Wherein every episode of DALLAS is recapped and reviewed in chronological order. Updates Fridays.

Friday, July 1, 2016

2.14 - HOME AGAIN

The episode begins with a glimpse into the exciting lives of the women of Southfork as Miss Ellie and Sue Ellen discuss potential color schemes for the nursery. "Oh yeah," I think to myself. "Sue Ellen is pregnant."

Okay, so me saying "exciting lives" was disparaging and sarcastic, but I suppose that is unfair. Some people do get excited about things like babies and nurseries, and furthermore I don't have much room to talk when a glimpse into my exciting life would show me, you know, making toast or more likely just thinking about making toast. Besides, it doesn't matter if Sue Ellen is talking about nurseries or toast or whatever, because her outfit is so on point in this scene that it far supersedes the ultimate hollowness of her life.


J.R. doesn't have time to discuss color possibilities because he actually, truly does live an exciting life. He's giving a speech to the Chamber of Commerce: "They want to hear my success story," he says. and I can't decide whether or not it's a lie. Who cares? I love it and it's 100% priceless ego perfection either way.

Side note 1: Sue Ellen calls Cliff Barnes on the down low to ask for his nursery color suggestions and he's like "Please stop calling" and she's like "But I just want to share" and it's kind of sad that they can't just be together. It's much less sad, however, when you remember that they can't be together because Sue Ellen is too greedy to give up that Ewing lifestyle! Well, also because who knows what J.R. would do if she left him for his nemesis–I mean, he's all sorts of abusive and threatening to everyone, particularly his wife. She's as trapped as she is selfish!

Side note 2: I know I've mentioned this before, but holy fuck is it weird that everyone lives at Southfork forever. I love that if you're poor and forced to live with your parents for whatever reason–hey, maybe it's circumstances or maybe it's just what you want to do–it's a source of shame and people insult you if it's brought up. But if you're a Ewing, it's simply how things are even though they're all rich enough to have a million places of their own. "You live in your mom's basement!" is a scathing indictment, but it's okay to live in your mom's hideously decorated spare bedroom? Whatever, man, whatever.

I realize I may be coming off as a bit defensive here and you're wondering if that's because I live in my mom's basement, so let me assure you that I do not. This is but one of the many colors in my rainbow of Dallas feelings, one of the many squares in the quilt of my Dallas thoughts.

Anyway, some guy takes the wrapper off a painting he commissioned and he hates it. It's awful, it's a cartoon, why didn't he have one of the most famous artists in Europe do it instead? What a hothead, geez. On the other hand...the painting really isn't so great.


He hand delivers it to Southfork, intending to give it to Miss Ellie, but she's not home. Later that evening, she opens it and gets all weird–that little cartoon ranch house is Southfork back in the day, can you believe it? If you think that's completely totally insane, get this: the some guy who dropped it off isn't just any old some guy–he's Miss Ellie's brother Garrison! She hasn't seen him in 40 years! She thought he was dead! C'EST UN SCANDALE!

The reaction to Garrison's coming...wait for it...home again...is decidedly mixed. Miss Ellie is beside herself, or at least she gets tears in her eyes. Jock is less than thrilled, as Garrison and he have never liked each other and besides, Garrison was best pals with that no-good Digger Barnes. Pam is pleasant and happy enough because Garrison was best pals with that no-good Digger Barnes. Lucy is ecstatic because, bless her heart, the name Garrison reminds her of the name Gary, which is, of course, her father's name. J.R. is immediately suspicious: Garrison must be sniffing around for some sweet, sweet Ewing money. Sue Ellen then worries the same and seethes a bit. Or maybe she's just seething because she's once again wearing that awful grape jumpsuit we saw a few episodes ago.


Oh, and Bobby...eh, who cares about Bobby.

It turns out that Daddy Southworth actually left Southfork entirely to Garrison when he died. As Garrison had split town long before that, however, Miss Ellie eventually filed paperwork declaring her brother legally dead, which made Southfork hers. This was done at Jock's behest, and it was his money from the oil industry that transformed the place from what you see in that terrible painting to its current tacky splendor.

