(Please note: spoilers follow)
Well here it is. The second season finale, episode 15. Will it be the last ever episode of Dallas? Apparently not as renewal of Dallas for a third season is supposedly imminent, but personally I don’t see where on earth it could go with no Cliff, JR, Pam or Katherine. Though Patrick Duffy and Linda Grey are both excellent, it will be a bit odd if they and they alone head up the cast as the older members of the Ewing family. (I don’t count Brenda Strong in this as she’s only in her 40s).
Anyway, back to the episode. This is the big one where we find out who killed JR and also what exactly happened to the, much loved, Pam Ewing.
The answer to the former question we get near the end of the episode and latter question we get at the start of the episode as Dr Gordon, Christopher and Pam’s old nurse Corina sit down at Dr Gordon’s plush pad and he fills him in on the truth (or is it?) of what happened to Pam.
The good doctor (with some very questionable ethical morals and a very flawed judgement system) reveals to Chris that Pam died in 1989. He says that after a round of surgeries she discovered she was suffering from pancreatic cancer and he took her to Abu Dhabi for an experimental treatment that failed and she died on 14th July (Bastille Day if that means anything).
Christopher is given a copy of his mother’s will and a letter, which he reads later, basically telling him how much she loved him. Dr Gordon too reassures him that his mother was wanting to come to him and Dallas and that she only left in the first place because she thought she had become hideous with her burns and didn’t want to frighten him. (it’s not strictly accurate to the original when Pam revealed to the viewer that she was dying and didn’t want to go back to Dallas because Bobby, Cliff and Christopher would be happy to have her back but then would have to watch her die, but presumably after saying that Dr Gordon discovered the experimental treatment so I guess it’s as good as it can be)
Anyway, though it’s not the ending I was hoping for, I would have supported a decent recast, it does feel like a good ending for the character, and it also doesn’t demonise her in the eyes of the viewers, but instead redeems her somewhat with it being made known that she was intending to come back to Dallas.
It also turns out that the Dr (he’s not doctor in my book though, talk about unethical!) and Corina have been financially supported by Cliff in exchange for them keeping up the fraud that Pam was still alive. All in order so that Cliff could continue to control Pam’s one third share in, non-existent, company Barnes Global. This is what I have a problem with. Cliff (the real Cliff) would never, never, never do such a thing to Bobby and Christopher-especially not in 1989! when he was close to Bobby and Christopher-I absolutely hate what the production team of Dallas 2.0 have done to the Cliff character, hate it. Why bother to do a, supposed, continuation of a show and then make it anything but?
But back to episode 15. Cliff is plotting the end of Vickers and has a meeting with Harris in the back of one of his flash cars. he then makes a call to have the problem of Vickers solved-permanently. Pam 2 meets with Roy Vickers in prison. Roy confirms to her that Cliff did know that she was on the Ewing Energies rig, but had the bomb detonated anyway (absolute and utter nonsense-Cliff would have loved being a father, would have been overjoyed at the prospect of becoming a grandfather-sure he wouldn’t have been happy that the children would be half Ewing but would have put it to one side in his love for them. Roy tells her to ‘forget your father’ (which she should have done from episode one of Dallas 2.0 because that is not Cliff Barnes and original fans of the show know it only too well).
Soon after this meeting Vickers is stabbed to death (making his demise no. 12,333 of Dallas season 2) (Also if Cliff has the kind of clout to have someone murdered in prison, why doesn’t he have the same thing done to the Ewings in the outisde world?)
Following the sad news about his mother Christopher returns to Dallas and is comforted by his family. Ann gives Chris a hug (and is probably thinking, “let’s move on, thank God I’m out of her shadow at last!”) Sue Ellen offers her condolences to Christopher and Bobby. Bobby says he mourned Pam a long time ago (which of course he didn’t). The whole scene here feels cold and off. Why is Christopher the only one showing any emotion? Pam was the love of Bobby’s life, and even when he discovers that she did want to come back to Dallas, him and Christopher but was too sick to do so he still couldn’t give a sh!t?!-sorry no, I don’t buy it.
Bobby calls a pow-wow in his office (which used to be the Southfork dining room, but for completely unknown reasons-does somebody own the rights to the original layout of Southfork? -it is now an office) where it is revealed that the Ewings now own two thirds of Barnes Global as Christopher owns one third and Pamela and John Ross own one third, suprising Sue Ellen with the news they are now married. Sue Ellen hugs Pamela warmly (I like how everyone seems to have forgotten that Pamela committed fraud, stole someone else’s identity and was also hell bent on taking them down earlier in the season, do the Ewings all have amnesia?)
