Critique: TNT’s Dallas Episode 25 – ‘Legacies’

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Legacies, Patrick Duffy, TNT

Brother’s keeper

Will it surprise you to learn that I like “Legacies”? Probably not, judging by some of the comments I’ve received on this website and others lately. Some of you seem to think I’m too generous to the new “Dallas.” If I am, it’s only because I genuinely love the show. I’m also the first to admit it isn’t perfect, as “Legacies” demonstrates. This isn’t the finest hour in “Dallas” history, but it does a nice job resolving the “Who Killed J.R.” mystery and giving his death meaning. Ultimately, isn’t that what all of us want when we lose a loved one?

The episode’s best scene takes place in the Southfork graveyard, where John Ross and Christopher listen as Bobby finally reads aloud the letter J.R. left him. We learn J.R. was dying of cancer and put his master plan in motion because he wanted to end the Barnes/Ewing feud. The plan itself: J.R. had Bum shoot him so Cliff could be framed for J.R.’s “murder.” Outlandish? Sure, but there’s also something profound about the idea that J.R., the ultimate warrior, died wanting to make peace. It’s not out of character either. This is who J.R. was at the end of his life: a kinder, gentler scoundrel who wanted to protect his family, especially when it gave him an excuse to dig into his old bag of tricks.

The letter to Bobby is the centerpiece of Cynthia Cidre and Robert Rovner’s script. Even though Patrick Duffy and Jesse Metcalfe take turns reading the words, Larry Hagman’s voice is the one I hear. In my favorite passage, J.R. acknowledges the “terrible, hurtful” things he did to Bobby over the years, then adds: “I hope in the quiet place in your heart, where the truth lives, that my jealousy, as powerful as it was, was nothing compared to my love for you.” This isn’t the first time we’ve heard J.R. declare his love for his youngest brother, but it might be the first time Bobby has heard it. (In the past, Bobby was “dead” or unconscious when J.R. poured out his heart to him.) Anyone who has loved and lost a brother will find meaning in this moment.

The gravesite scene also gives us two unforgettable performances. The first comes from Duffy, whose tears move me like nothing else I’ve seen on “Dallas” this season. Bobby is usually such a pillar of strength; to see him lose his composure is touching. I’m also impressed with Kevin Page, who chokes up when Bum tells John Ross that he was the one who ended J.R.’s life. If you buy the premise that J.R. arranged his own death and that Bum pulled the trigger, it’s probably because Page is so convincing in this scene. Did you ever imagine you’d want to give Bum a hug?

“Legacies’” other big revelation comes at the top of the hour, when Christopher learns: a) his mother died of pancreatic cancer, and b) Cliff paid her doctor to create the illusion she was alive so Christopher couldn’t inherit her shares of Barnes Global. I wanted Victoria Principal to return to “Dallas” as much as anyone, but I also appreciate how this twist honors “Dallas” continuity. We last saw Pam in 1988, when we learned she had months to live. Now we find out she died in 1989. The math works. Much more importantly, this scenario redeems Pam. It always seemed out of character for her to abandon her family, so Cidre and Rovner’s script reveals Pam was undergoing experimental treatments so she could reunite with them. If nothing else, the new “Dallas” deserves credit for making sense of Pam’s absence, which was always one of the old show’s biggest blunders.

“Legacies” offers no such redemption for Cliff. To make the J.R.-killed-J.R. twist work, “Dallas” had to turn Cliff into a monster; otherwise, there was no chance the audience would accept the idea of the Ewings framing him for J.R.’s murder. A lot of fans are having a hard time believing Bobby would go along with this. I understand their incredulity, as well as their frustration with the historical rewriting that went into Cliff’s transformation. (His scheme to defraud Christopher must have started toward the end of the original show, when Cliff had become a pretty good guy.) Still, given the severity of Cliff’s crimes, is there any doubt he belongs in jail?

Even if you don’t like what happened to Cliff, you can’t deny Ken Kercheval gave the performance of his career this season. In “Legacies,” Kercheval makes you feel Cliff’s desperation and anger when the police drag him away in handcuffs (“I did not kill J.R.! I did not kill J.R.!”). There’s also something poignant about the scene where Bobby visits Cliff in that dingy Mexican jail. Here’s a son of Jock, giving the son of Digger one last chance to make peace. Confess to your real crimes, Bobby says, and I’ll help you beat this murder rap. But Cliff is defiant to the bitter end: “I have never done anything that the Ewings asked me to do, and I’m not going to start today.”

As far as I’m concerned, Cliff has to stay in jail for the duration of “Dallas.” If he gets out, J.R.’s master plan will fail and our hero’s final “victory” will be nullified. Of course, this doesn’t mean Kercheval can’t continue to appear in jailhouse scenes like the one we get at the end of “Legacies,” when Cliff anoints Elena (of all people!) as the Ewings’ latest antagonist by revealing J.R. cheated her father out of oil-rich land. This is an interesting twist, although the scene ends with a silly sound effect: After Kercheval delivers the last line (“Make the Ewings pay for the sins against your family”), listen closely and you’ll hear Hagman’s cackle mixed into the background music. (While we’re on the subject of poorly executed J.R. tributes, the painting of him revealed at the end of this episode is atrocious.)

