Dallas Parallels: Turning Tables

Carter McKay, Dallas, Fran Kranz, George Kennedy, Hunter McKay, TNT

Who says you can’t beat a Ewing?

As the original “Dallas” neared its end, two Westar board members invited J.R. to become the company’s new chairman. J.R. found the offer too good to refuse, so he sold his share of Ewing Oil to Cliff Barnes and accepted the offer to join Westar — only to have the rug pulled out from under him by Carter McKay. In “The Decline and Fall of the Ewing Empire,” J.R. discovered the Westar job was a ruse; Carter’s minions had dangled the offer in front of J.R. long enough for him to sell Ewing Oil, and then Carter snatched Westar away, leaving J.R. with nothing.

History repeated itself, sort of, as TNT’s “Dallas” sequel series drew to a close. Carter’s grandson Hunter encouraged J.R.’s son John Ross to take Ewing Global public, making shares of the company available to outside investors. In “Victims of Love,” Hunter, with help from partner-in-crime Nicolas Trevino, purchased all of Ewing Global’s shares during the company’s initial public offering — seizing control of John Ross’s company in a single swoop. Once again, a McKay had beaten a Ewing.

The parallels between these storylines aren’t perfect. Carter merely tricked J.R. into giving up Ewing Oil, while Hunter took over Ewing Global. Nevertheless, there are similarities between the scenes where J.R. and John Ross each realize the tables have been turned against them. Both sequences feature surprise reunions — J.R. and Dusty Farlow (!) in “The Decline and Fall of the Ewing Empire,” Christopher and Hunter in “Victims of Love” — and J.R. and John Ross use similar language. J.R. to Carter: “You son of a bitch. You set me up.” John Ross to Hunter: “You and Nicolas were setting me up.” There are also important differences: cool-as-a-cucumber J.R. keeps a stiff upper lip after Carter’s victory, while hot-headed John Ross attacks Hunter.

It took a while, but J.R. eventually clawed his way back to power. Will John Ross do the same? More importantly, how long will we have to wait to see it?

 

‘You Son of a Bitch. You Set Me Up.’

Dallas, Decline and Fall of the Ewing Empire, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Like son

In “The Decline and Fall of the Ewing Empire,” a 14th-season “Dallas” episode, J.R. (Larry Hagman) is sitting at his office desk when Rose (Jeri Gaile) enters the room.

ROSE: Mind if I come in?

J.R.: What do you want?

ROSE: Thought maybe there was an office you wanted me to bug. [Looking around] Oh, this is nice. This is very nice. Oh, yes. I especially like your desk. [She sits on it and strokes the lamp.] It’s so … big. Use it much?

J.R.: How the hell did you get in here?

Carter (George Kennedy) enters.

CARTER: Your assistant seems to have vacated her post. Hello, J.R. Rose is right. It’s a very nice office.

J.R.: I thought you left Dallas for good.

CARTER: Only to find Rose. [Puts his arm around her] We decided to come back here for a while. Just to see how things were doing. [Sits in a chair]

J.R.: You heard, huh?

CARTER: Heard what?

J.R.: That I’m going to be the new chairman of the board of Westar. You come here to stop me?

CARTER: I did receive a few phone calls about it. Frankly, J.R., I think you’d make a terrible chairman of the board. [J.R. smiles.] I do have some affection for Westar. I’d hate to see you destroy it.

J.R.: Well, that’s too bad. Because I now have the voting rights. [Rose smiles coyly.]

CARTER: Oh, that’s right. Clayton gave them to you, didn’t he? They carry a lot of weight.

J.R.: [Chuckles] That’s an understatement.

CARTER: Maybe, but maybe the voting rights aren’t enough. Don’t you have to have the shares to go with them?

J.R.: Oh, don’t you worry about that. [Stands, moves from behind the desk] I’ll get ’em. In time, I’ll get them.

Dusty (Jared Martin) enters.

DUSTY: I wouldn’t be too sure of that, J.R.

CARTER: You do remember Dusty Farlow, don’t you?

J.R.: Like I remember athlete’s foot. Well, I don’t know what rock you had to turn over to find him, but those voting rights are legally mine.

