Dallas Parallels: Caught!

Dallas, Julie Gonzalo, Linda Gray, Pamela Rebecca Barnes Ewing, Sue Ellen Ewing, Tangled Webs, Where There's Smoke, TNT

History repeats itself during “Dallas’s” third season when Pamela finds John Ross cheating with Emma. It’s not unlike the classic scene from the original show’s sixth year, when Sue Ellen walks in on J.R. in bed with Holly. There’s one major difference, of course: Sue Ellen flees the scene of J.R.’s crime in tears — unlike the smiling Pamela, who joins John Ross and his mistress in a shocking threesome.

Why do J.R. and John Ross cheat? Both men justify their extramarital activities by claiming they sleep around for business, and in J.R.’s case, it might be that cut and dry. He treats Holly as nothing  more than a pawn in his quest to beat Bobby in the contest for control of Ewing Oil. Similarly, John Ross begins his affair with Emma to gain access to Ryland Transport’s shipping fleet, although he comes to genuinely care for Emma, even risking his life to rescue her when she’s kidnapped by the Mexican drug cartel.

No matter the reason for their behavior, J.R. and John Ross are both humbled by their actions. After Sue Ellen catches J.R. with Holly, she falls off the wagon and is almost killed while driving drunk. Meanwhile, Pamela’s discovery that John Ross is cheating prompts her to overdose on pills — an ill-conceived attempt at revenge that almost costs Pamela her life.

Two scenes show J.R. and John Ross coming face to face with the consequences of their choices. In the 1983 episode “Penultimate,” J.R. sits on Sue Ellen’s bed, apologizes and begs for forgiveness. It’s similar to the scene in the 2014 episode “Dead Reckoning,” when John Ross sits near Pamela’s hospital bed and makes a similar declaration. Larry Hagman and Josh Henderson’s performances are also similar: J.R. tells Sue Ellen he’s sorry and stumbles over his words (“I can’t, I can’t tell you how sorry I am”), then concludes by saying, “I truly love you.” John Ross also trips over his words (“I will, I will be different”) after telling Pamela, “Look, I love you, okay?”

It’s somewhat startling to hear J.R. and John Ross pour out their hearts like this. Both scenes leave “Dallas” fans wondering what’s more shocking: seeing these master manipulators caught with their pants down, or seeing them caught being human?


‘I Truly Love You’

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Penultimate

A game?

In “Penultimate,” a sixth-season “Dallas” episode, J.R. (Larry Hagman) enters his bedroom, where Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) sits in the bed.

SUE ELLEN: I waited up to talk to you.

J.R.: All right.

SUE ELLEN: I want you to explain to me why this nightmare happened.

J.R.: [Walks toward the bed] Sue Ellen, it was a terrible, terrible mistake.

SUE ELLEN: Mistake? If you wanted to be with other women, why didn’t you just go ahead and do it, instead of playing this silly charade?

J.R.: What charade?

SUE ELLEN: Our marriage, J.R. Why did you want me to marry you again? Why did you chase me like you did? Do you find some kind of perverse pleasure in hurting me?

J.R.: You know I don’t want to hurt you, Sue Ellen. [Sits on the bed]

SUE ELLEN: Then what is it? Is it the game? Is that what it’s all about, J.R.?

J.R.: What happened between Holly and —

SUE ELLEN: [Shouting] Stop it! Stop it! I don’t want to hear any more from you!

J.R.: Listen to me, please. I can’t, I can’t tell you how sorry I am about what happened. But I promise you it was a direct result of the battle for Ewing Oil. Winning the company means everything to me. When we got married, the second time, I vowed I would never hurt you again. But things got out of hand, Sue Ellen — and I don’t blame you for hating me. But I hope you can reach down in your heart and believe me when I say that I love you. [She closes her eyes and turns away.] I truly love you.


‘I Love You, Okay?’

Dallas, Dead Reckoning, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, TNT

An excuse?

In “Dead Reckoning,” a third-season “Dallas” episode, John Ross (Josh Henderson) enters the hospital room, where Pamela (Julie Gonzalo) sits in bed, waiting for him.

JOHN ROSS: I don’t want to be like this anymore. I don’t want to be the guy that … I don’t want to be the guy that could have done this to you. I know it’s going to be hard for me to convince you of that right now. All I can do is try to prove it to you, every single day of my life. [Sits on the bed] Pamela, I’m so sorry. For everything.

PAMELA: I didn’t call you in here so you can try to fix us, John Ross. I called you in here to tell you to stop sitting out there, because it’s over.

