And they’re off! So begins another 15 episodes of Dallas that will make up season 3. I think, like a lot of others have also said, that this season will be the make or break one for Dallas 2.0. and sadly, if the season opener is anything to go by, I think it will be the breaking of it.
Can it survive the death of Larry Hagman and the character of J.R. Ewing, who loomed large over the show throughout it’s original 13 year run and forever afterwards? Of course only time will tell and fan and critic reaction to the new season seems to be pretty mixed. Here’s my take on it.
The episode opens hours after the end of season 2 (which saw John Ross and bratty Emma fall, disappointingly, into bed together). 12 hours later they’ve managed to get a good night’s sleep (judging by the look of them) and are busily ensconced in looking at Judith’s power of attorney which will grant Emma control of Ryland Transport if Harris becomes incapacitated (nothing against Mitch Pileggi or Emma Bell, but I wish they both were-permanently-the characters that is, not the actors).
Bobby, on the other hand, is at the Ewing family graveyard, to visit with Miss Ellie, Jock (whose grave must be empty since his body was never recovered from the swamp his helicopter crashed into in the original series), J.R. and Miss Ellie’s parents. It’s strange how Garrison isn’t buried there too since his grave is also on Southfork and was seen in the original series.
Anyway, he gives his (totally incorrect) speech about being the only one left. Good job Gary’s still MIA from Dallas otherwise he’d probably be quite hurt about being airbrushed from his own family’s history. Gary was there in the backstory as having grown up alongside Bobby and J.R. so it’s another lapse (of knowledge or judgement) of the creative team of Dallas 2.0 to get this detail wrong. Also not forgetting Ray who was the only brother who actually physically resembled Jock.
Manwhile randy John Ross meets with Bum (I personally would still be at least a little cheesed off with the man who shot my father dead-even at his request-but John Ross doesn’t seem to hold a grudge) Bum gives John Ross J.R.’s belt buckle-and a legend is born anew!
John Ross goes home to Southfork and presents Pamela Rebecca with a massive diamond ring and proposes. It’s a scene that should feel romantic, but I thought it fell flat. He doesn’t seem in the least bit sincere about being in love with her while he’s still cheating with Emma.
The best surprise of the episode came with the new opening credits. I had no idea until last night that they were being returned to the original three way split screen. It’s interesting how such a small change can make such a big difference and it really helped to make the show feel like the original Dallas (until the credits ended anyway)
Next we see John Ross looking at blueprints J.R. had apparently given the nod to before Bum shot him to renovate Southfork but Bobby disagrees that they alterations should be made. I think it’s very odd here how Bobby talks to John Ross (or should that now be J.R. mark II?) about history. But neither mention the fact that Ann supposedly ripped out the insides of Southfork only a few years before-so if he didn’t care then, why should he care now!) personally I hope the renovations do happen. The new Southfork interior is truly awful and has not in the least bit grown on me since the series first started in 2012.
Then we see Christopher (alone with his miracle-grow beard) chopping wood while going over the traumatic events he’s recently been subjected to. Elena, Christopher’s former paramour and totally pointless character, is in Mexico. She meets with Cliff Barnes after having a flash back to the end of the last series where she supposedly discovered that J.R. had apparently cheated her father out of his oil rich land. This is of course nonsense. Elena, Carmen, Drew and anyone else they bring in have no place being on Dallas-they aren’t a part of it, they never were, they never will be. All three are bland, uninteresting, uninspired and totally, totally, pointless. Please Mrs C get rid of them!
