TNT’s Dallas Recap: ‘Playing Chicken’

Dallas, Emma Bell, Emma Ryland, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, Playing Chicken, TNT

Home to roost

Here’s what happened in “Playing Chicken,” TNT’s latest “Dallas” episode:

Christopher searched for the truth about Nicolas. Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) went to the federal prison in Nuevo Laredo, where he questioned Cliff (Ken Kercheval) about his connection to Nicolas. Cliff didn’t supply any answers, but Christopher fared better when he tracked down Nicolas’s ex-business partner, whom Nicolas cheated on his rise to the top — and who told Christopher that “Nicolas Treviño” isn’t Nicolas’s real name.

Later, several armed men approached Christopher outside his hotel and brought him to Nicolas’s compound, where he met a beautiful woman (Angélica Celaya) with two small sons. When Christopher asked the woman what she knows about Nicolas, she responded: “I can tell you quite a bit. I’m Lucia Treviño, his wife.”

Nicolas and Elena searched for the truth about the Ewings. Back in Dallas, Nicolas (Juan Pablo Di Pace) tracked down Rhonda Simmons (Emily Kosloski), the woman whose testimony helped convict Cliff for J.R.’s murder, and offered her $25,000 to admit she lied. The next night, Nicolas met with Rhonda again, expecting her to talk, except she brought along a surprise guest: Bobby (Patrick Duffy), who insisted Rhonda was being honest when she implicated Cliff. “Sometimes the truth hurts,” Bobby told Nicolas.

Elena (Jordana Brewster) fared no better: She went to the firing range where Cliff used to practice, hoping to find the surveillance video that would prove his gun was stolen, only to discover the footage had mysteriously vanished. Elena felt defeated, but Nicolas assured her the two of them will ultimately beat the Ewings — and to demonstrate his dedication, he revealed long-hidden feelings for her. “I never wanted a woman more than I want you, and if you’ll allow me, I want a chance to make you happy,” Nicolas said. He and Elena kissed — and then they did much more.

Sue Ellen found out the truth about John Ross. After Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) saw Emma flirting with John Ross, she confided in Ann her suspicion that John Ross and Emma are having an affair. Ann (Brenda Strong) didn’t reject the suggestion. “You were right about her drug use. Maybe you’re right this time too,” she said. Ann later urged Emma (Emma Bell) to stop wearing skimpy bikinis around Southfork, while Sue Ellen went to work on Bum (Kevin Page) to determine if he told the truth about John Ross being faithful to Pamela.

Sue Ellen’s plan worked: After she laid a major guilt trip on Bum, he showed up on her doorstep and confessed everything. “I lied to you, Sue Ellen. You were right about John Ross and Emma. I’m sorry,” Bum said. Sue Ellen’s response: “Not nearly as sorry as I am.”

Bobby and Ann dealt with the truth about Harris. Bobby and Ann struggled to wrap their heads around the fact that Harris is secretly helping the CIA try to bring down the Mendez-Ochoa cartel. Bobby beefed up security at Southfork and told Ann that she shouldn’t worry about their family’s well-being. “You and Emma will always be safe on Southfork. Always. You can count on it,” Bobby said.

Later, while Pamela (Julie Gonzalo) and Emma went shopping for lingerie for Pamela’s honeymoon, Ann went to see Harris (Mitch Pileggi) and told him she fears their daughter is “acting out” against her father by sleeping with John Ross. Ann urged Harris to come clean to Emma about his CIA connection, but he refused. “I wish I could trust her with that, but I can’t,” Harris said. He added: “I never meant to put the people that I love in danger, Annie. As awful as you think I am, I do love our daughter.”

John Ross learned the truth about chickens. John Ross (Josh Henderson) blackmailed Bo (Donny Boaz) into joining his Southfork drilling venture by threatening to expose the ranch hand’s drug-dealing past. But John Ross’s scheming was for naught: Bobby shut down the project when he revealed the state would refuse to issue John Ross a drilling permit because the project endangered the lesser prairie chicken, a threatened species in Texas. Later, when John Ross came home after cavorting at the office with Emma and found Pamela wearing the same teddy that his mistress had been wearing, he felt an attack of conscience and headed for the shower, leaving his wife looking more than a little hurt.