DUSTY: You haven’t changed, have you? You’re still plottin’ and schemin’ and one-uppin’ everyone you can.

J.R.: [Chuckles] Well, some people are easier to one-up than others — as I’m sure you remember.

DUSTY: Oh, I remember J.R. Except this time, I don’t think your little schemes are going to work.

J.R.: You going to try to stop me?

DUSTY: I already have. You see, those shares were more trouble than they were worth. I was happy to sell them to Mac.

J.R.: [To Carter] You son of a bitch. You set me up.

CARTER: True, and I didn’t think it would be that easy. I’m the majority stockholder now, J.R., and tomorrow, I’m putting my own man in. And you can kiss your dreams of becoming chairman goodbye. [Rose blows him a kiss, and then she and Carter exit.]

DUSTY: So long, J.R. Give my regards to Sue Ellen. Oh, that’s right. I forgot. She dumped you. [He smiles and leaves.]

 

‘You and Nicholas Were Setting Me Up’

Dallas, John Ross, Josh Henderson, Victims of Love, TNT

Like father

In “Victims of Love,” a third-season “Dallas” episode, Hunter (Fran Kranz) is in his apartment when he answers a knock at the door, revealing John Ross and Christopher (Josh Henderson, Jesse Metcalfe)

HUNTER: John Ross, Christopher. What’s up guys?

CHRISTOPHER: Hunter, we were hoping to have a little chat.

HUNTER: Yeah, no problem, of course. Come on in. Come on. [The cousins follow him into the apartment, where he pauses a video game and picks up a beer bottle.] All right. Man, Christopher. It’s been a minute, huh? [Laughs] Last time I saw you must’ve been … high school. [He takes a potato chip from a bowl and eats it.]

JOHN ROSS: And last time you saw me, you and Nicholas were setting me up so that you could steal our company.

HUNTER: Whoa, guys, I-I-I don’t want there to be any hard feelings. It was all just business.

CHRISTOPHER: Except what you did was illegal. You see, we know the money you used came from the Mendez-Ochoa cartel.

HUNTER: I don’t know what you’re talking about. [Sips his beer]

JOHN ROSS: I think you do.

CHRISTOPHER: And we’re filing a suit with the SEC, and when we do, you’re going to find yourself in jail.

HUNTER: [Sets down his beer] Guys, let’s just be honest. If you already had proof of where that money came from, you wouldn’t be standing in my apartment. [Chuckles] I think I win.

CHRISTOPHER: [To John Ross] Let’s go. [They turn and head for the door.]

HUNTER: You know, John Ross, Nicolas wasn’t so sure you’d take the bait. But then I told him how J.R. fell for a similar move when my grandfather tricked him into giving up Ewing Oil. That’s sort of poetic justice, right? You losing your company the same way your daddy did?

John Ross lunges for Hunter and grabs him by his sweatshirt.

CHRISTOPHER: John Ross!

JOHN ROSS: We’re going to find out where that money came from, McKay, and when we do, you’re finished!

CHRISTOPHER: [Pulls John Ross away] Let’s go! Come on.

What do you think of the Ewings’ losses to the McKays? Share your comments below and read more “Dallas Parallels.”

‘Dallas’s’ Ratings Dip, But It’s Not All Bad News

Boxed In, Dallas, Emma Bell, Emma Ryland, TNT

Captive audience

It’s a good news/bad news week where “Dallas’s” ratings are concerned.

First, the bad news: The TNT drama’s latest episode, “Boxed In,” debuted to 1.86 million viewers on September 15, according to Nielsen. The numbers are down 3.9 percent from the previous week, when “Victims of Love” debuted to 1.93 million viewers.

In the advertiser-prized category of adults between ages 18 and 49, “Boxed In” drew 540,000 viewers — essentially the same number “Victims of Love” grabbed a week ago.

As TNT presumably moves closer toward deciding the show’s future, this isn’t the direction fans were hoping to see the numbers go, is it?

