Critique: TNT’s ‘Dallas’ Episode 17 – ‘The Furious and the Fast’

Dallas, Furious and the Fast, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, TNT

One last shot

We know it’s coming, but still it shocks us. “The Furious and the Fast” ends with the murder of J.R. Ewing, or at least what looks like his murder. It’s jarring, chilling, sad. It’s also a technological feat. The producers apparently created the sequence using recycled footage and audio clips, although the Hollywood trickery is probably obvious only to the most eagle-eyed “Dallas” obsessives. Yet as impressive as the scene is, it isn’t the only reason to admire this episode, which is one of the new “Dallas’s” most entertaining hours yet.

The historic final scene: John Ross is alone in the darkened Ewing Energies conference room, a drink in his hand, his shoes propped on the table. He receives a phone call from J.R., who wants an update on their latest plot against Bobby and Christopher. John Ross tells him the scheme failed, but J.R. is nonplussed: “Don’t you worry, son. I’ve got a plan. It’s going to be my masterpiece – because you shouldn’t have to pay for my sins.” John Ross looks puzzled and asks J.R. what he means. Another cryptic response: “Just remember: I’m proud of you. You’re my son, from tip to tail.” John Ross smiles, but when the camera cuts to J.R., the old man looks startled. Cut back to John Ross, who hears two gunshots and leaps to his feet. “Dad! Dad!” he exclaims. Then, finally: “Dad?”

“The Furious and the Fast” was filmed after Larry Hagman’s death last fall, and it appears as though the producers cobbled together J.R.’s final moments using bits and pieces from other recent scenes. The shots of him on the phone come from the “False Confessions” exchange where Frank calls J.R. to inform him that John Ross and Pamela have become lovers. (The original scene took place in J.R.’s bedroom; in the recycled version, the walls have been turned red.) Hagman’s dialogue, in the meantime, seems to have been pulled from a variety of episodes. J.R. delivered the “you shouldn’t have to pay for my sins” line in “The Price You Pay,” while the “masterpiece” bit comes from “Sins of the Father.” “Tip to tail” was memorably heard at the end of “Revelations,” the first-season finale.

I’m sure the “Dallas” producers would’ve preferred to film Hagman’s final performance as J.R. while the actor was still alive, or better yet, to never have occasion to create such a scene at all. This sequence represents their effort to make the best of a sad situation, so I salute them for coming up with something that not only looks and feels convincing, but also offers a fittingly mysterious beginning to the “Who Killed J.R.?” storyline that’s destined to dominate the rest of the season.

It also feels appropriate that J.R.’s final words are for his son since Josh Henderson sells this scene more than anyone. The smile that breaks across John Ross’s face when J.R. announces he’s proud of him is touching. You can also hear the heartbreak in Henderson’s voice when John Ross realizes what’s happening to his father on the other end of the phone. Credit also goes to director Rodney Charters, who pulls back the camera each time John Ross exclaims “Dad!” until we’re finally left with that wide shot of Henderson alone in the dark. The echo created by John Ross’s final “Dad?” is another nice touch.

Of course, even though I admire the audaciousness of trying to recapture the old “Who Shot J.R.?” magic, it’s a little unnerving to see the new “Dallas” shoot yet another character. J.R. is the fourth person on this show to take a bullet during the past eight episodes. It’s also worth noting how different this whodunit is from the one triggered by the 1980 episode “A House Divided.” Back then, J.R.’s shooting capped an hour in which several characters were each given a clear motivation for wanting him dead. This time around, there are no obvious suspects, although I’m sure they’ll emerge soon enough. Still, I wonder: What character in the “Dallas” mythology is big enough for this job? Who has the stature to take down J.R. Ewing?

I’ll save those worries for another day, though, because to focus only on the implications of “The Furious and the Fast’s” final scene would mean overlooking the rest of this excellent episode. Ted Shackelford’s return as Gary Ewing inspires many of the hour’s best moments, including his fun exchanges with Linda Gray. To get Gary to lower his defenses, Sue Ellen flirts shamelessly with him, allowing us to see a side of her that’s been dormant for much too long. How wonderful of “Dallas” to show that a woman in her 70s can still be sexy and playful. I also appreciate how Julia Cohen’s script has Sue Ellen and Gary acknowledge their past battles with the bottle, which seems to be a sly nod to the memorable scene in 1980 when Gary’s attempt to bond with fellow alcoholic Sue Ellen ended in disaster.