Now that her brother has returned and he's obviously not a zombie–meaning he never actually died–Miss Ellie's conscience kicks in and she thinks she wants to give Southfork back to him because "it's right." As you may suspect, her sons and husband aren't having it at all. Things get heated to the point where Jock busts out with a...he busts out with a...(sorry, it's hard for me to type when I'm shaking with fury)...he eventually yells "You're overstepping your place, Miss Ellie!" HER PLACE! Because he's "head of the household" and all decisions are ultimately his and...her rage at this sexist bullshit is second only to my own. I swear, during this scene my bra flew off my body, and it joined all my other bras and they suddenly combusted, burning themselves. At the same time, I am sure Gloria Steinem got her Obi-Wan on and felt a serious disturbance in The Force. All around the world, my fellow Seven Sisters alumnae opened their checkbooks and made pledges even though they already gave this year, or maybe they only thought about giving because you know, just because they went to a Seven Sisters college that doesn't necessarily men they're a rocket scienceologist or a super-rich CEO of Whatever, Inc...maybe they are just a humble writer-type who kind of mostly "gets" "by" and eats toast and enjoys writing recaps of 40-year-old nighttime soaps and never compares herself to her classmates who are saving the world or whatever and no I'm not talking about me at all why are you looking at me like that there's nothing wrong with any of my life choices.

The point is, this scene reiterates that Jock is a sexist a-hole and Miss Ellie might get a little mad about it but she's of a generation where ultimately she just accepts it...and if that were not depressing enough, the scene is also so very, very brown.


With the possibility of losing Southfork to his mother's whims lurking, J.R. goes into full paranoia mode. He's convinced that Kathy, Garrison's traveling companion and Presumed Interesting Lady Friend (PILF), is a gold digger who's goaded the old man into returning and snatching all that land up. Hmm, in that scenario, I guess Garrison would also be a gold digger, wouldn't he, if he were cozying up to Miss Ellie just for the money? Or would he only be the poor, manipulated put-upon because only women can be "gold diggers"? Ugh this show is pushing all my feminist buttons today.

I will say this for J.R.: he is awful, but he doesn't hide it. He doesn't merely think and wonder these things about Kathy, he takes her for a tour of the ranch and accuses her of gold diggery right to her face! It's rude, yes, but if I am to believe what I see on social media, "Telling It Like It Is" is apparently something to be admired, so.


On the show, however, this brash behavior only serves to make everyone angry. Kathy is insulted; Garrison decides that fuck it, he does want Southfork and he's gonna fight for it; Miss Ellie yells at J.R.; Bobby...eh, who cares about Bobby.

Okay, fine: Bobby and Pam go to Garrison's to try to smooth things over a bit, and it's here they learn The Terrible Secret. Kathy isn't Garrison's gold-digging hoochie mama, she's his nurse! Garrison is dying and he came home to see his sister and make amends and...you know. To Die. Pam and Bobby act surprised at the news, but I am dubious about their ignorance because they showed up apparently already dressed for Garrison's funeral.


Also, just so you know, I paused this moment in the scene and stared at it for a long, long time:


I couldn't take my eyes off of Garrison's hair. I had that faint itching at the back of my brain: what does his hair remind me of? Where have I seen it before? Images and names passed through my mind, always hazy and beyond reach. I tried to let it go, but I couldn't. What was it? Was it going to drive me insane? Would it come to me in the middle of the night? Did it actually remind me of anything at all? Was this a past-life experience? Finally...finally after like ten minutes and some furious pacing around my apartment where I tried to think about it really hard without thinking about it at all, it came to me.


Right?


Anyway. Now that that's out of the way...Bobby tells Miss Ellie about The Terrible Secret, and she rushes to Garrison's side and manipulates him into telling her on his own terms. She convinces him to spend his remaining days at Southfork (OF COURSE), and when she tells the rest of her family the news, well, J.R. looks mildly chagrined but Jock apologizes for his behavior. Miss Ellie says she's not angry: "At least I found out you love this ranch as much as I do."

Are you fucking kidding me? That's the lesson she learned?? That's her takeaway from this? Not "At least I found out my husband is a terrible sexist, my son is an all-around disgusting greedy person, and my life is reprehensible!"? Really, Miss Ellie? REALLY?

Hmm, actually...it's more likely that she already knew those things and she didn't need to learn them here necessarily. I mean, we knew all that already, I didn't need EPISODE 2.14 HOME AGAIN to tell me. I'll assume that's what Miss Ellie meant, because the alternative is just too much for me to handle right now, what, with all the fury I've been feeling and all the thinking I've been doing.

Well, nice knowing you, Garrison. Your storyline and The Battle for Southfork should have been at least a 2-part arc! Sure, you're alive at the episode's end...but come on. You'll die in the hazy interim before the next episode, yes? It is The Way of Things on Dallas. Trauma: out of sight, out of mind!

Friday, June 17, 2016

2.13 - KIDNAPPED

Well, well! The creators of Dallas must have jumped in a time machine, travelled from 1978 to last week, read my review of the previous episode, travelled back to 1978, discussed the fact that I wanted an episode with some action and not just lechy manbaby whining, and then they produced this episode. I mean, how else to explain it all? Look at that title: Kidnapped! What does it scream if not excitement? Hold on to your bolo ties everyone, for I am sure we will find out.