On the other hand, the news isn’t altogether discouraging: When you count DVR users who recorded “Victims of Love” and watched it within three days of its debut, the episode’s audience climbed to 2.8 million viewers, up 3 percent from the boost the Labor Day episode, “Hurt,” received through DVR playback.

“Dallas” also got a boost last week on social media, where the series cracked a weekly ranking of television’s buzziest shows.

Overall, “Dallas” is averaging approximately 1.96 million viewers on Mondays this year — down about a quarter among total viewers and roughly 40 percent among the 18-to-49-year-old crowd.

This places the show toward the bottom of the pack in TNT’s lineup. The network’s most popular show remains “Rizzoli & Isles,” which averaged 5.24 million viewers on Tuesdays this year, while the lowest-rated shows are the Wednesday entries “Legends” (1.85 million viewers) and “Franklin & Bash” (1.25 million viewers).

Among 18-to-49-year-olds, “Dallas” outranks “Legends” and “Franklin & Bash,” as well as TNT’s freshmen legal drama “Murder in the First,” which the network renewed last week.

“Dallas” will conclude its season with two episodes, “Endgame” and “Brave New World,” on Monday, September 22 — when NBC’s “The Voice” and “The Blacklist” will open their new season.

TNT is touting the death of one of the Ewings during next week’s season finale and encouraging fans to offer their theories on social media using the hashtag #WhichEwingDies.

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 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.”

Say What?! This Week’s Best ‘Dallas’ Sound Bites

“Dallas” delivers the most delicious dialogue on television. Here are the best sound bites from “Victims of Love,” this week’s episode.

Dallas, Emma Bell, Emma Ryland, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, TNT, Victims of Love, Wolf Blitzer

What are your favorite lines from “Victims of Love”? Share them below and read more “Say What?!”

TNT’s Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘Goodbye, Daddy’

Dallas, Julie Gonzalo, Pamela Rebecca Barnes Ewing, TNT, Victims of Love

The avenger

In “Victims of Love,” a third-season “Dallas” episode, Pamela (Julie Gonzalo) enters the prison cell where Cliff (Ken Kercheval) sits at a table.

CLIFF: [Rises] Pammy, I knew you would come. Thank you.

They sit across from each other.

PAMELA: I’m sorry. I’m sorry for helping the Ewings put you in jail, for failing to protect your legacy.

CLIFF: Your whole life, I warned you about trusting the Ewings. I was trying to protect you. But what matters now is that you do know the truth — and I didn’t kill J.R. So now, you can get me out of jail. We can have a second chance. We can start all over. We can get the company back — together. I love you, Pamela. I miss you so much. [She pulls out an envelope and slides it across the table toward him. He opens it, removes an old document and studies it.] This is a deed to Ewing 6. That was Digger’s.

PAMELA: That plot of land was robbed from your father. And because of that, I was robbed from ever having one.

CLIFF: Pamela —

PAMELA: All I ever wanted from you was love. But you always hated the Ewings more than you ever loved me.

CLIFF: Darling, that’s not true.

PAMELA: Yes it is. Because if you truly loved me — because if you truly wanted to protect me — then you never would have done what you did when you killed my babies. I can never forgive you for that.

CLIFF: I’m so sorry for what I did. [Sniffles] But you want to leave me here? And you’ll forgive me if I stay in prison? I know I failed you. I did. I, I did.

PAMELA: It’s over now. You avenged the wrongs done to your father, and I’ve avenged the wrongs done to me by mine. [She rises and walks away, then turns back to face him.] Goodbye, Daddy.

Critique: TNT’s ‘Dallas’ Episode 37 — ‘Victims of Love’

Cliff Barnes, Dallas, Ken Kercheval, TNT, Victims of Love

A farewell to Barnes

“Victims of Love” puts the emphasis on corporate wheeling and dealing, but look past all the chatter about IPOs and SECs and you’ll see this is really an episode about the characters and their daddy issues. Pamela punishes Cliff by leaving him in prison, John Ross loses control of the family business by repeating one of J.R.’s biggest blunders, and Hunter McKay revels in the glory of simultaneously sticking it to the Barneses and the Ewings — something his villainous grandfather never managed to do. These scenes do a nice job mining “Dallas’s” rich history, even if you have to wade through a lot of high finance mumbo-jumbo to get to them.

