Dallas Burning Questions: Season 3, Week 13

Boxed In, Dallas, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, Julie Gonzalo, Pamela Rebecca Barnes Ewing, TNT

Friends or enemies?

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

What will happen to Ann and Emma? The previous episode, “Victims of Love,” ended with drug cartel honcho Luis (Antonio Jaramillo) visiting the Rylands, where he revealed: a) he killed Candace, b) he was holding Ann and Emma (Brenda Strong, Emma Bell) hostage, and c) he would kill Ann and Emma if Harris and Judith (Mitch Pileggi, Judith Light) don’t double their drug shipments. The previews for “Boxed In” show Bobby turning to Harris for help dealing with the cartel and being told Luis has Ann and Emma. Will the Ewings and the Rylands work together to save them?

Who’ll control Ewing Global? Why does Bobby need Harris’s help dealing with the cartel, you ask? Because in “Victims of Love,” Hunter McKay (Fran Kranz) took a majority stake in Ewing Global during its initial public offering. After Bobby learned Hunter is a puppet for Nicolas (Juan Pablo Di Pace) and the cartel, he turned to his old flame Tracey (Melinda Clarke) and asked her to try to persuade Hunter, her nephew, into snitching on the cartel. Unfortunately, when Bobby and Tracey arrived at Hunter’s apartment, they found his dead body hanging from the ceiling. Bobby and Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) believe the cartel is behind Hunter’s “suicide.” If they’re right, can they prove it?

Where does Pamela go from here? Pamela blamed John Ross (Josh Henderson) for the Ewing Global IPO debacle, telling him he had ruined her father’s company. With encouragement from Sue Ellen (Linda Gray), Pamela also went to Mexico to visit Cliff (Ken Kercheval), where she let him know she wasn’t going to get him out of prison. Instead, Pamela gave Cliff the deed that Elena (Jordana Brewster) secured in her bargain with Bobby, then bid her father farewell. Will she see him again? Will we?

Who is photographing Nicolas and Elena? Nicolas whisked Elena away to a cabin in the woods, unaware that a mysterious figure was photographing their every move. Meanwhile, after the Ewings confirmed Nicolas’s true identity and his connection to the cartel, Christopher called Elena and left her a voice mail urging her to get away from her boyfriend, unaware that Nicolas intercepted the message. In the “Boxed In” trailer, Elena is seen confronting Nicolas, telling him she knows he “used” her to pay his debt to the cartel. Is it over for these two?

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

TNT’s Dallas Styles: ‘Victims of Love’

Bobby Ewing, Christopher Ewing, Dallas, Fran Kranz, Jesse Metcalfe, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, Juan Pablo Di Pace, Linda Gray, Nicholas Trevino, Patrick Duffy, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT, Victims of Love

The Ewings took their company public in “Victims of Love,” and with the whole world watching — even Wolf Blitzer was tracking their every move — each member of the family suited up for success.

“Dallas’s” ace costume designer Rachel Sage Kunin dressed the Ewings in outfits that fit their characters perfectly: Bobby (Patrick Duffy), the silver-haired patriarch, donned a gray suit with a conservative-yet-stylish striped necktie; Sue Ellen (Linda Gray), who recently gave herself a fresh start by sobering up, looked stunning in all white; and Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe), “Dallas’s” most upstanding character these days, went with all solids — a blue suit and a gray shirt, accented by a tie that bore a subtle pattern of dots. Pamela (Julie Gonzalo) was relatively subdued in her dark pants and sweater, but she doesn’t have much to celebrate these days, does she?

Then there’s John Ross (Josh Henderson), for whom business suits have become a symbol of power and ambition, much like they were for his daddy on the original “Dallas.” The Ewing Global IPO was the biggest gamble yet for Henderson’s character, who has been trying to make his mark in the world since the new “Dallas” began. Appropriately, Kunin dressed John Ross in a blue pinstriped suit and navy tie — a bold look for a bold character. Also, notice how he’s the only Ewing man to wear a pocket square in this episode; it’s another small detail that signals his determination to stand out from the rest of his family.