“Legacies” director Steve Robin also gives us two memorable musical montages, one of the new show’s best signatures. The first sequence depicts the daughters of “Dallas” betraying their daddies: While Pamela plants the gun in Cliff’s trunk, Emma spikes Harris’s pancake batter, knocking him out long enough to sneak into his safe and swipe the evidence of his drug trafficking. These scenes play out to a reprise of “Liar,” the bluesy number from the Unknown that was previously heard in “False Confessions” when the police arrest Frank for Tommy’s murder.

The second “Legacies” montage, set to the Mavericks’ “Come Unto Me,” shows Elena visiting the heavily guarded compound of Joaquin, a mysterious friend from her childhood. Meanwhile, John Ross visits Emma, who gives him the rest of the papers she stole from Harris. I wasn’t crazy about the idea of John Ross cheating on Pamela, but once I saw the Hagman-esque glint in Josh Henderson’s eye and heard him deliver the scene’s kicker – “Just don’t tell my wife” – I was sold. (On a related note: Is that J.R.’s watch on John Ross’s wrist?)

Does “Legacies” have plot holes? You bet. It appears the police exhume J.R.’s body, pull the slugs out of the chest cavity (shouldn’t this have been done before the burial, by the way?) and match the bullets to Cliff’s gun, all in the time it takes Cliff and Pamela to fly from Dallas to Mexico and check into their hotel. That’s mighty swift police work, even by TV standards. Also, if the police decide to check out Cliff’s claims that he was framed, they could start by talking to the people who work at the bank where John Ross and Pamela planted the belt buckle in Cliff’s safe deposit box.

I suppose finding flubs like these is its own kind of joy, but I got a much bigger kick out of playing detective and trying to solve the “Who Killed J.R.” mystery. Don’t forget: This storyline was created on the fly by people who were working under tight pressure while simultaneously mourning the biggest star “Dallas” will ever know. All things considered, I think Cidre and company did a hell of a job. This was the most fun I had watching television in a long time. Isn’t that the point?

Grade: A

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Cliff Barnes, Dallas, Ken Kercheval, Legacies, TNT

The bitter end

‘LEGACIES’

Season 2, Episode 15

Telecast: April 15, 2013

Writers: Cynthia Cidre and Robert Rovner

Director: Steve Robin

Audience: 2.9 million viewers on April 15

Synopsis: Christopher learns Pam died in 1989 and that Cliff has been paying her doctor to create the illusion she’s alive to prevent Christopher from inheriting her third of Barnes Global. Vickers is killed on Cliff’s orders. After John Ross and Pamela plant evidence to lead the police to Cliff, he’s arrested for J.R.’s murder. John Ross and Christopher persuade Bobby to read J.R.’s letter, which reveals he was dying of cancer and had Bum shoot him so Cliff could be framed. Harris is arrested after Emma exposes his role in the drug trafficking. Cliff sends Elena documents that prove J.R. stole oil-rich land from her father, prompting her to visit someone from her past named Joaquin. John Ross cheats with Emma, who brings him documents from Harris’s safe.

Cast: Sam Anderson (Dr. David Gordon), Emma Bell (Emma Brown), Karen Borta (reporter), Jordana Brewster (Elena Ramos), Cody Daniel (deliveryman), Akai Draco (Sheriff Derrick), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Alex Fernandez (Roy Vickers), Marlene Forte (Carmen Ramos), Julie Gonzalo (Pamela Barnes), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Josh Henderson (John Ross Ewing), Annalee Jefferies (Carina), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Marcus M. Mauldin (Detective Bota), Benito Martinez (policeman), Jesse Metcalfe (Christopher Ewing), Kevin Page (Bum), Mitch Pileggi (Harris Ryland), Brenda Strong (Ann Ewing)

“Legacies” is available at DallasTNT.com, Amazon.com and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.

Comments

  1. Dan in WI says:

    I’ve gone over the scene between Christopher, Dr. Gordon and nurse Korina a couple times back to back trying to figure out what happened. It still seems quite vague to me. Christopher leads off by accusing them of draining his mother’s account. They don’t comment either way. Dr. Gordon goes on vaguely about Cliff finding out about the will. But he does say Cliff asked them to keep the death a secret in exchange Cliff supported Dr. and nurse “all these years.” Christopher then says “so my uncle let me think my mother was alive, just didn’t want to see me for 24 years.”
    Hel and I debated a bit just when Cliff made his overture. This scene is vague enough we could both support are respective theories. I still think the Dr. or nurse never set out to steal an identity. In fact I don’t think it was ever stated the bank account they are accessing is a Pam Ewing account. In fact we were shown a forged bank signature of Patricia Barrett. One could surmise that was an alias used by Pam but if so would a legal dividend payment be made out to an alias? I doubt it. We also know for sure Barnes Global has been making payments to two different accounts all these years. One to a Pam Ewing trust. Great care was made to say money has gone into that account all those years but was otherwise untouched. If identity theft was going on here shouldn’t we see this trust drained as well? The second payment went to “Patricia Barrett.” Again this wasn’t a dividend payment. It was an amount equal to the dividend payment. So I say this was money paid by Cliff to the couple as hush money. Cliff probably instructed them to continued to use Pam’s alias for the specific intent of perpetuating the myth Pam was still alive to prevent the execution of the will. I keep going to back to the fact that if actual identity theft had taken place the money in the trust would be gone as well. Or Hel might be right and they might still be lying to Christopher. I doubt we’ll ever get anymore on this.
    Of course if I’m right what I said earlier about a major discontinuity is right on. For all of this to work Cliff had to get to the Dr. immediately on Pam’s death. Cliff was simply not that evil at that point in time. See this thread http://dallasdecoder.com/2013/04/16/who-killed-j-r-dallas-solves-the-mystery/ for the rest of my rant on that topic.

