TNT’s Dallas Recap: ‘The Return’

Christopher Ewing, Dallas, Elena Ramos, Jesse Metcalfe, Jordana Brewster, Julie Gonzalo, Linda Gray, Pamela Barnes Ewing, Sue Ellen Ewing

They’re back

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.


  1. I loved it. New opening was awesome. Sue Ellen Rocked! As usual but I was also impressed with the Elena and Cliff Pairing. I think the opening episode did what a premiere episode is suppose to do …set up the rest of the season. I definitely want to see more. I loved the quick clips of fututre episodes before each commercial break. There was no real surprises in Episode 1 but I thoroughly enjoyed so many scenes. My favorites …
    1. Sue Ellen catching John Ross in the hallway.
    2. John Ross proposing to Pamela.
    3. Elena and Cliff meet in jail.
    4. Sue Ellen and John Ross discussing Bobby and not to underestimate him.
    5. The introduction of Nicolas … very sexy and suave.
    What I didn’t like was too many commercials. The back story of Jacquin, Elena and Drew seemed a little forced but I’ll live with it.

    • Brandon Childers says:

      Yes the Jacquin story seemed forced, if Carmen raised him too, how come John Ross, Christopher, Bobby, and Sue Ellen do not recognize him. There were also a bunch of legal technicalities that were invalid but I will live with it too

      • Yeah, sometimes you have to look past on this show — and a lot of other shows too — and just go with the flow. Thanks, Brandon.

    • Thanks, Frank. I thought about making one of the Sue Ellen/John Ross scenes my “Scene of the Day” but decided to go with John Ross’s proposal to Pamela because, well, I can’t resist when a Ewing falls in love with a Barnes.

  2. garnet mcgee says:

    Loved it. Thought the tone would be uber soapy but pleasantly surprised that it had same tone as last season. I expected to hate john ross and emma more but some of the sting was reduced by his declaration of his love for pamela. Pleased that john ross doesnt seem as mean as jr. Watched it this morning on itunes. a cold shower was just what i needed after seeing nicolas. Nic and elena are fire! Hope nic isnt too bad cause he is hot. Chris and heather were ok. I liked that it is still such an ensemble show. Im looking foward to seeing more ann and pambecca but they were all so good.

  3. Initial Thoughts:
    It was great to see a return of the triple split screen opening credits.

    Still not impressed with the and improved JR portrait.

    I was having a hard time getting used to Ewing Energies. Ewing Global just doesn’t sound right. Call me a setimental old fool. I just like the name Ewing Oil.

    Never heard of surface rights before but I guess it is a real thing. But how did John Ross get sole surface rights? You’d think that would be split with Bobby. I’m also not sure if surface rights really go all the way to the shale level. This plot device seams a bit thin to me. Anybody out there an expert on this stuff?

    I’m not buying Elena as a vindictive spy. I’ve voiced my initial skepticism of this when the last season ended. Now seeing it: Well this devious behind your back Elena sure is a whole new side to her which we had previously hadn’t seen so much as a hint of. It just doesn’t seem natural coming from her.

    Emma isn’t going to be CEO for long and that means she won’t have a business hold over John Ross for long. Does the tryst continue without her being able to provide the transportation needs of Ewing Global.

    What exactly is a supermajority in this case? Did they define it and I missed it? You’d think 2/3’s would cover it.

    Have we ever seen this heirloom belt buckle before in the classic show? I don’t recall it. So is it really a heirloom?

    • Brandon Childers says:

      I am a law student. Surface rights is everything above ground, that John Ross and Bobby own, what John Ross is saying is invalid, as on things above ground are owned by him and bobby, the mineral rights can breach the surface but they still belong to the mineral rights holders. Also by actuall law John Ross can make any changes that Bobby doesn’t want him to make. And Mineral right holders are not allowed to frack the land, if the owners don’t want them to.

      I agree this side of Elena doesn’t seem right, she wants justice her brother killed Thier babies, and Cliff is the reason he is a fugitive, talk about picking the wrong side.

      The supermajority is invalid also, as 60% is a supermajority and they own 66.66%.
      It also a supermajority is not required to buy new assets, or tap into the reserve, and they should be able to sale assets.