More highlights: John Ross’s bratty greeting to Uncle Gary (“Who the hell let you off the cul-de-sac?”) and Gary’s heart-to-heart with Bobby, when he reveals his fall from the wagon and split from Valene. Patrick Duffy and Shackelford slip comfortably into their familiar dynamic of the responsible baby brother and the all-too-human middle sibling. Isn’t it remarkable how two actors who look nothing alike can seem so believable as brothers? In my recent interview with Shackelford, he expressed his willingness to reprise his role beyond the three-episode stint that begins with this episode. Given how easily he interacts with Henderson, Gray and Duffy here, this seems like an idea worth serious consideration.

Indeed, if “The Furious and the Fast” does anything, it demonstrates how important it is to inject fresh blood (or in Shackelford’s case, familiar blood) into a show like this. I was apprehensive when I read last year about the producers’ plans to add newcomers like Kuno Becker and Emma Bell to the cast, fearing they would rob the core cast of screen time, which already feels too scarce. But I was wrong. Bell knocks me out as timid, confused Emma, and I’m completely charmed by Becker, whose effortless chemistry with Jordana Brewster might be the season’s nicest surprise.

Also fascinating: Mitch Pileggi and Judith Light as Harris and Judith Ryland, whose mother/son relationship grows weirder with each episode. (This episode’s best line: Judith’s frigid “Now pick that up” after Harris kicks over the chair in Emma’s bedroom.) Altogether, the “Dallas” cast now includes 11 regular cast members and several recurring guest stars, yet in this episode at least, no one gets shortchanged.

“The Furious and the Fast” also gets a big lift from Charters’ expertly executed racecar sequences, which generate genuine suspense and make the episode feel a little like this generation’s version of a Southfork rodeo. And even though it seems unlikely the city’s transportation chief would award Christopher the fuel contract on the basis of how many laps his methane-powered car can complete, you have to admit: The race offered a clever metaphor for the familial squabbling that is so central to this show. Like the Ewing Energies-sponsored car, John Ross and Christopher sometimes seem to go around in circles with their feuding, yet it rarely gets boring.

When I watched “The Furious and the Fast” for the first time the other night, I kept looking at the clock, expecting to see the show was almost ever. Some of this stemmed from the dread I was feeling, knowing this would be Hagman’s last episode. But my clock-watching was also done with a sense of wonder. This episode was so dense, every scene felt like it was bound to be the last one of the night. By the time those gunshots finally rang out, I was plenty sad, but I was also damn satisfied. J.R.’s final hour turned out to be one of “Dallas’s” finest.

Grade: A

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Dallas, Furious and the Fast, Gary Ewing, Ted Shackelford, TNT

Return engagement

‘THE FURIOUS AND THE FAST’

Season 2, Episode 7

Telecast: March 4, 2013

Writer: Julia Cohen

Director: Rodney Charters

Audience: 2.8 million viewers on March 4

Synopsis: Gary Ewing returns to Dallas and votes with Bobby to stop drilling on Southfork, which Bobby and Christopher hope will force Sue Ellen to return her share of Ewing Energies to Elena. Sue Ellen flirts with Gary, hoping to break his alliance with Bobby. Harris and Judith try to send Emma back to London, but she runs away to Southfork. At J.R.’s behest, Bum digs for dirt on Harris. Drew and Elena discover there may be oil under the land their father sold to Bobby. Christopher is poised to clinch the city fuel contract after the Ewing Energies car wins a big race. John Ross speaks to J.R. on the phone, but the call is interrupted when it appears J.R. is shot.

Cast: Kuno Becker (Drew Ramos), Emma Bell (Emma Brown), Kenneth Wayne Bradley (Jim West), Jordana Brewster (Elena Ramos), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Julie Gonzalo (Pamela Barnes), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Cory Hart (Brett Cochran), Josh Henderson (John Ross Ewing), Judith Light (Judith Ryland), Jesse Metcalfe (Christopher Ewing), Kevin Page (Bum), Mitch Pileggi (Harris Ryland), Ricky Rudd (himself), Ted Shackelford (Gary Ewing), Brenda Strong (Ann Ewing), Curtis Wayne (Denny Boyd), Annie Wersching (Alison Jones)

“The Furious and the Fast” is available at DallasTNT.com, Amazon.com and iTunesWatch the episode and share your comments below.

