Dallas Burning Questions: Season 3, Week 8

Ann Ewing, Brenda Strong, Dallas, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing, Where There's Smoke, TNT

Hold on, darlins

Here are the questions we’re pondering as we await tonight’s telecast of “Where There’s Smoke,” TNT’s latest “Dallas” episode:

• How will the Southfork fire start? It’s no secret there’ll be another Ewing inferno in “Where There’s Smoke” — TNT’s promos for the episode show Southfork engulfed in flames. The question is: How does the blaze begin? There are lots of people living on the ranch these days, including Bobby and Ann (Patrick Duffy, Brenda Strong) and John Ross and Pamela (Josh Henderson, Julie Gonzalo), along with Sue Ellen (Linda Gray), Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe), Emma (Emma Bell), Elena (Jordana Brewster) and Carmen (Marlene Forte). Does one of these characters start the fire through some act of household carelessness? Or could the fire be an act of revenge by one of the many enemies who have the Ewings in their crosshairs?

• What will Pamela do? “Like a Bad Penny,” the previous episode, ended with Nicolas (Juan Pablo Di Pace) sending Pamela the video of John Ross having sex with Emma. We didn’t see Pamela receive Nicolas’s message, but TNT’s promo shows her walking in on John Ross and Emma together in bed, so the truth is going to come out, one way or another. The question is: How will Pamela respond? She has a mixed record of dealing with bad news: When Christopher dumped her at the end of Season 1, she vowed revenge and turned into a bitch-on-wheels, but when she lost her twins during Season 2, she went into an emotional tailspin. Which Pamela will we see tonight?

• Will Sue Ellen stop drinking? After Bobby and Ann sprang Sue Ellen from the sanitarium, they brought her home to Southfork, where she rankled John Ross by supporting Bobby’s decision to hire his old college buddy, banker Cal Hanna (Jonathan Adams), to shepherd Ewing Global through its initial public offering. Of course, business is probably the last thing on Sue Ellen’s mind. Her doctor warned Bobby and Ann that Sue Ellen will be “a danger to herself” if she doesn’t get her drinking under control. In that light, it’s probably worth pointing out that in the “Where There’s Smoke” publicity photo above, Sue Ellen is standing next to a liquor decanter. What, if anything, should we make of that?

• What’s up with the Rylands? Everyone and their mother are out to get the Ewings these days. In the case of the Rylands, that’s literally true: Although Harris (Mitch Pileggi) has been growing closer to Ann, he’s also been trying to frame John Ross for a sex crime with help from his bordello-running mama, Judith (Judith Light), and one of her prostitutes, Candace (Jude Demorest). But Harris’s plan suffered a setback: When he fired Candace, she blabbed about the scheme to Emma, who somehow nabbed the dress Candace was planning to use to incriminate John Ross. What’s Emma going to do with the dress? And what will Ann, Harris and Judith have to say about it?

• What’s up with the cartel? When Drew (Kuno Becker) returned to Dallas, he discovered J.R. swindled the Ramoses out of their land, vowed to make the whole Ewing family pay for J.R.’s greed and then disappeared into the night. Nicolas promised Elena he would use “every resource” at his disposal to find Drew and, true to his word, he sought help from his secret business partner: the Mexican gangster Luis (Antonio Jaramillo), who is in cahoots with Nicolas and Hunter McKay (Fran Kranz) in a secret plot to seize control of Ewing Global and use the company to launder the Mendez-Ochoa cartel’s drug money. If Luis finds Drew, what will he do with him? Also, does Nicolas’s connection to Luis mean the cartel is the Treviño benefactor that Lucia (Angélica Celaya) referred to a few episodes ago?

• What unexpected twists will occur? It’s also unclear where Christopher’s relationship with Heather (AnnaLynne McCord) is headed, especially now that we know her hard-drinking ex-husband, Bo (Donny Boaz), wants to reconcile with her. But this isn’t the only “x” factor to watch out for tonight. Entertainment Weekly’s latest issue teases “Where There’s Smoke” will include “adultery, a diaphragm sabotaged by a pin and a super-graphic threesome that would make Caligula blush.” Also, according to EW, the hour will end with “at least” four characters’ lives in danger. Who will they be? More importantly: What will we all do with ourselves until “Dallas’s” third season resumes in August?

What “Dallas Burning Questions” are on your mind? Share your comments below and watch TNT’s “Dallas” tonight.