Critique: TNT’s ‘Dallas’ Episode 19 – ‘Ewings Unite!’

Cliff Barnes, Dallas, Ewings Unite, Ken Kercheval, TNT

The twist

There’s a lot to like about “Ewings Unite!,” including Ken Kercheval’s chilling performance in the final scene and the sensational, old-school soap opera showdown between Joan Van Ark and Linda Gray, which is destined to become a “Dallas” classic. Unfortunately, this episode also gives us plenty to lament. Valene’s eagerly awaited reunion with Gary never really happens, there’s seemingly little movement in the “Who Killed J.R.?” mystery, and the bombshell dropped during J.R.’s will reading is silly. This production isn’t just missing the old Hagman magic. Logic has taken a holiday too.

The will reading offers a welcome cameo from the wonderful Barry Corbin, who portrayed Sheriff Washburn on the old “Dallas” and appears here as J.R.’s lawyer. Bruce Rasmussen’s script honors J.R.’s mischievousness by having him leave a bottle of scotch to recovering alcoholic Gary, while Bobby inherits J.R.’s collection of cowboy boots. (This might be an inside joke. Hagman memorably called cowboy boots “the most uncomfortable mode of transport ever invented.”) I’m not going to complain about the omission of absent characters – a full recitation of J.R.’s bequests could have consumed half the episode – but I will gripe about the big surprise: It seems Miss Ellie waited until after J.R.’s death to leave half of Southfork to John Ross.

Ellie’s explanation comes in a letter read by Corbin’s character: “My son J.R. was many things, but he was not a rancher. That’s why I left my beloved Southfork to Bobby. But I hope you understand, Bobby, that J.R.’s sins should not be visited upon my grandson, John Ross.” Come again, Mama? As much as I like the idea of Ellie one-upping J.R. from beyond the grave, this defies belief. Set aside the fact that Ellie and second husband Clayton deeded Southfork to Bobby toward the end of the original series. In the new “Dallas’s” timeline, she left the ranch to Bobby upon her death more than a decade ago. Now Ellie is able to change those terms? I’m no lawyer, but how is this legally possible?

If the show’s goal is to pit John Ross against his uncle – effectively allowing John Ross to take his father’s place in this franchise’s central conflict of J.R. versus Bobby – then I’m all for it. I also like the idea that John Ross’s stake in the ranch means he’ll probably take up residence at Southfork, which I hope will set the stage for more old-fashioned Ewing family gatherings. Still, I wonder: Couldn’t the show have achieved this new power structure without sacrificing its credibility?

“Ewings Unite!” also suggests Cliff’s company, Barnes Global, is a rebranded version of the old Barnes/Wentworth conglomerate he ran on the old show. This also seems to contradict established “Dallas” lore – didn’t Cliff long ago relinquish his stake in those companies? – but I can live with this change since the composition of his corporate assets always seemed needlessly confusing. I’m more bothered by the revisionism in Elena’s storyline. When she challenges Christopher over his blackmail scheme, she declares, “This is why I wanted out of the company.” Whoa! Didn’t Sue Ellen oust Elena from the company against her will? Never mind the old show; if the new “Dallas” isn’t going to respect its own history – and by “history,” I mean stuff that happened three episodes ago – why should we?

The resolution of Gary’s mini-arc and Val’s return yield more mixed feelings. Van Ark is a hoot in the scene where Val confronts Sue Ellen (“Once a bitch, always a bitch!”), a marquee battle between two of television’s greatest soap queens. This doesn’t feel much like the Val I remember, but I like the idea that Van Ark’s character has grown stronger and more confident. “Poor Val” appears to be a memory. I also adore Ted Shackelford’s final scene with Gray, when Sue Ellen sweetly urges Gary to return to his wife before it’s too late. “One day she may be gone and you don’t want to regret the loss of every moment you could have spent with her,” Sue Ellen says. It’s a nice reminder of the wisdom Sue Ellen has gained, as well as the fact that her devious behavior in this episode stems from her grief.

But as much as I appreciate these moments, I want to shake my fist at “Dallas” for not giving us a scene where Gary and Val patch things up. Talk about a missed opportunity. Shackelford and Van Ark are every bit as iconic as “Dallas’s” other famous pairings. To split up the couple is one thing; to only give them a brief appearance together in the Southfork foyer and then leave the fate of their marriage unknown is something else. (So much for engendering goodwill among “Knots Landing” fans.) Of course, if the lack of closure means Gary and Val will return next season to resume their storyline, I’ll be the first to eat these words.

I don’t mean to dwell on my disappointments with “Ewings Unite!” There’s plenty here to admire, including seeing John Ross and Christopher work together; the scene where they gang up on Pamela showcases the nice chemistry between Josh Henderson and Jesse Metcalfe, who play off each other almost as easily as Hagman and Patrick Duffy did during “Dallas’s” heyday. I also appreciate Christopher’s flirtation with the dark side, and how the scene where Elena learns about his blackmail scheme echoes one from the old show where Pam tries to bring Bobby back from the edge. Other highlights include the pairing of impressive newcomers Kuno Becker and Emma Bell, as well as the addition of Annie Wersching, who I hope will stick around as sexy, scheming city transportation official Alison Jones.

More good stuff: the scene where Cliff and Harris form their Legion of Doom-style alliance, as well as when Harris dismisses his new partner in crime as a “paranoid old coot” while speaking to Vickers, who is poised to succeed Frank as this show’s go-to henchman. As far as Cliff’s decision at the end of episode to blow up the Ewing Energies rig, even though pregnant Pamela is on board: I wasn’t that shocked. The version of Cliff we see on TNT’s “Dallas” is more twisted and consumed than the one we remember. Like a lot of longtime fans, I wish I knew how Cliff got this way. Still, as ugly as his actions are, they seem perfectly in tune with the person he’s become.

Regardless, how fantastic is Kercheval in that scene? Everything about the actor’s body language – the fidgety hands, the shifty eyes – suggests the torment raging within Cliff in that instant. I also appreciate how director Steve Robin heightens the drama with a glimpse of pregnant Pamela’s belly before the bomb goes off, as well as the shot of Vickers kissing the cross around his neck before he pushes the detonation button.

I’m more surprised to see “Ewings Unite!” spend so little time on the “Who Killed J.R.?” mystery, which got off to such a riveting start at the end of the previous episode. After Bobby fills in John Ross and Christopher on the origin of Cliff’s company, he suggests J.R. was searching for Pam because she might be a “silent partner” in Barnes Global and casually reveals that Katherine is dead. Then again, as Dallas Decoder readers have pointed out, this show usually doesn’t mention older characters unless they’re going to figure into the storyline. Could Bobby’s reference to Katherine be the first step toward bringing Morgan Brittany to the new “Dallas”? Who knows? We might look back on this episode one day and realize it offers the biggest clue of all.

