Jan 28, 201310:00 PMThe Telegraph
The Premier Blog of the West
TV Recap: Top 10 Things To Know About 'Dallas' Season 2 Premiere
Long-standing disputes were renewed and brand-new alliances were formed in the two-hour Season 2 premiere of Dallas. If you missed all the action when a double-bill of episodes – “Battle Lines” and “Venomous Creatures” -- aired back-to-back Monday evening, here are the Top 10 things you need to know before tuning in next week. But be forewarned: There are a whole mess of spoilers here, folks.
BACK IN ACTION: Pamela Barnes (Julie Gonzalo) – the scheming vixen formerly known as Rebecca Sutter – returns to Dallas to wage a legal counter-offensive against Christopher Ewing (Jesse Metcalfe), her soon-to-be ex-husband. She claims that because they were lawfully married – and, just as important, because she’s pregnant with twins Christopher fathered – she would be entitled under the terms of any divorce agreement to a major chunk of Christopher’s holdings in Ewing Energies, the company he recently founded with his father, Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy); his cousin, John Ross Ewing (Josh Henderson); and his once and future and sweetheart, Elena Ramos (Jordana Brewster). But Christopher doesn’t want a divorce -- he wants an annulment, because Pamela/Rebecca engaged in fraud by hiding her true identity before their marriage. And he’s even more determined to go that route after Pamela/Rebecca (hereafter known simply as Pamela) reveals she is the daughter of longtime Ewing family nemesis Cliff Barnes.
BLOOD RELATIONS: Christopher and Bobby think they have a great shot at convincing a judge to grant an annulment – which, not incidentally, would leave Pamela without any claim to Ewing Energies – since they’ve managed to track down the real Rebecca Sutter, whose ne’er-do-well brother, Tommy Sutter, had been part of Pamela’s original scam, and posed as Pamela’s older brother (which he was easily able to do because… well, Pamela was posing as Rebecca). The real Rebecca says she only wants to reclaim her stolen identity, and to locate her missing brother. What she doesn’t know – and, come to think of it, what Christopher and Bobby don’t know, either – is that Tommy was fatally wounded during a tussle with Pamela in the latter’s apartment late last season, and that Pamela was able to dispose of the inconvenient corpse only with the help of Frank Askani (Faran Tahir), her father’s right-hand man.
LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON: John Ross may have a long way to go before he matches his infamous father, J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman), when it comes to devious wheeling-dealing. But he seems to be off to a good start – or, more precisely, a bad start. He kicks off the episode by seducing a sexy bride-to-be he picks up at a bachelorette party – so he can blackmail the young woman’s father, a trucking company executive, into giving him a great oil-hauling rate. Then, after making a big show of wanting to stand by the family and help provide a unified front against Pamela, he stealthily locates Rebecca and actually brings her to his supposed sworn enemy, so that Pamela can bribe Rebecca into changing her testimony at the annulment proceedings. What’s his angle? He offers to help Pamela grab a hunk of Ewing Energies so that she in turn will give him part of her haul, thereby giving him control of the company. What is Pamela’s angle? Like John Ross, her motives are partly business, and partly personal: Both of them want to destroy Christopher.
FAMILY MATTERS: Ann Ewing (Brenda Strong), Bobby’s wife, gets an unwelcome visit from Harris Ryland (Mitch Pileggi), her sleazy ex-husband, who makes a shocking announcement: He has finally tracked down their long-missing daughter, Emma, who hasn’t been seen in more than two decades – ever since she was apparently abducted during a trip with her mom to the Dallas State Fair. Of course, since Harris always demands a price for any favor he proffers – he’s her sleazy ex-husband, remember? – it comes as no surprise that he refuses to divulge Emma’s current whereabouts until Ann gives him the incriminating tape she recorded last season, back when he was rashly mouthing off about his plans to launder money through Sue Ellen Ewing (Linda Gray) after her election as Texas governor. Sue Ellen – who considered agreeing to the laundering scheme only because she didn’t want Harris to reveal that she bribed a medical examiner to get John Ross cleared of (false) murder charges – gives Ann the tape, and she in turn gives it to Harris. So Harris tells Ann where she can locate Emma. Overjoyed, Ann asks Bobby to accompany her when she calls on her long-long daughter. Bobby, it should be noted, isn’t happy that his wife had to deal with her sleazy ex-husband. Nevertheless, he agrees to go along for the ride.