Comments

  1. Personally I think this was the best Dallas yet. I keep saying that too because every week they manage to get me to say that. After the race was sabotaged I said damn I really thought they would loose last minute. I could feel the suspense. I think that the end of JR respects his legacy and the history of Dallas. I did not see that coming I had no idea they would be able to respect Larry Hangman the actor to properly end him. It left my family stunned asking who shot JR? as far as so many gun shots – I doubt we see anyone else get shot this season you know as I think about it I think they had to use shots to move the story along. Tommy needed to go so we could find out about Barnes daughter granted they could of used Daddy to make tommy disappear like real Rebecca. Next is Harris. I think this has couple points first it shows the Ewings stop at nothing but also its had a real world connection of a mother “protection” of kid. But the shot led to the trial which exposed Anns past and it led to Emma learning about it and now opening up to her Mom. Finally cano I guess they could of stopped him differently although it brought out drew and his seriousness of trying to fit in also that chopper who was in it (JR?). I talked about Jr shot above so he final but. Great episode great season can’t wait for more!

    • Zach, I’m so glad you like the show! I agree this is a very good episode. It might be my second favorite after “Family Business” during the first season.

      Thank you for commenting!

      Chris

  2. The reason I haven’t commented on the last few episodes is that I just have not been happy with the direction of this show. They’ve got the right ingredients to make a great show, but they’re not using them properly. I still don’t give a darn about Harris, Judith, or Emma, or Drew and Elena. I want more Ewing family interaction, and part of the problem is they just don’t feel like “family.” Everyone’s on opposite sides. Christopher is being written like a smug jack***, and Bobby’s plan to cut off the Southfork oil is ridiculous, talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. And though I loved seeing Ted Shackelford again, I didn’t get why he and John Ross would be talking like that. John Ross should barely remember his Uncle Gary, so why would they be acting like lifelong enemies?

    But the problem is that John Ross, like J.R. has been since last season, is constantly playing defense. He needs to start having some clear victories. But even when he gets something, such as Sue Ellen taking Elena’s share of Ewing Energies, it seems to be immediately countered by Christopher and Bobby. Heck, he can’t even seem to bribe/blackmail anyone properly, a tactic which used to be his father’s specialty. This is 2nd time this season when he tried to bribe someone, and it still failed. The producers need to figure out that J.R. Ewing become a TV icon because the viewers loved watching him beat everyone. He can lose occasionally, but we always knew that was just a minor setback, and that he would always get his revenge. And now it’s time for John Ross to be our standard-bearer. Henderson’s got the chops to pull it off, and he can make John Ross not a copy of J.R., but a continuation of that legacy.

    And Julie Gonzo is my 2nd favorite actor on this show, after Josh Henderson, but they’ve been writing Pamela Rebecca inconsistently this season. They need to stop all this “conflicted emotions” crap and just make her straight-up evil already (& have her hurry up and fall down some stairs or something so she can have a miscarriage, it’s too soon to bring babies into the show), like in the first couple of episodes of this season. I loved the new confidant take-charge businesswoman she was. Like a modern day Alexis Carrington/Angela Channing. And then team her up with John Ross and let those two run roughshod over everyone else. Henderson and Gonzo have great chemistry together, and they need to utilize that more. Those two can be the future of DALLAS if they start writing them correctly.

    Just my opinion.

    • This is great feedback, J.R. From my point of view, this is one of the new show’s strongest episodes. I’m surprised by how much I’ve come to care about Elena and Drew, and how intrigued I am by the Rylands. But I also agree with you that the focus should be on the Ewings. Personally, I don’t find Christopher smug, but I hear that complaint from a lot of viewers. I very much appreciate your take on Pamela — I agree the writing for this character has been inconsistent, and I’d love to see her become this generation’s Alexis or Abby. Let’s hope “Dallas” makes it happen!

      Thanks for your feedback, J.R. I always enjoy reading what you have to say.

      Chris

  3. Oh, and Cliff Barnes needs to get taken down for good. Soon. He can’t continue being this successful billionaire, who gets to mock J.R. @ his own funeral, after J.R. gets killed.

  4. This was one of the best episodes, so far. I will miss J.R. however it was very clever how he was written out of the show. Find myself wondering “Who Shot J.R.?” I have to agree the relationship with Harris and his mother is weird. Looking forward to the next show, although it will never be the same without Larry Hagman.

  5. I have to agree with Zach and Chris on this episode, A+. At this point, I have watched this episode 3 times. Every scene is good. To begin, a callout to Charters, with his first turn as director. I loved the way he filmed that last scene…his yanking that camera back with each DAD….omg…It was like JR leaving him with each shot/word. And then the blank screen with that heartbreaking dad? You knew JR was gone for sure.

    I also liked the way he shot the one on one scenes. Nice movement in the shots and over the shoulder views.