    At any rate count me among those who are glad Pam’s dead. Frankly it was never a loose thread for me. At first she disappears in the classic show following the accident. At that point Pam still was a loose end. I think I’m really in the minority here but I was glad for the storyline where Cliff searched her out and found here. That is were we got the reveal she was dieing. From there I took it at face value and accepted her death always figuring it happened shortly after that just like Pam explained after Cliff left the room. For me that did tie up the loose end. Now it should be tied up for all. And yes Pam is redeemed. That is positive in everyone’s eye. (Again I thought she was after the final re-cast appearance in the classic show.) I just wish in honoring the old show and granted that redemption they hadn’t messed up continuity.

    Check out Cliff’s old school pocket hanky in the Rolls Royce scene. It’s actually colorful again. Is that because he thinks he’s won?

    When Christopher returns home Sue Ellen comments that what Cliff did is unforgivable to both Bobby and Christopher. Bobby dismisses it very quickly. Yet as they leave the room Ann gives a stare.

    I’ll say this for Bobby. Even when executing JR’s scheme he is still not his brother. JR always acted alone (in the decision making capacity) but Bobby actually builds a coalition. The strategy meeting with the full study is kind of neat.

    So I was starting to believe Cliff was the killer. But as soon as we got the reprise of “Devil’s a liar” over the forensics montage I knew at that point it was a swerve. Then I was back to wondering who did it.

    So JR stole some land from the Ramos father. Is Elena really going to punish the living Ewings for something they had nothing to do with? Since Elena grew up on Southfork she has to know there is a big difference between JR and the rest. If she does side with Cliff that is going to be hard to buy.

    I don’t like the JR portrait. The famous Jock portrait was so lifelike and that is what gives it much of its power. I’m no art person so I’m probably using a wrong term here but the JR portrait looks as if it is flirting with an abstract style. In my eye that takes something away. There was that portrait painted by Callie all those years ago that looked much better to my untrained eye.

    Anyway did JR really go out on top? Our site-master Chris linked a couple Cidre interviews in the most recent Drill Bits were she pretty much says Cliff and Harris both will be heard from again. I’d have to say they are anything but gone for good. If we get a season three it looks pretty sure to me JR only won a battle, not the feud.

    • I can live with Harris getting out of jail. But not Cliff. As much as I love Ken Kercheval, Cliff needs to stay behind bars. Otherwise J.R. loses — and we can’t have that.

      • I am undecided about Cliff someday getting out of jail..even if he does…..JR still successfully arranged for Cliff to be framed for his murder. He set up Chris to find out that 1/3 of Barnes Global is his…..he opened the door to Chris and Pamela finding out the setup of the company. Basically thanks to JR, Cliff went from being the head of a multibillion $$$ company with the world at his fingertips to losing that company and sitting in a Mexican prison as a murderer. That is a huge win to me.

      • Not that I don’t it could be total fun to have Cliff just stay in that prison…..lol. That comment from Cidre about Howard Hughes’s nails and hair growing in Mexico was great. It might be a great opportunity to just leave him there and let him plot away. He might be in jail….but he still is wealthy. Ken would be fun to watch as a even crazier man living in a prison. DELISH!!!!!

      • Yes! I agree, Hel. I can just imagine what Kercheval is going to do next as jailbird Cliff.

      • Dan in WI says:

        Cliff still has money. I still believe they are implying that Carlos Del Sol bought the “killed by a mugger with a Saturday night special without autopsy” case resolution by the Mexican police. If Carlos can buy the police Cliff will buy them as well.
        Does this take away from JR’s total victory? Yes. It is only a partial victory at this point. We are all caught up on wanting to see JR go out on top. But we have to remember that in this victory JR went farther than ever before. Previously he would only use McSween and later Ratigan to trump up some charges for the purpose of blackmail. JR never set up someone with a capitol crime like murder for the sole purpose of putting them away before. Once you take a step back and realize that (which I’m first doing now) there is huge potential JR made the fued much much worse by crossing that line.

      • Interesting points, Dan. Thanks.

  2. wuksyw@gmail.com says:

    I think I am tired of them trying to turn Josh Henderson into Larry Hagman and thus, JohnRoss into JR. I hated the last few seconds. Firstly, the Emma character does nothing for me so to have JohnRoss sleep with her for some papers in a briefcase just for the sake of the tired phrase “He is just like his daddy” annoyed me. There are DVDs to watch JR if some are so desperate for that. JohnRoss may have similarities to his daddy but this is not the 80s and a man who roams around using what is between his legs to wrap up business deals is not attractive to the women of today. He is a gigolo. A male whore. Not a loveable scoundrel. Those days are long gone. So, no. I don’t care what glint Josh had in both or either eye:)
    I don’t think anyone is asking for a fairytale or the Cleaver show but just a few days after the wedding and after Pamela was just used to frame her dad, I thought for a couple they took the time to build which was the highlight of season 2 for a lot of people, having JohnRoss suddenly drop in bed with the girl he rejected at the hospital was for cheap thrills.
    I have no idea why writers are so lazy and always go the triangle/infidelity route to create tension in a couple on TV. It is more challenging I think, to keep a couple together and write on the many challenges they face within especially a Barnes/Ewing. These lazy writers write like the only problem couples have in this world is the fact that the man is sleeping with another woman. It’s too easy.