Grade: B

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Dallas, Ewings Unite, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, TNT

Inherit the earth

‘EWINGS UNITE!’

Season 2, Episode 9

Telecast: March 18, 2013

Writer: Bruce Rasmussen

Director: Steve Robin

Audience: 2.7 million viewers on March 18

Synopsis: J.R.’s will splits his share of the Southfork mineral rights between Sue Ellen and John Ross. A letter from Miss Ellie reveals John Ross will become co-owner of the ranch with Bobby. When Bobby decides to resume drilling on Southfork, Sue Ellen, who is still drinking, summons Valene to take Gary home. Cliff tries to undermine Ewing Energies’ bid for the city fuel contract, but John Ross and Christopher blackmail transportation official Alison Jones into giving them the contract. Judith threatens to oust Harris at Ryland Transport, then falls down the stairs. After Cliff and Harris join forces, Harris’s henchman Roy Vickers blackmails Drew into sabotaging the Ewing Energies methane extraction rig. Cliff orders Vickers to blow up the rig, even though it will endanger Pamela and the Ewings.

Cast: Kuno Becker (Drew Ramos), Emma Bell (Emma Brown), Jordana Brewster (Elena Ramos), Barry Corbin (J.R.’s lawyer), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Alex Fernandez (Roy Vickers), Julie Gonzalo (Pamela Barnes), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Josh Henderson (John Ross Ewing), Jesse Metcalfe (Christopher Ewing), Kevin Page (Bum), Mitch Pileggi (Harris Ryland), Ted Shackelford (Gary Ewing), Brenda Strong (Ann Ewing), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing), Joan Van Ark (Valene Ewing), Annie Wersching (Alison Jones)

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

Comments

  1. Good post But what do you think about Pamela Rebecca and John Ross scene at his Place and the scene with them JR/PR on the rig with Chris ?

  2. Chris, just to give you a tidbit. The only thing that really bothered me in the episode was the Elena thing. It just so happened that Dallas Derby and I jumped on asking Aaron Allen about it. He said that there was another scene flimed between Chris and Elena before the Sue Ellen takeover occurred. Apparently, she was expressing dissatisfaction with working at EE. (he didn’t say why…I conjecture that it was because of the conflicts.) Anyhoo…he said that they had to cut that scene due to timing issues caused by JR’s Masterpiece. He apologized and said going forward they should not have such issues.

    Miss Ellie’s will thing….we never were told how Bobby received SF. They never gave the legal details…they just said that Bobby was being given SF. So there was kind of a gray area around the topic vis a vis the details. Basically, the writers are taking advantage of that and are going on the assumption that Miss Ellie left the ranch to Bobby in a trust. When somone does this, the deceased can set parameters and stipulations over the inheritance well past his/her death. There can be triggers that cause the beneficiary to lose the inheritance, that set how and when the beneficiary can recieve/use the inheritance, that restrict the beneficiary to how they can use the inheritance, that restrict to whom the beneficiary can leave the inheritance on his/her own death. So while unusual, this is legally possible. Admittedly, the writers are taking advantage of a lack on detail in the orginal series and taking some creative license. Another reason I think this is what they are doing is last year JR made the comment ‘Remember Bobby, if you die, I will get it (SF) back’. I thought that was a very, very odd statement at first. I then realized that Miss Ellie must have set a trust up that in the event of Bobby’s death that the property would then go to JR (if he was still alive). That was the only explanation I could find for him to say that. (Yes, I know the issue is kind of murky with Bobby trying to sell it last year…but we are talking TV ….but yes, what they did with Miss Ellie…can be done)

    Another note: I asked Aaron (prior to Ewings Unite, btw) about the Facebook Timeline and whether it should be considered canon by the fans. He said that it is NOT ‘hard’ canon, but that they do pull from there time to time. Read into that what you may.

    Several asked about Cliff…..(cuz I personally just think he went crazy over the years)….His response is that Cliff has been twisted over time like a gnarled tree. Again, interesting

    • This is good info, Hel. The Elena thing was troubling. I wish the show hadn’t cut the earlier scene. Your insight into estate issues is helpful! Although isn’t it nuts to think Miss Ellie could legally take half of Southfork away from Bobby?

      • yep…it kinda is nuts…but possible! LOL.

        I have to say that I am glad that Aaron has been so nice about responding to questions. He gave some nice information.

        The Elena thing bothered me alot. I truly didn’t mind the Miss Ellie issue at all…b/c of the deductions I made last season . Plus like you, I know that the Wentworth Industries/Barnes/Wentworth issues were always dealt with a little willy/nilly in the past… I just always glazed over it back then as well.

        So I was really glad to hear his answer on the Elena issue. I can understand what happened. Losing Larry and JR was an enormous hit to all of Dallas…fans, cast, and crew. I actually have been so impressed with how they have managed to deftly handle the issue. I would be surprised if we don’t have it happen a couple of times.

        I know Cliff is sending alot of people over the edge as well. Not me, I just accept that the man has just became slowly obsessed and a little nuts over time. I think that it actually is kind of a good thing. Ken K. has to be having a blast with Cliff. He was amazing…you could see the inner turmoil just consuming him.

      • I think we’re on the same wavelength, Hel. I feel better about the Miss Ellie thing now that I’ve heard from you. (And I’ll plan to address it in my next critique or the next time the Southfork ownership issue arises.) And as you suggest, I don’t mind the Barnes Global stuff because that always seemed murky to me. The Elena thing is troubling but it sounds like there’s a reasonable explanation. (Someone rescue that scene from the cutting room floor, please!)

        And you’re right: Aaron Allen is terrific. He makes a great ambassador to the fans.

        As always, thanks for your comments!

      • Walter Sobchak says:

        I don’t mind the Miss Ellie will thing because the legal system in the Dallas universe has always been borderline banana republic. Pretty much every main character in the show would be serving real time if it was the real world. A few episodes ago we just had a main character shoot her ex-husband in cold blood and get sentenced to mere probation, and the justification for the lenient sentence was that he was mean to her.

        Pretty much every business deal is done on a handshake, and the “mineral rights” to Southfork have been verbally traded left and right, with nary a legal contract in sight. I’m willing to suspend my disbelief here and just see where this goes.

      • Nice reality check, Walter. Thank you. You’re very correct. In this episode, notice how Bobby sold the land to Drew without ever mentioning a price. Only on “Dallas,” right?

    • Dan in WI says:

      First off I’m pretty sure Clayton said in the final season that the DEED was being given to Bobby. Nothing was said about a trust… For that matter the Miss Ellie letter opened on this episode says nothing about a trust.