This might be the least of John Ross’s problems: When Harris told Judith (Judith Light) that Emma gave John Ross the Ryland files — which Harris said contain “unflattering” information about Judith — Mama Ryland narrowed her eyes and began plotting. “I’m sure we can find something to compromise young Mr. Ewing enough to convince him to return those files,” Judith said. “And by ‘we,’ of course I mean ‘me.’”

What did you think of “Playing Chicken”? Share your comments below and look for Dallas Decoder’s critique later this week.


  1. Dan in WI says:

    It is a pretty bold statement for Bobby to make that Ann and Emma will always be safe on Southfork. After all the place has hosted hostage situations more than once, was the site of a range war and, as Sue Ellen is about to point out next episode, has turned up a few dead bodies over the years. Arming a bunch of cowboys against a drug lord’s private army (I’ll take the presumably much more ruthless drug army in that matchup) seems like a recipe for another future disaster.

    I’ll have to admit when Elena found the del Sol email about Ronda Simmons last episode I thought that was already game over. I’d forgotten that she actually was telling the truth. Though I’m not sure Nicolas and Elena believe that at this point.
    By the way hasn’t Bobby missed his stolen hard drive yet?

    I realize that a lot of people have the hots for this Nicolas. But I have to say: Nice Guy. He’s cheated people in the same way Digger always accused Jock as well as cheats on his wife just like JR and John Ross. Pretty unattractive quailities in my eyes. I’m beginning to suspect he’s in this for himself and using Elena as well but I have nothing solid to point to on this theory yet.

    Christopher was awful brave to get into that SUV. I would never have down that in Mexico. I thought sure we’d see him bound and gagged in short order.

    Emma’s little rebellious outburst to Ann was well… Put it this way. I can’t wait until she gets hers. Personally I can’t cheer for temptress character who throws temper tantrums. Charelene Tilton was right: Emma is an edgy updated version of Lucy. In all the wrong ways.

    The teddys: I’m a little surprised John Ross acted the way he did when he saw Pamela. After all, when Bum made another attempt to dress him down when Emma showed up at the office that didn’t faze John Ross in the least but for some reason seeing Pamela did. I’m not sure what that says about him. During the huge majority of JR’s life I don’t think that would have done anything more than amuse him.
    I was also glad that after the Emma the druggie storyline of last season that Ann was willing to listen to Sue Ellen’s suspicions this time around.
    As for Judith, I think she never would have possed much of a threat to JR. But she very well may do some damage to John Ross.

  2. When Christopher met with Cliff, I wondered why he told him everything he knows? Maybe he was trying to his face the same way Sue Ellen was able to read Bum’s. Also, why did the store owner Christopher visited have a folder with paperwork on Nicolas Treviño so readily available? Does he keep it there as a convenient place so he can show it to any passerby who happens to enquirer about Nicolas Treviño? I don’t blame Christopher for getting into the car with those people because it was so obvious that if that wanted to just grab him and kidnap him those men could have done so easily. I was also fooled once again by the “think one thing and it is really the opposite of what I am thinking” that occurs frequently on the show. I though Christopher was being followed by people out to harm him, not help him.

  3. I wanted Christopher to lay into Cliff about keeping Pam’s death from him his whole life!


  1. […] Synopsis: Christopher investigates Nicolas in Mexico, where he meets Lucia, Nicolas’s wife. Bobby foils John Ross’s attempt to drill on Southfork and Nicolas’s attempt to turn Rhonda against the Ewings. Later, Nicolas reveals long-hidden feelings to Elena and they have sex. Bum admits to Sue Ellen that John Ross is sleeping with Emma. When Harris tells Judith that Emma gave damaging files about her to John Ross, Judith vows to “convince” John Ross to give back the documents. Bobby promises Ann he’ll keep her and Emma safe following Harris’s revelation that he’s working with the CIA to bring down the drug cartel. […]

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