    • I see your point about John Ross, wuksyw. I felt the same way at the end of last season when he told J.R. he wanted him to teach him “every dirty trick.” At that point, John Ross had experienced a lot of growth as the battle for Southfork wound down. This time around, I wasn’t as bothered by John Ross’s move back to the “dark side.” I have a feeling that’s who this character is going to be from now — sometimes dark, sometimes not.

  3. I thought the second half of the finale was ok. Wasn’t bad, but it didn’t wow me either. I am glad that both the Pam issue is put to bed for good, with a decent explanation, and that JR had a proper sendoff. It made sense to me that he was the only one who could take himself out. The scene at his grave was very good acting all around. Bobby, John Ross, Christopher, and Bum did a great job.

    As far as the set-ups for next season, I am interested to see what happens with Elena. She was always too self-righteous and judgemental for me, so seeing her turn darker will be a nice change of pace. Not sure she would make a good villain, but it will give her character better scenes to develop and cause some nice tension. The drug cartel angle also interests me, since they may be the new “Vicente” of season 3 for all the main characters.

    I am not sure Cliff will spend that long in jail. The main reason is, did anyone notice that Bobby gave John Ross the letter JR wrote him admitting he had himself killed? I would not be at all surprised if Pamela came across that letter in season 3 and used it against the Ewings, especially when she finds out John Ross cheated on her. Granted, she played a large role in framing Cliff, but she may not feel quite so strongly when she finds out she was duped by Bobby. Also notice, no one told Sue Ellen that JR had himself killed. Eventually that may come out and also cause trouble there!

    I did not like John Ross cheating on Pamela at all. In fact, if that is what soured the finale for me. I fully expected either John Ross or Pamela to screw the other over eventually, either personally or with business, but not just a few days after their wedding. The scene did not seem to fit in with what we have been seeing all season. John Ross really seemed to grow to care about Pamela and then to just to sleep with Emma for a briefcase. I think the writers either cut some major scenes that would help explain this more or they have alot to tell in season 3. John Ross and Pamela were a highlight for many people this season, especially new viewers to the Dallas universe. They seemed to tear that down for no reason and with no explanation. I hope that the two of them make it long term, since they work so well together onscreen.

    • Dan in WI says:

      I did not make the connection between John Ross having the JR letter and Pam potentially using it to get Cliff out of prison. But that sounds very plausible.

      There is no way the fued is over.

      • Dan, how would you feel if the Barnes/Ewing feud ended and the show shifted its focus to the Ewings’ conflicts with the Ramoses and the Rylands?

      • Dan in WI says:

        Well Chris, I’m the guy mourning the loss of the Cliff that made peace with Miss Ellie and all other Ewings not named JR in that “Brother Can You Spare a Child?” classic. So if I had my way and that Cliff still existed then there would be no fued with the death of JR.

        I’m still don’t think there should be a fued with the Ramoses either. Again JR seems to be the one who did the wrong there. I could see Bobby making that right difusing any fued. So the Rylands would be the first logical choice and others would come along over the run of the new show.

      • Dan, I think you’re right about the Rylands, but I have a feeling the show is going to try to build a Ewing/Ramos feud into something big.

    • I want the show to get everything it can out of the John Ross/Pamela marriage. I hope it’ll be fun and stormy like J.R. and Sue Ellen’s union. I wonder if Pamela will re-align with her father, even if she discovers the Ewings framed him. I would think she wouldn’t forget about the loss of her twins, but who knows. We’ll see.

      • Dan in WI says:

        In this what have you done for (or against) me lately world I certainly see where the show is setting up the possibility Pamela going back to Cliff. Hel really seems to have hit on something by noticing that John Ross ends up with possesion of the JR outline scheme letter. I’ll say it again. If Pamela finds that letter in combination with learning about John Ross and Emma I do see her turning yet again. She came out of the Christopher break up with white hot angry and at present that seems to be forgiven when replaced with other anger. I think it will happen again. Let’s face Sue Ellen eventually learned about many of JR’s indiscretions. I don’t see Pamela staying oblivious forever and that will turn her anger.

      • Speaking of which: I’ll be curious to see how Sue Ellen and Pamela’s relationship develops. I wouldn’t mind seeing Sue Ellen serve as a kind of mentor to Pamela.

  4. I think the picture of JR & the one of Ellie & Jock are awful. I would not buy them if for sale, I am a big Dallas fan from way back to original series. Why did thy not use some of the stills taken. These two pics are ugly

  5. Chris, great review. I concur with you. It was greatly entertaining to watch. That graveside scene was excellent. Have to add that John Ross too was heartbreaking.

