All season long, TNT’s “Dallas” has used Marta’s hair and wardrobe to telegraph her shifting moods and evolving identity. This practice continues in “Collateral Damage,”when the bipolar vixen goes off her medication – and eventually, off the deep end.
When we meet Marta in TNT’s “Dallas” pilot, “Changing of the Guard,” the character pretends to be a wealthy land conservationist who wants to buy Southfork and turn it into a nature preserve. She wears her hair up, but once her true motives are revealed – “Marta” is actually Veronica Martinez, who is secretly plotting with John Ross to seize the ranch – we begin seeing her with hair down, literally and figuratively.
By TNT’s sixth “Dallas” episode, “The Enemy of My Enemy,” Marta is in full “Fatal Attraction” mode and determined to steal John Ross from Elena. The tightly wound Marta shows up on his doorstep in a skintight dress, hoping to seduce him, only to be rejected once again.
When John Ross sees Marta again in “Collateral Damage,” she has come undone. The skintight dress has been replaced by something much looser; it falls off Leonor Varela’s shoulder, which seems appropriate given how her character is falling apart.
The dress’s metallic color is also telling. Until now, Marta has been depicted as a duplicitous villainess, but in Varela’s haunting final scene, it’s hard to not feel sorry for her. Marta is neither good nor bad; like all great “Dallas” characters, she lies somewhere in between. It’s another reason why the gray dress is fitting, even if it doesn’t quite fit.