Anyway, Elena (yawn) tells Cliff she’ll be his proxy at Barnes (now Ewing) Global. Cliff tells her he spent his life building that company (we’ll have to take his word for it since the origins of that company are as muddled as his character being turned into a remorseless psychopath)
Elena tells Cliff she’s not thinking of it as revenge, she’s thinking of it as ‘justice’ (Er, against who exactly? Given that J.R. the one who started all the trouble is dead and Bobby and Christopher have, pretty much, always been good to her)
Back at Southfork there’s wedding plans afoot as Ann, Pamela and Sue Ellen sit around a table by the pool. Afton hasn’t been invited (naturally since she’s an original character that the fans would actually like to see!) so it’s just the ladies of the ranch. Emma (the tramp!) then joins them and acts very sweet to Pamela Rebecca despite harbouring her dirrrttyyy secret! Pamela Rebecca is, of course, bound to find out and once she does Emma will (hopefully!) be joining Tommy Sutter in an unmarked grave.
Elena then turns up, she and Christopher talk, he tells her he’s sorry, she tells him they’re broken, they need time to fix it. She says she only came back to pack (but she isn’t going very far sadly) Chris tells her ‘it’s been your home since you were nine years old (er, no it hasn’t) and ‘it’s your home too!’ (er, no it isn’t)
Next we’re treated to a scene featuring Carmen, who somehow manages to be even more pointless a character than Elena and Drew. Why we’ve had to have them forced on us when they were never in the original no matter how many times we keep getting told they were and now Mrs C and Co. insist on pushing them more and more. Next the show will be getting renamed Ramos.
Anyway, over at Ewing Global, the team are in the boardroom pushing plastic ships across a map-when (who else?!) but Elena walks in acting all sweetness and light. Unfortunately for us (and the Ewings) they let her stay. The Ewing Global set also now boasts a new portrait of J.R. which certainly looks a lot better than the last one, but still, for me anyway, doesn’t quite reach the iconic heights of the Jock portrait from the original.
Back to the story though, Nicholas Trevino enters, he’s a Mexican billionaire apparently and former foster son of Carmen and her late husband and former foster brother of Drew and Elena (seriously, who cares about them?) He tells the Ewings that he’s there as Cliff’s proxy and that they can’t start selling off bits of the company without a ‘supermajority’. They look collectively cheesed off.
Later on Southfork John Ross, who is quite keen on fracking the land and has discovered that the oil under the ranch has risen to the surface, where he has the rights overriding Bobby and Gary’s mineral rights (I like the way Bobby remembers he has a brother again when it suits him!) Bobby tells John Ross, ‘you’re not half the man your daddy was!’ (ouch! He really knows how to kick a man when he’s down)
In the main house (or big house as Ray used to call it) Sue Ellen catches John Ross coming out of Emma’s room, he tells her she looks like she saw a ghost (just like what Bobby said to Pam when her magic shower brought him back to life in the original) she says ‘for a minute there I thought I did’ then mother’s intuition tells her that junior is up to no good.
and, almost, lastly Harris Ryland is out of jail and in deep trouble with Mexican drug dealers who tell him Emma will pay if he doesn’t continue his nefarious activities with them-he should just let Judith handle it, she’s more than a match foe them I’m sure.
Finally (in flashback) Elena drives to Joaquin’s cardboard house, and entering he is revealed to be none other than…(gasp!) Nicholas Trevino! I think it must be one of the most pointless reveals in the history of the new Dallas. It was about as obvious as Cliff Barnes turning out to be Pamela Rebecca’s father. Joaquin/Nicholas tells Elena ‘we’ll get justice for our family-trust me’ while caressing her head.
What I don’t understand is that if Elena had such a good pal in Nicholas why didn’t she go to him in the first place when she needed cash? In fact why didn’t she get him involved when the Ewings needed money to finance Ewing Energies and she was still on good terms with them? Couldn’t he have helped Drew out too if he has so much money and clout?!
Anyway, while watching the episode I really felt like this is the beginning of the end for the show. Granted it’s very early into the season, but the episode seemed to lack that spark, that bit of magic. With J.R. gone (Larry Hagman’s absence was very keenly felt), Pam gone and Katherine dead and virtually no hope of seeing any other favourite original characters back how long can Dallas really survive?
If you’ve read this all the way to the end many thanks, I really appreciate it. Please feel free to add a comment or two and tell me what you thought.