It's breakfast time at Southfork for everyone except Pam, who peels out of the ranch in her black Vette and heads to The Store. This prompts some passive aggressive "concern" from Miss Ellie–Pam leaves earlier and earlier (GEE I WONDER WHY)–but Bobby flexes his manbaby muscles and says it's not a problem unless she starts working nights. Lucy's body dysmorphia is coming along nicely and she's decided to skip breakfast because she's gaining weight. Miss Ellie suggests she skip the candy machine at school instead, but Lucy counters that it's womanservant Teresa's mashed potatoes causing her to balloon, not candy. Sue Ellen has received a letter from her mother, who sends her regards to the family and promises to visit soon. Jock then disparages her mother's town, and J.R. makes it clear that she is not welcome to stay at Southfork.

And then a huge sinkhole opens up on the property and Southfork plummets into the very depths of Hell and all of these awful people are gone for good except for Sue Ellen and Lucy and Teresa.

Just kidding, that doesn't happen until the finale of Season 27. Look for my recap in January 2189!

Anyway, Bobby and J.R. finally go to work and it seems like just another ordinary day, right? Well guess again, chump! At that very moment, a trio of bad guys enjoys a detailed slide show detailing lots of details about the Ewing clan: This is Jock, this is Bobby's car, this is Ray Krebbs, this is the Ewing Oil building...and on and on and on and ON. Just as you open your mouth to yell/brag that you already know all this stuff, it all becomes Crystal Light clear: they're planning a kidnapping, just as the episode title promised! They're gonna snatch J.R. right off the street and demand all of the Ewing monies. Or at least some of them. Now, you might think that this guy is the worst of the bad guy trio because of his ornery scowl and "no fucks given" hairdo:


But here's the spoileriffic truth of it: it's this mom-looking bitch who's the real sociopath of the bunch. She won't hesitate to get her murder on if things go badly and she's all about the Tubmans, honey, dolla dolla bills y'all.


Over yonder at the Ewing Oil building, Bobby has some business to do, a meeting to attend or whatever, but lo, alas, alack, his car has a flat tire so he takes J.R.'s car instead. For his part, J.R. is at a hotel all kinds of topless, lounging, and engaging in a little Afternoon Delight with an unnamed floozy. And yes, I engaged in a little Afternoon Dry Heaves.


Hey, I know we're not supposed to actively root for the bad guys, but when they drive around looking like this, what am I to do but hope against hope that they will get away with every crime forever?


As you undoubtedly expected, this all leads to a Three's Company-style mixup: the kidnappers stop J.R.'s car, but they find Bobby behind the wheel. Any Ewing will bring the cash, though, so they snatch Bobby and bring him to a rundown house that apparently once belonged to the notorious gangster/slob Pancho Lee.


Other graffiti in the house includes "REAR DOOR", "YOUR", and "PUNK RULE." A++ job there, set designer!

The kidnappers call Cliff Barnes and tell him that for some reason he will be the go-between in this mess. Cliff heads to Southfork to tell everyone that Bobby's been kidnapped and he has explicit instructions to follow if they hope to get Bobby back alive. At this news, Pam is obviously incredibly distraught and on the verge of collapse.


J.R. and Jock don't want Cliff Barnes nosing in on any family matters and they decide to do things their way: they're fixin' to call in the FBI despite the kidnappers being all "Guys, don't call the FBI, okay? Just give us 1.5 million dollars." Boy, that Jock Ewing sure is an a-hole...but as much as it pains me to say it, I must admit he is also a flawlessly styled a-hole.


The kidnappers become wise to the FBI's involvement and they get angry, so J.R. and Jock relent and have Cliff follow the instructions he's been given. Cliff grabs the suitcase full of money and goes on the world's most boring scavenger hunt; he looks for notes all over town that lead to the exchange location, but the kidnappers don't show up because they think the FBI might still be involved.


When a Bobby-less Cliff returns to Southfork, everyone blames him for the failure and they decide to try it the Ewing way again. When Pam balks out of, you know, fear for her husband's life, everyone gangs up on her and her brother. "You don't understand this family yet!" Jock tells her. Pam may not understand this family, but I sure do. THEY'RE THE WORST.

Finally she manages to convince them that it's best if Cliff tries again...but it's obvious that J.R. still intends to try things his own way. And then...and then...Pam slowly curls her fist as if to silently threaten a good punchin' and reader, it is the most sublime, perfect thing I've ever seen in my life. I want it engraved on my headstone and  on my heart, and I want to rearrange all of the stars in the sky into this image.