MOTHER AND CHILD REUNION: Unfortunately, Emma brusquely rejects Ann when Ann and Bobby show up at the upscale stables where Emma – a champion dressage competitor – keeps her prize horse. (“I was hoping I would never see you again,” the coldly unwelcoming daughter tells her painfully disappointed mom.) While a distraught Ann takes to her bed to recover from the traumatic encounter, Bobby does some detective work – and discovers that Emma had been raised to adulthood in far-off England by Judith Ryland (Judith Light), Harris’ imperious mother. But wait, there’s more: Harris knew where Emma was all along, and frequently visited his daughter over the years. Bobby confronts Judith and Emma, angrily claiming that Judith and Harris abducted Emma from the state fair. But Emma begs to differ: As she sees it, her father and grandmother “saved me from my mother.”
BAD NEWS, WORSE NEWS: As expected, when Rebecca changes her testimony, the judge refuses to grant an annulment, setting the stage for a bitter divorce battle between Christopher and Pamela. During a secret confab in Pamela’s car, John Ross takes full credit for Rebecca’s useful false witnessing, and reminds Pamela what he expects in return for his assistance. Meanwhile, just before Election Day, the medical examiner resigns – and very publicly spills the beans about how Sue Ellen “blackmailed” him into helping clear John Ross. Sue Ellen suffers a humiliating loss at the polls – and is just about to backslide into heavy drinking when J.R. fortuitously drops by her home.
THE LONG GOODBYE: It’s been widely reported that, since Larry Hagman passed away last November, J.R. will be written out of Dallas fairly early this season. But it looks like the bushy browed, twinkly eyed schemer will pull a few more clever tricks – and maybe even make himself useful – before he departs. When he isn’t busy offering sage advice to his ambitiously duplicitous son – who’s proving to be a very apt pupil – J.R. contrives to keep Sue Ellen from facing legal consequences for her dealings with the medical examiner by blackmailing the prosecutor who could file charges against her. Then he visits Pamela at the posh headquarters of Barnes Global. He claims to be there only to check out the latest enemy to threaten the Ewing clan. (Recalling Bobby’s first wife, he notes: “You’re not the first Pam to fox her way into the hen house.”) But while he’s departing Pamela’s office, he makes a special point of tossing a sidelong insult at Frank Askani, who’s fuming because Pamela has casually humiliated him while assuming control of Barnes Global. (J.R. asks: “How does it feel to be a poodle?”)
REVERSAL OF FORTUNE: Inadvertently or otherwise, J.R. triggers dramatic deeds with his mocking words. Frank hires a flunkie to pose as a messenger making a “time-delay delivery” to Christopher from the missing Tommy Sutter. Inside the envelope: A cell-phone with voice mail messages from Pamela (who threatens to have Tommy taken care of if he doesn’t leave her alone) and the real Rebecca (who wants to know when she’s going to get her payoff for her role in the marriage scam). Armed with this evidence, Christopher rushes to Rebecca’s hotel room – shortly after Rebecca receives a hefty cash payment from Pamela – and demands that Rebecca (a) recant her phony testimony, and (b) immediately file a missing-persons report for her brother (who, as you’ll recall, is still very seriously dead).
NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED: When Elena manages all by herself to negotiate rights to use existing oil rigs to harvest methane for Christopher’s clean-energy project, Christopher and Bobby offer to increase her stake in Ewing Energies. But John Ross insists that they go even further: He proposes that he, Bobby and Christopher each give Elena enough shares in the company so that she’ll be an equal partner. Bobby and Christopher agree – not knowing that John Ross has his sights set on taking over Elena’s shares. How? Well, Sue Ellen did lend Elena a whole lot of money way back during the Season 1 premiere to buy some oil leases. And if that loan is called…
STRANGE BEDFELLOWS: When John Ross initially proposes a partnership to Pamela, she haughtily dismisses his overture: “What could you have to offer that would make me want to get in bed with you?” Mind you, she’s speaking metaphorically, not literally. By the end of this two-hour premiere, however, it appears Pamela – who’s looking mighty slim and foxy for a lady who’s at least a couple months pregnant with twins – is ready to, ahem, formally unite with J.R.’s son. Actually, the two schemers are last seen ripping off each other’s clothes.
(By the way: You can keep up with recaps of Dallas and several other series on our TV Room page.)