the most part the outfits on display in this season could loosely be described as tasteful. There are a couple of shiny exceptions in this episode, as modelled by Katherine Wentworth (while lunching with JR at the Oil Baron's) and Donna Krebbs (at Jessica Montford's party), where both women look like they've just been beamed down from a long lost episode of BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY, the one in which Buck accidentally crash lands on Planet Disco.



    In the opening restaurant scene, however, Katherine, along with Pam and Jerry Kenderson, is looking glam but glum, while an equally natty--but much more cheerful--Mark Graison makes extravagant wedding plans by phone. Unlike the rest of his lunch party, Mark is oblivious to the fact that he has but a short time to live. As he hangs up the phone and returns to his table, the others are quick to plaster their faces with fake smiles. Indeed, fake smiles are on plentiful display in this ep. At first glance, the future looks rosy for all: Like Pam and Mark, Clayton and Miss Ellie are about to tie the knot, and Clayton's sister Jessica has flown over from England especially, and even perennial loser Cliff Barnes--in the only prominent business storyline of the season--is on the brink of striking a fortune in the Gulf. 
"Everything's coming up GREAT!" he insists. 

But it isn't. Just as Pam hides her grief when she and Mark drop by Cliff and Afton's to show off her new diamond engagement ring, ("I've got something in my eye, that's all") so Cliff bluffs wildly about the amount progress he's making with Gold Canyon 340. The scene in which Vaughn Leland (also all smiles) screws Cliff into signing an eight million dollar loan agreement with enormous collateral is very funny, with Ken Kercheval's nervy performance managing to stay on just the right side of self-parody. 

Lady Jessica also has her secrets. Despite her apparent acceptance of Clayton and Miss Ellie ("how could I NOT toast such a loving couple?"), it is already clear (to the audience) that she is plotting against them. However, it is only in this episode, as she and Ellie are enjoying a cosy kitchen chat and she volunteers to chop some vegetables for dinner, that we realise just how far she is prepared to go to stop the wedding. From the bloodlust evident in her eyes as she fingers a sharp looking knife, it suddenly becomes clear that Lady J. regards Missy E not just as a sister-in-law-to-be, but as a sister-in-law-to-be-chopped-into-tiny-little-pieces. It is only the timely interruption of Donna--angling, as usual, for free coffee--that prevents BBG from ending up as the secret ingredient in that evening's chilli. (Chilli-con-Ellie, anyone?)



    Midway through the episode, the action jumps forward a week to what a smiling JR promises Peter Richards will be "a night you'll remember. I KNOW it's gonna be a night I'll remember!" It's the night of the party at Southfork held in honour of Jessica's visit. However, most of the action centres around JR, Peter, Lucy (resplendent in purple mohair) and Sue Ellen (beautiful in black). It's great fun observing JR manipulating Lucy and Peter, as if he were winding up a malfunctioning Barbie and Ken and then watching them self destruct. God knows, Lucy was never stupider than in the second half of Season 6 (and that's saying something), and as for Peter --well, as La Tilton herself puts it: "Any normal guy would be out having dates [instead of] hanging around with a kid that's under ten and a woman that's old enough to be his mother ... I really think there might be something funny there!" Unlike Ken and Barbie, Sue Ellen at least has some idea that JR's friendly behaviour is cause for suspicion. "Don't you know his motto?" she asks Peter, after JR pairs them up on the dancefloor. "'Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.'" (This quote from THE GODFATHER neatly echoes Cliff's Season One description of JR as "Texas's answer to Michael Corleone.")

    It's a camp treat to see Lucy following in her father's footsteps by getting completely soused at the party. It would appear alcohol causes the same symptoms in Lucy as those mysterious pills she took back in Season One: wildly swivelling eyeballs and equally over-the-top acting. Nevertheless, she finally puts two and two together: "He's not coming to Southfork just to be with John Ross, he's coming here to be with HER!" she announces, pointing first at a rapidly malfunctioning Peter and then at a helplessly lip-trembling Sue Ellen. (In fairness, Christopher Atkins is very good in this episode. He does social awkwardness well.)

