Dallas Parallels: Fatal Falls

A beautiful woman feels mistreated by her Ewing lover. She is distressed, distraught, desperate. There’s a confrontation. Harsh words are exchanged. Before you know it, the woman has plunged to her death, leaving the police to sort out if this was a suicide or murder.

Sound familiar? This scenario has played out on “Dallas” more than once. More than twice, actually.

In the original show’s second-season episode “The Red File, Part 1,” J.R.’s ex-secretary and on-again/off-again mistress Julie Grey realizes he doesn’t love her, so she decides to give Cliff Barnes a copy of J.R.’s “red file,” which details his shady dealings with Jeb Ames and Willie Joe Garr. Dumb move, darlin’: When Jeb and Willie Joe find out what Julie’s up to, they show up at her apartment and chase her to the roof – and then they chase her off it.

Flash forward two seasons: In “Ewing-Gate,” Kristin Shepard, another of J.R.’s ex-mistresses/ex-secretaries, threatens to spill the beans about their secret love child if he doesn’t pay her more hush money. When J.R. refuses to give in to Kristin’s scheme, she shows up at Southfork and, after a confrontation with J.R., falls from the balcony and drowns in the swimming pool.

Now, flash forward three decades: In “Collateral Damage,” an episode of TNT’s “Dallas,” John Ross races to the high-rise hotel room of his ex-lover Marta del Sol, who has tricked him into believing she has kidnapped his girlfriend Elena. Once John Ross realizes this is a ruse, he leaves, passing two shadowy men on his way to the elevator. Marta ends up reaching the driveway before John Ross.

Echoes from both older episodes reverberate in the newer one. All three women feel used by the Ewing men in their lives, but they’re also victims of their own deceit: Julie secretly copied J.R.’s red file and Kristin fooled both J.R. and Jordan Lee into believing they fathered her child, while Marta cheated business partner Vicente Cano during their Southfork swindle.

There are other similarities: Marta dies at the hands of two men, just like Julie. The shot of Kristin’s dead body (in “Missing Heir,” the episode that follows “Ewing-Gate”) is creepily reminiscent of the haunting image of Marta’s bloodied corpse. The police briefly suspect J.R. killed Kristin, while John Ross is arrested for Marta’s murder.

Eventually, John Ross is cleared of wrongdoing, just like J.R. was in Kristin’s death. But did John Ross learn a lesson? Or like his daddy, will he continue to get involved with dangerous women? Most importantly: Will those women be smart enough to steer clear of heights?

 

‘What Do You Want?’

Baby daddy?

In “Ewing-Gate,” a fourth-season “Dallas” episode, J.R. (Larry Hagman) walks into his office, followed by the visiting Kristin (Mary Crosby).

J.R.: What ill wind blew you into Dallas? I thought we had a deal. [Sits his briefcase on his desk]

KRISTIN: The baby’s just fine, J.R. Thank you for asking. He looks just like his daddy.

J.R.: [Turns to face her] What do you want?

KRISTIN: More.

J.R.: Do you now?

KRISTIN: I’m tired of your little monthly checks, J.R. I picked up some very expensive habits in California – and I want you to pay for them.

J.R.: This is not the time to try to negotiate with me, Kristin.

KRISTIN: Well, now I think it’s the perfect time. Judging from what I read in the papers, you’re making the headlines everywhere. Poor Jock and Miss Ellie. They must be shattered. Think of how they’d feel if they read about a paternity suit on top of everything else.

J.R.: All right, but you gotta give me time. I can’t pull too much out of the bank right now.

KRISTIN: Don’t take too long, J.R. I’m not very patient.

J.R.: You’ll be hearing from me real soon. Where can I call you?

KRISTIN: [Rises] I’ll call you, J.R. Somehow, I’d feel safer that way. Don’t take too long now. [Walks toward the door, stops, turns to face him] Oh, and give my love to Sue Ellen.

 

‘What the Hell Do You Want?’

Oh daddy, what a babe!

In “Collateral Damage,” TNT’s seventh “Dallas” episode, John Ross and Marta (Josh Henderson, Leonor Varela) argue in her hotel room.

MARTA: Vicente froze my bank accounts. I have no money. And I really need to get out of the country.

JOHN ROSS: How much?

MARTA: What?

JOHN ROSS: Money. How much money?

MARTA: I don’t want money.

JOHN ROSS: Then what the hell do you want?

MARTA: I want you to take responsibility. You got me into this. You need to help me!

JOHN ROSS: Marta, I’m here to find Elena. Where the hell is she? [She stares at him silently.] You don’t have her.

MARTA: It was the only way to get you here.

JOHN ROSS: You stole that phone.

MARTA: [Goes to him] You need to help me. Please, John Ross. Please. [He notices a camera in the corner.]

JOHN ROSS: [Pushing her away] You’re filming this? What did you think was going to happen here? What is wrong with you?

MARTA: I have earned what I have. I’ve earned my way out of the slums of Caracas.

JOHN ROSS: Congratulations.

MARTA: I need to watch out for myself. I thought we had that in common. But you’re just a spoiled boy. You’re not entitled to anything. Not me. Not your girlfriend’s love. Nothing.

What do you think of J.R. and John Ross’s entanglements with Julie, Kristin and Marta? Share your comments below and read more “Dallas Parallels.”

Comments

  1. Awesome parallels here. The Marta story line was the most obvious one in the new series. If I were Christopher, I’d be like “uh, Dad, can we just install a new pool? it’s kind of freaky knowing my terrible wayward mom fell off the Southfork Balcony and drowned in this one.” Oh, but he doesn’t know the truth, does he?

    • Who knows what Christopher knows?! Speaking of the pool: After Season 4, I always loved how Sue Ellen never seemed to have qualms about swimming or sunbathing by the pool where her sister died.

  2. I like this parallel. I think Kristin and Marta are a closer parallel than Julie though, since I think of them as more villainous than Julie. Plus, was a Ewing ever a suspect in Julie’s death? I don’t think so. Nice collage photo!

    • I know a lot of fans think of Marta as a villainess, but I’m sympathetic toward her. She was wrong to take part in the plot to seize Southfork, but she was kind of used by John Ross. When will these women ever learn?

  3. Marta dying was teagic, but the thing is she knew that she was in league with murderers.

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