There’s symbolism in the outfits worn by the other characters involved in the IPO too. Nicolas (Juan Pablo Di Pace), the corporate raider with blood on his hands, wore a crimson tie with his perfectly tailored suit. Meanwhile, Hunter (Fran Kranz), the videogame entrepreneur who shocked everyone when he seized control of Ewing Global, subverted traditional business styles the way so many techies do in real life: He wore a collared dress shirt under a T-shirt bearing his company’s logo (“Git It”), a tweedy jacket and bright blue pants. Later, when the Ewing cousins confronted Hunter about his takeover of their company, Hunter wore a gray sweatshirt — a sly nod, perhaps, to one of the world’s most famous corporate wunderkinds: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

“Victims of Love” also gave us two memorable coats: Ann’s twirly number (it’s the second cool outer garment worn by Brenda Strong’s character in recent weeks), and Judith’s gold coat. Like the red power suit Judith Light wore in publicity stills for this episode (that scene was apparently left on the cutting room floor), the gold was a fitting symbol for Madam Ryland, a character whose brazenness knows no bounds.

It’s also another example of how Judith has become one of “Dallas’s” most fashionable characters. I suspect a lot of fans aren’t just tuning in each week to see what she’ll say and do next; they also want to see what she’s wearing.

What were your favorite looks in “Victims of Love”? Share your thoughts in the comments section below and read more “Dallas Styles.”

Dallas Burning Questions: Season 3, Week 12

Dallas, Harris Ryland, Judith Light, Judith Ryland, Mitch Pileggi, TNT, Victims of Love

Mama’s here

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

Will Pamela pardon Cliff? In the previous episode, “Hurt,” Elena (Jordana Brewster) told the Ewings about Bobby’s scheme to frame Cliff (Ken Kercheval) for J.R.’s “murder,” as well as J.R.’s swindle against her father years earlier. In exchange for keeping quiet about the frame-up, Elena asked Bobby for financial restitution and a piece of Southfork land; she also requested he pull strings in Mexico to get Cliff pardoned from prison. Bobby reluctantly gave Elena everything she wanted, but she turned over the land to Pamela (Julie Gonzalo), as well as the clemency paperwork, telling Pamela she should be the one to decide if her father goes free. What will Pamela do?

Will the Ewing women forgive Bobby? Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) was furious at Bobby (Patrick Duffy) for not telling her the truth about J.R.’s death and and told him Miss Ellie would be “ashamed” of him. She also confronted Bum (Kevin Page), who told Sue Ellen that her ex-husband met death with courage. Pamela was also angry at Bobby and so was Ann (Brenda Strong), who accused him of being a hypocrite for lashing out at her so often over her secrets. Will Sue Ellen, Ann and Pamela forgive Bobby? And will Sue Ellen forgive J.R. for not telling her that he was dying of cancer?

Who will control Ewing Global? John Ross (Josh Henderson) retaliated against Elena by telling Nicolas (Juan Pablo Di Pace) that she slept with him to get her hands on J.R.’s letter. Nicolas forgave Elena and agreed to take her away, but not before he spoke to the mysterious Victor Des Lauriers (Max Ryan), who assured him that everything is set for Ewing Global’s initial public offering, when much of the company’s stock will be up for grabs. Meanwhile, Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) wondered if Nicolas is actually Elena’s childhood friend Joaquin and began seeking proof to confirm his suspicions. Will Christopher piece together the puzzle and stop the IPO before the Ewings lose control of their company?

What will Judith do? Emma (Emma Bell) once again met with Luis (Antonio Jaramillo), who agreed to put Harris behind bars again — but only if Emma agreed to use Ryland Transport to move more drugs for the cartel. When Harris (Mitch Pileggi) learned his daughter was talking to Luis, he told her the truth about his involvement with the CIA, and then she told him about the deal she struck. Since Judith (Judith Light) is slated to appear in tonight’s episode, what will she say when she finds out what her son and granddaughter have been up to?

What brings Tracey McKay back to “Dallas”? “Victims of Love” will feature the return of Tracey McKay (Melinda Clarke), whom Bobby dated after his divorce from Pam in the late 1980s. What brings her back into the Ewings’ lives, and how is she related to Hunter (Fran Kranz), the McKay heir who is secretly plotting with Nicolas to help the drug cartel take over Ewing Global?

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

TNT’s Dallas Styles: ‘Hurt’

Ann Ewing, Bobby Ewing, Brenda Strong, Dallas, Emma Bell, Emma Ryland, Hurt, Linda Gray, Patrick Duffy, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT

“Dallas” went back to basics this week, delivering a character-driven episode in the spirit of the original series. Fittingly, the cast spent much of this episode wearing basic black.

The episode, “Hurt,” opened with Drew’s funeral, although the action soon shifted to Southfork, where Elena confronted the Ewings about J.R.’s sins against her family and Bobby’s scheme to frame Cliff. My favorite look during these scenes belonged to Brenda Strong, who was radiant and regal in Ann’s elegant black dress. The costume worked on multiple levels: The sleek, clean lines draped Strong’s figure beautifully, but the simple design also fit Ann’s role in this episode as the no-nonsense voice of reason at Southfork.