    Ted Shackelford was a warm touch. Loved the writing. In every scene, we got some backstory and flavor. Loved all of his scenes. He certainly felt very comfortable with all 3 of the regular cast members. Would love more of him! His scenes with Sue Ellen were extremely fun. You are right…it was great to see the flirty Sue Ellen again. I am SO HAPPY that we are getting lots of Sue Ellen now.

    the racing scenes. Again, Charters outdid himself. Very intense. I like what you said about the going in circles metaphor…that is so true, isn’t it?

    You know, Bobby and Chris are clearly believe they are in the right….but they are playing chicken with 2 people they shouldn’t. John Ross is as stubborn as Bobby. He, like all the Ewings…especially his father, is a gambler at heart. Sue Ellen, on the one hand doesn’t have much to lose…just the amount of money she loaned Elena and on the other hand she is no more prone to giving into to blackmail than Bobby is. She is a Ewing all the way. They don’t tend to back down unless someone or life itself clobbers them. Sadly, that clobber has came.

    You know, it was often the spouses….such as Pam or Clayton…that often served as the reality check for the Ewings. In this case, it was Pamela who was the voice of reason. It has been Elena, and this time Pamela who have served this role on this Dallas. It was funny that she flat out told them….my father wants a healthy company…LOL…talk about being blatant!

    One of the other highlights was Sue Ellen getting those love letters. It reminded me of
    when JR found that old tape of her winning Miss Texas. This was a very nice touch. You know, not only is this episode the end of JR…the biggest character in Dallas history. But it also is the end of one of the integral storylines of Dallas as well….the JR and Sue Ellen realtionship. Love or hate them….their relationship was one of the cornerstones of the show. It was nice that the writers gave us this. BTW…her reaction was priceless….She clearly was tickled pink and, almost, giddy over the fact that he had kept those letters all of these years. But she was aware that he probably had ulterior motives. So, we know that HIS letter is going to be featured at some point? What is it? A love letter? a letter of JR Secrets?

    The Rylands….Love getting to know that crazy more. Some intense scenes here as well. We learned a LOT about them. It gets better each episode. Judith is over the top control freak. Ryland is menacing. I am really starting to love Emma. The actress Emma is very talented. The character is very slowly starting to break free. Again, we had a strong scene with her and Ann. (btw..beautfully shot)

    Ramos siblings…I like them.

    You know, I personally like the addition of these two families. The sibling pair bring that the same element that Ray did to the original. The Rylands are clearly going to be another source of intense competition to the Ewings. There is no love loss between Bobby/Ann and Harris. Sue Ellen also has reason to despise Harris. JR is plotting some big plan against him. You know that a war is coming and it could be, along with Cliff’s, a long term one. We always had other villians…Wendell and McKay…that served as long term antagonists to the Ewings (othe than the constant Cliff). This time it is the Rylands. They clearly are investing time letting us get to know them.

    Dallas has always been about the Ewings and Barnes but it has also had other allies and competition that served as major sources of storylines (The Cartel, Wendell, Carter McKay..just to name 3) It is the addition of those other supporting characters that gave the show flavor..and made it more than just a family that fought among each other. I like that we are seeing the genesis of the oncoming war with the Rylands. And that we are seeing the beginning of Elena and Drew working together. It will be interesting how it plays out.

    BTW…both Ken Kercheval and Aaron Allen tweeted the other night that the show is about to begin a twist into a whole new direction starting next week. I am dying to know what they mean.

    • Great feedback, Hel. As always. You’re very correct about J.R.: This isn’t just the end of his story, it’s also the end of his story with Sue Ellen (and his story with Bobby too, for that matter). And I’m glad to hear you like the Ramoses and the Rylands too. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one, but I’ve really come to enjoy the newcomers.

      I appreciate your feedback. Thank you!

      CB

      • You are right, of course, about the brother storyline being so big and losing that as well. The almost end to that seemed to be 2 episodes ago. That last scene of them drinking was a great last scene for those two. However. I think that if Bobby had seen him this week he would have at least considered strangling him. But, at this point in their lives Bobby had resigned himself to the fact JR is just JR.

        We all know that it is going to be hard for Bobby, Sue Ellen and JR3 to accept/deal with his death.

        But it is going to be interesting to see how Lucy, Ray, and Gary react. Out of the 3, I would think Lucy will actually take it the hardest. I know she despised JR, but I think that she loved him. She actually has a lot of his personality. She always seemed to be more like him than Gary or Bobby. (General personality..not actions). She had his ability to read people and had that same mouth. ( she was just a sweeter, more honest person) She fought with him a lot …but she gave him as good as she got. I think that Lucy had his undomitable spirit. She just didn’t have his singular drive. I think that JR was often annoyed with her overly perceptive ways of seeing thru him and calling him out…but often enjoyed trading insults with her. It will be interesting if they use the Gary and Ray memories of him. I would like to see those as well. Ray had a good relationship with JR for years before JR screwed it up and then continued to malign him. Gary clearly had a volatile relationship with him but at very rare times on Dallas and Knots they would mention events from their childhoods and early teens that told you that they did have moments of good times together.