EVERYTHING

Meanwhile, at the hench-house, the sociopathic mom-looking bad guy is alone with Bobby. He tries to appeal to her better nature–or, to be more precise, her money-loving nature–and promise big bucks for her and her alone if she'll ditch her cohorts, unchain him, and let him go. Joke's on Bobby, though, she doesn't have a better nature! She begins to talk about the desperation of being truly poor, but before you can feel some empathy, she is overcome by Bobby's manliness and she begins sexually assaulting him. Yes, Bobby is about to be raped, but the other kidnappers return to the hench-house in time. Man, this show can get fucking dark! For a moment, Bobby bears the look of a man who has officially Been Through Some Shit, but as this is Dallas, the moment passes and I'm sure the trauma of sexual assault will have no lasting effect on him.


Cliff finally makes arrangement for the Bobby-cash exchange, but will J.R. and Jock let it play out and not get involved? Of course they will not! They organize a posse to lie in wait so they can ensure Cliff will not screw things up, and also to ensure that the kidnappers are killed instead of, you know, sent to jail. And that's what happens! The exchange goes off without a hitch, but then J.R. and Ray and a bunch of Southfork goobers pop up and shoot the kidnappers dead. Well, they shoot the male kidnappers. I guess not shooting the woman is chivalrous? The important thing here is that even though Bobby's life was at stake, even though he had to lie in wait amongst the dry Texas shrubland for hours, even though there was high tension and they'd be facing off again a criminal element and the outcome was uncertain...J.R. put on a fucking ascot for this. I'm not gonna lie: my eyes became cartoon hearts and then popped out of my head.


Bobby has been rescued and is back home at Southfork. Cliff is angry because he wasn't quite in the clear when the shooting began. Pam and Bobby and Sue Ellen are all "You could have killed Cliff!" and J.R. is all "Who, me?" and he smiles. It's a really weird place for the episode to end, but I suppose the Barnes-Ewing feud can't, you know, be settled in Season Two. We've only just begun!

Friday, June 10, 2016

2.12 - FALLEN IDOL

Everybody knows that the best thing about steamy 80s nighttime soaps is all the middle-aged dudes talking about business...so that's how the episode grabs ya right from the start. Bobby is off to a meeting with an architect while J.R. talks on the phone to some oil crony named Jeb. The important thing here is that we're midway into the second season and J.R.'s eyebrows have really taken on a life of their own. Does he comb them that way to make himself seem more evil? Does he subconsciously twirl them as an old-timey villain twirls his moustache? Who can say. All I know for sure is that they are two luscious feathered caterpillars crawling up to Heaven, and I love them.


En route to his big important meeting, Bobby is waylaid by a fluffy-haired old college pal who went–and probably still goes–by the charming nickname "Guzzler." Bobby cancels his big important meeting in favor of lunch with Guzzler, where they look at the football Bobby carried for 80 yards to win the sports match and Guzzler sexually harasses their waitress. In the midst of all their reminiscin', Bobby says "We had some good times." Then they exchange these tender looks. "Good times?" Tender looks? Obviously they were secret lovers in college.



Bobby insists that Guzzler stay at Southfork while he's in town on business despite the fact that it's a huge inconvenience for him. But the Ewings always get what they want, so that night at dinner Guzzler entertains everyone with his tales of womanizing and other things he's done whilst womanizing. Well, J.R. isn't entertained, he thinks Guzzler talks too much. And Pam isn't impressed by the bravado either, which can only mean one thing: PAM EYEROLL right at the table in the middle of a story because she rules so hard.


J.R. has had enough and splits before everyone retreats for post-dinner cocktails. Instead of going with her husband, Sue Ellen says bye because she finds Guzzler "fascinating." Now, I was about to lose my mind here because I thought Sue Ellen had better judgment than that (yes, even considering she married J.R.), but I should have known: it's a ruse! She finds a quiet corner and calls Cliff to arrange some A.S.A.P. Afternoon Delight.


Everyone* chimes in to let Guzzler know he's so great and he simply must stay at Southfork for as long as he wants and they're all so excited–especially Lucy, who practically melts into a pile of googly eyes and hair at the prospect of 24 hour access to Unkie Guzz.