The hands-down highlight: Pamela’s visit to the Mexican prison, where she finally confronts her father about his sins. Julie Gonzalo is moving as the betrayed Pamela, but this scene is mostly a master class in acting from Ken Kercheval. For three-and-a-half-minutes, he uses his wonderfully expressive face to telegraph all of Cliff’s emotions: his gleeful obliviousness when he receives the envelope from Pamela, mistakenly believing it contains his pardon; his befuddlement when he examines the document inside and sees it’s an old Ewing Oil land deed; his shame when Pamela mentions her dead babies. More than anything, Kercheval shows us Cliff’s pain when he sniffles, glances away from his daughter and says, “I’m so sorry for what I did. … I know I failed you.” Heaven help me, I feel sorry for the bastard.

Some “Dallas” fans don’t love the dark path Cliff has gone down during TNT’s series, but if you ask me, a jail cell feels like a fitting metaphor for a character who spent so long being a prisoner of his own hatred. Wasn’t Cliff always destined to end up like Digger, embittered and alone? Similarly, some fans are quibbling with the deed Pamela gives Cliff in this scene, saying it doesn’t square with established “Dallas” lore. I have no problem with it; the origins of the Barnes/Ewing feud have always been murky to me, and appropriately so. Besides, I appreciate seeing Pamela reduce the feud to its core — an 80-year-old real estate squabble. It makes the whole thing feel so petty and empty, don’t you think? The scene ends on a somewhat triumphant note, when Pamela tells Cliff, “You avenged the wrongs done to your father, and I’ve avenged the wrongs done to me by mine.” It might seem like Pamela is breaking Digger and Cliff’s destructive pattern, but don’t bet on it. If “Dallas” has taught us anything, it’s that the Barneses and the Ewings are doomed to repeat the cycles their forbearers.

Indeed, we see this throughout “Victims of Love,” which comes from scriptwriter Taylor Hamra, who penned last year’s similarly themed “False Confessions.” Here, John Ross erupts when Hunter points out the “poetic justice” of tricking the Ewings into giving up control of their own company, just like Hunter’s grandfather Carter did to J.R. in the original “Dallas’s” next-to-last episode. As much as John Ross worships his father, he sure doesn’t like it when people point out their mutual shortcomings, does he? We catch a glimpse of Hunter’s own familial neuroses when he answers a TV news reporter’s question by preening, “You’re asking me if it feels good to do what my grandfather never could, own the Ewings and the Barneses at the same time? Is that what you’re asking? Um, yeah, it sure does.” Later, Luis, the drug cartel general, sulks away from the tomato bushes when El Pozolero, the Mexican godfather, suggests he favors his other “adopted” son, Nicolas, over Luis. (Even gangsters have daddy issues, as my astute niece, a recent “Dallas” convert, points out.)

There’s much more to like about “Victims of Love.” I’m thrilled to see the return of the McKays, a family that played an important role in “Dallas’s” later years, which deserve more love than they receive from many fans. Melinda Clarke does a nice job stepping into Beth Toussaint’s shoes as Tracey — although truth be told, Toussaint was seen so briefly on the original “Dallas,” Clarke pretty much gets to reinvent the character from scratch. I also like Fran Kranz’s turn as the smarmy, Zuckerberg-esque Hunter; what a shame the character meets such a surprising (and grisly) end here. I also applaud Hamra’s script for getting the details right: In a cute exchange, Tracey corrects Bobby when he says she hustled a thousand bucks from him during their first encounter at the pool hall in the late ’80s (it was only $900), and the explanation that Hunter and his unseen brother Trip are Tommy’s illegitimate sons seems perfectly plausible.