    Deliciously, JR--having orchestrated this entire scene--then rushes to his wife's defence by turning on Lucy: "Go on upstairs, git!" This is followed by the sound of Lucy bursting into tears and clunking upstairs to her room. (In case there's anybody out there who has yet seen this season, I should perhaps point out that Lucy is meant to be TWENTY-THREE in this episode, not twelve.) Later that evening, JR pays a visit to Sue Ellen's bedroom. "I was very touched that you came to my defence the way you did," she admits, unaware that she too is being manipulated. It's a nicely acted scene, as JR --without revealing his knowledge of his wife's affair--makes one last attempt at reconciliation: "Good lord, woman! Don't you want a man back in your life?" "Of course I do, JR. Do you think I like living like this? ... I just can't." 



    When Season 6 was first screened, I was slightly disappointed that, now that JR and Sue Ellen's marriage was back on the rocks, the writers did not return them to the ferocious battles of their first few seasons. In retrospect, I can appreciate the subtle sense of poignancy and disappointment present in their relationship during this season. During those early years, there was a sense of urgency about Sue Ellen's situation--she was a relatively young woman, unable to reconcile the life she had been conditioned to lead with her own needs and desires. Back then she was living in a pressure cooker and there was a sense that, sooner or later, something would have to give. In Season 6, that urgency has been replaced by resignation. By now, Sue Ellen has tasted freedom but has ultimately chosen to renounce it and return to her familiar prison. This story line marks the first occasion that Sue Ellen has been referred to as "an older woman", a woman who feels that life's opportunities are now behind her and that she (unlike Peter) must abandon the search for happiness and simply learn to make do. 

It's also interesting that when JR gives Harry McSween the nod to "take care of Peter Richards", he does with an air of sadness rather than his usual relish, his attempt to win back Sue Ellen by manipulation (as opposed to the blackmail to which he will eventually resort) having failed. Interesting, yes--but I still find it hard to accept that JR has been prepared to eat humble pie for so long. Apart from a single rant after Jock's death, he has been as nice as pie to Sue Ellen (apart from that whole sleeping with other women thing) since their divorce in Season 4 and will continue to be so until he falls in love with Mandy Winger at the end of Season 7. That's a lot of pie. I think some of the DALLAS's most electric moments occur when JR and Sue Ellen are knocking seven bells out of each other--that's when the melodrama really starts hitting the fan--so it's a thrill when he eventually begins using her as an emotional punch bag again.



    One couple who could be described as ascending the emotional rollercoaster in this episode (i.e. neither party is in imminent danger of being stabbed or dying of leukaemia, and they don't actually hate each other - yet) is Bobby and Jenna, presently recovering from their first round of attacks by Katherine and Naldo. Despite Priscilla Presley's minimal charisma, there is a strong sense of resonance and destiny that surrounds the coupling of Bobby and Jenna. This is mainly due to their firmly established back story, reinforced in this episode by Punk Anderson: "Mavis, these two were meant to be together from the time they was kids. I remember Jock, Lucas Wade and me talkin' about it when we used to go huntin' together. Y'all weren't even up to our belt buckles!" Bobby's relationship with Pam possesses a similar sense of destiny (which is what makes his dilemma of having to choose between Jenna and Pam so compelling), entirely absent from his late romance with April.



    Following Jessica's party, there is a sense that the masks worn by the various characters are beginning to slip. Pam overhears Cliff on the phone: "This is crazy! I've got more rigs out there in the Gulf than there are waves, I haven't sucked up one can of oil yet!" Pam confronts him, ("I thought everything was going really well") and he comes clean, ("I lied. I'm in a lot of trouble"), before asking how he can get in touch with Mark. "I'm warning you, Cliff," she replies, "and I'm really serious: you stay away from Mark." Pam, looking so beautiful and so sad, then exits the scene, unwilling to confide in her brother as he has in her.