I also love how costume designer Rachel Sage Kunin outfitted Strong’s on-screen husband, Patrick Duffy, who made his triumphant return to the “Dallas” director’s chair with this episode. Bobby spent much of “Hurt” in black suit trousers, a white dress shirt with a barely noticeable pattern and a striped, deep red tie. The contrasting colors were the ideal choice for Duffy’s morally compromised character; the black and white symbolized the struggle between the darkness and the light within dear old Bob.

Elsewhere, Linda Gray looked magnificent in her black suit, and I enjoyed seeing “Dallas’s” younger leading men in their dark suits, although no one pulls off a black suit quite like Juan Pablo Di Pace. Meanwhile, Jordana Brewster’s tight ponytail made Elena look a little severe, but the style worked for the revenge-minded character.

Even the characters who weren’t part of the Southfork showdown climbed aboard the black bandwagon: The always cool Mitch Pileggi sported a dark leather jacket when Harris met with the CIA agent in the alley. Not to be outdone, Pileggi’s on-screen daughter, Emma Bell, wore a knockout black dress with cutouts across the chest in the somewhat surreal scene where Emma negotiated with drug cartel leader Luis over tea and chit chat about the Beach Boys.

Bell looked fun and vampy here, but I couldn’t help but wonder: If Emma isn’t careful, the next funeral the “Dallas” characters attend might be hers!

What were your favorite looks in “Hurt”? Share your thoughts in the comments section below and read more “Dallas Styles.”

On Labor Day, ‘Dallas’ Gets a Small Ratings Boost

Dallas, Hurt, Jordana Brewster, Juan Pablo Di Pace, Patrick Duffy, TNT

Read it and weep, Bob

Labor Day brought “Dallas” a boost in the ratings, albeit a small one.

The TNT drama’s latest episode, “Hurt,” debuted to 1.93 million viewers on September 1, according to Nielsen data. The audience included an estimated 509,000 viewers between ages 18 and 49, a group many advertisers target.

Although viewing levels tend to dip on holidays, “Hurt’s” overall audience was up about 5 percent from August 25, when “Dallas’s” previous segment, “Dead Reckoning,” debuted to 1.84 million viewers opposite NBC’s Primetime Emmys coverage. However, among 18-to-49-year-old viewers, the “Hurt” audience dropped roughly 9 percent compared to “Dead Reckoning.”

“Dallas” is now averaging approximately 1.97 million viewers on Monday nights. Like all shows, the series gets a bump when you count DVR users who record the episodes and watch them later, although TNT hasn’t reported “Dallas’s” latest DVR-boosted numbers.

“Dallas” continues to be overshadowed by other series in TNT’s summer lineup, including “Rizzoli & Isles,” which scored 5.2 million viewers with the August 26 telecast of its season finale. However, “Dallas” is not TNT’s lowest-rated show. “Dallas’s” most recent episodes performed better than the August 27 segments of “Legends” (1.76 million viewers) and “Franklin & Bash” (1.29 million viewers).

TNT hasn’t announced if “Dallas” will return for a fourth year. The network — which lost its programming chief last week when Michael Wright left amid an ongoing management shakeup — is expected to wait and see how “Dallas” performs during its summer run before deciding whether to renew it.

What do you think of “Dallas’s” latest ratings? Share your comments below and read more news from Dallas Decoder.

Dallas Burning Questions: Season 3, Week 11

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Elena Ramos, Jordana Brewster, Juan Pablo Di Pace, Nicolas Trevino, Patrick Duffy, TNT

What now?

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

What will Elena do? In “Dead Reckoning,” the previous episode, Nicolas (Juan Pablo Di Pace) made Drew’s death look like a suicide, then stood by and watched as Carmen and Elena (Marlene Forte, Jordana Brewster) received the news that Drew killed himself. Later, when an arson investigation revealed Drew set the Southfork fire, Elena told Carmen about J.R.’s swindle, as well as her scheme with Nicolas to get justice for their family. After Carmen told Elena that John Ross (Josh Henderson) is carrying around a mysterious letter from J.R., Elena seduced John Ross, snuck into his wallet and found the note that outlines the Ewings’ plan to frame Cliff (Ken Kercheval). Now that Elena has the evidence she needs to nail the Ewings, what will she do with it?