JOHN ROSS: Pamela, don’t say that.

PAMELA: Look, I spent my entire childhood trying to get my father to love me. And all I’ve done in my adult life was continue that pattern by falling for a man who would put greed and ambition before me. And just like with my father, I was willing to do anything to get you to love me, John Ross. But I see now: Our marriage was just an excuse to get my shares of Ewing Global. You didn’t put your mother away to get her help, but to push the IPO through. I see now that there will never enough success, enough money, to fill that hole where your heart should be.

JOHN ROSS: Pamela, please. Look, I love you, okay? I swear, from now on it’s going to be different, okay? [Voice cracks] I will be different. I will, I will be different for you. I’ll be different. I promise.

PAMELA: You ask me what I want. I want you to leave because our marriage is over.

Did J.R. and John Ross deserve forgiveness? Share your comments below and read more “Dallas Parallels.”

EXCLUSIVE: See a Deleted Scene From ‘Dallas’s’ Third Season

Before Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) learned the truth about J.R.’s death in “Hurt,” she asked John Ross (Josh Henderson) for answers. Find out what he said by watching this deleted scene, a Dallas Decoder exclusive, from the “Dallas: The Complete Third Season” DVD set.

What do you think of this scene? Share your comments below and read more features from Dallas Decoder.

Poll: What is ‘Dallas’s’ Best Third-Season Scene?

Bobby Ewing, Cliff Barnes, Dallas, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, Ken Kercheval, Linda Gray, Patrick Duffy, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT

The “Dallas: The Complete Third Season” DVD set arrives Tuesday, January 13. Time to choose a favorite moment!


Share your comments below and vote in Dallas Decoder’s other polls.

You’re Invited to Dallas Decoder’s DVD Drop Party

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, TNT

Party boys

Dallas Decoder is throwing a party — and you’re invited!

Our next #DallasChat on Twitter will be Monday, January 12, from 9 to 10 p.m. Eastern time. To celebrate the release of the “Dallas: The Complete Third Season” DVD, this chat will be a “DVD Drop Party,” complete with games and treats — including the world premiere of a deleted scene from the three-disc set.

Here’s how #DallasChat works: During the course of each hour-long discussion, I tweet 10 questions from my Twitter handle, @DallasDecoder. Fans respond to the questions and comment on each other’s answers, making each chat a fun, freewheeling group conversation.

Here’s a sample exchange:

Q1. What’s your favorite third-season “Dallas” episode? #DallasChat

A1. I love the one where John Ross and Bobby fought. Wait, that’s every episode, isn’t it? #DallasChat

Here are three tips:

• Each #DallasChat question is numbered (Q1, Q2, etc.), so your responses should include the corresponding number (A1, A2, etc.).

• Include the hashtag #DallasChat in your tweets.

• During the discussion, enter #DallasChat in Twitter’s search field. This will help you watch the search results so you can follow the conversation. Click “All” to see all the related tweets.

This is one #DallasChat you won’t want to miss. See you tonight!

Got suggestions for #DallasChat questions? Leave them in the comments section below.

Poll: What is ‘Dallas’s’ Best Cliffhanger?

Bobby Ewing, Cliff Barnes, Dallas, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, Julie Gonzalo, J.R. Ewing, Ken Kercheval, Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, Pam Ewing, Pamela Rebecca Barnes Ewing, Patrick Duffy, Sue Ellen Ewing, Victoria Principal

Every “Dallas” fan has a favorite finale. What’s yours?


Share your comments below and vote in Dallas Decoder’s other polls.

Season’s Greetings, ‘Dallas’ Fans

Dallas, Jesse Metcalfe, Jordana Brewster, Josh Henderson, Julie Gonzalo

Still standing

The only thing I enjoy more than watching “Dallas” is writing about it, so I want to take a moment to thank everyone who read Dallas Decoder in 2014. Please know much I appreciate your support, feedback and enthusiasm.

This is the first December in a while that we don’t have new “Dallas” episodes to look forward to, but I hope none of us will allow that to dampen our holiday spirit. That’s why this post is accompanied by an image from the cast’s 2012 Christmas-gone-awry Funny or Die video. Patrick Duffy, Josh Henderson and the rest may look a little beat up here, but they’re still standing — and by golly, so are their fans.

In that spirit, I look forward to joining with you next year to continue sharing our love for “Dallas.” Thanks again, and happy holidays.