*EVERYONE EXCEPT PAM, who gives the whole idea some side eyes so sharp they will cut a bitch. It added 30 years to my life and then took away 50. Yes, I'm dead right now and it was totally worth it.

forever my queen

The next day, Bobby takes Guzzler to one of his new construction sites to show off and get some advice since Guzzler is a big businessman building big high-rises in big Venezuela. Guzzler sort of kind of manipulates Bobby into straight-up asking for help and proposing a partnership, and gosh I sure hope that the title of this episode isn't some kind of spoiler about how it will all work out! For now, everything is super just like old times, and so Bobby and the Guzz (I suddenly wish that was a spin-off show) head out to celebrate.

They stay out until the wee hours and return to Southfork completely plastered. After Bobby passes out, Guzzler attempts to put the moves on Pam. Can you believe the nerve? He is not worthy of receiving her withering glares, never mind any sexnanigan-related kindnesses! After a wee bit o' struggle, Pam's NO MEANS FUCKING NO finally gets through Guzzler's fluffy head. Or does it? The next morning, he's back to teasing and flirting and it's just gross. Of course, no one mentions the crap he tried to pull the night before.

 just no

Oh, and speaking of sexnanigan-related kindnesses, Sue Ellen's Day of the Nookie is here and so she blasts off in her Battle Wagon to go get some. There is just not enough Sue Ellen in this episode, I'll tell you right now.

Meanwhile, J.R. has brought some oil dudes out to Southfork to reassure his cronies that there is, in fact, a shit ton of oil lurking under the ground, just a-waitin' to be drilled into. You see, J.R. has told these guys that Jock amended his will to allow drilling on Southfork land after he's dead, but Miss Ellie doesn't know anything about it, so all this talkin' and prospectin' must be kept secret. The real secret, as you may imagine, is that it's a fake will. That J.R., such a schemer! This seems like too much, even for him. He can't possibly pull this one off, can he?

Bobby tells Pam about his new partnership with Guzzler and Pam is not having it. Didn't Bobby want to go into business for himself? Isn't that why he fought with his family? Why is Guzzler playing such a big role all of a sudden? Bobby pulls out the "UR just jealous" argument, suggesting that Pam doesn't want to share Bobby's attentions. Pam is really not having this shit. Unfortunately for Bobby (but fortunately for us) she's got her collar popped and she's wearing her take-no-nonsense vest. She busts out a "Don't flatter yourself!" and I swear, I felt the Earth tilt on its axis.


Dallas sure does love to play with our emotions, though. One moment we experience the dizzying high of popped-collar Pam going off, and the next we experience the puke-inducing low of Guzzler hitting on Lucy by the pool. "Women are like snowflakes," he tells her. "Every one is different, and every one is beautiful. Also they have a lot of corners. Sometimes they melt, and sometimes they pile up–they pile up really high, Lucy. Really high."



Okay maybe I made up some of his awful snowflake speech, but that's only to distract myself from the fact that it's all caused Lucy's tiny sex goblin powers to activate and she suggests that she and Guzzler go somewhere and, you know, do it. Hold on, I have to shudder and dry-heave for a few minutes.

Unfortunately for them (but fortunately for us), Pam enters the scene and she's still got on her vest. TGIPam! She shuts this shit down right quick with some cocked brows and sarcastic comments.


Lucy slithers away to take a cold shower while Guzzler and Pam have it out. He gives her a sad tale about how hard he had it growing up and how he only has good intentions when it comes to Bobby: "I love Bobby...if a man can use that word about another man nowadays without it sounding dirty." Yes, Guzzler has thrown down a late-70s NO HOMO. Fortunately for him (and unfortunately for us), Pam buys it! She suddenly sees Guzzler in a new, more sympathetic light, which means that J.R. is our last anti-Guzz hope. I believe in the power of his eyebrows.


I also believe in the power of his eclectic desk art collection, because I can't get enough of it. I imagine him spotting that snail at Pier 1 Imports or in the homegoods aisle of TJ Maxx and he's like yes. Yes, I love this snail, I must have it and I will put it right on my desk so I can see it all the time. I'll put it next to my choo-choo.


Guzzler's big idea is to put a shopping center on a remote strip of Southfork land and as you might guess, Miss Ellie takes some convincing. Oh the purity and beauty of Southfork and her daddy loved the land and blah blah blah. Once Jock reminds her that it'll make Bobby super happy, though, she's in. The only thing she loves more than the land is her sons. YEAH WE KNOW, MISS ELLIE, SOUTHFORK AND YOUR SONS ARE ALL YOU TALK ABOUT.


Things begin to spiral out of control as Guzzler's vision of the shopping center grows. It began as a market and maybe a dry cleaner, but now Guzzler has three major "first-class" department stores on board, an underground parking facility planned...it's gonna be "the biggest thing to happen since the invention of the hot dog!" So, you know, obviously very, very big. LIKE HOT DOG HUGE YOU GUYS.