  6. I enjoyed this episode, even if I was a little disappointed . Maybe just expecting something a little more shocking. Although the grave yard scene was really great.
    I’m glad Pam’s story has concluded, but Cliff hiding her death for 20 years seems a little far fetched.
    I wasn’t too surprised to see John Ross cheat on Pamela. I don’t think he is turning into JR, but yes, some attributes are going to be there. Still maybe a bit to quick. I’d like to see his softer side come out, maybe he,ll feel some guilt. I have a feeling Emma will be manipulating him good.
    Happy to see Elena show some change. She was getting boring, always stressed out, never smiling. I don’t know if she’ll become a villain, but it’s weird how her and Pamela keep swapping out as good girl/bad girl.
    As much as I really like the new characters and story lines, I’d like to have more flashbacks to the old Dallas. It would be cool to hear updates on old characters, other then just them all dying. (Pam, Katherine). I think if the story lines were done properly, new viewers could get interested in old characters.
    Looking forward to a season 3.

    • Thanks, Morganmg. I’d like to see Elena have a little more edge too. And I’m hopeful Katherine will resurface before all is said and done.

  7. Pamela Rebecca turns on her father. Emma turns against her father. Cliff uses what happened to Elena’s father to get her to turn her against the Ewing’s. “Legacies.” How will Harris Ryland and Cliff Barnes be remembered by those whom they loved and loved them? The Ewings took more than just their livelihood and prevented them from crushing them.
    Bum is really the hero of this story. I can’t blame Drew for not wanting to go to prison, because it would likely be a death sentence carried out before trial. Emma and John Ross hooking up still will certainly make the relationship between Ann and Sue Ellen more interesting. Ann or any normal person would say what her daughter and John Ross are doing is wrong. Sue Ellen would explain that it is perfectly normal. Their was a great scene between Pam and Sue Ellen in the original series where Sue Ellen explains to Pam that she will learn that being married to a Ewing means you will always be second place to the whore that is Ewing Oil.
    One thing about Christopher, maybe I am not remembering this correctly… didn’t he cause a catastrophic earthquake in season one? If so, what is he complaining about Drew for? He did something far worse.
    I know Bobby’s actions in this “Masterpiece” involved behavior that was unlike him. I knew this was coming. As J.R. said to him in one of my very favorite scenes all season, “Booby, I’ve seen that look before…” Bobby was in the fight for his life. He went to J.R. for help because he knew who and what he was up against. J.R. discovers Bobby is up against more than he imagined. Bobby gave Cliff a chance to be cleared of the murder. I would love to see the look on Cliff Barnes’ face if/when he finds out it was J.R. who set him up. It was nice to see Cliff with some “non-black” on. It was like he was starting to “lighten up” because he felt that he had finally defeated the Ewings thoroughly and completely for good. He should know, of all people, not to underestimate the Ewings. He wanted to celebrate JR.’s death. Perhaps he felt that with J.R. gone he would not be able to do him in once again.
    There really is no nice way to defeat an enemy that is trying to destroy you and yor family.

    • Dan in WI says:

      ABout the earthquake: My take was the earthquake was an unpredicted side effect of their methane extraction testing. So that was an accident. On the other hand Drew built and placed a bomb. There is no mistaking what that is for.

  8. AngelaDALLAS FAN says:

    I agree 100% that this was the performance of Ken Kercheval’s career!! the delivery on his line “I have never done anything that the Ewings asked me to do, and I’m not going to start today”…OMG!!! I swear it sent chills up my spine! He was that good! you have to be a true fan of the original series to understand how much that line resonated with what DALLAS is all about! despite our tragic loss of JR/Larry Hagman, Cliff saved the season along with Ryland! of course Linda Gray & PD were just as intense & amazing!!

  9. Elena will have the drug cartel break Cliff out of jail. They will partner up against the Ewings. Katherine also returns – her character was never really dead.

  10. When I think of this episode, I always go back and think of this entire season. From that first moment when the cast led by Linda and Patrick talked about Larry until the last episode…..the season really was special.

    I know some like to bash the show because of some grey areas of continuity issues with the former show. For me, when I contemplate the entire season….they are meaningless. When I stop and think about the fact that this show lost the biggest character in Dallas’ history and yet still created a very entertaining and beautiful work, I am just flat impressed. I know how affected some of us fans were by Larry’s passing. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for the Dallas team. Of course, Linda and Patrick had that long 35 years of friendship. The creative team have lived with the characters of this show for several years now. It must have been difficult to write, act, and shoot some of the scenes from this season. In the end, I have to say they did a great job.

    This episode again demonstrated for me how much love, understanding, and care the writers have for the characters. The gravesite scene in this episode really touched me. There should be no doubt of the affection when you hear those words from JR to Bobby. That line about knowing in the quiet place in his heart that JR loved his baby brother was just special.

    One of the unmentioned benefits of having JR die at his own hand is that he knew the end was near. If they had chose to have him killed by someone else, would we have gotten such touching statement from JR to the ones who truly loved? As I have went back over the episodes…I am struck by how his statements and letters were strong indicators that JR knew his time was limited. it was the work of a creative team who truly loved the character of JR and loves Sue Ellen, Bobby, and John Ross that wrote such touching words. Words that (any die hard Dallas fan should agree) express how JR really felt….regardless of how he behaved towards them at times. By the way, Chris and I strongly believed that JR’s dinner invitation letter to Sue Ellen was really about forgiveness…knowing what we discovered in this episode ….it becomes even more clear.