Five More Who Mattered: Dallas Decoder’s Other 2014 VIPs

Cynthia Cidre, Dallas, Josh Henderson, Michael M. Robin, Patrick Duffy, Peter Roth, TNT

The fans are Dallas Decoder’s Persons of the Year, but here are five others who made important contributions to “Dallas” in 2014:

Five More Who Mattered - Cidre and Robin copy

The bosses

Cynthia Cidre and Michael M. Robin. If you’re a fan of the new “Dallas,” then join me in honoring executive producers Cidre and Robin for delivering an entertaining show and then fighting like hell to save it after TNT dropped the ax. Their version of “Dallas” wasn’t every fan’s cup of Texas tea, but a lot of us loved it. This show will be missed. We salute the showrunners and thank them for their contributions to one of television’s great franchises.


The leader

The leader

Patrick Duffy. To me, Duffy is Bobby Ewing — and that’s why it came as no surprise when he became a leading voice of the #SaveDallas movement. I mean, isn’t that exactly what Bobby would’ve done in that situation? Duffy held fans together and offered us inspiration when we needed it most. He also earned a spot on this list when he returned to the “Dallas” director’s chair after a 23-year absence with “Hurt,” this year’s best episode.


The star

The star

Josh Henderson. Did you get chills when John Ross told Sue Ellen he wasn’t his father? How about when he smashed the gun barrel into Luis’s face and came this close to pulling the trigger? What about the time our young hero broke down while listening to J.R.’s old voicemail? Saying goodbye to John Ross is tough, but at least we don’t have to bid farewell to Henderson, a great actor who’s going to be entertaining us for a long time to come.


The player

The chief

Peter Roth. Peter who? Roth runs the television arm of Warner Bros., the studio that produced “Dallas.” During the #SaveDallas campaign, while the rest of us were drumming up support for the show on social media, Roth’s team was beating the bushes in Hollywood to find the Ewings a new home. They didn’t succeed, but fans thank them for trying. After all, if “Dallas” taught us anything, it’s this: Even promising deals sometimes don’t work out.


Who did I miss? Share your choices for “Dallas’s” 2014 VIPs below and read more opinions from Dallas Decoder.

The Best & Worst of TNT’s Dallas: Season 3

“Dallas’s” third and final season was a thrill ride, even if our beloved Larry Hagman wasn’t around to take the trip with us. Here’s a look back at the highs and lows.



Rising son

Josh Henderson was a revelation this year. As John Ross struggled to follow J.R.’s boot steps, he kept getting sidetracked by his own demons — and Henderson was outstanding at every turn. His performances were sometimes sly, sometimes sensitive and always superb. I was less enthralled with the other “J.R.”: Judith Ryland, a.k.a. Judith Light, who was moving during the hostage crisis but cartoonish most of the rest of the time (“Let’s go make us a drug deal.”).


Ewing Global’s rocky road to its initial public offering was a modern take on classic “Dallas” wheeling and dealing. It included the dramatic boardroom showdown where Sue Ellen voted against John Ross’s plan; John Ross and Pamela’s trip to Las Vegas, where he gambled away J.R.’s wristwatch to prove his mettle to the sheik; and finally the frenzied day of the IPO, when Hunter McKay swooped in and turned the tables on John Ross — much like Hunter’s granddaddy Carter once did to J.R. Even Wolf Blitzer showed up to report on the Ewings’ doings. The worst storyline? Nope, not the drug cartel, which ended up being better than expected, but all the silliness involving the brothel, including the eye-rolling revelation that Judith is a madam.



Direct hit

The achingly poignant “Hurt,” written by Aaron Allen and directed by Patrick Duffy, dared to challenge the audience to stop sentimentalizing J.R. This was an actors’ episode, beginning with the theatrical scene where Elena exposed Bobby’s scheme to frame Cliff. No whiplash-inducing plot twists here; just solid Ewing family drama. There was also a lot to like about the “Lifting the Veil” wedding episode. Unfortunately, much of it was cut to make room for those bonkers brothel scenes.


John Ross and Sue Ellen’s kitchen confrontation was the season’s emotional high point. It began with her standing at the counter, sloshing a drink, no longer denying her fall from the wagon. Into the room stormed John Ross, furious over his mother’s boardroom betrayal and still very much in denial about his addiction to power. The chills-inducing climax: He slams down his hand and screams, “I am not my father!” Maybe not, but this scene showed Henderson could light up our screens just like Hagman. Best scene runner-up: The unbearably tense moment when Ann, Harris and Judith hear Luis fire a shot after holding a gun to Emma’s head. The worst scene involved a corrupt politician, a hooker and a dog costume. Need I say more?



