Monday, January 11, 2010

Searching for Signal: "Dallas" - Season 11, Episode 28

We start with JR squealing to a halt in the South Fork driveway, then stomping into the house. He is none too happy about Sue Ellen and Kimberly Cryder humiliating him at the Westar board meeting and kicking him to the curb.

He confronts Sue Ellen in her bedroom, where she’s already packing things and planning an exit. They have a heated discussion, of course, but Sue Ellen has the best lines, getting to say things like “You have cheated on me for the last time” and “I sure didn’t stay here because of love for you” and, when JR hints that he’s keeping John Ross, “Remember who ended up with him the last time?”

Very fine moment for Sue Ellen. Continued humiliation for JR. Very satisfying to watch.

April flounces into Cliff’s office, where he is clueless and celebrating what he assumes is JR’s takeover of Westar. She busts that bubble real quick: “JR was defeated. Jeremy Wendell is back.” Then there’s a “Valley of the Dolls” catfight between the two concerning pills and puppets. April is actually trying to be supportive and human, but Cliff is being his normal dumb-ass self and not listening. Her parting words: “Sell the gas field. You’ll be rid of JR.”

Cut to Ray scrubbing the graffiti off his front door that Psycho Connie left behind. (Just paint the damn door, Ray, you have the money to do that. Hell, you have people that can do that FOR you.) Then the phone rings, and it’s Jenna calling from Paris (Guess I missed the part where she and angry Charlie moved to Paris, I thought they were in Switzerland or some such.)

But really, the more important part is that I thought Priscilla Presley was out of the picture for good. We hadn’t seen her and her ugly hair in quite a few episodes. But there she is, in a scene where she’s supposedly on the other end of the phone line in Gay Paree, looking even more frumpy and horrid. (Does she NOT have a personal stylist? Why are all these rich people not spending their money wisely?)

Jenna is all excited, because she and the baby are coming home to Ray, while disgruntled Charlie remains behind in Paris where she supposedly loves her new school and her new friends, even though they’ve only been in the city for about two hours. Ray has to cut the conversation short because he’s just discovered that a photo of Jenna is missing from his desk.

Zip over to South Fork, where Bobby and son Christopher are chatting at the base of the curving stairwell that is usually reserved for hateful glances between JR and Sue Ellen. Chris is worried that his daddy won’t show up for the father/son banquet at his school. Bobby assures him that he will be there, which is our clue that something will come up to possibly compromise this agreement.

JR stomps in, telling both of them that Sue Ellen is gone from the house forever. Bobby sends his ugly son upstairs, so he can remain confused for the rest of his life. Then Bobby and JR get into it, arguing about everything, resulting in Bobby finally saying to JR: “You’re always trying to blame other people when things are YOUR fault.” JR comes back with: “I’m the only real Ewing my daddy ever had.”

Let’s just say that the brotherly bond is a little thin at this point.

Cut to JR dragging John Ross into his office building so he can brainwash the tyke with lies, telling him that “Your Momma has left us both for another man” and that he will not allow John Ross to join Sue Ellen as she “lives in sin with another man” and “whatever I do, I do for you.” Total crap.

But Christopher just beams at JR with complete love and devotion. Okay fine, you stupid little boy, if you want to believe all that mess, then go ahead and take the next step down the road to eventual drug addiction and non-stop therapy.

Then we’re at Bobby’s office, where he gets a call from Dave Culver. “You’re about to get the company name back. Get up here now!” Elated Bobby initially asks Phyllis to make flight arrangements for immediate departure, but she gives him a withering glance. Hello? The father/son banquet tonight? Bobby caves and tells Dave that it will have to wait until tomorrow. Phyllis beams at this paternal display of doing the right thing.

Say, why doesn’t Bobby just marry Phyllis, instead of lusting after these boring people that we don’t care about, like Kay in Washington? After all, Phyllis is very efficient and organized, and she’s been on the show longer than most of these bigger-name stars they drag in just to boost the ratings. She’s got to be more emotionally stable than Pam, who was always having those psychotic breaks and dream sequences.

Sue Ellen arrives at South Fork, and instantly tells Teresa to pack up everything. JR moseys along, unable to stop grinning, so we know something’s up. Sue: “I came for my son.” JR: “I’m not gonna stop you.” Then we have poor Sue Ellen wandering from room to room, trying to figure where John Ross might be, and then it dawns on her.

Sue: “Where have you hidden him!” And it goes downhill from there, with some very nasty things being said. It is not a pleasant scene at all. JR orders her off the property, and as Sue Ellen stomps out the back door, we see that JR has called in the Braddock Sheriff to ensure that she doesn’t try anything. Very nice.

Then we have Miss Ellie and Clayton wandering around in some field that we’ve never seen before. Turns out they are visiting the gravesite of one Garrison Southworth, Miss Ellie’s brother. (Really? The writers are still inventing relatives ELEVEN seasons into this show? Of course, these are the same writers who had Bobby step into a shower and Pam slept for a year.)

Ellie tells a very long and only slightly-interesting story about her brother never wanting the South Fork land even though it was really his. She babbles on that all Garrison wanted to do was sail the high seas in the Merchant Marine. (I didn’t realize people still did that in the twentieth century. Or why they would want to.) Clayton pushes her (thankfully) to get to the point: She wants both of them to own and run South Fork together.

Oh boy. That’s going to go over REAL well with a certain short bastard.

Ray goes over to Psycho Connie’s apartment, to find that she has made herself over to look just like Jenna, even the same frightening hairdo. She tells him she’s desperate and will do anything for his love. Ray: “Are you crazy?” (Dude, you even have to ask?) Ray tells her to stay out of his life and he storms off. Obviously, we’re going to be seeing more of Psycho Connie and her new outfits.