    Donna, meanwhile, voices her suspicions about Jessica ("I just have this funny feeling about that woman") and JR ("Contrary to what your brother is telling everybody, I don't believe for one second that he wants this wedding to take place"). This is proving to be a very psychic season for Donna who, only ten or so episodes earlier, divined correctly that the apparently incorruptible Edgar Randolph was being blackmailed by JR. Sure enough, by the end of the episode, Jessica has had enough of the happy couple. "I just can't take any more of that joy!" she tells JR on her way to her room, where she unwinds by defacing Miss Ellie's face with a nail file. The face is on a polaroid, however, not BBG's body ...

    "Turning Point"

    The episode opens with JR showing Jessica around what passes for Southfork in the latter stages of a season, and it all looks nice and wintry. He fishes for the reason behind her return to the Southern Cross fifteen years after she left for England (it's always "England", never "Great Britain" or "the UK"; "England" sounds older, more historical, I suppose). "Rumour has it Clayton was in big financial trouble," he ventures. "JR, I want this marriage stopped as much as you do," she replies, "but diggin' into Clayton's past isn't gonna do it. He's always been an honourable man." (Alexis Smith delivers this line as if "honourable man" were a private Farlow joke.)

    In the Southfork kitchen, there is much cheerful banter between Clayton, Ellie, Donna and Sue Ellen as wedding invitations are discussed and written. (The scene even manages to squeeze in a reference to Jock's pal Pat Bowers, last seen in Season 3.) JR and Jessica return from their walk, and Jessica is clearly annoyed to learn that Clayton has yet to make contact with Dusty. "He's liable to forget to invite his own son to his weddin'," she laughs, attempting to pass it off as a joke, but JR and Mystic Donna both pick up on the sibling tension. "Sue Ellen's an expert party giver," smiles JR. "She'd never forget to invite Dusty, that's for sure." Later on, Clayton corners Jessica upstairs and warns her aginst becoming too involved with JR. "JR is a dangerous man, he's had detectives looking into my past." "They won't find anything," she whispers. "You don't think I'd be fool enough to tell JR our little secret?" Unobserved, JR listens from behind his bedroom door.

    This a different kind of DALLAS than the one we're accustomed to. Gothic-lite, one might call it. A mystery that doesn't involve the Ewings yet unfolding at Southfork; it shouldn't work but it does, chiefly because everyone involved--the writers, the actors--knows what they're doing. And the show is still looking good, even though I suspect we may be past the golden Bradford May period now. (With gross insensitivity, the closing episode credits have been removed during this current run on JamesNet.)

    I'm not sure exactly who or what the turning point of the episode title is referring to, but it might have something to do with Katherine's relationship with Bobby. When JR discovers she has taken credit for his idea of selling Wentworth land to Ewing Oil and made the deal with Bobby instead of him, he realises that she's too powerful a threat to risk as a potential sister-in-law. (Shame.) "There's only room for one king of the hill around here, Katherine, and I'm it," he mutters under his breath.

    There is another expertly played scene between Ken Kercheval and Dennis Patrick who, as Cliff and Vaughn Leland, manage to make potentially dry scenes about bank loans, etc. both highly amusing and dramatically credible (or credible-ish). Vaughn tells Cliff that his bank is refusing to loan him any more money--even though he could be inches away from striking it rich in the Gulf. (Cliff's dismayed reaction upon hearing that rival companies Weststar and Four State have both struck is a comic treat). He is now forced to consider selling the Kesey and Murphy lands--the same properties he originally swiped from under JR's nose--just as JR has planned. (Sudden thought--Ken Kesey wrote ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST, the main protagonist of which is Randall P McMurphy. Coincidence?)

    The fact that Cliff, in his haste to beat JR, paid too much for the lands in the first place now comes back to bite him in the ass as he realises he will be forced to sell them at a loss. JR has a secret meeting in a bar with Max Flowers, his informant-cum-saboteur on Cliff's rig. "I've been able to miss the most promising formations, but the crew is getting suspicious," Flowers warns him. "Sooner or later, even an idiot with a long straw could suck up oil out of that tract." (Not so sudden thought--in Season 1, JR had a secret meeting in a bar with Charlie Flowers, his informant on the oil crew that ran a test drill on Southfork. Coincidence? Probably.)