      Like they say, I’m no lawyer….
      But as theorized what if it did turn into a trust off screen? Then shouldn’t it have been impossible to sell Southfork to the Del Sol Conservancy? Or even broader would the “John Ross gets half” really be a total surprise to Bobby? Usually people know “when I turn 25 I’m getting a million dollars” or the like when a trust of some sort exists. Or to put it another way if there is to be another heir upon some trigger event occuring, doesn’t Bobby need to know “you can’t sell Southfork because John Ross will eventually get half?” Failing that if Bobby had the right to sell prior to the trigger doesn’t half of what he gets have to go back into the trust for John Ross?

      No there is to much trouble around giving John Ross half now. This is both a continuity issue going back the deeding to Bobby in season 14 and a continuity issue going back to the sale of Southfork in new Dallas season 1. If you can’t keep your own continuity straight in only your second season we are in trouble.

      As for the season 1 JR comment about him getting Southfork back if Bobby dies… I assumed at the time that was a condition of JR’s transfer to Bobby.

      • While Bobby was given the deed of the ranch it was never explained HOW. The original writers didn’t want to sweat the details. You can’t just give your home and property to one of your children (or to any of your children) without dealing with tax and legal issues. Especially not property that is with 10s of millions of dollars. We never heard a whisper about what actually occurred, because WHY would they need to do so to tell the story? They just glazed over the details……as all such shows do ……and just said they did it.

        My point is that there is a gray area around the mechanism of how they transferred the deed to Bobby. The current writers are operating in that gray area. They are not explaining how Miss Ellie can do it….no more than the original writers explained how she could just give Bobby the deed to SF.

        My explanation was to how would it be possible for someone to alter an inheritance after the beneficiary has possession of the inheritance. One way this could happen is if Miss Ellie put the ranch into a trust….a trust that gives Bobby the deed to SF …..and that has stipulations that effected/controlled the inheritance. She could have told her beneficiaries that there were stipulations triggered by certain events (or in legalese ….conditions subsequent to Bobby receiving his inheritance that could impact it)…ie the death of JR……w/o revealing the effect of that stipulation or trigger. Granted, it is taking advantage of the gray areas and it is using creative license. But the point is that it CAN occur. We are dealing with TV law…and most shows always do take creative license when telling a story. In real life, Bobby could fight it…but since he is not one to go against his mother’s wishes, probably would not……and tie John Ross up in courts forever.

        I am not saying that setting up a trust is the only way to explain how this possibly could occur….I am saying that it is a valid explanation. People can use trusts to control their money and property from beyond the grave. They have done this for 100’s of years.

        Just because they never said it happened doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. That is the beauty of it. We only know what happened I.e. Bobby was given the deed…..we never knew HOW it happened.

        As far as last year, we can simply say that Bobby was not aware of what was in the letter. If he had finished the sale (and you can be allowed to sell property in a trust unless forbidden by the trust conditions…and we can assume that Miss Ellie would have never dreamed that Bobby would ever think about selling her Southfork that had been in her family for so many years),and had received payment of the sale….When JR died and Miss Ellie’s letter was read, JohnRoss could have sued him for 1/2 of the money Bobby received for the sale of SF.

      • Dan in WI says:

        Hel,
        All of what you say is true. It could happen that way. But when you live in that gray area there are always going to be people with long memories who have my type of plausibility reaction even if it is technically possible.
        Cidre chose Dallas as project likely because she hoped it would come with a built in fan base. She even talked a lot about being respectful of its past. So whenever someone takes on a next generation project like this (if not an out and out reboot) because of the built in fan base then they can’t have it both ways. If they want those fans then they have to respect the continuity those fans fell in love with in the first place. That means there are going to be challenges in the writing to introduce their storylines within that continuity and shortcuts around those challenges are going to be noticed. If you don’t want those challenges then don’t take on a next generation project. Just because you have a way it “could” have happened that is quick and easy doesn’t mean that buildt in fan base you are counting is going to buy it if it doesn’t fit the spirit of the history of the show.
        I was recently thinking how much better this season has been in the continuity department. They did a great job of using those returnees in the funeral episode without tripping my continuity alarm once. That is no easy feat. Before this episode I can’t think of a single (new to season 2) continuity problem. To me this episode represents some major backsliding.

        I really hate to sound like someone who posts on that other popular forum out there on the interwebs which has become all negative all the time. I still want to love this show and I’m still going to give it every opportunity. There is still a lot of good here. Please just put the effort in that is required to make the new stories fit organically and naturally into the past.

      • Dan in WI says:

        One more quicky here and this one is positive. JR’s Masterpiece has an excellent example of respecting the show’s past. My memory is long on some of these continuity things but it isn’t perfect either. When I first saw that flag draped over JR’s coffin and the soldiers in the background I was puzzled. When a few on this site pointed out JR was a Vietnam Veteran I thought “oh yeah he was wasn’t he?” My next thought was how impressed I was the new writing staff remembered that. JR’s time in Vietnam was never belabored on the show. It was never more than a handful of throw away lines. Yet they got this right and I was so impressed.

        This is what I ask from the writers.

      • I think the writers give little nods to the past often and people fail to notice. For example, the boots in the will. How many people remember JR talking about his boots or showing off a new pair he had got or the fact that they actually had scenes where he would be talking to his bootmaker about some new pair of boots? I have read posts elsewhere complaining because they thought it was crazy that the writers had JR giving Bobby his boot collection. So apparently a lot have forgotten those scenes/remarks. I just happen to remember because my brother loves boots and always was fascinated by JR’s boot collection.

        I understand where you are coming from on the will issue.

        But, I also know that even on the original series they would have continuity issues themselves at times when they would try to introduce new characters/new storylines.

        The reason I can give them a big pass on the will issue is everything that I have already said. At first, it seems ‘they can’t do that because how is it even possible’ but then I was like…’yes, they can, its possible and it really isn’t a continuity issue’. To me, once I can see that it is legally possible…continuity issue goes away. Plus, (and almost more importantly) i totally agree with the other posting from Morgan below which is essentially about whether you believe that Miss Ellie would actually do this. And, YES, I can totally BELIEVE that Miss Ellie would retroactively give JohnRoss a share of the ranch after the death of JR. The writers did not violate the spirit of what Miss Ellie was about….and that is very important to me.

        But anyway, I am beating a dead horse. We will agree to disagree :). But at least we can agree that we both really like the show. ;0

      • I see what you mean, Hel. But it’s kind of a mean thing to do. Give Bobby the ranch and then some period of laters take half of it away from him. Who knew Mama could be so sneaky?

  3. midnightrose434 says:

    Someone over at the soapchat.com forums has an interesting take on Miss Ellie mentioning John Ross in her will Chris B. Here’s the link

    http://www.soapchat.net/showthread.php?216008-Ellie-Saves-The-Day-The-moment-that-led-to-John-Ross-inheriting-half-of-Southfork

    I actually loved that surprise revelation. Maybe because I’m literally a child of the 80’s (born in 83′) and haven’t seen all the old episodes (but I will). I was just like “Go John Ross go!!) LOL. I’m a big John Ross fan. The best reaction was Bobby. Boy was he pissed. 🙂

    • That’s a great discussion thread. Thanks Midnightrose. And I’m a big John Ross fan too.