    Also, I found what the writers told us about Pam showed a lot of love for the characters Pam and Chris. I, again, can’t say how glad i am that this chapter of Dallas was finally closed correctly. While I don’t buy that the Doctor and nurse are good people, I do believe what they said about Pam and her desire to be with Chris. I found that scene to be poignant, true, and heartbreaking as well. But I am glad that Chris finally knows that Pam did love him and didn’t abandon him.

    In one episode, we got an end to both Pam and JR. Ironic that 2 characters who despised and hated each other had the real story of their deaths told in the same episode….even though their deaths were 24 years apart. Both JR and Pam lost a short battle with cancer and both fought for their loved ones until their dying breath. Who would ever thought that 2 of the 4 central characters of Dallas would have their final stories told on the same episode by a totally new creative team 36 years after Dallas first began and that the other 2 characters would be present? Who would have imagined that 36 years later we as fans would still be brought to tears as we are reminded how much both characters really loved their family. Gotta say thank you to Cidre and team for that. People love to bash that team…but they showed tremendous love for the characters in this episode.

    I am looking forward to next season.

    It is going to be fun to see how JR3 navigates PR and Emma. I am not surprised to see him hook up with Emma. He was very clear with Pamela when he reminded her of both of their duplicit natures. He also manipulated her into marrying him to get at her shares of Barnes Global. I DO think he loves her on some level….but I think getting ahead is his goal….I honestly believe that Elena was the person to whom he gave his whole heart. The person for whom he would have given anything to be with. She broke his heart and crushed him. I think it was very telling when Pamela asked him during the hostage crisis if it had only been revenge sex for him…he looked over at Elena and replied…it was all he could afford. I do think he has opened up his heart some to Pamela…thanks to all the loss both of them have experienced over this season…but I don’t think JohnRoss has allowed himself to love her in the way he did Elena….he gave everything and got bashed… JohnRoss cares about PR a lot…he might be in love to a point…especially since he recognizes that the two of them have a lot in common….but he still has the attitude that love is for pu****s and he is going to use whatever he can to win. I actually was surprised that people were shocked over the Emma thing. When he asked Sue Ellen ‘what do you take me for ….a scoundrel?’ and gave her that little smile/smirk and head tilt ………and she just shook her head…….I KNEW he wasn’t going to treat his marriage with any deep true feelings. I remember how excited, happy, and emotional he was when Elena said yes when he proposed to her…….compare that to that look and comment to Sue Ellen….you have to know there is a WORLD of difference.

    Speaking of Elena……what a parallel! At the end of last season, she broke up with JohnRoss because he lied to her about his involvement in the Southfork scandal. The end of this season, Chris broke up with her because she lied to him about Drew and his whereabouts. I wonder if Elena will recognize this? I don’t know that Elena will buy into a feud with the living Ewings over what Cliff told her. But…will she take advantage of the situation and still take his offer to control his shares by proxy? It will put her back in the business in a big way. Could be an interesting story.

  11. How could Cliff pay off Pam’s doctor when he didn’t even know who he was? When he last saw the doctor and Pam together, I don’t recall him giving out that information. Just another fact overlooked by not watching all 357 episodes (get that Cynthia?) Also, the way J.R. looked when he was talking to ‘John Ross’, the shot seemed unexpected, not done to do him in by this Bum character. Mind you I love the original series, but this reboot should have had the original writers involved, as they KNOW this show inside and out – Cidre doesn’t!

    • Larry Hagman has a startled expression during J.R.’s last phone call with John Ross because the scene was recycled from an earlier episode, “Fatal Confessions,” when J.R. spoke to Frank on the phone and found out John Ross was sleeping with Pamela. In the recycled version, perhaps J.R. looks stunned because he didn’t know when Bum was going to show up and pull the trigger?

  12. Chris, so I have been trying to find the ‘lIars’ song. I found a website of a band called the Unknown. I emailed the band to find out if it was their song. They actually did respond. And, alas, they are not the artists. So, the only band called ‘the Unknown’ with a website is NOT the band behind the ‘Liars’ song.

    I will keep searching…lol

    • Hel, I admire your determination. This band really needs to come out of the woodwork. It seems to have built quite a following among “Dallas” fans.

  13. Ok – I love Victoria Principal and the character of Pam. Dallas for me was never as good without Pam/Victoria. How I wished she had come back – even after her statement I wanted to believe she was still coming back. I am glad they cleaned up the end of Pam Ewing and gave back some integrity to the character. the only thing that really, truly upset me was the non-reaction from Bobby and we never got to hear what was in the letter to Christopher. this could have been a poignant scene and a fulfilling conclusion to Pam. I picture a scene where Bobby and Christopher lay some flowers at south fork or a small stone or marker for Pam and both say how much they loved her- how sorry they doubted her love and that they will always love her – it could have taken all of five minutes and been truly satisfying for me as a long time viewer. Instead when Bobby said he mourned Pam years ago I was like – how cold – that’s not the Bobby I know. I realize he had moved on but Bobby mourned Pam left him for a doctor – he did not mourn her death or the knowledge that the reason she didn’t come back was she was sick – not that she left him for someone else. – if you remember that was what April told him what she and Cliff discovered when they went looking for Pam – that Pam left him for a doctor and didn’t want to come back. That the last piece of information Bobby ever had about Pam.