How will the Ewing women react? If the truth about J.R.’s masterpiece finally comes out, what will the women of Southfork say? How will the newly sober Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) respond to the news that J.R. was dying of cancer and staged his own death? Will Ann (Brenda Strong) be angry at Bobby (Patrick Duffy) for keeping secrets from her? Perhaps most importantly: What will Pamela (Julie Gonzalo) do when she learns her estranged husband John Ross, her ex-husband Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) and Bobby conspired to frame Cliff for J.R.’s “murder”?

What will happen to the Ewing men? The Ewing men are having a pretty rough go of it lately. Bobby and Ann are separated, Pamela told John Ross their marriage is over and selfless Christopher said a bittersweet goodbye to Heather (AnnaLynne McCord), who plans to take Michael (Dallas Clark) and leave Dallas to join Bo (Donny Boaz) in Israel, where he’ll have surgery to repair his spinal cord — paid for by Christopher. If Elena spills the beans on J.R.’s masterpiece, will things go from bad to worse for Bobby, John Ross and Christopher?

Who’ll wind up with control of Ewing Global? Pamela told Sue Ellen she won’t divorce John Ross because she doesn’t want him to wind up with her shares of Ewing Global. Meanwhile, Nicolas continued to plot with Luis (Antonio Jaramillo) to take over the company, and Emma (Emma Bell) did some scheming of her own. She blamed Harris (Mitch Pileggi) for getting Drew mixed up with the rig explosion, then met with Luis and told him to get her father tossed back in jail. Should Harris be worried?

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

TNT’s Dallas Styles: ‘Dead Reckoning’

Ann Ewing, Bobby Ewing, Brenda Strong, Dallas, Dead Reckoning, Elena Ramos, Emma Bell, Emma Ryland, John Ross Ewing, Jordana Brewster, Josh Henderson, Juan Pablo Di Pace, Nicolas Trevino, Patrick Duffy, TNT

Do you have a favorite coat in “Dead Reckoning,” this week’s “Dallas” episode? There were plenty to choose from.

This segment was filmed in the winter, and the cold weather matches the somber mood perfectly. The atmospherics also allow the cast to bundle up in looks that fit their characters: John Ross (Josh Henderson) sports his cool brown leather jacket, one of his signature looks since “Dallas’s” first season, while Bobby (Patrick Duffy), Ann (Brenda Strong), Elena (Jordana Brewster) and Nicolas (Juan Pablo Di Pace) all appear to be wearing wool coats.

Then there’s Emma (Emma Bell), who sports what looks like a highly stylized, waist-length jacket to her nighttime meeting with Luis, the emissary from the drug cartel. The first time I saw the outfit, I couldn’t help but wonder: Is this what one wears during an a nighttime meeting with drug lords? I also worried poor Emma might not be warm enough.

Then I remembered: This is Emma Ryland we’re talking about. Something tells me she has no trouble keeping warm on even the coldest nights.

What were your favorite looks in “Dead Reckoning”? Share your thoughts in the comments section below and read more “Dallas Styles.”

Critique: TNT’s ‘Dallas’ Episode 35 — ‘Dead Reckoning’

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

Losin’ it

“Dead Reckoning” is another episode about loss and how the “Dallas” characters cope with it. In this one, John Ross suffers the demise of his marriage to Pamela and his dream of “becoming” J.R., while Christopher bids farewell to his latest love and the Ramoses mourn Drew’s death. This is the TNT series’ strongest hour this season, elevated by graceful writing and direction and heartfelt performances from virtually everyone in the cast. More than anything, “Dead Reckoning” proves an old “Dallas” truism: This show is at its best when things for the Ewings are at their worst.

Like so many recent episodes, “Dead Reckoning” showcases Josh Henderson, beginning with the scene where John Ross stands with Bum in the charred remains of his Southfork bedroom and laments his efforts to emulate his father. Henderson makes his character’s regret feel genuine here, as well as in a later scene, when John Ross sits at Pamela’s hospital bedside and pleads with her to give their marriage another chance. It recalls a memorable moment from the original series, when J.R. sat on Sue Ellen’s bed, proclaimed his love and begged her to forgive him for his latest indiscretion. You have to wonder: Even when John Ross is vowing to be a better man, does he realize he’s still emulating J.R.?

