Here’s what happened in “The Return,” TNT’s third-season “Dallas” opener:
• John Ross and Emma struck a deal. After their tryst in the hotel room, John Ross and Emma (Josh Henderson, Emma Bell) found Judith’s power of attorney, which makes Emma chief executive of Ryland Transport if Harris becomes incapacitated. “Nothing says incapacitated like a 20-year prison term,” John Ross said.
Emma agreed to give John Ross control of Ryland Transport’s drilling and cargo ships, which the newly renamed Ewing Global needs to bid on lucrative oil and methane leases in the Arctic. But Emma’s offer came with a price: She wants to continue sleeping with John Ross. He agreed — and not reluctantly.
• Elena and Cliff joined forces. Elena (Jordana Brewster) confirmed Cliff (Ken Kercheval) was telling the truth about J.R.’s scheme against her father and agreed to help Cliff prove the Ewings framed him so she can gain leverage against them. “I’m not thinking of this as revenge. I’m thinking of this as justice,” she said.
Elena kept her connection to Cliff a secret and took a job at Ewing Global; she also recruited Nicolas Treviño (Juan Pablo Di Pace), a childhood friend who is now a billionaire, to serve as Cliff’s proxy. Nicolas, who was known as Joaquin as a child, grew up alongside Elena and Drew and considered their father as his own. “We will get justice for your family — for our family,” Nicolas told her.
• John Ross and Bobby clashed — and clashed again. To finance Ewing Global’s Arctic venture, the family decided to sell the company’s consumer division. Not so fast, said Nicolas, who introduced himself to the Ewings as Cliff’s proxy and cited a state law that prevents companies from selling major assets without the blessing of a “supermajority” of owners.
Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) suggested the family should find dirt on Nicolas and get him to switch to their side, but John Ross had another idea: He wants to pay for the Arctic venture by drilling on Southfork. Bobby (Patrick Duffy) rejected the plan, pointing out that he and Gary still control the mineral rights. But John Ross had a trick up his sleeve: He revealed the oil below the ranch has risen to the shale formation, which means he can drill it because he has the “surface rights.”
To make matters worse, John Ross also started talking about remodeling Southfork, including adding — gasp! — an atrium, an elevator and an indoor pool.
• Harris went free. After being released from jail, Harris (Mitch Pileggi) ran into some shady dudes who took credit for bribing the judge so he could walk away a free man. The men told Harris if he doesn’t resume his drug shipments for the Mendez-Ochoa cartel, they’ll make Emma wish she was dead. Yikes!
• Meanwhile, back at the ranch.… Elena apologized to the Ewings for concealing her brother’s involvement in the rig explosion. When Christopher asked her to forgive him for treating her harshly, she told him they should take more time to sort out their feelings for each other, although the expression on her face — and the fact that she’s now secretly colluding with Cliff — suggests she didn’t really mean it. If Elena changes her mind, she better do it fast since Christopher seemed taken with Heather (AnnaLynne McCord), a spirited ranch hand who doesn’t care much for Bo (Donny Boaz), the ranch hand/rodeo cowboy whom Emma tangled with last season.
• John Ross and Pamela got engaged — again. Elsewhere at Southfork, John Ross got down on one knee and gave Pamela (Julie Gonzalo) a “proper” marriage proposal, along with an engagement ring to rival the rock Sue Ellen used to sport. Pamela wasted no time planning her wedding with help from Ann (Brenda Strong), Sue Ellen — and Emma, who was as sweet as spun sugar to Pamela’s face while sexting her husband behind her back.
Later, John Ross — who now sports J.R.’s belt buckle, courtesy of Bum (Kevin Page) — snuck across the hall at Southfork and had another tryst with Emma. Afterward, as he was leaving the room, he ran into Sue Ellen, who didn’t seem to believe her son’s claim that he and Emma were just talking shop. Would you?
What did you think of “The Return”? Share your comments below and look for Dallas Decoder’s critique later this week.