Not everything here works, beginning with the drug cartel and CIA subplots, which remain out of place on “Dallas;” Judith Ryland’s antics, which have gone too far over the top for my taste (“Let’s go make us a drug deal”); and that business with the severed hands. However, the Ewing Global IPO storyline — as needlessly complicated as it seems — proves so absorbing, I kind of forget the cartel wants the company so it can be used as a tool to overthrow the Mexican government. The sillier stuff is also concealed by all the cool visual flourishes from Ken Topolsky, perhaps the new “Dallas’s” most inventive director. I love how we hear Christopher rapping on Carmen’s hotel room door, and with each knock, the camera zooms in a little tighter on the Omni logo. There’s also some nifty transitional shots using the Dallas skyline, as well as a neat special effect where the news report on Cliff’s fuzzy TV screen dissolves into Hunter’s sharp, full-color press conference. Even the Wolf Blitzer cameo is kind of fun.

Topolsky also delivers some lovely character-driven moments that shouldn’t be overlooked, including the scene where Sue Ellen counsels Pamela, the conversation where Emma warms up to Ann (even if she still can’t bring herself to call her “Mom”), and the quick glimpse of Emma’s eager expression when John Ross pulls up in the Rylands’ driveway. (You can practically read her mind: “Is he here to see me?”) I also like the way Harris touches Judith’s shoulder when they see the video feed of the bound-and-gagged Ann and Emma; it’s a credit to the great Mitch Pileggi that this feels genuinely warm instead of genuinely creepy.

In an hour about public offerings, it’s these private moments that stand out most.

Grade: B

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dallas, Melinda Clarke, TNT, Tracey McKay, Victims of Love

The return

‘VICTIMS OF LOVE’

Season 3, Episode 12

Telecast: September 8, 2014

Audience: 1.93 million viewers on September 8

Writer: Taylor Hamra

Director: Ken Topolsky

Synopsis: Nicolas and Victor undermine Bobby’s friend Cal, which allows Hunter to obtain controlling interest in Ewing Global on the day of the company’s initial public offering. The Ewings blame John Ross for losing control of the company, as does Nasir, who express his disappointment via text message. Bobby turns to his ex-flame Tracey McKay, Hunter’s aunt, and asks her to talk her nephew into revealing the truth about the cartel’s role in the takeover, but when Bobby and Tracey arrive at Hunter’s home, they find his dead body hanging from a noose. Christopher confirms Nicolas is Joaquin and his connection to the cartel and leaves Elena a voice mail warning her to stay away from him, but Nicolas intercepts the message. Bum tells John Ross that Harris is working for the CIA. Luis kills Candace and presents her severed hands to Judith. Luis also reveals he’s holding Ann and Emma hostage and threatens to kill them if Judith doesn’t double the cartel’s drug shipments. Pamela visits Cliff in prison, where she declines to give him his pardon and bids him farewell.

Cast: Jonathan Adams (Calvin Hanna), Emma Bell (Emma Ryland), Wolf Blitzer (himself), Jordana Brewster (Elena Ramos), Melinda Clarke (Tracey McKay), Juan Pablo Di Pace (Nicolas Treviño), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Marlene Forte (Carmen Ramos), Julie Gonzalo (Pamela Ewing), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Josh Henderson (John Ross Ewing), Antonio Jaramillo (Luis), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Fran Kranz (Hunter McKay), Judith Light (Judith Ryland), Jesse Metcalfe (Christopher Ewing), Kevin Page (Bum), Gino Anthony Pesi (George Tatangelo), Mitch Pileggi (Harris Ryland), Max Ryan (Victor Des Lauriers), Miguel Sandoval (El Pozolero), Summer Selby (police detective), Brenda Strong (Ann Ewing)

“Victims of Love” is available at DallasTNT.com, Amazon and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.

‘Dallas’ Sees Another Small Uptick in the Ratings

Christopher Ewing, Dallas, Jesse Metcalfe, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, TNT, Victims of Love

Stand and deliver

“Dallas’s” latest episode, “Victims of Love,” debuted to 1.934 million viewers on September 8, according to Nielsen. The audience included an estimated 538,000 viewers in the advertiser-prized demographic of adults between ages 18 and 49.

The numbers are up slightly from one week ago, when “Hurt” debuted to 1.931 million viewers, including 509,000 adults between 18 and 49. However, when you count DVR users who recorded “Hurt” and watched it a few days after its first telecast, the audience climbed to 2.7 million users, up 5 percent from the previous week, TNT reported.