Henderson’s delivery in the scene with Pamela deserves special attention. John Ross tells his wife he’ll be “different” four times in quick succession; at one point, Henderson allows his voice to crack and at another, he trips over his words. It’s almost as if John Ross is trying to convince himself he’s capable of changing as much as he’s trying to persuade Pamela. (It’s also a point of distinction between John Ross and the silver-tongued J.R., who was never at a loss for words and rarely showed vulnerability.) Julie Gonzalo is pitch perfect too: She makes Pamela seem hurt and angry, but not soap opera bitchy. The dialogue here is also revealing, especially when Pamela notes the similarities between her husband and her father. Talk about a cruel twist for John Ross: He’s spent much of his life modeling himself after J.R., only to learn the woman he loves considers him another Cliff.

Julia Cohen’s solid script also does a nice job drawing cross-generation parallels between Sue Ellen and Pamela. When Pamela tells Sue Ellen the doctor won’t discharge her until he’s convinced she’s not a danger to herself, Pamela rolls her eyes and says, “It’s ridiculous.” It’s a small moment, but the hint of uncertainty in Gonzalo’s voice lets us know Pamela is more vulnerable than she seems, recalling all the times Sue Ellen served as “Dallas’s” resident queen of denial.

Later, after the two women admit to each other how terrified they are by their recent near-death experiences, Pamela tells Sue Ellen she isn’t going to divorce John Ross because she doesn’t want him to snag her Ewing Global shares. Gray allows her character a subtle smile here, suggesting Sue Ellen feels torn. On the one hand, she undoubtedly feels obligated to support John Ross; on the other hand, Sue Ellen must admire Pamela’s determination not to allow a man to take advantage of her — even if that man is Sue Ellen’s own son.

The other great performance in “Dead Reckoning” comes from Marlene Forte, who gives me chills in the scene where Carmen sees Drew’s body in the morgue, collapses into Bobby’s arms and lets out a painful wail. Anyone who’s ever witnessed a mother lose a son knows how real this scene feels. Forte is also wonderful when Carmen receives Drew’s belongings and wonders why his St. Christopher’s medal isn’t among the possessions. There’s no doubt that medal is going to pop up again — recall that in the previous episode, Nicolas yanked off Drew’s necklace before he was executed — but it’s also a nice reminder of the importance of Carmen’s faith. It’s the kind of detail you don’t often get on a show like this.

I also love the quiet dignity Forte brings to the scene where Carmen stands over Drew’s casket and strokes his military uniform before leaning down and kissing him. The actress gets lots of support from Jordana Brewster, who makes Elena’s grief palpable, as well as Juan Pablo Di Pace, who looks positively stricken in Nicolas’s scenes with Elena and Carmen. It would be easy to overlook Patrick Duffy in these scenes, since Bobby does little more than stand around with the Ramoses as they deal with the fallout from Drew’s death, but isn’t it reassuring to see Bobby there? If nothing else, this episode reminds us how heroic Duffy’s character can be when he’s not yelling at John Ross or Ann.

There’s much more to like about “Dead Reckoning,” which is also another technical achievement for this series. This episode was filmed in the winter, allowing Anton Cropper, a first-time “Dallas” director, to use the stark Texas landscapes to emphasize the sense of loss and despair. Cropper also delivers several nifty shots, including the cinematic opening scene, where Drew’s body is dumped at his father’s old drill site, as well as an Altman-esque moment where Sue Ellen, Bobby and Christopher move out of the frame in mid-conversation, revealing another exchange happening between Elena and Carmen. I also like the musical montage near the end of the episode, when we see the workers who must clean up all the messes these characters create: the funeral director who receives Drew’s uniform, the coroner piecing together evidence from his death, the fire marshal examining evidence from the Southfork fire. (In a similar spirit, Texas actress Cynthia Jackson’s small role as the no-nonsense nurse who refuses to be charmed by John Ross is easily one of this season’s best moments.)

Other highlights in “Dead Reckoning” include lovely turns from Jesse Metcalfe and AnnaLynne McCord, whose characters, Christopher and Heather, share a bittersweet farewell. I’m sorry to see “Dallas” say goodbye to McCord, as well as Donny Boaz, who plays Bo; the McCabes bring down-to-earth sincerity to “Dallas” at a time when the show can really use it, as evidenced by the increasingly silly drug cartel storyline and this episode’s odd, out-of-place scene where a tarted-up Emma meets with Luis, the cartel emissary. I’m more forgiving of Elena’s quest for revenge, although I can’t help but think how much more poignant her end-of-episode reunion with John Ross would seem if she wasn’t playing him to get her hands on J.R.’s letter.