The hot dog huge problem with Guzzler's plan, however, is that the site of the future Shopping Mall of America is where J.R. intends to drill after Jock dies. Of course, this is a secret plan, so he must rectify the situation in the best way he knows how: nefariously. He hires a private investigator to look into Guzzler's background, and while that dirt is dug he placates the grumblings of Jeb and the Holograms with a resounding SLAP. Literally! Jeb makes vague threats against Bobby should he not back down from his development deal, and J.R. counters with a backhand. Nobody threatens a Ewing!

The private investigation results are in: Guzzler is a scammer, a broke crook! He sets up these development deals everywhere and then splits town, leaving investors in the lurch. Apparently authorities in Montana want to question him. Overall it seems that Bobby is just another mark. J.R. shares this info with Pam, of all people, because he thinks she's the one who might be able to talk some sense into Bobby. She decides to talk to Guzzler first, though, and here's where I feel the first stirrings of pity for the man: look at this tropical monstrosity of a bedroom they've forced him to stay in!


Pam really lays into him and gives him what for, and Guzzler busts out another sad tale, this one about how he peaked in college, burned out young, and his life has been a big mess ever since. Once again Pam's big heart gets the better of her and ultimately she's unsure how to proceed. But her worries are short-lived: Bobby has been awake this whole time and more to the point, he's known about Guzzler's troubles the whole time. This partnership was meant to be a "way back" for Bobby's college hero, for him to get his life on track and be something more like the man he was. But the Southfork development is too much, and Bobby has decided to find another project for them to work on.

But it's too late! Guzzler has called a cab and is ready to depart for Venezuela–or wherever he's really going–and Bobby will have to make do without him. He's just too important and too needed elsewhere! Bobby leaves the partnership offer on the table and the men hug each other for their lives but don't worry, it's still NO HOMO. Their undying love for each other must remain unspoken for another day.


Aside from Lucy's googly eyes, this episode is simply not salacious enough for me. Sue Ellen appears for maybe a minute, and while J.R. does get in a good smack to Jeb's smug face, he's fairly subdued overall. If it weren't for Pam's ire gettin' all up, it would be rather dreadful. Still, there are lessons to be learned. The characters all learned that saving face is the most important thing of all, while we learned that Bobby-centric episodes are a fucking drag. Wait, I bet we already knew that, didn't we?

Friday, June 20, 2014

2.11 - TRIANGLE

Yeah, "Triangle"! Do you guys like triangles and other shapes? I sure hope you do, because this week, it's all about geometry! That's right, we're going to laugh, love, and learn right alongside the Ewings in this very special episode.

The action begins during breakfast at Southfork. J.R. goes on and on and on about Euclid's Elements between bites of bacon. He starts in on isosceles triangles and how they relate to the oil business somehow, but Lucy has had enough. "'Pons asinorum'?" she says. "Talk English, J.R., what does that even mean?"

Sue Ellen chimes in: "It means, uh, 'Bridge of Asses', Lucy." Lucy then gives a cheeky (no pun intended) (actually yes, pun intended) grin and waggles her eyebrows suggestively.

PSYCHE! Ha ha haaaaa, sorry to kill your math boner, NERDS, but the titular triangle ain't about shapes. It's about love! Well, it's not about "love" either, really. Maybe it is about shapes? I'm not really sure, to tell you the truth. I guess it doesn't matter. All I know is that there is minimal Pam to be found herein, and even minimal-er Sue Ellen; in fact, this is a Ray Krebbs-centric episode. That sounds like a nightmare recipe for disaster, doesn't it? Under any other circumstances, you'd be right to be worried. But my friends, "Triangle" is 100% country fried awesome, because it features Kate fucking Mulgrew as local singing phenom Garnet McGee! This is some Calamity Janeway shit, and it has made my life.



The episode opens with one of Garnet's scintillating performances. Pam, Bobby, Lucy, and some doofus Lucy bought are in attendance because Garnet McGee is hot hot hot. They're all shocked to see Garnet stroll on over to Ray Krebbs when her set is over- Garnet and Ray? Really? No one knew, probably because Ray has been almost entirely absent for like the last ten episodes. Bobby, Lucy, and Doofus are excited to meet Garnet, but Pam plays it cool. She already knows Garnet, see, from their days together as a couple of poors. In fact, Pam tells Bobby that Garnet is nothing more than an opportunist. Why, she even lived with a songwriter once...just for the songs. She's gonna chew up poor ol' Ray and spit him out like a piece of gristle.