        BTW. I always disliked that the producers of Dallas never allowed Lucy to ‘grow up’ and take real charge of her life while on the show. She did start to get things together. I think her character got truly wasted by the old writers….perhaps because she was a female grandchild.

      • Hel, as always I agree with everything you wrote. I think J.R. and Lucy genuinely loved and cared for each other. He seemed to appreciate her spunk and as you wrote, he clearly enjoyed trading barbs with her. Plus, in real life, Charlene Tilton clearly adored Larry Hagman, so I think a lot of that can be seen on screen. I’d love to see the new show acknowledge J.R. and Ray’s friendship during “J.R.’s Masterpiece,” as well as Gary’s complicated relationship with his older brother.

      • It’s not that I don’t like the new characters, per se. Ann was actually my favorite new character last season. That’s why all along I’ve been the one saying I DON’T want Pam back, especially not to reunite with Bobby, like so many other fans apparently want, because I’d rather keep Bobby and Ann together. It’s just that they’re putting too much time into these new characters, too soon, IMO, @ the expense of the Ewings. The show is still new, and we’re still not caught up on what all the Ewings have been up to the past 20 years, yet we get whole segments on these brand new characters that have no connection to the original show. I mean, we still barely know who Elena is, and now they brought in her brother, too. They dedicated almost an entire episode to revealing the 20-year backstory of Ann, Harris, Judith and Emma, but we still don’t know how Cliff became so successful, when did his previously loving relationship with Christopher turn antagonistic, why does he still hate the Ewings, when did he discover that Pamela is his daughter and how that relationship developed, how did he convince her to go along with this bizarre scheme to defraud Christopher, etc. ? Those are questions I still want answers to. And with this episode, they could have cut out one of the segments with Judith and Harris and given us a scene with Gary and Lucy, so we could see what their relationship is like. That’s the kind of thing I’m really interested in right now, not whether or not Drew can strike oil. If they could catch us up with the Ewings, and give us more “character moments”, instead of just going from plot-twist to plot-twist, then I’d be ready to invest myself with all these newbies.

        Speaking of Lucy, I will say that I think the original series missed the boat with her. After the first season, they tried to change her from rebellious wild girl (I know we’re supposed to pretend that we don’t remember her rolling in the hay with Ray…) to squeaky clean girl, looking for love, and she eventually got boring, and they got rid of her. She did seem closer to J.R. in the beginning (he was the one who snatched her away from Val as a baby and brought her to live @ Southfork, after all), and I think they should have stuck with that. She basically should have been his protege, and grown up to be a female J.R. Ewing.

      • The idea of making Lucy a J.R. protege used to occur to me too. That would’ve been really cool. I’m hopeful we’ll get some scenes with Lucy and her parents in the March 18 episode, although it sounds like their interaction will be quite limited. Sigh.

  6. Morganmg says:

    Great episode! I was glued to the tv, even thru the race car scenes. I’m getting really interested in the Ryland story line, and I admit I wasn’t sold on it at first. Weird… I too loved the “pick that up!” Line!! Judith light is fun to watch. They make good enemies for the Ewings.
    I agree somewhat with “jr’s” comments, I really want to see John Ross catch a break. I want more devilish ness and conniving. He was so great in the season opener.
    About the twins, it does seem a bit soon for babies, but perhaps Cliff or another family member will play a role in keeping them hidden away from Christopher when they’re born, or something like that.
    Also intrigued by the Drew Elena piece. I think I like the idea of her separating herself from the Ewings somewhat. The two of them getting their own business thing going sounds good.Drew still seems a bit sketchy, but I like it.
    Looking forward to next week, and all that comes with J.R. S death.

    • I like the idea of Drew and Elena going into business for themselves too. It might sound counterintuitive, but I think separating them from the Ewings might help them become more important to the show. You may be right — Drew may be up to no good — but I’m enjoying Kuno Becker’s performance and his scenes with Jordana Brewster.

      Monday is going to be a heartbreaker.

      Thanks for commenting!