      • joesiegler says:

        I had a thought about that. We’re also assuming the letter giving John Ross half the deed was authentic, and itself not part of JR’s “Masterplan”.

        If it really was from Ellie, and had been around for awhile, the envelope would show some signs of wear, probably. Envelope looked too new. Now, that could be production realities, too.

        That link to the Soapchat remark from old dallas was a good one.

      • Dan in WI says:

        The envelope didn’t look terribly old no. But without rewatching I seem to recall it looked typewritten as opposed to a computer. If I’m remembering that right then some effort was made to make it look old.

        But what you suggest would let the writers off the hook. I’ll take it at this point.

  4. Who is Cliff married to? He’s wearing a wedding band (and maybe has been all along) in his final scene of the episode.

  5. Brilliant recap as always! I, too, was more than a little uncomfortable with this “sloppy” episode. Aside from re-writing the past – and treating the old guard of Dallas as little more than set decorations – it’s getting harder and harder to suspend disbelief as the plot twists become more and more implausible. I can only hope things improve in the remaining episodes of this season. But first and foremost I wish they’d stop making the younger characters the center of nearly every scene. They’re very good actors, but frankly those of us who love the original series want to see a LOT more of Kercheval, Tilton, Kanaly, etc.

  6. You read my mind in your first paragraph! My eyebrows raised highest at the Southfork transfer to John Ross. I have enjoyed reading input on the plausibility of that from people who know a lot more about the legalities than I do. I will say though that they could have at least made Miss Ellie’s letter look officially notarized or something. That plain piece of paper with several typed lines could have been written by anyone, including JR. Now that would be awesome.

    • Yes, the letter didn’t look very official. And are we really going to trust Sheriff Washburn to execute a Ewing will? When did he go to law school anyhow?!

      • I agree. I like that they used Barry Corbin, haven’t seen him in a while. He arrested Jock for the murder of Hutch McKinney and of course J.R. later for Kristen’s murder. Nice geeky connection there between the old and new Dallas.

      • I agree Robbie. Barry Corbin is a terrific actor. I was delighted to see him on the show this week, even if he was playing a different character.

  7. This episode had so much going on in it, as usual. When I think back at what actually occurred, it is mind boggling!

    BTW…I have to say that my affection for Drew Ramos continues to grow. Even if he did the bomb thing. I think Kuno Becker is a really good actor. There is just something about him. He inhabits that role and brings a level of sweet earnestness. He connects well with any character he does a scene. I loved the way he got so excited and grabbed Bobby into a bear hug. There are not a lot of huggers in the Ewing family. Bobby looked shocked! I almost wonder if Patrick had no idea that Kuno was going to do that, LOL.

    And how wonderful nice was it to have the cousins working together? Some really great and some funny scenes with Chris and JohnRoss. When Chris is not angry, disgusted, or trying to beat JohnRoss, he loses the self-righeous feel he normally has around JR3. I like both of them. I think that both of the actors shined here.

    The will was funny and sweet, both. The boots thing made me laugh….while Larry had a thing w/hats…JR had a thing about boots…it was a nice touch for the writers to put them in the will! I remember my little brother (who was forced to watch Dallas w/me ;0) was always fascinated with JR’s boots. I remember when he would have his boot guy bring him samples of exotic skins! Ann’s inheritance was plain funny. Chris’ was actually a very nice gesture…..JR was never, never big on giving out complements on people’s intelligence. Normally, he insulted most people as being dumb or stupid. So, to tell Chris that he is a smart guy….is a very high praise from JR. Of course, the Sue Ellen bequests were just OMG sweet…..and not only did he leave his heart….but he left her 1/2 of the oil rights worth a TON of money! Again, I like anything that puts Sue Ellen into the middle of the action and this certainly does.

    Harris and Cliff had great scene together. (notice he called a Cliff a paranoid old coot?) That partnership is going to be interesting. So, we now know that Harris has the muscle, not Cliff. We know for sure that Harris is into smuggling, but what all is involved there? We know Harris has his hooks into Drew. We know that Harris doesn’t own or control Ryland Industries….but if Mommy Dearest is dead that could change. If Harris gets control of Ryland Industries, he might end up having Cliff by the short hairs. He won’t need Cliff’s money to buy his mother out and he will know/prove Cliff ordered the explosion.

    I am starting to really dig the JR3 and PR pairing. I like that they are coming along slowly.

    Lastly, loved both of the Gary /Sue Ellen scenes. they were well written and, of course, beautifully acted. Loved when she pulled a card from the past and went into denial with him….really brought back memories from that old scene from the original when he tried to talk to her about drinking when JR was shot. I liked that he called BS on her trying to be mean to him…;). The last scene of them was one of my favorites of the episode. I am glad that they brought Gary back for these past 3 episodes and I am certainly glad that his scenes were focused on Sue Ellen. Most people seemed to think it was crazy that Gary and SE would be in a story arc together. (since they had virtually no interaction on the old series) They seemed to think it was just a stupid idea. But…it was a excellent idea and played wonderfully. The two of them have some excellent chemistry.

    • midnightrose434 says:

      Great observations hel!

      Is anyone else excited about the prospect of having Steven Weber on the show as the Governour of Texas? I can’t wait for his scenes!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Am I the only one who remembers that Katherine Wentworth is NOT dead! Looks like the new producers are not caught up on watching the old series.

    • Dan in WI says:

      I think we all remember that. But just like we don’t know the current status of the Ray and Jenna marriage we don’t know what happened to Katherine since 1992. She could be dead. Or it could be sloppy writing and someone in the writing room confused Katherine with Kristen. At this point who knows…

    • Oh, I remember! I still don’t think she’s dead.

      • joesiegler says:

        I don’t think Chris believes any character is dead.

        I bet he’s banking on having all of them rise from the grave, and dance in formation with some guy who looks like Michael Jackson. 😉

      • You might be right, Joe. I’ve been watching a lot of “Walking Dead” lately.

  9. Anonymous says:

    From the review: “This doesn’t feel much like the Val I remember, but I like the idea that Van Ark’s character has grown stronger and more confident.”

    I’d guess that we’re seeing a more confident Val, but it could also just be an example showing us that she still has a temper.

    The Val scene with Sue Ellen reminds me of these two past scenes.

    She’s totally off her rocker in the second video, of course, meaning that it wouldn’t be an example of any long-term character development.

  10. by the way, it was MidnightRose who had the other post…not Morgan…lol

  11. Sam in IA says:

    Dallas isn’t alone in shows that are very plot driven having weak episodes that serve to only advance plotlines, sometimes inexplicably. I was only merely disappointed that Gary and Val had only a briefest of brief scenes together. But I was very displeased with is how the show has thrown Emma and Drew at each other. Unfortunately, I am afraid Emma is fast becoming the next in a long line of female characters across television who are what the writers need her to be in a given episode.