Bobby says he’s going to read them all (Bum-who just arrived-Pamela, Sue Ellen, Christopher and John Ross) JR’s letter, he then whips out the gun JR sent with Bum in the funeral episode. ‘That’s my father’s gun!’ Pamela exclaims ‘That’s the gun that killed my brother’ Bobby says.
Bum then tells the story of how Cliff had followed them down to Nuevo Laredo and by the time he got to the hotel where JR was, the big man was already dying. Pamela agrees to set her father up so that the Ewings don’t have to get him extradited to Mexico.
Elena and Chris have a talk. Chris asks how he can ever trust her again (you can’t Chris! Tell her to leave Dallas and take her mother and her brother with her!)
Pamela and Cliff travel to Mexico. Back at Casa Ryland Emma drugs Harris. In Dallas police serve a warrant and open Cliff’s safety deposit box and discover JR’s belt buckle.
Odd Emma discovers Harris has been up to naughty things with a Mexican drug cartel and the police arrest him, he goes to jail.
JR’s body is exhumed and bullets are removed from it (I’m no expert, but shouldn’t this all have been done at the autopsy?)
Anyway, Police pull over Cliff’s roller and discover in the trunk (planted by Pamela) the gun that Bobby had in his safe, which has Cliff’s fingerprints on. Naturally, the gun also matches the bullets pulled from JR’s body.
In the hotel room Cliff is confronted by the Ewings and is hauled away by the police ‘I didn’t kill JR!’ he shouts over and over again.
In Jail Cliff is visited by Bobby. He knows he’s been framed. Bobby offers to get Cliff out of the prison if he will admit to all his criminal acts (this season). ‘I have never done anything the Ewings have asked me to do, and I am not gonna start today’ Cliff says. (of course this too is also not true as Cliff has done plenty that the Ewings have asked him to do).
Back at Southfork Bobby, Bum, Christopher and John Ross meet at JR’s grave as Christopher and John Ross insist that Bobby tell them what really happened to JR. Bobby then produces the letter he was given by Bum after JR’s funeral and begins to read. It turns out that the person who killed JR was…..JR himself! apparently he had been suffering with terminal cancer and decided that he would have Bum shoot him but at the same time would frame Cliff for his murder to end the feud once and for all and protect his family. (I feel this is a fitting conclusion to the ‘who killed JR mystery’, after all who would actually be big enough to take out JR? But in some ways it feels like a cop out and pointless to ask people to follow a ‘who killed JR’ storyline in which no one actually killed JR, though Bum shot him at his bequest).
Anyway Bobby reads the letter, JR reveals he only had days to live and so put his plan in place. He says a few nice things and Bobby cries afterwards (which is actually quite a touching moment).
Bum tells John Ross that having to shoot JR was the hardest thing he’s ever had to do, he then walks off (hopefully to his own spin-off series ‘the Bum Files!’) John Ross then has a last moment at JR’s grave.
Back with the boring and pointless Ramoses, Carmen and Elena are talking, yet again, about the land which ‘Papi’ owned. They get a letter from Cliff. Cliff is summoning Elena to his jail cell. When she gets there he tells her that JR switched the land deeds so that he got the oil rich land and ‘Papi’ got the land which was as dry as a bone (ouch!) Elena then goes to visit an old friend (who cares?!) named Joaquin. Presumably he’s somebody because his house is guarded like Fort Knox.
Emma visits Harris in prison (yawn), que entrance by Ann who tells Harris he’s a prick (see you next season! she should have said).
As the season ends, Christopher reads the letter from Pam, Pamela gives him some wise words (she'[s now fully forgiven for her criminal and shady misdemeanours and is ready to take up her new position as part-mistress of Southfork)
A new portrait of JR (which looks, frankly, hideous) is hung in the Ewing Energies office (now renamed Ewing Global) as John Ross gives a rousing speech to the assembled staff (who really only care about payday, weekends and holidays).
The final scene takes place in a hotel room, John Ross meets Emma ‘just don’t tell my wife’ he tells her as they fall onto the bed, the camera pans upwards to the night sky of Dallas and…to be continued (appears on screen-to be honest I think this would be the perfect place to end the series. Anyone who has read William Keck’s TV Guide interview with Cynthia Cidre will know there is nothing interesting coming up for viewers of Dallas).