      CB

  7. Ronnie Papke says:

    Oh my God, J.R. is gone – I can’t believe it. And I was thrilled that they managed to create a scene that looks like it was written in that way.. Great finale look on J.R.s face – like he knew what was coming… ?!?
    I also loved the chemistry between Gary and the other older cast members.
    Oh and I love Judith Lights performance! When I heard the news about her beeing cast as Rylands mother I thought, I couldn’t watch her and not thinking about her role in “Who’s the Boss”. But on the contrary – I love the scenes with her – she is so bitter, so full of hate… I hope, they keep her – and Emma – on the show for a long time.
    I don’t like Elenas brother (yet).
    Looking forward to next week’s episode – what a milestone!

    • Yes, it did seem like J.R. knew it was coming. I wonder if he did? And yeah, Judith Light is brilliant as hateful Judith. What a great performance.

      Thanks for commenting!

      CB

  8. Howard Jones says:

    What is the song and who is singing it in the furious and the fast? On the western plain.

    • Howard, the song does appear to be a rock version of “On the Western Plain,” but I’m afraid I don’t know who sings it. I’ll try to find out and report back, but getting information on the music featured on the show has been notoriously difficult.

  9. Dan in WI says:

    The traditionalist in me is having a hard time getting used to the scene where everyone enters the boardroom in slow motion to that rock music soundtrack. That just doesn’t feel like classic Dallas to me.

    Speaking of the boardroom, why is Pamela Rebecca sitting at the head of the table? I realize she is the swing vote, but she still holds the smallest number of shares of anyone in the room?

    The scene with Elena jogging when Drew catches up to her is reminiscent of the numerous scenes April had while out jogging.

    When I first saw this episode I thought Ted Shackelford looked pretty rough. Then after reading the recent Ultimate Dallas interview where he admits to being sick when filming it makes a little more sense.

    It doesn’t sit right with me when Bobby tells Gary he was the only brother he could always count on. The way I see it, Bobby only had one brother who regularly let him down. Ray was pretty solid as brothers go as well.

    So now in this episode we are back to Bum but no Clyde. Pretty soon I’m going to really start to wonder if it is coincidence or not that we’ve never seen those two PI’s together in the same room.

    Judith to Harris “I won’t let you loose our daughter.” At this point it seems certain the writers are intentionally going for the “ick” factor in the Judith and Harris relationship. I really want to know why before I lose my lunch.

    Remember in the first season when Sue Ellen sat there brooding about crossing that line in bribing the coroner? At the time I didn’t make much of it. But now I wonder if she didn’t see the potential for evil within herself and that is why she was upset with herself. Now the genie appears to be out of the bottle and I don’t think I like Sue Ellen as JR’s replacement. John Ross is doing that role just fine on his own. I have no problem with a strong Sue Ellen. I liked her best as the owner of Valentine Lingerie and the way she got back at JR with that. But that was getting back at someone who had it coming. Now she has become JR and is being underhanded and ruthless in dealings with the rest of the family just like JR. I really don’t like this.

    I really liked the Dressage vs. range horse metaphor. The two are very fitting stand-ins for the Rylands and the Ewings.

    Christopher really has it going on. There is the love of his life Elena and the mother of his children Pamela Rebecca. Now we have this Allison Jones coming after him full bore. Some guys have all the luck.

    The Race:
    After the season premier I wrote on this site how NASCAR is about the last place on Earth that would allow Christopher to race his experimental fuel. Now we see it isn’t a NASCAR sanctioned event so at least that is a little more realistic. Still as an educated racing fan this whole thing just makes me cringe. I have a hard time believing a four car exhibition would sell any government bureaucracy on anything. Plus the skeptic in me would have a hard time being swayed by an exhibition race. It really needs to be an open competition to convince me of anything. The exhibition wasn’t very realistic either. It is not terribly likely that when there are only four cars taking part that all four would be right there nose to tail on the same lap under the checkered flag after 225 miles. That sabotage repair is also completely improbable. If I follow this scene correctly the Ewing car had a one lap advantage at the time of the repair. (I say this because the repair took place before the gasoline cars made a second fuel stop. I have a hard time believe the advantage could be more than a lap at that point.) The NASCAR qualifying record at that track is 27.5 seconds. If the Ewing car is one lap down when that repair is complete that means we are to believe that part was swapped out in under a minute. Then there is my all time favorite Hollywood racing scene pet peeve. Every time we see in car shot we always see a driver shifting gears. But that just doesn’t happen on a super speedway. Pretty much the only time the gears are ever changed is while entering or exiting the pits. Once a car hits top speed on this type of track it is constant wide open. Gear changing just doesn’t happen.