But not tonight! No, tonight Ray and Garnet engage in The Act of Lovemaking. Afterward, Garnet presses Ray for some info on Southfork, and he confides in her that Southfork means oh so very much to him. He's been there for almost 20 years, saved from a life of petty crimes and skinniness by Jock Ewing. Then he tells Garnet that he loves her, and she responds by asking if he'll always be poor. She ruminates on her own life of poorness and how she desperately desires to be done with it. "The wantin's like a disease," she says as she nuzzles his naugahyde belly despondently. This can only end well!


The next morning, Lucy tells everyone at the breakfast table about her dreams of becoming a singer. She asks J.R. for some help- after all, he's got connections in the Austin and Nashville music scenes, of course- and he promptly shuts that shit down. She gets no support from anyone, and her pleas of "But I want my life to be interesting!" fall on deaf ears. Actually, that's not true- everyone hears what she has to say, and they all respond with variations of "forget it," "you'll embarrass the family," "that's absurd," "absolutely not," "no," and "fucking NO." Maybe if she'd busted out the "But I got a lot of claps in the bar that time I was forced to sing by the guy who pretty much kidnapped me, remember? Oh no wait, you were all too goddamn busy celebrating my birthday without me!" it might have worked.

Ah, who am I kidding? These terrible people would never allow Lucy to have her own life and identity! But perhaps things will work out for Lucy after all (yeah right); she tells Ray, "It's not over...not until I say it is," and you guys, I think that glower means business.


That night, there's a party at Southfork for some reason and Ray has brought Garnet as his date. The men fawn over her, but Pam is having none of it. When the two women are left alone, Pam lays it on the line: "You'll use Ray until something better comes along!"

Garnet counters with "Didn't you?" and *sniff sniff* what's that smell? Is this another Ewing Barbecue? No, sorry, it's just the char-broiled scent of Pam getting burnt. Sorry Pam, you know I love you (although what in the Victorian era hell is that hair) but Garnet wins this round of the sass-off.


"Well played, McGee...well played."

J.R. finally gets a load- an eyeload, that is- of Garnet and is immediately smitten, or at least he's immediately turned on. He asks her to dance despite the fact that Ray has staked his claim. Ray looks on all peeved-like, but let's be real. Like I said, all the men at the party are fawning over her and no wonder! She's dressed like a giant baseball for fuck's sake.



Oh and for some reason Lucy is mad at Ray for dating Garnet? Poor Lucy. If there's one character on this show I'd expect to end up committing suicide just to escape her miserable life, it's her.

The next morning, Jock summons Ray into his office to ask about his life plans. Ray tells him he's simply waiting for the right moment to ask Garnet to marry him, and of course Jock makes this all about himself. What about Southfork? Will Ray leave because he'll be starting his own family? Ray's unsure about his future, but Jock's got a plan: he hands Ray a deed to some Southfork land, solely to ensure that he'll never want to leave. He actually says that, that he wants Ray to stay at Southfork forever. I don't know about you, but all of this "stay here forever and ever" shit that Jock and Miss Ellie keep spewing makes me think of one thing and one thing only.


I mean, right? Also, I know I am showing some A+ Photoshop skills there, you don't have to tell me about it.

J.R. takes Garnet to lunch and tries to woo her into some post-lunch coitus, but she is unimpressed...or, she's smart enough to know that she should play unimpressed. No one ever makes J.R. give chase for long, so to maximize her winnings when they eventually do the Dew deed (because of course they will), she strings him along a bit and plays up the nonchalance.

That evening, we finally get an extended Garnet McGee performance and...holy shit, she's terrible!


Mind you, I may think she's terrible but clearly J.R. does not. Or maybe he does think she's terrible but not so much that he doesn't still want to get McGee in the McSack. Sadly, I am not privy to J.R.'s inner monologue, so I can only surmise. At any rate, over breakfast he sets a scheme in motion to get Ray out of the picture for a day or two by sending him to Odessa in pursuit of some amazing bull that's purportedly for sale.

Before he leaves town, Ray stops by Garnet's place; now that he's a landowner, he wants to get married right this second and he can't understand why she's not immediately excited to be his wife. She tries to explain that she's got shit to do: dreams to achieve, gigs to perform, her own life to live, etc, and she's giving him all she's capable of giving him right now. This gives Ray the sads, but not me! I love that one of the emerging themes in the series is that some women don't want to define themselves by their husbands or boyfriends. They are people! People with marginal talent maybe, but people nonetheless. Hooray for the late 70s!