    But… but… but… quoted from the critique:
    “There’s plenty here to admire, including seeing John Ross and Christopher work together; the scene where they gang up on Pamela showcases the nice chemistry between Josh Henderson and Jesse Metcalfe, who play off each other almost as easily as Hagman and Patrick Duffy did during “Dallas’s” heyday.”

    I completely agree that Josh and Jesse have chemistry. And I loved that scene with them and Pamela. As soon as I saw it, I was thinking that was best scene of the show so far for the new generation. It really gives me hope for the future of Dallas.

  12. The reason Miss Ellie gives in her will to explain leaving half of the mineral rights of South Fork to John Ross instead of his father is the same exact reason why Cliff Barnes is so crazy. Miss Ellie explained in her will that J.R. ruined his life going after something that he felt is his birthright. She did not want to see John Ross destroy his life doing the same exact thing. Cliff Barnes wants to get what is rightfully his, South Fork. The demons consumed Cliff Barnes. This is completly consistant with the origional storylines and the new storylines.

    Cynthia Cidre has really taken it on the chin when it comes to the whole mineral rights aspect of the storyline.

    I do not know if the explosion will kill the twins that Pamela Rebecca is carrying or the fact that she has been carrying these twins for quite some time and is barley showing. I am sorry but the idea that we are supposed to buy into Pamela Rebecca Barnes is pregnant with twins is very hard to buy. She looks like she has a pillow stuffed up her dress or something. She had been pregnant since last season!

    My man Drew Ramos?!?!? I want to like the guy. I could not believe he planted the bomb as much as I could not believe Cliff Barnes ordered it to detonate. I think the one thing that may save his rear when he gets cought is JR’s letter to John Ross. The Ewings should know that Barnes is behind the explosion and Drew was just a pawn. Hopefully Drew Ramos will help the Ewings link Barnes and Harris Ryland to the explosion. Talk about a short leash, Harris Ryland had him plant the bomb so he could further black mail him and have him under his bootheel.

    I do not know if the storyline of Val and Gary getting back together would really be worth the time. I think there is enough fighting and making up on the show as it is. Just my humble opinion.

    Overall I thought it was a fun show to watch. I would like to see John Ross become a little less trailer trash and Christopher to be a little less choir boy. What is up with Elena and her high horse?

    • Elena is the voice of reason in this series. Pam, Donna, and Clayton often served this function in the original series. They often just laid out what a normal, everyday person would feel about the way the EWINGs were behaving.
      Last yr it was Elena who would reason with JR3. When JR3 for hurt and chris expressed that he got what was coming, it was Elena who called him on it. She has already been the voice of good sense to Drew. I think Elena is a solid, smart, good person , with a well grounded feel for right & wrong.

      The EWINGs always need to have someone around them who will call them out when they go to far astray. Lol… With JR in the family it always seems easy to move into the gray areas….. No matter what happened no one could be as bad as him.

      Now with them getting wrapped into JRs scheme and whodunit…. They will be stepping over some lines. Elena it seems will be that one telling them when they do.

      Not only did Pam serve that purpose with the EWINGs, she did so with Cliff. It was Pam who often kept him from going too far. Afton did as well. Personally, I think not having them two around to remind him of the truth is a big explanation of how he became more twisted over the years

      • Dan in WI says:

        Hel,
        I’ve never looked at Elena that way before but this time I have to totaly agree with you. I think you hit the main on the head. She might well become the new show’s moral compass.

      • Great point about how Pam and Afton kept Cliff in line. And I’ve always seen Elena as this generation’s version of Pam. Thanks Hel!

    • Funny stuff, Jump. “Less trailer trash and less choir boy.” Words to live by. I think you’re right about Drew, too. If Ann can get away with shooting Harris, certainly Drew will be forgiven for blowing up the rig.

  13. Dan in WI says:

    The new Southfork co-owner: I guess I’m going to go here one more time. I’ve organized my thoughts a bit more so I’ll get them out there and then do my best to stop beating this dead horse.

    Our fearless leader Chris B said it best:
    If the show’s goal is to pit John Ross against his uncle – effectively allowing John Ross to take his father’s place in this franchise’s central conflict of J.R. versus Bobby – then I’m all for it. I also like the idea that John Ross’s stake in the ranch means he’ll probably take up residence at Southfork, which I hope will set the stage for more old-fashioned Ewing family gatherings. Still, I wonder: Couldn’t the show have achieved this new power structure without sacrificing its credibility?

    The writers likely wanted to get more contact time between Bobby and John Ross. I want to see this too. I miss the living room cocktail hour and the family dinners. I hope this gets us back to that.
    So they had the problem of how to accomplish this. As Hel says the chose to work in the gray area and the result is a significant portion of us fans are up in arms about the implausibility of their solution as well as the continuity problems it creates.

    Let me cite a couple historical precedents here:

    First recall the fight for control of Ewing Oil between JR and Bobby which Jock set up through that codicil to his will. In the end Bobby pulls out a victory with a bottom of the ninth home run by striking oil in a cold weather section Canada (with a big assists from Pam AND Katherine). His prize was controlling interest in the company. But Harve Smithfield pulls out a letter from Jock which says something to the effect of he knew the two boys couldn’t work together and that is why he set up that competition. But the letter also says he sure wishes they could work together and run the company side by side. What happens? Bobby the softy gets all emotional and splits the controlling interest 50/50 with JR. Who wins? JR of course who was going to have just a minority stake and us the fans because the two brothers could continue butt heads as equals.

    Next recall the events that took place after the Justice Department broke up Ewing Oil following the BD Calhoun affair. The two brothers each ended up founding their own companies. In time JR recovered most (or was it all?) the old Ewing Oil fields and other assets, while Bobby (with a big assist from Kay Lloyd) worked Washington DC and won back the rights to again use the Ewing Oil name giving both brothers incomplete victories. Meanwhile Sue Ellen shoots JR and JR atempts to use that to play on Bobby’s sympathy to merge the old Ewing Oil back together. It partially worked. Bobby let him in the company but forbid him from oil deals. Fast forward a bit and Bobby and JR find themselves trapped after hours in a powered down Ewing elevator with a case of wine from Ray. (By the way, how did they wax off the better part of that case and not have a bathroom emergency?) The booze loosens them up and stories of the good old days (and I’ll bet Jock’s wish they could work together probably came up again) gets old softy Bobby and there you have it. JR and Bobby are full partners again with the ability to butt heads again as such.