    • You make some good points. I do want to counter regarding Sue Ellen. She, as yet, has not done anything she feels is underhanded. She was influenced by JohnRoss certainly. But, Elena neglected her deal and didn’t stay on top of her own project. Let’s face it…..most people would have been scrambling to pay back that loan to her fiancé ‘s mother the instant she dumped said fiancé. Sue Ellen has made no indication whatsoever she is going to try to ‘steal’ the company from Bobby and Chris. She said that she wanted to make things work. Yes, she is trying to get Gary to change his mind, but again she is pointing out the obvious facts. She has not done a single underhanded thing to Gary. She has did a little flirting and chatting. That does not equate to acting like JR…lol.

      I like that they have moved her into the center of the action. Not only does it make good TV for us viewers (YES!) but it makes sense for the character. John Ross is her only child. She clearly carries some guilt over the effect of the divorce and fighting had on him. So she is blind to his faults. She wants to protect him and to be a bigger oart of his life….that is a huge motivator for her. I do think that Sue Ellen is a fallible character. She has spent years now trying to redeem herself for past sins. The comment JohnRoss made to JR about her is telling..’ She is not going to want to seem like the bad guy’. He is correct, she doesn’t want to be the bad guy. She feels what she is doing is right. Will she cross that line into the wrong? To protect JohnRoss from harm…yes….but I don’t think she will go there just because. JR loved being dirty. That is not Sue Ellen…she believes she is a good person. It always has been Sue Ellen to live in that morally gray area….ie loving and accepting bad behavior from a loved one while not being a bad person herself. I personally love watching the way her character walks that line…she will fall on either side at varing times.

      It is going to be interesting to see how she handles when she sees and knows that JohnRoss is doing all out dirty tricks.. That will be the test.

      But, I think that the internal strife at EE will be set aside for a while with the death of JR. The family will be wrecked and will bond.

      You know, Elena could be the solution. She has an opportunity to go into business with her brother. She should tell Bobby&Chris to drop the game of chicken. Instead, just loan her the money to start her own business and accept that she (and her brother) made a mistake by neglecting that deal and underestimating how livid Sue Ellen was. She doesn’t appear to have brought any money into her ownership of EE…she is not out there. She is out the opportunity to run an oil company. She can do that with her brother and save EE from self destruction.

      • As always, I like the way you think Hel. I’m also hopeful J.R.’s death will bring the family together too. Thanks for commenting!

      • Dan in WI says:

        Hel,
        I can see your points that Sue Ellen hasn’t done anything she views as under-handed yet. But I’ll still maintain she should not be so oblivious to the fact she is defending a son who was working with JR and JR sure isn’t clean. Bobby never got a chance to show Sue Ellen that cloud drive. But shouldn’t the fact that he thought he had something he wanted to show her that mysteriously erased itself in front of both their eyes give her pause? Sue Ellen has little reason to believe Bobby would be lieing to her.

    • Dan, you know your NASCAR! This stuff is beyond my realm, so I appreciate your contributions here, as well as your other thoughtful comments. Thank you!

  10. I have to agree with the A rating as well. I agree with this too – “It also feels appropriate that J.R.’s final words are for his son since Josh Henderson sells this scene more than anyone.” Face it, Josh Henderson has a tough role to play, he is involved with every character in the show, except for the Rylands. He has a very close relationship with J.R. that he is close to him and wants to be like him as a son will idolize their father. John Ross is also rebellious and feels that he is smarter and knows better ways of doing things than his JR, just as a son is rebellious and willing to challenge the philosophies and intelligence of their father. We have seen this since the very beginning of the show. Perhaps John Ross, after J.R.s funeral will ponder how he would like to be remembered.

    I think having JR Ewing die after Larry Hagman passed is just fine. I mean, who wants to witness their own death and funeral? One of the many things I will admire and respect about Larry Hagman is that he was very happy and worked hard at what he loved to do all the way to the very end.

    Gary and Sue Ellen and also the scenes with Gary and Bobby were great. I liked the car race and was happy that Christopher and John Ross were not in the cars themselves racing each other. Judith and Harris Ryland had a good scene together. I am definitely curious about their mother-son relationship, I think their is some crazy stuff going on between the two of them.

    • You’ve got that right: The Rylands are crazy. Maybe they should get their own sitcom spinoff. It would have to air one of the racier cable channels.

  11. something tells me that Sue Ellen”s sister Kristin {mary Crosby} is still alive and has something to do with it even tho in season 4 or 5 in the 80’s it appeared as though she was dead in the pool.

  12. I loved this episode and found myself really getting into the race scenes. I agree with you, I kept thinking the hour had gone by because it seemed each scene was strong.