Speaking of our late hero: I also can’t help but notice the parallels between this episode and “J.R.’s Masterpiece,” last year’s instant-classic salute to Larry Hagman’s iconic character. Both segments show us distraught family members going to a morgue to identify a dead loved one, as well as scenes where survivors receive beautifully written letters from the deceased (Emma in “Dead Reckoning,” Sue Ellen in “J.R.’s Masterpiece”), drunken hookups that begin on the Southfork lawn (John Ross and Elena, John Ross and Emma) and heroines knocking back glass after glass of booze (Elena, Sue Ellen). The two episodes also feature Harris’s unwelcome arrival at Southfork and shots of the Ewing cousins sitting together at the kitchen counter, drinking.

Is the show paying homage to itself, or are these similarities merely coincidental? Either way, this is probably the first time “Dallas” has come close to matching the emotional resonance of “J.R.’s Masterpiece.” Here’s hoping it won’t be the last.

Grade: A

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Carmen Ramos, Dallas, Dead Reckoning, Marlene Forte, TNT

Mother’s day

‘DEAD RECKONING’

Season 3, Episode 10

Telecast: August 25, 2014

Audience: 1.84 million viewers on August 25

Writer: Julia Cohen

Director: Anton Cropper

Synopsis: The cartel makes it look like Drew shot himself, but when Carmen learns her son is dead, she refuses to believe he committed suicide. When the fire marshal’s investigation reveals Drew set the Southfork blaze, Elena tells Carmen how J.R. cheated the Ramoses, which prompts Carmen to tell Elena about the letter J.R. wrote before his death. Elena seduces a drunk John Ross and finds the letter, which outlines the scheme to frame Cliff. Pamela tells Sue Ellen she won’t divorce John Ross because she doesn’t want to lose her Ewing Global shares to him. Emma blames Harris for Drew’s death and tells Luis to put her father back in jail. Christopher pays for Bo to have spinal cord surgery in Israel and bids farewell to Heather, who makes plans to leave Dallas to be with her ex-husband and their son, Michael.

Cast: Kuno Becker (Drew Ramos), Emma Bell (Emma Ryland), Donny Boaz (Bo McCabe), Jordana Brewster (Elena Ramos), Dallas Clark (Michael McCabe), Juan Pablo Di Pace (Nicolas Treviño), Akai Draco (Sherriff Derrick), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), GiGi Erneta (Dr. Bosnar), DentonEverett (Dr. Levi Sussman), Marlene Forte (Carmen Ramos), Julie Gonzalo (Pamela Ewing), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Josh Henderson (John Ross Ewing), Cynthia Jackson (Nurse Harlan), Antonio Jaramillo (Luis), John McCalmont (Detective Marc Linnell), Jesse Metcalfe (Christopher Ewing), Joe Nemmers (Lt. Bennett), Ben Panchasarp (medical examiner), Pete Partida (Jacobo), Mitch Pileggi (Harris Ryland), Brenda Strong (Ann Ewing), Javier Andy Zavala Jr. (nurse)

“Dead Reckoning” is available at DallasTNT.com, Amazon and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.

Dallas Burning Questions: Season 3, Week 10

Ann Ewing, Bobby Ewing, Brenda Strong, Carmen Ramos, Dallas, Marlene Forte, Patrick Duffy, TNT

Driveway to hell?

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

Is John Ross and Pamela’s marriage over? In “Denial, Anger, Acceptance,” the previous episode, Pamela (Julia Gonzalo) was rushed to the hospital, where she recovered from her drug overdose. John Ross (Josh Henderson) apologized to his wife for hurting her, but Pamela explained she wasn’t trying to commit suicide when she downed the pills and joined him and Emma (Emma Bell) in bed. “If I had wanted to kill myself, I would not have driven over to your hotel room to do it. I did what I did so that every time you think about screwing that piece of trash, all you’ll be able to see is me on the floor with my eyes rolled back in my head,” Pamela said. Is this the end of John Ross and Pamela’s marriage? If so, what will be the repercussions at Ewing Global, where Pamela’s shares helped her in-laws gain control of the company?

What about Bobby and Ann’s marriage? After Bobby and Christopher (Patrick Duffy, Jesse Metcalfe) rescued Sue Ellen and Bo (Linda Gray, Donny Boaz) from the Southfork fire, the Ewings gathered at the hospital to keep vigil for Pamela and the victims of the inferno. Bobby ran into Judith (Judith Light), who couldn’t wait to tell him about the kiss she witnessed earlier in the evening between Harris and Ann (Mitch Pileggi, Brenda Strong). Bobby erupted at his wife once again, and later he announced he’ll stay at Southfork to oversee the reconstruction. “Are you kicking me out?” Ann asked. Bobby’s response: “I’m saying I need some time to figure things out.” Where will Ann spend her exile from Southfork?