      The belt buckle I believe was something Larry Hagman had made for himself, and the show made it something that JR always had.

      I liked Ewing Oil, and I guess they own it again, but I did like the Ewing Energies logo more than the Ewing Global one.

    • Dan, I think there were a few J.R. belt buckles over the years. He occasionally wore one (although not quite as elaborate as what we see on the TNT series) during the late ’80s. And like you, I prefer “Ewing Energies” to “Ewing Global.”

  4. Brandon Childers says:

    I love it. A few things I had a problem with.

    bobby and John Ross each own half of southfork, when Bobby and John don’t agree about changes, things will remain the same, according to law.

    Bobby guesses he the only one left, I guess Gary is dead too, and where did they blurring Clayton

    Yes JR might be the reason Elena’s dad died, but Cliff is the reason Drew is a fugitive, and she is an idiot.

    And since when is 66.66% not a super majority, being that a super majority is 60%.

    Those are just things that a law student gets frustrated over while I watch. But I loved it, can not wait for the Sue Ellen and Emma conflict, maybe it will turn Sue Ellen against John Ross. And this Barnes Global not have a reserve that they could buy those Arctic rigs with, super majority doesn’t apply to buying assets. Does Harris still love Anne. Why when they threaten him, was he concerned about Anne killing herself. And what debt do the Ewings have, the state should have to repay that fee

    • Brandon,
      So you are just as frustrated with these latest legal inaccuracies as I was with the racing storyline last season…

      Is there any legal basis John Ross could suddenly be willed half of Southfork like was done last season?

      • Brandon Childers says:

        Joint ownership makes that possible, but with it being on delayed notice, bobby could easy detest it, and win, also delayed notices on wills usually doesn’t allow you to split up a property, also technically since Bobby sold it to the Del Sole, who sold it to JR, who turned it over to Bobby, Miss Ellie’s will would be useless. JR and John Ross’s involvement in that scheme could easily overturn the will.

      • Brandon Childers says:

        I was frustrated all the time, but if everything was true to actuall law the show would not be as interesting. The deed to southfork could have switch hands 100 times, and after proving fraud of the first sale Bobby could get back southfork easily. statue of limitations is not up on custodial inference until ten years after child turns 18, so Ryland could have been arrested, given that Emma is not 28. Blood or not first cousin marriages are always annulled. And the that judge was an idiot for not granting the annulment because Rebecca was trying to change. Christopher unknowingly married his cousin, automatic and easy annulment. An easy investigation could proof, Roy and cliff were on the phone right before Roy called bomb. Lots of things

    • John Walden says:

      I’m assuming that grave on the OTHER side of Miss Ellie is Clayton’s….the grave they never show up close. One problem I had is the fact that Jock shouldn’t have a grave there since his body was never found, lol. As for Bobby being the last one, basically that’s true. Gary lives in California and never played much of a role at Southfork. And Ray, although he is a Ewing, has no Southworth blood, so, actually, Bobby is the last one of Miss Ellie’s sons at Southfork to be the caretaker.

      • I think there are four graves: Barbara (which they showed last season), Aaron (which they showed yesterday), Jock and J.R. So Garrison and Clayton are buried somewhere else.

      • It doesn’t bother me there is a Jock “grave” despite having no body. There is no law stating there must be a body to erect a monument. Plenty of families losing loved ones in war end up burying an empty casket for the closure.

      • Brandon Childers says:

        I want Dusty Farlow back

    • Brandon, thanks for your legal expertise. We appreciate it!


  5. Dan,

    * J.R. wore the beltbuckle in S1 and S2 – not sure if he did on the original show

    * good point about the “supermajority” – didn’t get that either

    * Since John Ross owns half of surface, he owns the surface rights too – well, half of them, I guess, but if Bobby cannot stop him from renovating SF, he cannot stop him from making use of those rights either. I guess when there’s a 50:50 split, one side can always do as it pleases.

    * Loved the slow pace of this episode. Ladies sitting around the table and talking about the old times instead of bombs exploding and ppl being killed. Felt like real “Dallas” to me.