Bug off

Sue Ellen gives a bottle of J.R. Ewing Bourbon to Governor McConaughey (Steven Weber, who was always a welcome guest on this show), but the smug jerk refuses to help her stop John Ross’s Southfork drilling scheme. Later, the guv pours from the bottle while plotting with a corrupt crony to cover up a scandal — unaware that Sue Ellen and Bobby are in a van outside, recording their conversation. How? Because Sue Ellen bugged the bottle! Oh, how I wish Linda Gray had been given more scenes like this.


Worst first: Christopher’s death. Jesse Metcalfe’s alter ego went out like a chump by protecting Elena, an increasingly exasperating character who brought Nicolas and the drug cartel into the Ewings’ lives and threatened to send Bobby to prison. (Jordana Brewster, however, was fantastic when Elena saw the car blow up.) I have no doubt Christopher’s murder would’ve opened dramatic new storylines for the show, but since we’ve been denied a fourth season, I can’t help but feel like a “Dallas” legacy character was killed off for no good reason. The best cliffhanger: The doomed three-way between John Ross, Pamela and Emma was sexy and provocative, although the resolution — learning Pamela overdosed to teach her cheating husband and his mistress a lesson — was bananas.


Dallas, Harris Ryland, Mitch Pileggi, TNT

Guess who?

Mitch Pileggi has always been one of “Dallas’s” best actors, but his performances this year were more complex than ever. Was Harris really working for the CIA, or was he merely out to get Judith? Did he mean it when he told Ann he loved her, or was he just messing with her head? Pileggi kept us guessing all season long — just like a certain Machiavellian character from an earlier era of “Dallas.” Runner-up: Emma Bell’s Emma, who had me throwing things at my TV one moment and reaching for the Kleenex the next.

Supporting Players

Here we have an embarrassment of riches. I loved Antonio Jaramillo, who was frightening and fascinating as cartel general Luis; Kevin Page, who turned sweet-natured Bum into John Ross’s unlikely conscience; and Donny Boaz, who made down-on-his-luck ranch hand Bo McCabe the closest thing this show had to a modern version of Ray Krebbs. But no performance touched me like Marlene Forte, who was heartbreaking in “Dead Reckoning,” the haunting episode in which Carmen learned Drew was dead. Honorable mention: Cynthia Jackson, who played Nurse Harlan, the no-nonsense nightingale who tangled with John Ross in the hospital (“Plant your ass over there in those seats before I plant it for you”).


Smiling cobra

Killer smile

Juan Pablo Di Pace was sinister and seductive as Nicolas Treviño, who changed the Ewings’ lives forever the day he waltzed into their boardroom and declared himself Cliff’s proxy. Now that he has Christopher’s blood on his hands, Nicolas will be remembered as the Ewings’ most dangerous foe since Katherine ran over Bobby. Honorable mention: AnnaLynne McCord, whose Heather McCabe — a working-class single mom who wanted to do right by her son — was refreshingly free of secret identities and hidden agendas.

Returning Favorites

Two “Dallas” vets earn a spot in the “best” column: Audrey Landers, who was a hoot when Afton showed up at John Ross and Pamela’s wedding, smacked the groom upside his head and sparred with Sue Ellen; and Ken Kercheval, who was downright tragic in the scene where Pamela refused to get Cliff out of jail. You could always count on Landers and Kercheval to make the most of their “Dallas” guest spots; what a shame they never had a scene together. My other old favorite: the return of “Dallas’s” retro-style split-screen opening credits. What took so long?




Highlighting just one of costume designer Rachel Sage Kunin’s creations is tough, but if forced to choose, I’ll go with Pamela’s black-and-white dress, which looked striking on Julie Gonazalo. The dress also highlighted the link between Pamela and Sue Ellen, who wore a lot of black and white on the original show. No costume deserves a spot in the “worst” column, although now that I know how much effort went into choosing the jewelry for J.R.’s daughter’s debut, I sure wish that scene hadn’t been left on the cutting room floor.


Johnny Cash returned to “Dallas” for the first time since Season 1 with his cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt,” which played during the powerful sequence where Bobby destroys his den after J.R.’s masterpiece unravels. Can you watch this scene without getting chills? Other highlights: Ed Sheeran’s “Kiss Me,” which was heard when John Ross and Pamela were making love on their honeymoon while lonely Emma was crying herself to sleep; The Doors’ “Break On Through,” an ideal choice for the diaphragm puncturing/threeway/Southfork fire montage; and Eric Church’s “Devil, Devil,” the song that played when Nicolas’s henchman killed Luis and El Pozolero. And who didn’t love Henderson’s “I See You” during John Ross’s breakdown in the elevator during the season finale?