    You see the theme here? Bobby is a softy when the wishes of his parents come up. So instead of Miss Ellie’s newly opened letter invoking some implausible trust (and I’d note the word trust was never used by the show just fans attempting to explain it on the writers behalf) all she would have had to do was play on Bobby’s family soft spot. Heck the writers could even couple that with the fact the Ewings are now united. Let’s assume these united Ewings do take down JR’s killer. Bobby could do a two for one and honor Miss Ellie’s wish (in my version of her letter) and at the same time reward John Ross for his role in the team effort to take down the killer by giving him half of Southfork of his own free will. There is even precedent for that in the same way he gave up part of his Ewing Energies stake as a reward to Elena.

    The end result: We have Bobby and John Ross under same roof with the storytelling opportunities the writers wanted and in my version it is done using the show’s history instead of re-writing it. It can be done.

    • Good points, Dan! I think we can safely say our horse has entered the glue factory! 🙂

      In the end, we all win. More Ewings at Southfork. Southfork as the center of the family has been missing since the bulk of the family left Dallas on the original’s last few seasons and Miss Ellie gave the ranch to Bobby.

      thanks to these writers we will have Ewings together @ the family home. Personally, I hated the way the family was torn apart towards the end of the old series. So I am doing a happy dance:))))

    • Dan, this is a fantastic analysis. Well reasoned and lots of evidence. I’m with you all the way. Thanks.

  14. Jaime Ewing says:

    Ok…I’m going to ask the question that’s on everyone’s mind…ready? Since the writers have obviously not watched or don’t remember all of the original series, and we keep having these continuity issues…..why haven’t they hired a Dallas consultant on staff – a die hard fan of the original series – to proof read scripts and rectify any continuity error’s BEFORE filming so they don’t keep angering original Dallas fans and turning off/losing viewers? Most of these continuity issues could have been easily rectified with slight changes to dialog or short, one sentence explanations that would not affect the direction of the storyline, such as Dan’s suggestion above on how Miss Ellie’s letter could have been altered to make sense and still achieve the same result of Southfork being split with John Ross. A consultant is an easy solution yet the producers don’t seem to care about the fan’s feelings, and I think that’s what’s really pissing everyone off. For instance, Hel keeps talking about these gray area’s….is it really that or do the writers just not care at all because there’s no gray area around the fact that J.R. has another son, James, that has been completely ignored from his funeral, his will, and the story in general. As long as they continue to disregard canon, it comes off as disrespectful to fans and a disservice to the legacy of the show, and I fear they will keep bleeding viewers until a cancellation is imminent.

    • I think a consultant is a terrific idea. It could help mitigate a lot of these issues. There’s no shortage of “Dallas” fans who’d happily volunteer for that gig.

      Thanks for commenting Jaime!

    • I referred to only one ‘gray’ area….i.e..the old show never telling us how Miss. Ellie/Clayton transerred Southfork to Bobby. Believe me….there is a lot more than just handing someone a piece of paper…. but that is neither here nor there.

      I think a lot of times certain issues and people are not brought up on the new show because it is opening a can of worms the writers don’t have the time to take care of….not because they are not aware of the person or the event. I think everyone just assumes that they don’t know what happened and just bash them. I think they have to walk a thin line sometimes.

      I personally think that when they mention or think of mentioning any topic they have 4 things to be concerned with:

      1) they have multiple current storylines that are the primary focus of the show. They have to focus on these storylines….everything that is brought up must serve these stories. They have a set amount of time to introduce/develope/resolve these storylines

      2) they have to consider the fans from the original and how much about that person/ or event to do they remember.

      3) they have to consider that a new fan will not know this person/event …And they have to be able to quickly explain how this person relates to the current characters (WHO ARE THE FOCUS of this show) and they have do it in a way that satisfies the curiosity of the new fan. (or maybe an old fan who literally hasn’t seen an episode of Dallas in 23+ years and don’t remember all the details that Dallas nerds do.)

      4) they have to consider whether introducing this character can be done in a manner that does the storyline justice. How much time is needed to adequately tell the story?

      They have to serve the old fans, serve the new fans, serve the new stories, and honor the original series all at the same time. So they have to be very judicious
      in what and how they mention a subject from the past.

      The writers did consider having James and JR’s other son there for the will. (one of the writes tweeted about it during Ewings Unite) But they realized it would create too many issues for them to do so. Think about it….if they had James show for the will reading, new viewers would have no idea who he was, who his mother was, what his realtionship to John Ross is etc. Yes, they could have had him show up and get a line from the will saying James, my eldest son, gets this item and have him go back home. But that would have been very frustrating and dissatifying to old fans….and it would be TOTALLY confusing to new fans. They would be wondering all kinds of things about James that would remain unanswered. (because of lack of time)

      Instead, they can do what they did and leave James completely out of JR’s will. They then are left with the option of James showing up sometime in the future and causing problems because he feels neglected by being left out.

      They also cannot even try to touch the subject of JRs other child. No one is even supposed to know he exists. Only James and Cally (We, the viewers, know as did JR) are supposed to know. Cally decided that she did not ever want her child to know JR. So if that kid shows up, there would have to be a huge story around that. It is not a story that can be told in a throwaway line.

      They already have had to rework this season to deal with the death of JR. They have said that they had to alter over 20% of the storylines that were already in place before Larry died. Even in the Ewings Unite, we saw a slight bump in the Elena and Ewing Energies story because an interim scene got deleted because of the funeral. Again, they only have a limited amount of time…15 episodes at about 42 minutes.

      Take for example, Gary. He is an old character that was brought back wonderfully. His first 2 scenes with JohnRoss and Bobby quickly set the reason he was there, gave a quick background on how he was related to the characters, established the tone of his relationship with Bobby/Jr. All of his other scenes served to tell part of Sue Ellen’s story of fighting for EE and her personal battle with alcohol. But that story arc was planned out months in advance. It did have to be altered some b/c of JR’s death. But easier to alter a storyline then to attempt to work a whole new one into the show.

      While there have been some continuity issues, I am a longtime Dallas fan who actually really loves the show. I think that Cidre and team are doing a great job. I certainly do NOT want her to be replaced! I have a group of about 12 friends who were fans of the old show who watch this one too and who also love the show. They don’t even mind the continuity issues that most Dallas nerds rail about because they think they are non issues. We all just love the new Dallas for itself…a well done show.

      • Dan in WI says:

        You may or may not have noticed I’m a bit of a continuity hawk. (Okay I’m being a tad bit sarcastic here.) But I’m okay with James Beaumont or Callie’s child not being named in the will or at the will reading. And I say this as one of the few James Beaumont fans out there.
        Time is just way to precious in this new series. We have several fewer minutes per episode and significantly fewer episodes than the old series.Under those circumstances writers just can’t do everything. We already have fans complaining about the ghosts of Ray Krebs and Lucy Ewing making all too brief appearances but getting absolutely no new character development. So the writers figure out it is a lot of trouble to bring back a character that they don’t have time to commit to and opt to just ignore others like James and Callie’s child rather than do it again. So now people are upset that they are left out. This falls in the can’t have it both ways category. Either we have to accept brief cameos or accept omitting some of the old characters who don’t fit into the new story.
        I will continue to call the writers on each and every continuity error they make. But I do not consider an omission a continuity error and understand the reason those have to happen.