What’s next for Sue Ellen? After the fire, Sue Ellen’s doctor encouraged her to seek treatment for her alcoholism, but Sue Ellen insisted she didn’t have a problem. Later, Sue Ellen remembered taking a lighter to John Ross and Pamela’s wedding invitation and concluded she must have caused the Southfork fire. Sue Ellen confessed to Bobby, Ann and Christopher, and also admitted she was still drinking. “I’m an alcoholic — and I will be, until I die,” Sue Ellen said. Now that the truth is out, will she finally get help?

What’s next for Christopher and Heather? Heather (AnnaLynne McCord) rushed to the hospital to see Bo, who was injured while trying to rescue Sue Ellen from the fire. After surgery on his spinal column, Bo shared a tender reunion with his ex-wife and their son, Michael (Dallas Clark), which left Christopher feeling like an odd man out. Can he still have a future with Heather?

Will Nicolas get away with murder? Although John Ross believed Harris sent Pamela the video that ruined his marriage, Elena (Jordana Brewster) realized the real culprit was Nicolas (Juan Pablo Di Pace) and left him an angry voice mail. Little did she know her lover was across town, holding Drew (Kuno Becker) captive. During a tense conversation, Drew confirmed that he set Southfork on fire to get revenge against the Ewings, while Nicolas revealed he’s helping the drug cartel take over Ewing Global to pay back a debt to the drug lords who run the operation. After Drew suggested Elena should know the truth about Nicolas’s scheme, Nicolas stood by and watched as one of the cartel’s henchmen shot Drew. Now that Drew’s out of the way, will Nicolas succeed in his scheme to take control of Ewing Global?

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

Critique: TNT’s ‘Dallas’ Episode 34 — ‘Denial, Anger, Acceptance’

Dallas, Denial Anger Acceptance, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT

The blues

By “Dallas” standards, “Denial, Anger, Acceptance” is a relatively low-key episode. It includes an action sequence at the top of the hour, when Bobby and Christopher rescue Sue Ellen and Bo from the Southfork fire, as well as a trademark fake-out and unexpected death in the final scene. Mostly, though, the characters bide their time by sitting around a hospital waiting room, reflecting on their terrible choices and wondering when the next shoe will drop. Flames not withstanding, the Ewings haven’t gone to hell. They’re in purgatory.

The woman of the hour, once again, is Linda Gray. Sue Ellen experiences all the emotions in the episode’s title — she denies she has a drinking problem to the ER doctor, she gets angry when she sees John Ross, she finally accepts the fact that she’s made destructive choices too — and Gray nails each scene. My favorite: the “acceptance” sequence, when Sue Ellen remembers taking a lighter to John Ross and Pamela’s wedding invitation and concludes — wrongly — that she’s responsible for the Southfork fire. Panicked and desperate for a taste of alcohol, she swipes some aftershave from the hospital gift shop, ducks into a quiet corridor and brings the bottle to her lips. It’s not unlike seeing Sue Ellen standing in the gutter, swigging from a brown paper bag during the original show’s “dream season.”

This time around, though, Sue Ellen doesn’t hit rock bottom. Instead, she tosses the aftershave into the trash and goes to the waiting room, where she tells Bobby, Ann and Christopher that she caused the fire. The more meaningful confession comes when Sue Ellen says, “I’m an alcoholic — and I will be, until I die.” It’s the moment a lot of “Dallas” fans have been waiting for since our heroine fell off the wagon before J.R.’s funeral, a year-and-a-half ago. As much as we admire Gray’s performances when Sue Ellen is struggling, the version of the character we love most is the savvy J.R. protégé who outmaneuvered John Ross and Governor McConaughey earlier this season. Now that Sue Ellen has admitted her problem, let’s hope she recovers her mojo. The Ewings need her.

“Denial, Anger, Acceptance” also gets a lift from Patrick Duffy and Brenda Strong, two pros who make Bobby and Ann’s marital strife feel genuine and painful. I’m less enthused with John Ross and Pamela’s domestic drama. Here’s how she explains to John Ross why she downed a bottle of pills and initiated their threesome with Emma: “I did what I did so that every time you think about screwing that piece of trash, all you’ll be able to see is me on the floor with my eyes rolled back in my head. Sexy, huh?” No, silly is more like it. It often feels like the “Dallas” producers come up with a fantastic scenario — in this case, the wife who’s been cheated on decides to join her husband and his mistress in bed — and then the writers work backward to come up with a reason for the characters to behave this way. Sometimes this approach works fine; this time, it doesn’t.

