‘Dallas’s’ Return Offers Answers, But a Big Question Remains

Dallas, Denial Anger Acceptance, Emma Bell, Emma Ryland, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, Julie Gonzalo, Pamela Rebecca Barnes Ewing, TNT

Call to arms

“Dallas” fans are heading into next week’s “midseason premiere” with lots of questions on their minds, beginning with this: Will the series return for a fourth year? We probably won’t know the answer until the ratings for the summer episodes come in, but virtually everything else we’ve been obsessing over will be addressed in the August 18 opener, which TNT sent to TV critics and bloggers last month.

The episode, “Denial, Anger, Acceptance,” picks up immediately after the frenzied spring finale, which left Southfork in flames and Pamela in convulsions after she lured John Ross and Emma into a kinky, kooky three-way. By the time the closing credits roll on Monday, we’ll know why Pamela initiated the threesome and who survives the fire, along with who started the blaze. We’ll also find out what Judith does after spying Harris and Ann smooching outside her window, and there’ll be some twists you may or may not see coming: One character makes a dramatic confession, another bites the dust and at least four couples are left facing uncertain futures.

In other words: It’s business as usual on “Dallas,” with a notable exception — most of “Denial, Anger, Acceptance” takes place in a hospital, where almost the entire cast converges after the fire and Pamela’s overdose. It recalls the “Dallas” season premieres of yore, which often found the Ewings and Barneses rushing to the emergency room to deal with whatever shooting, suicide attempt or car crash was imperiling their loved ones at that moment. Most of those season openers from the 1980s aren’t remembered as “Dallas’s” strongest episodes today, although they invariably laid the groundwork for the classic storylines that followed. Perhaps we’ll one day say something similar about “Denial, Anger, Acceptance.”

The question is: How many of us will be watching? No matter how good “Dallas’s” remaining episodes are this season, if the ratings don’t meet TNT’s expectations, we might not get to see the Ewings rebuild Southfork. I don’t think that will be the case, but I’m also not taking anything for granted. If “Dallas” fans want to see the show return next year, we all need to be in front of our television sets on Monday night, watching the show — and hopefully chatting about it on Twitter and Facebook, since social media is so important to generating TV buzz these days.

Make no mistake: The answer to “Dallas’s” biggest cliffhanger — will the show continue? — lies with us. It’s the kind of power J.R. himself would have envied.

Are you looking forward to “Dallas’s” return? Share your comments below and read more opinions from Dallas Decoder.

‘Dallas’ Episode Titles, Airdates Posted

Dallas, Elena Ramos, Hurt, John Ross Ewing, Jordana Brewster, Josh Henderson, Juan Pablo Di Pace, Julie Gonzalo, Nicolas Trevino, Pamela Rebecca Barnes Ewing, TNT

Who’ll get “Hurt”?

We don’t know what will happen during the second half of “Dallas’s” third season, but we do know what the episodes will be called and when we might see them:

• TNT posted the titles online last week. They are: “Denial, Anger, Acceptance” (Episode 34), “Dead Reckoning” (Episode 35), “Hurt” (Episode 36), “Victims of Love” (Episode 37), “Boxed In” (Episode 38), “Endgame” (Episode 39) and “Brave New World” (Episode 40).

• TNT hasn’t released airdates, except to say “Denial, Anger, Acceptance” will be shown Monday, August 18. According to IMDb, TNT will televise the remaining episodes on successive Mondays, with one exception: The last two episodes, “Endgame” and “Brave New World,” will each be shown September 22.

Nothing is official until TNT confirms it, of course. But if the airdates on IMDb are accurate, “Dallas” will wrap up its third year on what will probably be the first night of the 2014-15 television season, when the broadcast networks will be going all out to lure viewers. In other words: The competition will be tough.

Also, trivia buffs, take note: The original “Dallas” had an “End Game” (Bobby gets shot!) and a “Dead Reckoning” (Miss Ellie boots Clayton off Southfork!), while “The Sopranos” had a “Denial, Anger, Acceptance” (Meadow does speed!).

What do you hope to see when “Dallas” returns? Share your comments below and read more news from Dallas Decoder.