J.R. is so super hot for Garnet that he's called her to his office at Ewing Oil to talk about a contract offer he's got for her. He'll use Ewing money to jumpstart her career- he's already booked studio time with a bigshot producer- in exchange for 25% of her earnings from all sources...and "exclusive use of her services" for as long as he wants. He basically wants to make her a country-croonin' hooker! But Garnet McGee is not outraged, nor is she offended. Remember, she's got that wantin' disease, and if sleeping with J.R. is the cure, then she'll do it. "Ten percent," she counters, and they smile deviously at each other. Game recognizes game, y'all!



(Meanwhile, in Odessa, Ray is just discovering that the bull deal was nothing but bull crap. He's been had! And so he heads back to Dallas...dun dun dunnnnnnn....)

Lucy shows up in J.R.'s office while he's "down in the labs" (awesome, I so want to see the Ewing Oil labs). She takes the opportunity to do a bit of snooping and reads the Garnet McGee contract that's just a-layin' there on his desk. We get a good long look at it, just in case we forgot the terms that were laid out 30 seconds prior.


When her uncle returns, Lucy pleads her case once more: won't he help her get a foot in the door of the music business? And once more, J.R. tells her no dice. Then she brings up the contract she just peeped; she doesn't want to blackmail him, but come on man, really won't he help her please? J.R. tells her that there's nothing untoward in that contract, so she can tell whomever she wants all about it...and besides, if she does tell, well then she'll be just like her mother: "a scheming, blackmailing little tramp." I'm pretty sure my face looked just like Lucy's when he busted out that little buttnugget of mean.

Sorry, I don't know what a "buttnugget" is...I certainly don't want to imply that J.R. took a dump at his desk

That evening, J.R. heads to Garnet's to collect his first installment of nookie. Oh, and remember that he's got a pregnant wife? Yeah, she's been in bed all day with a case of the baby barfs. Miss Ellie kind of tries to talk to her and Sue Ellen plays the "patient wife" card and they both obviously know that he's out cheating on her at that very moment and it's pretty depressing.


J.R. and Garnet enjoy some post-coital poker (as you do) and bond a bit over their mutual greed; she's greedy because she grew up with nothing, and he's greedy because he wants to be. Then J.R. tells her she needs to dump Ray, and he latches onto her neck to initiate nookie installment #2, and it's just the grossest thing. Garnet seems to have one of those stark "What the fuck is my life?" moments, but it quickly passes.


Ray has finally returned to Southfork and he's gearing up to head into town when Lucy shows up. Ah geez, you guys, she does the tiny sex goblin thing again. Lucy, no! I thought that was all behind us. Way, way behind us!


To his credit (and my relief), Ray begs off, reiterating that their tryst is over for good, that it was a mistake, blah blah blah. In her angry disappointment, Lucy blurts out the news about the contract and tells him that Garnet and J.R. and out there somewhere having a tryst of their own. An ominous piano plays and Ray storms out! Lucy starts yelling and shrieking about how she didn't mean to say anything and oh no disaster is imminent. Pam comes out to see what all the fuss is about, and Ray says that while Bobby may have taken Pam from him, J.R. ain't gonna take Garnet. It's so dramatic!


Ray speeds off into the night. Pam tells Bobby what's up and he speeds off after Ray.

But Bobby's not fast enough! Ray shows up at Casa de the Most Hideous Fucking Wallpaper Ever and punches J.R. He punches him in the face! He punches him in the face twice! He punches him in the face twice and then starts strangling him! Ray has lost it, you guys.




Bobby arrives before Ray can actually murder J.R., but man, Ray is done. He is sweaty and he's done!


He's fed up and totally tired of the Ewings using their Ewing money to buy whatever and whomever they want. "I'm clearin' out!" he says, and clear out he does. Ray clear out! Ray mad! Ray so mad he...he...

"Rarrrrrr!"

Bobby catches up with him outside and plays the "What about Jock?" card, and again, to Ray's credit (and my relief) he tells Bobby that he don't owe Jock shit. But then J.R. comes out and tells Ray he has to leave Southfork by morning, so Ray is all "Well if you want me to go, then I'm not goin'!" If J.R. wants Ray gone, he can try to get Jock to fire him. And so Southfork maintains its hold on another victim.

The next morning, it's a new day, because that's how time works. But also it's a new day in Ray's brain, you know, like with a fresh outlook or whatever. Holding his deed, he gazes out over his little chunk of land with pride. Lucy rides up and apologizes, and asks if they can be friends because she really doesn't have any. To make this sad moment even sadder, the camera pulls back and we see the land Ray has been looking at, the parcel given to him by Jock as a reward for 20 years of service. It's some dirt and a tree! So very generous. But no matter. Like everyone else, Ray will be here forever...and ever...and ever...