    I am hoping if there is a season 3 this might be able to be corrected to give fans like me a real heartfelt conclusion for Bobby and Pam. Maybe then some fans would be more accepting of Bobby and Ann.

    • Dan in WI says:

      I do find it interesting that most people do find closure in the Pam plot thread. When you think about it, the Legacies revalation about her fate is pretty much the exact same thing that was said in 1989. The only difference is when it was said in 1989 she was close to die and now she is 24 years dead. Of course when it was said 24 years ago there was no discontinuity of Cliff taking over her shares.

      • I agree. As all the character didn’t even know as much as the viewer. All the characters have new information – that she was sick – not that she abandoned everyone and was living somewhere with a new found love. The only person to react to this new information with any kind of emotion was Christopher.

      • Great point, Paul. Thanks.

    • Paul, I love your idea. The scene you envision with Bobby and Christopher mourning Pam? That would be a cool way to open the third season.

      • Thanks Chris. And like I said the scene could have great impact for closure based on emotion rather than information or $. I know time is always an issue but so much could be achieved in five minutes.

  14. Lea-Anne says:

    Where are you finding the information on the music played in the show? I would really like to know as there has been some great music.

    • Hi Lea-Anne, I’ve identified some of the songs by listening to the lyrics and Googling them. There are some smart phone apps that can identify songs, although I haven’t used any of those yet.

      • Surely they will bring Morgan Brittany back. She’s still relatively active and looks great. Besides, Cliff saying Katherine “willed” him her shares seems bizarre, since she despised him (even framing him for Bobby’s shooting). That’s a huge plot hole – perhaps intentional – which I predict they’ll fill next season. You can’t just “kill off” a major character like that with no explanation.

      • Mike, I hope you’re right. Bring on Season 3 so we can find out if Katherine is still alive.

      • This has been bothering me!! Who is in the portrait in Bobby’s office – the bearded guy with the hat?? It looks exactly like Keenan Wynn, who played Digger Barnes. But who is this supposed to be??

      • It does look like Keenan Wynn, although hanging a picture of Digger Barnes would be blasphemy, wouldn’t it? Perhaps it’s supposed to be Miss Ellie’s brother Garrison, who also had white hair (kinda) and a beard.

      • Dan in WI says:

        It doesn’t look like I remember Garrison Southworth but that would only be an uncle to Bobby anyway. I suspect it is one of the Southworth ancestors anyway. Who was his grandfather? Was that Aaron?

      • Yep, Aaron was Ellie’s daddy. And it occurred to me that the portrait is supposed to be him. Aaron was played by clean shaven, heavyset Hoyt Axton in “Dallas: The Early Years,” but maybe he grew a beard and lost a little weight when it came time to have his portrait done.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I always assumed that the picture above the fireplace during most of the original series was that of Aaron Southworth. I can’t recall if that was actually mentioned at some point or if I’m just assuming. Anyway, the gentleman in the picture had a beard.

  16. I wish that Pam would have written a letter to Bobby too.

    • Yes erick that would,be great. We can’t have Pam in the form of Victoria,Principal but the writers do have the power to satisfy fans of Bobby and Pam with an appopriate conclusion regardless of what the relationship between show runners and Victoria Principal is.

    • I agree, Erick. That would’ve been a nice touch.

      • I liked Pam also, but just like in real life, time goes on. Cant keep going back to the original series. It is suppose to be about the Ewings today. I just wish they would use Ray & Lucy (especially Lucy’s brother/sister (twins)). They are Ewings too. So do they count in today’s Dallas or not?

      • It seems as if the twins, Bobby and Betsy, aren’t part of the new “Dallas’s” timeline. Or at least that’s how it seems today. Maybe around Season 6 they’ll decide to bring the twins to Southfork to inject some fresh blood into the show.

  17. Talking of Aaron Southworth. Did you notice that he made a donation to the Governors campaign?! Well actually several, the names keep repeating! He lives on Quincy Avenue in Parker Texas.

    • I did notice that, Nick. His name also appeared in Bobby’s list of contacts during the instant messaging scene with J.R.

      • Spoilers for season 3!

        – Elena’s drug-lord friend breaks Cliff out of the Mexican jail, then smuggles him back to the US.

        – Cliff then arranges to have Harris pardoned by the governor; the two will resume their plot to take down the Ewings (did you really think that plotline had ended??).

        – Pamela learns about John Ross cheating on her, initiates divorce proceedings, and he loses his claim to 1/3 of Barnes-Global. She reunites with her father. Barnes Global and Ewing Energies remain Cliff’s.

        – Or do they?? Katherine (Morgan Brittany) returns, laying claim to her third of Barnes Global. (Turns out that rascal Barnes had her declared dead in exchange for not reporting her to the authorities all those years.) Katherine possibly forges an alliance with… Christopher to control Barnes Global???