    The highlight of the episode is a scene of the kind we rarely see in DALLAS, where a couple (Cliff and Afton) argue about how much money one of them is spending. Again, it's a funny and believable scene--the humour arising out of Cliff's mounting anxiety, which feels very real and increasingly dark. Afton arrives home and is shocked to find Cliff going through her personal bank books and statements. "Is this all the money you have from what my mother left you?" he demands. "You've got a withdrawal here for a hundred thousand dollars! What the hell did you spend a hundred thousand dollars on?" Afton: "I bought my mother a house." Cliff: "You bought your mother a house in Biloxi for a hundred thousand dollars?! What did you buy - a mansion?" "No, just a house. How far do you think a hundred thousand goes these days?" "Lookee, here's a withdrawal for ten thousand, here's one for twenty thousand!" "Yes, yes, that's right. I bought my mother a car and I bought one for Mitch." "Mitch? Mitch is a doctor! ... I need all the money I can lay my hands on." "So you thought you would just help yourself to mine!" "Well, you don't have to worry about it, baby. You don't have enough money left to buy coffee for the kitchens on the rigs for twenty-four hours! The way you spend money, the only emergency you could handle now maybe is a new tyre for your mom's new car that's parked in front of her new house!" "Cliff, let me tell you something. I have enough money left in here to rent my own apartment and make my own way without you!" She starts to storm off. "Oh well, that's characteristic," says Cliff, throwing his hands in the air and then pouring himself a drink. "You just walk out now." She turns back. "You're really in trouble, aren't you?" "I'll handle it," he says, sitting with his back to her.

    So perhaps the episode's "turning point" refers to Cliff and Afton. What's so good about Afton is that most of the time she's just there, and so we end up taking her for granted in much the same way that Cliff does. On first viewing, we don't realise that their relationship is nearly over, yet in retrospect, it seems inevitable. Or the turning point could apply to Peter when JR casually gives McSween the order: "I'm tired of foolin' around with this Peter Richards. It's time to lower the boom on him."

    After seeing the hotel where she and Mark are to be married, (while wearing the same dress that she got divorced in--not a good sign) Pam finds time to resume her role as Sue Ellens's part time confidante. "JR has tried to make amends. He's been attentive and even kind," Sue Ellen tells her over lunch. "How can I trust him? I'm afraid that if I let my guard down, he's gonna hurt me again ... I'm lonely. I never thought one could lonely living in the same house as a big family." As per her conversation last week with Cliff, Pam is unable to unburden herself to the person who is confiding in her. When asked what changed her mind about marrying Mark, she clams up. "Sue Ellen, do you mind? I don't wanna talk about it anymore." Dropping Sue Ellen back at the Southfork soundstage, Pam runs into Bobby, Jenna and Charlie. Pam and Jenna are cordial to one another and Jenna wishes her luck on her marriage. It's all very adult. And sad!
     
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  17. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    "Love Stories"

    A couple of seemingly unrelated events that set off a chain reaction. First Pam agrees to accompany Cliff on a trip to the Gulf while Mark is on his stag night. "Just promise me you're not gonna misbehave at that stag party," she says teasingly, "because I know what goes on at those things." "Stop playing kissy face, will ya?" interrupts Cliff. "You've got years to do that." No they don't--this is their last but one scene together. Meanwhile, Katherine is at the Oil Baron's Club blurting out a confession: "I hated it, Bobby. All the time I was thinking of you. I wanted it to be you ... and then, when I'd done everything JR wanted me to do, I couldn't believe he'd actually play that tape for you." "What tape?" asks Bobby. "The tape of me and JR in bed, you know." But then Katherine realises Bobby doesn't know ... or didn't until just now. And the house of cards she has spent the last year and a half carefully assembling (inside her own head, if nowhere else) comes crashing down around her. "But I could MAKE you love me!" she insists, banging her fist on the table. "Doesn't the fact that you're Pam's sister mean anything to you??" asks Bobby. "Only that I had to wait for the two of you to divorce before I could go after you," she replies with amusing matter-of-factness. "I don't know you at all, do I?" "Bobby, I love you!" "Maybe you do ... but it's a sick kinda love!" For some reason, that line always makes me laugh. He leaves in disgust and she gets drunk. I mean, really drunk.