Nevertheless, all the principals are effective in their scenes. Josh Henderson makes John Ross’s regret seem sincere (especially in his scene with Duffy) and Emma Bell once again shows us Emma’s vulnerabilities, while Julie Gonzalo slides effortlessly back into bitch mode, a side of Pamela we haven’t seen since the second season. It’s going to be fun to see Pamela back on the warpath, especially if the show uses her scorn to put the Barnes/Ewing conflict front and center. Watching Pamela seek revenge against John Ross because he screwed around on her might not be as epic as seeing Cliff and J.R. wage war over blood and oil, but as long as this show has a Barnes and a Ewing at each other’s throats, I’ll be happy.

Regarding the episode-ending fake-out: I like how Bruce Rasmussen’s script leads us to believe Sue Ellen caused the fire, only to reveal the actual culprit is ne’er-do-well Drew Ramos, the character many of us suspected all along. I’m not much of a fan of this season’s drug cartel storyline, but Drew’s execution at the hands of Nicolas’s cronies is nicely done. Kuno Becker has never been better — I love how he delivers Drew’s line about saving a seat in hell for Nicolas — while Juan Pablo Di Pace makes his character feel equal parts sinister and desperate. When I interviewed Di Pace last week, he told me director Steve Robin wanted Nicolas to come off as this “cold, badass guy,” but after several takes, Di Pace couldn’t help but cry. I’m glad the show went with a version that shows Nicolas’s eyes welling up; it’s nice to know there’s a shred of humanity left to this character. Some fans may worry that Nicolas isn’t long for this world now that “Dallas” has turned him into a killer, but remember: Pamela killed Tommy during the first season and Ann shot Harris last year.

The rest of “Denial, Anger, Acceptance” is hit or miss. Judith Light is fun to watch, although a little restraint now and then would be nice. The Southfork fire sequence isn’t quite as dramatic as the 1983 version, and one of the exterior shots that show a CGI’d tent covering the damaged wing isn’t very convincing. On the other hand, I like how Sue Ellen’s flashbacks to the fire are tinted in reds and golds, while Drew’s are shaded in blues and grays. I also like the editing at the top of the hour, when the shot of Bobby scooping up Sue Ellen cuts to a scene of John Ross lifting Pamela off the hotel room floor.

“Dallas” diehards will remember Bobby is also the one who pulled Sue Ellen from Southfork the last time it burned. Perhaps one day she’ll rescue him, although first she needs to finish saving herself.

Grade: B

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dallas, Denial Anger Acceptance, Drew Ramos, Kuno Becker, TNT

Adios, Drew

‘DENIAL, ANGER, ACCEPTANCE’

Season 3, Episode 9

Telecast: August 18, 2014

Audience: 1.97 million viewers on August 18

Writer: Bruce Rasmussen

Director: Steve Robin

Synopsis: Bobby and Christopher rescue Sue Ellen and Bo from the Southfork fire. Sue Ellen confesses she started the fire, but the real culprit is Drew, who is detained by the cartel and later executed as Nicholas watches. Pamela tells John Ross she overdosed to ruin his affair with Emma. Elena learns Nicolas sent the video to Pamela and leaves him an angry voice mail. After Judith tells Bobby she saw Ann and Harris kissing, Bobby suggests Ann leave Southfork while he supervises the reconstruction. Bo, injured in the fire, undergoes surgery and shares a tender reunion with Heather and Michael.

Cast: Kuno Becker (Drew Ramos), Emma Bell (Emma Ryland), Donny Boaz (Bo McCabe), Jordana Brewster (Elena Ramos), Bryan Chatlien (Jake), Dallas Clark (Michael McCabe), Jon Michael Davis (Dr. Pander), Juan Pablo Di Pace (Nicolas Treviño), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Julie Gonzalo (Pamela Ewing), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Josh Henderson (John Ross Ewing), Cynthia Jackson (nurse), Antonio Jaramillo (Luis), Judith Light (Judith Ryland), Leticia Magana (Dr. Razack), AnnaLynne McCord (Heather McCabe), Jesse Metcalfe (Christopher Ewing), Joe Nemmers (Lt. Bennett), Pete Partida (Jacobo), Mitch Pileggi (Harris Ryland), Brenda Strong (Ann Ewing), Emily Warfield (Dr. Hirsch)

“Denial, Anger, Acceptance” is available at DallasTNT.com, Amazon and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.