      • “Continuity hawk” — I love that term, Dan. And thanks for your well-reasoned approach to character omissions.

      • Nicely stated, Hel. Thank you.

  15. midnightrose434 says:

    ChrisB

    Do you think that its possible that TNT could replace Cidre, if the fans are that unhappy with canon issues?

    • Dan in WI says:

      I think that was done by the CW for the final season of the Gilmore Girls. So it isn’t unheard of. But it sure doesn’t happen everyday.
      In my mind the danger is that if too many fans complain they will just decide it isn’t worth the bother and sack the whole show rather than find a new executive producer.

    • Perhaps, Midnightrose, but an awful lot of people would have to complain. I get the impression TNT is pleased with the show’s creative direction and satisfied with the numbers.

  16. No mention of the creepy-village people?
    I so LOVED Judith in this! What she says and HOW she’s saying it, is just blowing me away, so funny! I’ve watched that scene over and over again, Judith Light is so hilarious!! Just hope her character’s not dead, I want her to go on treating Harris like a little boy for many more episodes!
    To take just everything away from him just because he did not apologize, lol

    • Good point, Matt. I should’ve paid a little more attention to the Rylands in my critique. I’ve become fans of their storyline and Judith in particular. I hope she survives that tumble down the stairs.

  17. Dan in WI says:

    My observations (Non-Southfork Owners/Ellie’s Will Edition)

    This episode has two major discontinuities. The second is the apparent morphing of the old Wentworth Industries into the current Barnes Global. (At least I’m pretty sure that is what in implied to have happened.) The discontinuity is Bobby saying that this is the company Cliff’s mother founded. That is flat out wrong. Industrialist Herbert Wentworth founded the company. It began as Wentworth Tool & Die. (Later on Rebecca Wentworth started out Cliff’s post law career by putting him in charge of this branch.) Herbert’s company would later grow into something more. Tool & Die would become a subsidiary of the larger company. The important part here is that this happened before Herbert married Rebecca. Much later Rebecca would purchase Wade Luce Oil when Luce wanted to retire. That company would be renamed Barnes-Wentworth Oil. It was always my understanding that company was a gift to Cliff and was never a part of Wentworth Industries. Since it wasn’t a part of the greater Wentworth Industries I always understood Cliff to be the sole owner. Furthermore you can’t say that Barnes-Wentworth morphed into Barnes Global. Cliff sold off Barnes-Wentworth to Westar the first time he attempted to retire from the oil game. So since there is no way to connect the company Rebecca purchased and renamed (if you want to call that a “founding” it’s a stretch but I guess you could) to Barnes Global there is just no way you can say Rebecca founded Barnes Global.

    In the very beginning of the episode when Bobby, Christopher and John Ross head out for the will reading John Ross offers to lock up the pile of documents while the others head out. I found myself thinking, “He’s going to snoop and attempt to find the JR to Bobby letter.” Instead he actually locks up the pile of documents as he says. Color me surprised. He might actually be a team player for a while.

    Now that he is bald I totally missed Fenton Washburn Esq. Good eye to those that picked up on it. How did he get possession of the Miss Ellie codicil anyway? Wouldn’t something like that be in the possession of whoever owns Harve Smithfield’s old practice?

    If the reason for not giving any of Southfork to JR is that he “wasn’t a rancher” why give any to John Ross? He doesn’t exactly fit that criterion either.

    Judging by the reading of will it looks like I may have been right. JR doesn’t seem to have a lot at this point to bequeath. And I’m disappointed the question of who gets custody of Bum went unanswered.

    Nobody has commented yet on one little nugget from the Cliff/Harris summit meeting. Cliff says, “I know the Ewings have cost you your only child. And I’ve lost my daughter to the Ewings.” He’s lost his daughter to the Ewings? Other than Pamela Rebecca saving him from making an even bigger ass of himself at the wake, what more has she done to make him think she turned on him?
    Harris also had a fun little line in that scene “your 20/20 hindsight on Digger may be a bit romanticized.” I like that.

    Sue Ellen to Gary: “I know I need help. But I need to do it myself.” Someone is still in denial here. Doing it yourself does not constitute knowing you need help.

    At least it appears there is a little bit of the latter years Cliff still alive somewhere within Don Cliff. Yeah he still pulled the trigger, pregnant Pamela Rebecca or no, but something good was still in conflict within him. So now the Cliff the allie of Bobby fan in me has some hope he can still be redeemed. It did happen once before. Remember the time Cliff has the power to nail Ewing Oil following the tanker crash with Westar? Bobby invoked the name of Pam and Cliff had an attack of conscious and declared the incident an accident.

    Others have noted the lack of movement on the who killed JR mystery in this episode and for the most part that is true. Still this was hardly a throw away episode. The plot did move forward on the Barnes/Ewing feud and formation of the united Ewings. It also advanced on the implementation of JR’s masterpiece plan. We’ll get back to the mystery in time. For all my complaints about Cidre’s continuity problems I’ve never accused her of neglecting the story she is telling by permanently leaving some thread unresolved.

    • Terrific observations, Dan. I also wondered why Barry Corbin’s character had possession of Miss Ellie’s codicil. (By the way: Where do I sign the petition to start a “Fenton Washburn, Esq.” spinoff? He could be this generation’s Matlock.) Along these lines: Am I the only one who thinks it was kind of jerky of Miss Ellie to give Bobby the ranch, only to pull a “gotcha” many years later and take half of it away? Did Mama get mean in her old age?

      I also loved hearing Digger’s name and thanks for bringing up the Bobby/Cliff scene during the tanker crash. I always loved that scene.

      As always, thanks for your comments Dan. Please know how much I appreciate all the comments I receive from you, Hel and the rest of our gang.

      Chris B.

    • Dan, good points on the Barnes Global /Wentworth…that whole story is so convoluted I understand why the writers white washed it….lol

      You are right about this episode. A ton of stuff actually did happened. You really have to pay attention to every scene….it is too easy to miss comments that are illuminating about the characters or plots that are being woven..

      We saw the formation of the battle lines on both sides. I enjoyed the Cliff/Harris exchange. Harris is not that impressed with Cliff. I think he is using Cliff cuz he thinks Cliff is just some ‘paranoid old coot’. It is going to interesting to see if the dynamic changes if Judith is dead or incapicitated and Ryland doesn t need Cliff’s money (but will probably still want it 🙂 ). We certainly found out that Dan’s earlier guesses were right about Drew being involved with Ryland….even if Drew is unaware. On the other side of the battle, I really enjoyed the cousins truly bonding and working together. The blackmail scheme was well done. I really thought JohnRoss was going to screw over Chris until the balcony…love ‘Welcome to the Dark Side’

      As an aside I do like that Chris is having a reaction to JR’s death. It is not as obvious as the other three, but you can certainly see that he is emotionally impacted.