    By the time Mark arrives to take her home, even her hair is drunk. (See, that's why Pam has to be in the Gulf with Cliff--for the story to work, Katherine and Mark have to be alone together.) They get onto the subject of Jerry Kenderson. "I only saw him cos of you," slurs Katherine (aw, bless Morgan Brittany, but drunk acting isn't really her forte). "That's why you're gettin' married, cos of Jerry Kenderson ... Jerry'll tell ya why Pam's marryin' ya." And with that, she collapses under the weight of her alcoholic hair. Back at the ranch, JR is counselling Bobby on his love life, which is always fun to see: "I'm no saint, but I know one when I see one ... Jenna Wade. She loves you, Bob, and so does her little girl. She'd make you a wonderful wife if you'd just let her ... When Jenna jilted you, you made the tragic mistake of your life when you married Pam, but you're free of her now ... She's marryin' Mark Graison and I think that's the best thing in the world for you ... You shoulda married Jenna a long time ago, Bob. You've known each other since you were kids. She was more like us than Pam ever was. She's willin' to wait for you, but she's not gonna wait forever. Now if I'm wrong just tell me." "I'd love to," replies Bobby, worn down by the hard sell, "but for once you may be right."

    A sobered up Katherine then proves she's not totally evil by trying to cover up her earlier gaffe, even though she no longer has a personal stake in Pam's marriage to Mark: "You must have misunderstood me ... What could Jerry possibly have to do with you and Pam getting married?" Mark's suspicions have been raised, however, and he confronts Jerry. We aren't privy to the exact moment he finds out he's dying, but afterwards, we join the two men in a bar. I find this scene really touching. John Beck is so good. His reaction as Mark to the news is restrained and--for want of a better word--manly, but deeply felt. "You know anyone who wants a string of polo ponies?" he asks Jerry with mock flippancy. "All my life, I've had everything. Most of which I didn't want or care about. Now that I could marry Pam, start a family ... I know I wanna see Pam, tell her how much I love her, how much she means to me ... One more favour, don't let Pam know that I know ... I've known you all my life, pal. You've been a good friend. I'm gonna miss you." Left alone at the table, Jerry's face crumples--that's the bit that always gets to me.

    In other news, JR gets a cagey Jessica to admit the fire that killed Clayton's first wife "did enable him to save the Southern Cross and solve his business problems." "...So he got her trust fund when she died and used that to save his home?" "Yes." When Harry McSween provides evidence that Clayton had the opportunity ("The night of the fire ... his wife was bedridden and alone at the ranch") as well as the motive, JR becomes convinced that "he did torch it." Clayton, meanwhile, is losing patience with Jessica: "I am sick and tired of talking about the Southern Cross and Dusty!" he yells at her in front of Ray and Donna. "I'll have no more of it!" In light of what we learn later, Clayton's outburst seems somewhat insensitive towards his sister, if not downright cruel. No wonder she stuffs his fiancee in the trunk.

    Meanwhile, Peter Richards seems to have brought out Harry's inner sadist. He treats him to a couple of nights in the drug tank amongst other pleasantries: "He sure didn't like being searched!" Somehow it figures; if any guest character was going to be subjected to an anal cavity search, it would have to be Peter. This storyline makes Peter look even more absurd than usual: "I sure don't wanna spend any more time here!" he gasps, when he is finally allowed to call Southfork from the police station. Sue Ellen becomes ridiculous by association. The reaction of Peter's lawyer to her assertion that "we've known Peter for a very long time, and we know he'd never use drugs" sums the whole thing up: "That's very nice. But it doesn't mean anything."


    Pam: You know I missed you. I really did. I wish I'd stayed here with you instead of going to the Gulf with Cliff.


    Mark: Does absence really make the heart grow fonder?


    Pam: I wasn't gone that long! Did you behave yourself at your stag party?


    Mark: Yeah. I spent a lot of time thinking, mostly about you.


    Pam: Oh come on, with everything else that must have been going on around you?


    Mark: Since I've met you, all that's gone on for me is you. I don't know how many times I've told you I love you, but I'm sure it's not often enough. The last--what--eighteen months? Been the happiest time of my life. When I came back and you told me you'd-you'd marry me, I-I really couldn't believe it.