Quick scene with JR, Ellie and Clayton having a bitter fight about various things, most of it about who really has the say over what happens at South Fork. Miss Ellie has had enough and tromps away as Bobby wanders in, completely clueless. He tries to be nice to JR, but the short one just rips at him and then marches off as well. Poor Bobby, the women in his life are all crazy, boring or involved in life-changing car crashes, and he still has to come home to THIS.

Next day, JR calls Casey to his office, tells him things have changed, and then fires him. Casey begs JR to reconsider. JR is not interested, and heated words are exchanged, with JR saying lovely things like “The only difference between you and your daddy is that he KNEW he was a loser.” Casey tells JR that he doesn’t have any class. I don’t think that was ever up for debate.

Okay, the episode’s not even half over and JR has pissed off two-thirds of the cast. Smells like JR is about to get shot again by some mysterious person and we don’t learn the identity of the culprit until the end of next season. Are we about to see T-shirts in the stores that read “Who shot JR AGAIN?”

Sue meets with her lawyer, one that we’ve never seen before, so we don’t yet know if we like him or not. She’s in a twirl about the whole John Ross thing, and wants him back pronto. Lawyer man: “File a complaint with the Braddock sheriff.” Sue: “Are you kidding me?” JR owns the sheriff. Lawyer: “Just do it.” (Side note to the show’s stylists, Linda Gray looks really good in this scene, with the tasteful tailored outfit and the straight hair. Let’s see some more of that, mmmkay?)

Kimberly Cryder arrives at JR’s office, knocking skinny little Sly to one side. JR tries to order her away but she ignores this, instead whipping open her fur coat to reveal that she’s naked underneath. Kim: “You could have had all this. Now you’ve lost it all.” Then she covers the jewels and saunters out. Kimberly is suddenly my best friend, love her.

Bobby’s in his Washington hotel room, and boring Kay shows up. It’s kind of awkward, and they have a weird fight about priorities and dealing with a long-distance relationship, and it seems like they might be about to break up. (Yay!) Then Dave Culver spoils things by calling and saying the Ewing name deal is practically his, and Bobby and Kay end up in a passionate embrace. (Boo!)

Short scene with Ellie and Clay in bed, really excited about the prospect of running the ranch together. Then Ellie gets all sad thinking about the situation with JR and Sue Ellen. That woman gets sad about everything. I think medication is in order.

Cut to Sue Ellen and Nick also in bed, basking in the post-coital afterglow. “I’m a free woman! We can do this all the time and hold hands in public and everything!“ Then Sue Ellen gets all sad thinking about the situation with John Ross. Great. Another scene with sex followed by sadness.

Then we have another post-coital couple, this time Bobby and Kay. (People sure are having a lot of sex in this episode.) It’s a really mushy scene, and I’m still not convinced these two characters would even talk on the phone, let alone play squat tag. Bobby’s hinting that Kay should come live at South Fork. Thankfully, she acts as if that’s the last thing she would ever want to do in her life.

Now we have JR at some fancy private school, where apparently John Ross will be living while JR is hiding him from Sue Ellen. JR has told the president of the school that he’s only doing this because of the “threats of kidnapping” he’s received. The president is only going along with this because JR slips him a check that will cover the cost of a new gymnasium for the school. Back-scratching, Texas-style.

Later, Sue Ellen marches into JR’s office, with weak little Sly flying off to the side again. Some guy is with her, and this guy whips out a summons. JR has three days to fork over the ugly kid. JR tries to provoke a fight with Sue Ellen, but she ignores his wicked words and stays on the high road. “See you in court!” she yells down to JR on the lower road.

Casey shows up at the restaurant April owns (Why does she bother actually WORKING here? She’s worth a hundred million dollars. Hire somebody.), begging her to help him out with the oil land his daddy left him. (Tired of the daddy oil land, Casey, got boring a long time ago.) He promises fifty percent of the profits. She couldn’t care less. “I’m not even nibbling.” Stupidly, he goes off on her, which only makes her more determined to NOT help him. I think Casey’s a little soft in the head. Just an observation.

Cliff shows up for a meeting with Jeremy Wendell at a restaurant. Jeremy is his usual snotty self. Then again, Cliff is not the most likable person, either. So you basically don’t care who wins this scene, but anyway. Cliff wants Jeremy to buy his natural gas holdings. (“The biggest in the state!” as he constantly tells everyone.) Jeremy: “Why me?” Cliff: “You are the one person I know who will continue to wage war against JR.”

Same old Cliff. Did I mention that this is the eleventh season? And he’s still chewing on the same old bone. And he still has that astoundingly ugly apartment. Cliff, buddy, time to move on. And call a realtor.

We end with Ray sleeping in his bed. (So the bed scenes continue. No indication that this one is also post-coital, because it’s just Ray at the moment, but you never know. He DOES live on a farm. And a man does have his needs.) Psycho Connie lets herself in the front door-

Hold up. Ray, you moron, you know this woman is bonkers, she’s snuck in before, and yet you don’t even bother to lock the front door? What’s up with that? Seriously. Make the girl at least work for it by having to break a window, come down the chimney, or wriggle through the doggy door.


Connie lets herself in, all dolled up in one of her new Jenna outfits, sneaks up the stairs and into Ray’s room, wakes him up so that he can get a wide-eyed gander at the impending gymnastics trick, then she leaps through the air in the direction of his bed, waving a giant butcher knife while her ugly Jenna hair billows around her.

Freeze Frame.

Okay, overall we had a sum total of about 17 scenes that took place in, around or very near a bed in this episode. Moral of the story? Sexual relations can lead to sadness, madness and psychotic people dressed like Priscilla Presley and wanting to hurt you with cooking implements. Just say no.

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