Overall, “Dallas” is averaging about 1.96 million viewers on Monday nights this year, down from approximately 2.66 million viewers during its second season and more than 4 million viewers during Season 1.

“Dallas’s” current average places it toward the lower end of TNT’s drama crop. The network’s highest-rated shows are “Rizzoli & Isles” (5.24 million viewers on Tuesdays) and “Major Crimes” (5.24 million on Mondays), while two Wednesday shows, “Legends” (1.95 million) and “Franklin & Bash” (1.25 million), bring up the rear.

By now, loyal readers of this space have this part memorized, but it bears repeating: TNT hasn’t announced if “Dallas” will return for a fourth year. The network is expected to wait and see how “Dallas” performs during its summer run before deciding whether to renew it.

The series has two more outings on TNT’s schedule this year: The next episode, “Boxed In,” will debut Monday, September 15, followed by a season-ending double-header of “Endgame” and “Brave New World” on Monday, September 22.

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

What Did You Think of ‘Dallas’ This Week?

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Patrick Duffy, TNT, Victims of Love

Deep thoughts

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

Our topic: “Victims of Love,” this week’s episode of TNT’s “Dallas.”

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.

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 answers should do the same. Please include the show’s official hashtag, #DallasTNT, in your tweets too.

Here’s a sample exchange:

Q1. Will Bobby be able to reunite his family at Southfork? #DallasTNT #DallasChat

A1. Of course! The Ewings always find their way back home eventually. #DallasTNT #DallasChat

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 another fun discussion. Please join us!

The Dallas Decoder Guide to the McKay Family

Carter McKay, Dallas, George Kennedy

Big kahuna

The McKays are back! The family that feuded with the Ewings during the original “Dallas’s” later years is slowly creeping back into TNT’s sequel series: Hunter, a McKay grandson, was introduced earlier this year, while this week’s episode, “Victims of Love,” will bring back Tracey, who’s now played by Melinda Clarke. Need a refresher on the McKays and where they fit into the Ewing-verse? Read on.

Carter McKay, Dallas, George Kennedy

Devil next door

Carter, the meanest McKay. When Dreadful Jenna Wade™ forced our beloved Ray Krebbs to move with her to “Europe,” he sold his Southfork-adjacent ranch to Carter McKay (George Kennedy), who turned out to be the crummiest neighbor a Ewing could ask for. Carter constantly threw loud parties and borrowed Miss Ellie’s tools without returning them. Kidding! The real reason Carter sucked was because he started a range war with the Ewings in a convoluted scheme to seize control of Section 40, the oil-drenched Southfork parcel that everyone on “Dallas” tries to seize at one point or another. Although the Ewings won the war and kept their land, Carter had the last laugh: In “Dallas’s” final episodes, he sold his ranch and saddled the Ewings with an even worse next-door neighbor — Michelle Stevens.

Bobby Ewing, Carter McKay, Dallas, George Kennedy, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Big fish, little fish

… And also the sharpest. When Carter wasn’t bringing down the Braddock County property values, he was shaking up the oil biz. Carter was revealed as the brains behind Westar, Ewing Oil’s biggest rival, and the puppeteer who had been pulling Jeremy Wendell’s strings for years. (All together, “Dallas” diehards: Yeah, right!) Actually, Carter really did display solid business acumen. For example, when J.R. and Bobby (Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy) backed out of a deal to supply the Soviets with Texas crude — citing patriotism! — Carter stole the deal and schooled the brothers on how the world really worked, delivering a prophetic, Chayefskian speech (“Whatever America used to be, it isn’t anymore. …”). Carter’s biggest coup: Tricking J.R. into giving up control of Ewing Oil in “Dallas’s” penultimate episode!