    Pam: Well, you better believe it. Half the world's flying in to witness it! 


    Mark: I wish I'd met you when I was ten. I wish we'd had all that time together.


    Pam: I wasn't very cute when I was little.


    Mark: You would have been just perfect for me. I really regret all the years that I lived I didn't know you, all the time that went by without you.

    
Pam: Mark, why are you talking this way? We have each other right now.

    
Mark: I know, but it's important that you know how much happiness you've brought me. How much you're gonna bring. Hey, I don't want you to cry. I want you to be happy tonight, forever.


    Pam: I am.


    Mark: That's enough, isn't it? Let's make this a perfect night. In everyone's life, there should be one perfect night.


    Pam: Mark--

    
Mark: There's only one thing left to do. That you tell me you love me.


    Pam: I do love you.


    Mark: And I love you. I always will.




    The next morning, Mark leaves while Pam is still asleep, just as he did after their first night together 19 episodes ago--only here he allows himself one last tearful glance over his shoulder as he closes the bedroom door. Over at Barnes/Wentworth, Vaughn Leland is demanding an interest payment of $1.4 million. "You're in no position to do that," Leo Wakefield tells Cliff. "You need everything you have just to keep the drilling going." "There won't be any drilling," counters Vaughn. "We'll call in the note." Cliff is completely torn. Finally, he instructs Leo to "write him a cheque ... I'll get the money somewhere." "Sorry about this, Cliff," says Vaughn. "I really am." He really isn't. "Tell me as soon as Pam gets here," an anxious Cliff orders Jackie.

    At just about the exact same moment that Pam's engagement is ending, Bobby's is beginning. "Are you, in your awkward, clumsy, wonderful way, asking me to marry you?" Jenna asks him. "... If you'll have me." "... I can't wait to finally become Mrs Bobby Ewing!" she exclaims.

    "I really gotta talk to you," Cliff tells Pam as she arrives in her office. She's pre-occupied. "Have you talked to Mark?" she asks. "He left this morning without saying a word." "I'm in trouble, continues Cliff. "I need your help. The drilling is a disaster and I've sold everything I own." Just as he's gained her attention, Jackie buzzes. "Not now, Jackie!" he snaps, then turns back to Pam. "I really need to talk to you." Jackie enters the office, and we can see by her face that something's really wrong. "Jackie, I said not now!" Cliff almost screams. It's Mark's office on the phone. "Hello? Yes, this is Pam Ewing?" There's a moment, then she drops the receiver in shock. "What is it?" asks Cliff flatly. Cut to Jackie's face--oh no ... "Mark was flying his plane," says Pam going all wobbly, "and it exploded over the Gulf." Jackie's face, wincing. "He's dead," whispers Pam. Cliff jumps, as if physically startled. "He's dead," repeats Pam and then does all that weird facial stuff she does. Really good scene--some great editing, some great scoring, some terrific Kerchevaling.
     
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  18. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    "Hush, Hush, Sweet Jessie"

    Ah, such exquisite soap irony: Bobby and Jenna enter the Southfork living room, bursting to share the news of their engagement, only to be greeted by the news of Mark's death. Next thing we know, Bobby's gravitating back towards Pam. Mark's demise is good news for no one. "I can't believe he's dead," laments Cliff. "The three of us could have accomplished so much together." Even JR's upset. "The only thing I did like about [Pam] was the fact that she was gonna marry him," he explains to Jessica. One of Mark's several lawyers who isn't Brooks Oliver (alas) delivers a letter to Pam. She asks Cliff to read it aloud. (God bless Ken Kercheval--he even manages to make Cliff's reaction to this request funny.)