        – Range war! Ramos vs. Ewings, bringing back memories of the Carter McKay/Jeremy Wendell assault on Southfork during season 11 of the original series. Elena and Drew, fortified by her drug lord’s army, set up camp in their “worthless” land adjacent to Southfork. They harass the Ewings until they agree to remedy past wrongs. This time, there’s no Miss Ellie to “call the governor”; in fact the governor is on Elena’s side.

        – Ray (Steve Kanaly) returns to help Bobby, John Ross, and Christopher in the range war. In so doing, he will have a chance encounter with his ex-wife Donna (Susan Howard); this will begin a storyline in which the couple will reunite. Ray gets to meet his daughter Margaret, who’s now 25.

        – Emma tracks down her grandmother, who is being held against her will at a psychiatric asylum per Harris’ orders.

        – Ted Shackelford and Joan Van Ark will reprise their roles, reuniting as Gary and Valene.

        Get ready for a rocking season 3!!!!

      • Interesting ideas, Mike! I like the idea of another range war. (Am I the only one who liked the original range war during Season 12?) A gubernatorial pardon would be a nice, easy way to get Harris out of jail. And I love the idea of a Ray/Donna reunion. Are you listening, TNT?

  18. cloudchorus says:

    Good piece, I remain frustrated by what happened to Cliff’s character though – by the end of the original run he and Bobby had come to a hard-earned and quite touching friendship. I think affection for Larry Hagman has resulted in a bit of revisionism about how people felt about JR (Lucy in tears at the funerel?))

    • Dan in WI says:

      Cloud>
      I’ve been beating the drum on Don Cliff all along. No arguments here. At the very least we need an explanation on what turned him.

    • Thanks Cloudchorus. Your comment about Lucy’s tears at J.R.’s funeral makes me wish we could have seen those two go at it, one more time. I always loved the scenes where they squabbled.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I was hoping that Pamela Rebecca and John Ross would get a happy ending even if a temporary one. I hope she revenges herself on him but good. I also hope that he falls for her big time once they’ve been married. I love that the now single Christopher and his ex-wife will both be living at Southfork and hanging out while John Ross is bedding others. I would love it if she had some revenge sex with the usually squeaky clean Christopher and they had another baby together. I don’t like the idea of PR being out smarted.
    I was only a casual fan of the original series and actually prefer this series. It is much more tightly scripted (with a few exceptions). I also appreciate that the women are more independent and much stronger than in the original.

  20. Leola Betz says:

    I watch Dallas from the start 1978 though the second season of the new Dallas there will never. Be another Jr.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Critique: Dallas Episode 25 – ‘Legacies’ [...]

  2. [...] the questions we’re pondering as we await tonight’s telecast of “Guilt by Association” and “Legacies,” the final episodes from “Dallas’s” second [...]

  3. [...] “Legacies,” “Dallas’s” second-season finale, the Ewings completed the execution of the master plan that [...]

  4. [...] “Legacies,” the second hour, drew 2.99 million viewers, including 1.1 million in the 18-to-49 demo. This makes “Legacies” the season’s second most-watched “Dallas” telecast after the landmark “J.R.’s Masterpiece” funeral episode, which drew 3.6 million viewers on March 11. [...]

  5. [...] original heroine, is dead. We don’t find out the details of her demise until the next episode, “Legacies,” but there’s no doubt we’re witnessing a moment of consequence. Symbolism abounds. Notice how [...]

  6. [...] by Association” and “Legacies,” the last two episodes of “Dallas’s” second season, averaged 2.9 million viewers when TNT [...]

  7. [...] “Liar,” an unreleased number from the Unknown that was heard in “False Confessions” and “Legacies.” My favorite: “My Time Has Come,” the driving rock anthem from the Bowery Riots that played when [...]

  8. […] to TV Guide, the producers of TNT’s “Dallas” hoped Rainer would play Gordon again two recent episodes of the new show, and when they were unable to track him down, they recast the role with Sam […]

  9. […] us we’ll finally meet Joaquin, the mystery man Elena (Jordana Brewster) met in Mexico during the second-season finale. The article doesn’t mention who has been cast in this role, but I wonder: Will Nicolas Trevino, […]

  10. […] job conveying Bobby’s internal conflict, especially when he read J.R.’s letter in the moving season finale. And just as Bobby held the Ewings together, Duffy played an influential role behind the scenes. […]

  11. […] episodes for 50 shows, including TNT’s “Dallas.” As EW sees it, the second-season finale, “Legacies,” was the show’s finest hour in 2013 while “Trial and Error” was the worst, although the […]

  12. […] Greatest Moment: Who killed J.R.? J.R. did, of course. It turns out he was dying of cancer and arranged his own death so Cliff could be framed for the crime, thus ending the Barnes-Ewing feud … for about 2 […]

  13. […] years later, in the TNT episode “Legacies,” Bobby reads J.R.’s last letter, which reveals the true purpose of his masterpiece was to end the […]

  14. […] penned by Cynthia Cidre and Robert Rovner and directed by Steve Robin — picks up 12 hours after last year’s finale, when we learned J.R. was dying of cancer and masterminded his own “murder” so archenemy Cliff […]

  15. […] What’s John Ross up to? “Legacies,” the second-season finale, ended with John Ross (Josh Henderson) on top of the world: After marrying […]

  16. […] 2 p.m. Kevin Page joins Mary Crosby as an answer to “Dallas’s” most famous trivia question in “Legacies.” […]

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