      You know, I wonder about the safe scene. Was it just a excuse to have John Ross take a second and look around the room? Then get jumped by Emma? Or is there some other reason? (Lol..the mystery has me looking into everything suspiciously!) By the way, I thought the Emma/JR3 scene was funny when coupled by the look on his face when he shows up late for the will reading. JR would truly appreciate John Ross being late so he could nail some hot chick! Lol

      Did you guys know that Barry Corbin worked for Micheal Robin before Dallas? He was a recurring character on Robin’s last series, The Closer. Actually, Lou Rosen played on that series as well.

  18. Jaime Ewing says:

    Not to beat a dead horse, and no disrespect meant to Hel, but here’s a brief example of how the issue of James could have been dealt with that wouldn’t confuse new fans or steer the story of course, but still solve the continuity issue with old Dallas fans:

    Original scene 1 of Ewings Unite – Bobby and Chris sitting at desk sifting through documents Bum gave them in last episode. John Ross walks in….

    John Ross: J.R.’s six feet under and he still has us working for him….
    (Rest of scene plays out as written…at the end)
    Bobby: Well we better go, if were late for J.R.’s will reading he will give us nightmares.
    John Ross: Go ahead, I’ll lock up the documents.
    Bobby: (looks at John Ross)..Alright.

    As John Ross gathers documents and puts them in wall safe, Emma walks in..

    John Ross: I don’t have time for this right now…
    Emma: (Removing sweater) then we better be quick…

    They embrace and kiss
    End Scene

    Revised Scene 1 to fit continuity:

    Bobby and Chris sitting at desk. This time, Bobby is on the phone while Chris is looking at document Bum gave him. John Ross walks in….

    Bobby (on phone): Alright James, I’ll tell him…thanks for calling. (he hangs up the phone)
    John Ross: (Sarcastically) So, the prodigal son finally calls. No surprise J.R.’s will would bring the sharks circling. How is my illegitament brother these days?
    Bobby: (sighing at John Ross’s comment) John Ross, relax. James just called to send his condolances and see how you were doing. He’s not interested in J.R.’s estate.
    John Ross: Still….would have been nice if he showed up for his own fathers funeral.
    Bobby: …and I’m sure he would have if he wasn’t busy with his own Mama being sick. Besides, we have more pressing matters to attend to (gestures towards paperwork on desk)
    John Ross: J.R.’s six feet under and he stil has us working for him.
    (Rest of scene plays out as originally written)
    Bobby: Well, we better go, if we’re late for J.R.’s will reading he will give us nightmares.
    (They all walk out of room together)

    In order to make room for the James dialog, the scene with Emma coming in to seduce John Ross is cut. That scene was unnecessary as we already learned Emma was suducing John Ross from the limo scene in the prior episode. It did not further the plot and no one would have missed it.

    However, that tiny change in dialog would have explained who James was to new viewers who either don’t know or don’t remember him, why he wasn’t at any of J.R.’s funeral services, satisfied original fans appetite for continuity, and left open the possibility that the character could return at some point down the line. It would not have “opened any can of worms” or interupted the current storyline.

    As far as Cally’s son…I actually agree with Hel. No one knew of him except James and Cally (and J.R.). Cally chose to raise him without J.R.’s knowledge, so it isn’t so implausible that he wouldn’t be there or even know that J.R. was his biological Dad if Cally chose to never tell him. But James was an original cast member and part of the family for 2-3 years on the show. His absence should have been explained.

    That’s all I’m saying….

    • I like your dialogue Jaime! Having John Ross refer to James as his illegitimate brother would’ve been a nice way to echo J.R.’s sentiments toward Ray. And I like Bobby’s sigh. Thanks for this!

  19. Jaime Ewing says:

    here’s a brief example of how the issue of James could have been dealt with that wouldn’t confuse new fans or steer the story of course, but still solve the continuity issue with old Dallas fans

    Sorry, meant to say…steer the story OFF course

  20. Dallas Fan says:

    Props to you for noticing and remembering Barry “Sheriff Washburn” Corbin.

  21. J.R.Ewing says:

    No no no no No!!! I can never forgive the producers of Dallas for this episode. Whilst there is some fine acting and the plot set up is superb the last scene I feel ruined it. Cliff Barnes was prepared to sacrifice his daughter and his unborn grandchildren, I don’t believe it. Even at his absolute worst J.R. would not have done anything that cold and calculated. And then after a build up through out the episode we get to the pivetable scene where several main cast members are about to be blown up on an oil rig and all we see is a cctv camera shot of the set being shaken. Live tv in the 1950’s could have done better. Added to this I understand it that asside from Pamela Barnes losing the babies (now there’s an original plot) they all escape with cuts and bruises. As regards credibility I’ve climbed back in the shower with Bobby!

    • Oh dear, J.R. It sounds like the show may have lost you. I understand what you’re saying. I was disappointed in “Ewings Unite!” too but I’m willing to stick with the show.

  22. E-Julian says:

    Great critique Chris. What I didn’t buy in this episode is Drew setting the rig bomb. Vickers threats him to hurt Elena if he doesn’t put the bomb. And he does! WTF???!!! Didn’t he know her sister were going to visit the rig with the Ewings? He’s afraid Vickers could hurt Elena if he doesn’t do the work, but he doesn’t bother she’s there when the bomb explodes???!!! Logic has taken a holiday… as you say.

Trackbacks

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  5. […] Who survives the blast? At the end of “Ewings Unite!,” last week’s episode, most of the Ewings gathered on the methane extraction rig, along with Pamela […]

  6. […] face before he was shot? I can’t. But I also can’t explain how Miss Ellie managed to take half of Southfork away from […]

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  8. […] briefly in the second-season premiere “Battle Lines,” when he was played by Jason Douglas.) In “Ewings Unite!,” Cliff told Harris that one of the reasons he wanted to form an alliance with him is because Harris […]

  9. […] J.R.’s death feel achingly real. This is their masterpiece. At the other end of the spectrum: “Ewings Unite!,” an uneven hour marred by J.R.’s silly will reading and Gary and Val’s drive-by […]

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  13. […] the encounter. After Christopher confronts Alison with the incriminating pictures, he goes home and reveals his scheme to Elena, who is aghast to discover the man she loves has stooped to blackmail. “Is […]

  14. […] bidding, eventually helping him gain control of Ewing Energies. And how did he repay her? By blowing up the Ewing Energies rig, causing her to lose her unborn babies. We can’t help but wonder: Elena, […]

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