Beth Toussaint, Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Patrick Duffy, Tracey McKay Lawton

Do the hustle

Tracey, the sexiest McKay. Bobby and Cliff were chillin’ at a pool hall one night in ’88 — because that’s how the Barneses and the Ewings rolled that year — when jean-skirted Tracey Lawton caught the eye of the recently divorced Bob. Back then, Tracey was played by Beth Toussaint, who looked a lot like “Terminator” heroine Linda Hamilton, but with poutier lips and punier biceps. Tracey turned out to be a pool shark, but that wasn’t her only secret: She was also a recent divorcee (hence the “Lawton”) and Carter’s estranged daughter. Once again, Bobby found himself playing Romeo, but his romance with this Juliet dimmed pretty quickly and Tracey soon departed Dallas. She didn’t leave in bandages like Bobby’s first Juliet, although somewhere along the way, Tracey — like Pamdid pick up a new face.

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, J. Eddie Peck, Patrick Duffy, Tommy McKay

Tommyknocker

Tommy, the nuttiest McKay. Oh, this guy was a total whack job. Tommy, Carter’s drug-dealing son, arrived at the McKay ranch after serving a jail sentence in “South America,” and when Tommy wasn’t making a quick buck by spying for J.R. or screaming in the rain, he was hitting on every woman on the show. In April’s case, Tommy hit on her literally, which prompted Bobby to beat the j. eddie peck out of him. Tommy tried to get revenge by blowing up Bobby, and when that failed, the gun-wielding loon was accidentally shot and killed during a struggle with dear old dad. Tracey told Bobby she didn’t blame him for Tommy’s death, but warned him about Carter: “Stay out of his way, Bobby. I don’t want to come to your funeral.” (Silly Tracey. The show already did that storyline!)

Dallas, Jeri Gaile, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Rose McKay

Desk job

Rose, the awesomest McKay. Although Carter was sweet on Sue Ellen, he married Rose Daniels (Jeri Gaile), an Iowa farm-girl-turned-beautician with a penchant for bold print dresses and shoulder-brushing earrings. Rose loved “Mac” and did almost anything he asked, including sleeping with Cliff Barnes so Carter could videotape the encounter and use it to derail Cliff’s resurgent political career. Poor judgment aside, Rose was a hoot because she spent most of her time sashaying around the house in heels and lingerie with a drink in her hand, and Gaile brought a lot of heart to the role, making Rose one of the brighter lights during “Dallas’s” later years. Best of all, when Rose finally got fed up with Carter, she knew how to teach him a lesson: by having sex with J.R. on her husband’s desk! Good going, darlin’.

Carter McKay, Dallas, George Kennedy, Linda Gray, Peter Ellington, Philip Anglim, Sue Ellen Ewing

Aiding the enemy

Ellington, the adopted McKay. When Carter wasn’t siring nutjobs like Tommy, he was putting them on his payroll. First there was snarlin’ Fred Hughes, Carter’s right-hand man during the range war, whose solution to every problem was to shoot a Ewing. Miss Ellie once referred to Hughes as Carter’s “pet dog,” which tells you everything you need to know about what a jerk he was. Then there was Peter Ellington (Philip Anglim), McKay’s sidekick during the “War of the Ewings” reunion movie. Ellington was super enthused about pushing through his boss’s latest deal with the Ewings — to the point of trying to blow up J.R. and taking Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) hostage. Is it me, or was Ellington a little too — what’s the expression I’m looking for here? — into Carter McKay? Did Rose know about this?

Dallas, Fran Kranz, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, Juan Pablo Di Pace, Nicolas Trevino, TNT

Splitting heirs

Hunter, the mystery McKay. John Ross (Josh Henderson) mentioned playing basketball with “the McKay brothers” during TNT’s first season of “Dallas,” but we didn’t meet one of them until this year, when Hunter showed up and told John Ross how he made a killing by taking his video game company public. Later, we learned Hunter has revenge on his mind and is secretly helping Nicolas and the drug cartel take over Ewing Global. If Hunter is Carter’s grandson, does that make him Tommy’s son? If so, does he hold a grudge against the Ewings because he blames them for his father’s death? Most importantly: Now that Hunter’s here and Tracey’s back, will more McKays show up? No matter how it all turns out, just remember: Whatever trouble the McKays cause next, their arrival in Dallas can be traced back to one person — that awful Jenna Wade. Everything is always her fault, isn’t it?

What do you remember about the McKays? Share your comments below and read more “Dallas Decoder Guides.”