    The letter turns out to be a suicide note: "It's important for me to go out while I can still call myself a man ... You'll find happiness again. Maybe it'll be with Bobby ... Remember me well, Mark." (Oh, she'll remember you very well. She'll end up having a twenty-seven-week long dream about you.) Where John Beck has gone Audrey Landers and Morgan Brittany are soon to follow, and events are steadily leading towards their departures. "Cliff doesn't need me," Afton tells Pam ruefully. "The only thing he needs is money." And how. "I'm so close to oil I can almost taste it," he explains to Katherine, plucking up the courage to ask for a loan, "but I just haven't hit yet." "Oh, isn't that adorable? Cliff Barnes asking me for a loan!" Katherine trills, finally liberated from her facade of niceness. Now she can be as mean as she wants and wear jodhpurs while she's doing it. "Oil, oil everywhere and not a drop for Cliff!" She offers to buy his third of Wentworth Tool and Die, worth twenty-five million dollars. "I'll give you eighteen million." "You really enjoy twisting the knife, don't you?" "I do get a certain satisfaction, seeing how it's going into you." They sign the papers. "You finally got what you wanted," Cliff tells her. "I'm out of your father's company." "That's right," she snaps, "and it's just the first in a long line of scores I'm gonna settle." Bobby Ewing, Jenna Wade and Naldo Marchetta--watch out.

    Cliff hands the cheque to Leo Wakefield. "Our problems are over," he tells him. "You're forgetting one thing," replies Leo, ever the realist. "Not only is the interest payment on your loan coming up, but the first principle payment is due ... What's left of this will give you another week's drilling ... After that, it's back to square one." Cliff and Afton have another of their wonderful domestic bust-ups, which starts with Afton breaking the terrible news that "we're out of tomato juice." "Still??" barks Cliff. Realising how much pressure he's under, she offers a suggestion: "I realise I don't know a lot about the oil business, but you think maybe you put your trust in the wrong people? ... You think maybe you have the wrong crew working for you?" Cliff dismisses her advice. "You're right. You don't know anything about the oil business ... You wanna help? Get me some ter-may-da juice!" Once she is out of earshot, he follows her advice by calling Jordan Lee and asking him to recommend another crew. And that is what turns things around for him. Of course, Afton never receives any credit or a share in his success. The same pattern is repeated at the beginning of Season 9 when Jamie suggests the independent oil companies band together against OPEC and lobby for a tariff on oil prices. Cliff pooh-poohs her idea and then steals it.

    With Mark out of the picture, Bobby comforts Pam in her hour of need and Season 6 starts to come full circle. "You don't know this," she tells him, "but I came to Thanksgiving Square that day to tell you I was ready to try again ... Before I could say anything, you told me you were letting me go." "But that's because of your letter," replies Bobby. "Katherine found it and read it to me ... You said you wanted out of the marriage." While Bobby is answering an emergency phone call from Charlene Tilton (there's been a hold-up at the Post Office in Timbuctoo or something), we can see Pam's pretty eyes swivel backwards and forwards as she starts putting two and two together.

    She visits Katherine in her pokey hotel room. Magnificently unrepentant and sexy in her red underwear, Katherine admits the whole thing: "You didn't want him anymore and I did." Pam whacks her one: "You may be my sister, but I never want to see you again!" Morgan Brittany's having such a wonderfully camp time in this scene that Victoria Principal looks ever so slightly earnest and silly by comparison. There's an odd shot of her back as she's leaving and it looks like she's on casters. JR, meanwhile, is pressuring Jessica into doing something drastic: "Times gettin' short and one of us better come up with something or we're gonna find ourselves throwing rice after the newlyweds and wavin' them goodbye on their honeymoon."

    Matters come to a head after Dusty calls Southfork from the Off Screen Motel. Jessica's possessiveness ("I knew he'd come if I asked him") doesn't go unnoticed by Braddock County's answer to HART TO HART, the Krebbses. They quiz Clayton in the Southfork living room, where Ray momentarily turns into John Wayne: "You can tell me ta shuddup if ya want ta, but ah'm your friend an' ah'm worried about'cha." Donna pretends not to notice this weird outburst. "Clayton," she asks, "why is Jessica so much more concerned about Dusty coming to your wedding than you are?" Brace yourselves for Clayton's shocking reply: "Because Jessica's not his aunt. She's his mother."