    • where is the “go back and edit” function on this site? lol .. of course I meant John Ross owns half of SOUTHFORK

    • Brandon Childers says:

      Things by law are suppose to remain the same when there is a 50 50 split, Bobby is going to figure this out, because I know they ain’t about to remodle SouthFork or drill for oil. And by law even if the crude underneath breaches the surface, it is still owned by the mineral right owners, So Bobby owns a third of it

      • Brandon Childers says:

        Also yes the supermajority is invalid

      • Brandon,
        I hope you are right. But by rights these things should have never entered the script in the first place so I have doubts Bobby will later “learn” the his true rights.

        So in conclusion lazy script writing is dragging down what could and should be a great drama.

      • Dan, as you’ve pointed out, all it takes is one good guilt trip to make Bobby change his mind. Maybe John Ross can appeal to Bobby’s sense of family and “the future” and somehow persuade him to drill on the ranch.

      • Dan in WI says:

        Exactly! So why go to partial great lengths to make up a convoluted plot point but not research its basis in reality where there is a ready made flaw in Bobby’s character that can be exploited in a fraction of the time.

        There are two types of people. Those that can easily go with the flow with innaccurate legaleze and technobabble and others who simply can’t shut their brains off when they know better. I’m one of the latter. It’s just the way I’m wired. So why risk turning people like me off (who at their core still want to like this show) when you don’t have to? They need all the ratings they can get.

      • Brandon Childers says:

        They do about the mineral rights in season one, which I didn’t think they knew about, and then bobby found out and used it, Injust can’t imagine the the new allowing anyone to drill on southfork.

      • The knew of the concepts of mineral rights in the first season. Of course the mineral rights they used was out of continuity with the classic series. So even when they get it right they get it wrong.

      • Brandon Childers says:

        There are also Structure Rights, which could allow bobby to own the house, and Miss Ellie should have put a clause in her will, to not allow drilling

      • Good stuff, Brandon. Thanks. It’s going to be interesting to see how they deal with this drilling issue.

    • Thanks Guido!

  6. Brandon Childers says:

    Boy the Ewings sure can do a lot in twelve hours, Cliff and Christopher grew a beard, they remodeled the floor and everything

  7. Brandon Childers says:

    I commented a lot today, but I think people would be more for the Ramos family plot lines, if they had name Carmen, Teresa since she was often mention on the ordinal Dallas, and could of easily had some kids living there, and be Hispanic

  8. I have a feeling that Drew Ramos will not agree with Elena and Joaquin’s decision to work with Cliff Barnes and go after the Ewings.

    • Drew saved Elena & the Ewings with that long range shot last year in self defense with his army sniper rifle. Thats not murder, thats Texas justice. Elena should just have asked Brother Bobby to switch the 2 deeds back. But then we wouldn’t have the chaos would we C.B.?

    • Drew, where are you? Come back!

  9. The thang is C.B., Elena was saved by Drew’s army sniper rifle in self defense, along with the Ewings by Drew. That was a good shoot in defense of a human life. Texas Justice by a combat soldier! Drew wouldn’t want the Barnes clan & his sister to stick it to the Ewings. Elena could just show Brother Bobby the deeds & have them switched back. Seems simple boy! Of course, we then wouldn’t have chaos now would we C.B.? We wouldn’t have the excitement that is DALLAS is the solution were that simple! 5 more days C.B., ALL NEW DALLAS!


  1. […] Synopsis: Elena agrees to serve as Cliff’s proxy at the newly renamed Ewing Global, although she keeps her connection to him secret and recruits Nicolas Treviño, a childhood friend who is now a billionaire, to pretend he’s the proxy. Emma, Ryland Transport’s new chief executive, gives John Ross control of the company’s drilling and cargo ships so Ewing Global can tap oil and methane reserves in the Arctic. When Nicolas tries to scuttle the Arctic deal, John Ross suggests drilling on Southfork to finance the project, but Bobby disagrees. The Mendez-Ocha cartel bribes a judge to get Harris out of jail and threatens to kill Emma if Harris doesn’t resume his drug shipments. Christopher meets Heather, a spirited ranch hand. […]

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