Best & Worst of TNT's Dallas - Season 3 7 copy

Good to the last drop

Best: The J.R. Ewing Bourbon bottles, which popped up throughout the season, including the last scene, when John Ross toasts his dearly departed daddy in the back of the limousine. I also got a kick out of seeing Henderson sport replicas of some of Hagman’s signature accessories, even if it looked like that J.R. belt buckle was wearing John Ross instead of the other way around. My least favorite prop: Candace’s severed hands. Good grief. Were those things purchased in the Halloween aisle at Kmart?


It’s always tough to choose a favorite in this category, and this year is no exception. Contenders include Judith’s J.R.-like analogy (“Money and morality are like two cars on a one-lane road. When they meet, morality’s going to end up in the ditch.”), John Ross’s apt description of his family (“We’re slow, but we do figure things out.”), and Sue Ellen’s memorable put-down of a longtime rival (“Just so you know, Afton, the most despicable thing J.R. ever did was you.”). But nothing tops Miss Texas’s memorable schooling of Emma at the wedding: “Has anyone ever told you about my sister Kristin? She was a lot like you. She ended up face down in the pool.” It’s a shame this line was cut from the episode, but at least TNT had the good sense to turn it into a promo.




If you didn’t watch “Dallas” while simultaneously tweeting about it, you missed half the fun. The year in hashtags: #Aftershave #BeachBoys #BeMyProxyNicolas #CafeConLechePorFavor #DefineTheRelationship #GoFrackYourself #GoodBlackmailNeverSours #GraspingSuccubus #IceBreakingShips #JusticeNotRevenge #LesserPrairieChicken #MamaLike #MillerLight #MobyDick #Mole #Pozole #SeismicSuperstar #Sprinkles #StupidPills #Supermajority #SurfaceRights #WhoWoreItBetter #WhichEwingDies #YouSmellLikeMyWife #RenewDallasTNT #SaveDallas #DallasForever

What do you love and loathe about the third season of TNT’s “Dallas”? Share your comments below and read more “Best & Worst” reviews.

‘Dallas’s’ Third and Final Season Comes to DVD on January 13

Ann Ewing, Bobby Ewing, Brenda Strong, Christopher Ewing, Dallas, Elena Ramos, Emma Bell, Emma Ryland, Harris Ryland, Jesse Metcalfe, Josh Ross Ewing, Jordana Brewster, Josh Henderson, Linda Gray, Mitch Pileggi, Patrick Duffy, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT


Mark your calendars: The third and final season of TNT’s “Dallas” will come to DVD on Tuesday, January 13.

The three-disc set will contain all 15 episodes, along with never-before-aired scenes. The recommended sale price is $39.98

You can pre-order the set from WBshop.com, the online retail arm of Warner Bros., the studio that produced “Dallas,” as well as Amazon.

Which deleted scenes would you like to see on the “Dallas: The Complete Third Season” DVD set? Share your comments below and read more news from Dallas Decoder.

It’s ‘Dueling Dallases’ Tonight on #DallasChat

Dallas, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, TNT

Who’s worst?

You’re invited to Dallas Decoder’s next #DallasChat on Twitter, which I’ll hold Monday, December 1, from 9 to 10 p.m. Eastern time.

Our theme will be “Dueling Dallases.” We’ll compare the original “Dallas” to the recently completed TNT sequel series.

If you have ideas for questions, leave them in the comments section below, tweet them to me @DallasDecoder or post them to my Facebook page. I may choose one or more questions and ask them during our discussion.

Are you new to #DallasChat? Here’s how it works: For one hour, I tweet 10 questions to my fellow “Dallas” fans. Each question is numbered and includes the hashtag #DallasChat, so your responses should include the answer number and the hashtag.

Here’s a sample exchange:

Q1. Which cartel did you prefer — the one on classic #Dallas or the cartel seen on #DallasTNT? #DallasChat

A1. As much as I loved Jordan, Marilee and company, the drug cartel on #DallasTNT was a lot scarier. #DallasChat

Here are two tips:

• During the discussion, enter #DallasChat in Twitter’s search field. This will help you watch the search results so you can follow the conversation. Click “All” to see all the related tweets.

• Be sure to include #DallasChat in your tweets. This allows the other participants to see your contributions to the conversation.

This will be a fun discussion. I look forward to seeing you there!