    The commercial break that follows is an opportunity for people to retch into their wastepaper baskets at the thought of possible Farlow on Farlow incest. Donna's still looking pretty nauseous when the scene resumes. "But you're his--" begins Ray. "Just his uncle," clarifies Clayton (Shame, really--it would have been a brilliant twist!) "I never knew who his father was and I'm not sure Jessie did either." (The riddle of Dusty's paternity could have provided a much stronger motive for Jessica's Season 12 killing spree, with her bumping off all the potential candidates until she finds the real daddy.) "Jessie was a pretty wild kid when she was young," Clayton continues." It was always hard for her to keep her emotions in check. We were close at the time and I could kind of look after her and protect her from--well, from herself actually. And then, after Amy and I got married, I really didn't have the time for Jessie ... and one day she came home pregnant ... Amy and I took her on a long trip overseas so she could have the baby in peace ... After the birth, Jessie went into an emotional depression that was so bad we had to put her in a rest home ... Amy and I kept Dusty. That's what we had agreed upon. We never adopted him legally, but we got a birth certificate that named us as parents and we took him back to Texas ... After a couple of years, she married Lord Montford and settled in England. I never her saw her for years until Amy got sick and she came over to help me take care of her. I really don't know what I would have done without her back then ... ... It's Dusty. I never told him that he was not my real son ... She and JR are pretty close right now. If he finds out about this, he'd probably blackmail me."

    The following morning, an oblivious JR sends Jessica off with Miss Ellie and Donna so that he can have a nose at the photograph album he has spied in her room. As with most soap villains and loonies, she has kept a scrapbook of press clippings about the Farlows' adventures: "SOUTHERN CROSS BURNS" "STEVE FARLOW SHACKS UP WITH LINDA GRAY", that sort of thing. But it's Jessica's diary that really freaks JR out. He confronts Clayton, waving the diary under his nose: "Farlow, you're callin' off that wedding ... I got enough in here to put you away for life ... I'm talkin' about the murder of his first wife. Farlow and his sister set fire to his house and his first wife burned up in it."

    Ray grabs the diary, the latest entry of which--oh so conveniently--exonerates Clayton: "'I did the right thing by burning down that house,'" reads Ray, "'but I'm sure of Clayton knew, he'd never understand.' So he didn't know!" I feel a bit sorry for Howard Keel in this scene. He must convey the devastation of discovering that his sister is a psychopath who destroyed his house, murdered his wife and plans to do the same thing to his fiancee, in only three words: "Oh no, Jessie." It's not a great moment.

    Everyone rushes back to the Southfork soundstage, where Donna describes a scene which, unfortunately, we don't get to see on screen: "Jessica was on the phone and she was talking to Dusty and she said that he didn't have to bother coming to the wedding because it had been called off ... She hit me with the phone ... When I came to, they [Jessica and Ellie] were both gone, my car was gone. Ray, she took one of your guns!" "Jessica's killed once. Who knows what she'll do with Mama?!" asks JR. Oh my gosh--she might turn her into Donna Reed. I don't think DALLAS has ever had such a straightforward "Ewing in peril" cliffhanger before, but it's quite exciting. But what's that squeaking sound I can hear? Oh, it's Pee-durr. "I keep having nightmares about that jail!" he sniffles. Pull yourself together, man.
     
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  19. Ray&Donna

    Ray&Donna Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    I don't think they could have made the attack scene believable--no matter how deranged The Montford may have been, I really can't imagine her subduing DALLAS's two strongest actresses. I can believe buy Rebecca Wentworth as a twelve-year-old bride, but perhaps the horsewhip anecdote and "Drinks are on Bonnie!" scene keep me from buying this scenario.

    There's an interesting vagueness about Edgar's storyline that says it was written with sensitivity rather than for shock value. Alexis Smith's season twelve return, unfortunately, did seem to be more about shock value than any sort of plotting. :rolleyes:
     
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  20. Ms Southworth

    Ms Southworth Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Loved the episode "Hush, Hush, Sweet Jessie". :spinning:
    With Mark Graison out of the way, Bobby and Pam begin their long journey into each other's arms again! :kiss:
    Also loved Pam slapping Katharine in the face! She's had it coming for a LONG time! :slap:

    It's always interesting to catch up on Cliff's business adventures! ;)
     
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