    Having never watched Knots Landing, I do not know Gary more than from cross-overs with Dallas. I guess I share Jock and JR’s opinion that he is weak. I am not a fan and Sue Ellen’s flirting with him was uncomfortable to watch. He would have to be the weakest and most foolish man on Earth to fall for that!

    • This really is a great episode. I’m no racing fan, but I was completely captivated by the racing scenes. As far as Gary: He become a stronger character on “Knots Landing,” although he remained the most human of the Ewing brothers. I’ll be curious to see what happens between him and Sue Ellen!

  13. J.R.Ewing says:

    As I was none to keen on this episode I would be interested in hearing how you would have killed J.R. off. If the producers were intending to set up the mystery of Who Killed J.R.? then, as with the Who Shot J.R.? mystery they should have had all those around him given a motive in this episode. Each family member, extended family, any business rivals and definately Cliff Barnes. I would also have created a scenario that bought back charecters from the past in this episode, so as they too could become suspects. I would probably have had this titled J.R.’s Masterplan (Part One), with him dying whilst instigating his plan. Essentially the plan should have been aided by Sly.

    • I like your concept. It would’ve been nice to have suspects more clearly identified before the murder.

      • (I “reply” here, because I don’t find the “reply to the main article” button )

        I watch this episode today. Like you, I LOVE the “pick up the chair” scene, witch explain all relationship between rylands !. But there is one strategical thing I don’t understand : when bobby and chris decide to stop drilling in southfork, john ross decide to sell the methane stuff. But he must have pamela agreement.

        Is this certain ?

        PR obtain 10% of chris parts. Chris had 25 % so PR obtain 2,5 %

        we have bobby (25%) + chris (22,5%) = 47,5 %

        opposite : JR3 (25%) + sue ellen (25% obtain upon elena) = 50%

        So even if PR is against JR3/SE, the bobby’s side don”t have absolute majority. No ?

        Other argue : why don’t JR3 play like this : using mss henderson’s oil to obtain cash ?

        PS : you should install a “last comments” column, to find quickly if we have answers 😉

      • Antoine, I agree: The ownership percentages is very confusing. I’m afraid I don’t have an answer. I hope the new show makes it a little easier to follow next season.

  14. Excellent talk

Trackbacks

  1. […] “The Furious and the Fast,” a second-season “Dallas” episode, John Ross (Josh Henderson) is sitting alone in the Ewing […]

  2. […] scored 2.8 million viewers with its most recent “Dallas” episode, “The Furious and the Fast.” The audience for the March 4 telecast included about 890,000 viewers between ages 18 and 49, the […]

  3. […] Who killed J.R.? In “The Furious and the Fast,” last week’s episode, J.R. (Larry Hagman) went to Abu Dhabi to close an oil deal while his private […]

  4. […] or one of his other enemies? I know it appeared someone off camera gunned down J.R. at the end of “The Furious and the Fast.” Could it have been Bum, acting on J.R.’s orders? I don’t love the idea of J.R. killing himself, […]

  5. […] week, 2.8 million viewers watched the “Dallas” episode “The Furious and the Fast” during its Monday telecast on TNT, but over the next three days, DVR users pushed the audience to […]

  6. […] for cinematography. By the way: Rodney makes his “Dallas” directorial debut with “The Furious and the Fast,” next week’s racecar-themed […]

  7. […] minding the store? We haven’t heard much about Ewing Energies since “The Furious and the Fast,” when the company-sponsored racecar scored a big victory at the track. This prompted flirty […]

  8. […] are the questions we’re pondering as we await tonight’s telecast of “The Furious and the Fast,” TNT’s latest “Dallas” […]

  9. […] in Season 2. The stories honored the classic “Dallas” themes, but with fun, fresh twists. “The Furious and the Fast” was like one of the old show’s Ewing Rodeo episodes, but with racecars instead of bucking […]

  10. […] and Oil Baron’s Ball (er, “Cattle Baron’s Ball”) episodes? On the other hand, we did get “The Furious and the Fast,” the fantastic racetrack-set episode that marked the “Dallas” directorial debut of Rodney […]

  11. […] to scoff at. (More trivia: This will be Duffy and Shackelford’s last scene together until their recent reunion on TNT’s […]

  12. […] directed last season’s racecar episode, which is one of my […]

  13. […] 8 p.m. to midnight: The next four episodes are a murder-a-thon, so brace yourself. Frank (Faran Tahir) offs himself in “False Confessions,” Brenda Strong kills it during Ann’s testimony scene in “Trial and Error,” Vicente bites the dust in “Blame Game,” and then the saddest shot of all: the death of J.R. Ewing in “The Furious and the Fast.” […]

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