Season 3 episode 1-The Return

Bobby laments at the graves.

Bobby laments at the graves.


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)
dallas season 3 credits
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?
Next week-Judith!
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.

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10 Responses to Season 3 episode 1-The Return

  1. I loved Larry Hagman’s portrayal of J.R., but I didn’t start watching this show because of him. I’m not interested merely in the older generation. I’m interested in the fates of John Ross, Pamela, Christopher, Elena and Emily.

    If you cannot imagine this show without Hagman, I suggest you stop watching now.

    • Dan says:

      Hi Lady,

      Thanks for the comment and reading, I appreciate it. I never said that I couldn’t imagine the show without Larry Hagman, J.R. has never been my favourite character, though his contribution to the show cannot be denied-there is no other cast member with the same level of charisma or whose portrayal of their character looms as large over the series. I never started watching this new Dallas series because of him either, I started because I loved the original and I believed (wrongly but Cynthia Cidre said it more than once) that the new show would be a CONTINUATION of the original but it is anything but. What I object to is the disappearance of much loved characters, with no explanation whatsoever, the rewriting of characters motivations (Cliff to name one), the introductions of others (Elena, Drew, Carmen) that we’re expected to believe were there in the original when any fan who watched it at the time knows they weren’t etc etc. I do have favourites among the new characters too, (Judith, Ann) but the fact is that the show isn’t very good and is alienating viewers it badly needs because the production team can’t keep to the promises they made in the beginning.

      • ghent32 says:

        Hey Dan, it Mike. Welcome to Season 3 my friend. Hello Lady!

        You both are correct on certain levels. Dan, you have to roll with me on this for a few seconds my man. You are relating everything in 2.0 to 1.0, and that’s where your criticisms are coming from. We can’t just look at things that way, at all. Dallas 2.0 leaves out specifics “details” of the GAP that allow for many of these changes/additions. Christopher says that Elena has lived at Southfork since she was 9 years old. You say that’s not true because it wasn’t that way in 1.0…Why does that make it so? I think many of the critics of the show that are upset about this stuff are completing forgetting about the 21 year GAP between the shows. Cidre says the show simply starts filiming again 21 years later, but many, many, many things change in 21 years of life. I don’t know how old you are, but I’m in my mid 30’s, and I can tell you that in 21 years, my mother remodeled our house twice, we moved 4 other times. I had about 7 relationships, then got married, etc…it’s the same principle. Does Ann bother you? She had no part of 1.0, but in the 21 years since, she’s come in to Bobby’s life. When the show left us in 1991, Christopher and John Ross were not even teenagers yet, and when the show left us there were two houseworkers at Southfork “Teresa and Raul”. We as fans are left to assume in that 21 years that they (Teresa and Raul) went away and Carmen was hired, and she had young kids. My only point is that, I think the critics are completely leaving this possibility out. Frankly, and while I know most people will disagree, I HATE that John Ross and Pamela are married. REALLY – JR’s son and Cliff’s daughter? I think I would have been great for her to marry Chris, like Pam did Bobby, and for John Ross to snip at “that damn Barnes woman” in each episode – that would have been beautifully played – JR and Pam all over again, next Gen.

        Jock’s body – well, you’re right because his body was never found in South America, but I have known people who have created a gravesite for a body that wasn’t found, or was cremated. It happens. Cliff, oh boy, Cliff Barnes…well, you’re not necessarily wrong here much either, but I recall Cliff Barnes, and while he was never a “killer”, he always was obsessed to the point of being blind with the Ewings. And, there was times when he hurt Pam and others with his obsession. I think we’re left to assume that it got worse with age, lol.

        Lady is absolutely correct. It makes me sick when people say “show can’t survive without JR”. Dallas 2.0 was NEVER about JR and Bobby – it was about the next generation, and those stars from the 80s we love, were nothing more than supporting characters now. I do think Cidre may be getting Southfork back to what it used to be, at least on some level. It was so elegant, and huge. I remember the upstairs hallway being nearly 10 yards wide! Now the house looks like a much smaller “nice home” type, I also believe here that one is to assume the house interior would change “some” over 2 decades, but that was a gutting, and not a good one.

        Fans have come back as the ratings on night one rested at 2.7 million, and live + 3 jumped to 3.4 million – very solid ratings, and they are right on target in their demographic (around 1 million young viewers and 1.4 million older viewers). However, ratings in season opener and finale always are spiked. I think the 2nd episode will tells us more about viewrship. I do feel the premier fell a little flat, but I can live with it if it gets better. Finally, I did go back and watch all of season 1, and I think it was pretty darn good, and in many, many ways Cidre has taken the time to gap the 2 shows, and overall, I think she’s done well-enough, but it could be better.

        Chat with you later my friend. Be well, you both.

      • Dan says:

        Hi Mike,

        Great to hear from you as always, thanks for reading and the comments. I think we must be round about the same age, as I’m in my mid-30s too, or near enough. I know what you’re saying, you’re right, perhaps I do need to be a little easier on the show and just try to enjoy it but I find all the changes more and more frustrating and pointless-especially the killing off of Katherine and Pam (while I liked the way they redeemed the Pam character, it also felt a bit like a spiteful move and the production team deliberately misled fans into thinking the character was coming back). I can see what you’re saying about the Ramos family, as I understand it though (and obv I could be wrong) they moved to Southfork before the end of the original series, in 1987 (according to the facebook page) before Pam was in her accident and while Raul and Teresa were working there. It would have been a much better move if the producers had said the Ramos family arrived after the end of the original series, which would have been much easier to accept, but to say that they were there in the original and just ‘not seen on camera’ is insulting to the fans, asking us to buy something which was never true.
        I must admit I wasn’t keen on John Ross-Pamela pairing either, I don’t see them as a great Dallas couple as others seem to, I think she was more interesting in the beginning of the series before being revealed as Cliff’s daughter. Similarly with Cliff, in the original he had a great scene with Miss Ellie where he finally admitted that Digger and he were wrong in their feud with the Ewing family and that he wished Pam had been there to see him learn his lesson. Dallas 2.0 rewrites to his character, which I really think are totally unnecessary, just disregards all that (plus how thrilled he would have been to find out he had a daughter-Cliff was never about putting the people he loved in physical danger to achieve his own ends). In an interview she did before the series started, Cynthia Cidre said everything in the original was considered ‘bible’ for their series, then the production team go and tear it up, rewriting as much of the history as they see fit and just totally ignoring anything they don’t like and admitting they never even watched the original to begin with.
        I definitely think they show can survive without J.R. if done right, but the season premier did fall flat, though there’s still plenty of time for it to pick up. What worries me is a lot of what I’ve read elsewhere seems to point to the producers just not listening at all to what the fans are saying and that future shows will focus more and more on the Ramos and Ryland families and less and less on the Ewings and Barnes, which I think most would agree will be a fatal error for Dallas. Talk to you soon.

  2. I agree with you on the jarring introduction of the Ramos family. They werent a part of the original series, so its hard to accept the way the story has been re-written to accomodate them. Elena is such a bland character, that its hard to believe that John Ross and Christopher would be fighting over her at all. And her 180 degree turn from good to evil in just one episode makes NO sense at all. As for Cliff, he was never portrayed this way in the old series. He has no redeeming character value now. I’ve been a loyal Dallas fan since the show first premiered years ago and I was so excited to see it come back again. Yes, its not what I’d like it to be, but Im enjoying a few bits here & there. I’ll continue to watch (even if I do cringe in a few places). Thanks for sharing this page with us. I enjoy reading your blog very much.

    • Dan says:

      Hi Tammy,

      Thanks very much for reading and the kind words, I really appreciate it. I do find it very jarring with the Ramos family and I don’t find them gripping at all. It seems like they are slowly taking over Dallas and the show is becoming less and less about the Ewings & the Barnes, especially as Cliff (I hate also what they’ve done to his character) now only has Pamela Rebecca with Katherine and Pam killed off. Maybe I do need to just try and enjoy it where I can, as you do, but I find it increasingly hard with all the changes that come each season, and I was so happy when it first came back too.

  3. ghent32 says:

    Dan,

    You’re absolutely correct my friend. I have not read the Dallas “Facebook” page even though I did “friend” it. I completely agree with you now. I did not realize they listed the Ramos family as coming into the picture in 1987. That’s just nothing short of ignorant and lazy by Cidre and company. For gosh sakes, it take no time at all to find the info that the show ended in 1991, and then say, ok, well this group came into play in 1992. Thats not hard, and you’re right, that’s insulting to us original fans who clearly have excellent memories of Dallas history due to our love for the show. I’m not fond of the new Cliff either. He was such a strong character in the original, yet clumsy and silly. I know Ken says this character is fun for him to play, but I don’t like it either. I’m just like Tammy, and you really, so devoted to the original, that I’m willing to tolerate some blips by Cidre and her team to keep watching. It’s so nice to see Bobby and Sue Ellen on screen again. I do agree about Katherine also..why say she’s dead? Why do that? You close what could be an awesome opportunity for the show. I told you last year, with Cliff’s imprisonment, it was the perfect time for Katherine to come back into play, get Cliff out of jail by proving a set-up, and once Pamela learns that, she will turn her back on the Ewings – now you have Katherine, Cliff, and Pamela, and you can throw Elena in there also against the Ewings – no reason to kill Katherine off – that was a missed opportunity to literally re-unite the Barnes/Ewing full-scale family fued. Looks like we’re on to Episode 2. Be well.

    • Dan says:

      Hi Mike, thanks for the comment, you’re right, it would be a great opportunity for Katherine to come back, get Cliff out of jail and then the two of them with Pamela could all team up and attack the Ewings. Mrs C did say in an interview that she wasn’t totally sure that Katherine is dead, but if her track record with Pam coming back is anything to go by I’d be willing to bet that Katherine is dead sadly. Glad you continue to watch, I almost gave up after last week but I just can’t seem to tear myself away. Hope to hear from you again soon pal.

  4. Katherine says:

    Hey Dan,

    I really like your blog. I think you are one of the very few people who write realistic reviews regarding this show. I find most of the other fan sites way too positive, to the point where it actually is so overly positive, despite the glaring mistakes and inconsistencies, that it can only be labeled as ‘promotion’. I have given up on it in terms of live TV because I find the live experience absolutely frustrating and have thought so since the pilot. I never really warmed up to it in terms of a true continuation because I think a real fan of the Original probably sees too many flaws. But I read the reviews and really like them.

    By the way, are you on soapchat? Who are you? LOL.

    • Dan says:

      Hi Katherine,

      Thanks for reading and the comment, it’s much appreciated, I’m really pleased you like my blog. I know what you mean about the mistakes and flaws of the show, I see a lot of them (Cliff’s rewritten character with no explanation, Elena and her family being jammed into the original, to name just two). It’s all really disappointing when Cynthia Cidre stated early on that everything that happened on the original was being considered ‘bible’ for the new series, but in a lot of instances they haven’t even tried to stick to the established history they’ve just written their own and expect the fans to swallow it. I’m not on soapchat, though I do read the boards on there quite often. I’m a long time fan of the (original) show, I grew up watching it. I would like this new version to succeed as I think with some changes it could be great, but the way it’s heading I don’t see those changes ever taking place and consequently I don’t think, at this stage, that Dallas 2.0 will continue for much longer.

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