It's been a couple of weeks since the booze, beef, and brouhaha-filled Barbecue and the Ewings are spending some quality family time together relaxing by the pool and just generally being rich. Jock and Miss Ellie play backgammon, Sue Ellen partakes in a crossword puzzle, Pam floats in the pool in a way that accentuates her bosoms so much that even J.R. takes notice...which makes Sue Ellen take disapproving notice.
this can't be the first time they've noticed Pam's bosoms...also, "bosoms" is my favorite word to use when talking about bosoms
Everyone seems to be getting along, isn't that nice? Well, mostly everyone. I admit, this is my favorite moment in this scene:
I seriously watched that like five times in a row.
Apparently there's a big cattle auction coming up so Miss Ellie has to yammer on about how great the Southworth cattle were and how great the Ewing cattle are and how Bobby and J.R. have never shown much interest in all of it, it was always Gary who was her little cowboy and...
Gary! That's a name we haven't heard in a while. Why bring him up now, in an episode called "Reunion"? HMM I WONDER.
But let's not get all cart-before-the-horse, okay? We're still in the opening scene and there is a shit ton to celebrate. From Lucy's silent sass to Jock's lush hair...
...to J.R.'s glasses...
...all the way to Sue Ellen's strut...
...this scene has it all!
But alas, it cannot go on forever. Sue Ellen soon gets her Lady Macbeth on and tells J.R. that he's falling from his position of power- everyone's being nice to Pam, Bobby's making headway at Ewing Oil- and she won't stand for it. If he won't do something about it, she will! J.R., however, won't stand for being told what to do and shuts her down: "You wanna keep sleeping between those satin sheets, don't you ever try to tell me how to run my business."
YOU GUYS THEY SLEEP ON SATIN SHEETS.
Is this a nagging wife which I see before me?
It's so weird, it's as if the producers just discovered that Victoria Principal has great bosoms and that they might be a selling point for the show and they should therefore front-n-center 'em more.
Bobby and Pam head off to Las Vegas for a
For some reason, the gathering moves to Bobby's suite and all I really care about is this woman in the exquisite flowy red jumpsuit thing. Man, she really made the most out of her non-speaking background role, let me tell you...she was whooping it up and feeding the guy in the blue suit and walking around and interacting wordlessly with Bobby and more. She was great and I hope Woman in Exquisite Flowy Red Jumpsuit Thing becomes a recurring character.
So what the heck is Lucy up to here at The Hot Biscuit? How many times can I work "The Hot Biscuit" into this recap? So many questions!
It turns out that this Hot Biscuit waitress...
...is Valene! Lucy's mom! Joan motherfucking Van Ark! Everything is wonderful. Reunions, hooray!
Over yonder in Las Vegas, there's another reunion afoot. A service worker practically forces his way past Bobby into the suite and...why, it's not a service worker. It's the concerned creepster! The concerned creepster is Gary, the long-lost alcoholic Ewing brother! Exclamation mark!
Also, holy shit, "creepster" is right. Even when we know who this dude is, the dead-behind-the-eyes creepiness just won't go away, amirite?
"Say, are you about a size 14?"
For those who didn't watch the show's first season, Valene helpfully recounts her history with Gary for Lucy: they were young and she was pregnant and they got married and Gary succumbed to The Pressures of Being a Ewing and ran off and Lucy was born and then after Lucy busted out da womb J.R. snatched her away and told Val to skedaddle. Through gritted teeth Lucy says "I used to think I hated J.R. Ewing more than anybody. But I didn't. Not until now." I'm not entirely sure that makes sense (Whom did she hate more than J.R. up until this moment? "I didn't think I could hate J.R. any more..." might be more à propos, no?), but her sentiment is admirable.
and I really do mean "through gritted teeth"
Gary tells Pam and Bobby all about his last few years: 2-week blackout this, rock bottom that. He blames J.R. for exacerbating his problems, and Pam commiserates. This episode is a key juncture in the series; while we saw some glimpses of J.R.'s a-hole-ishness in Season 1, it's here where the writers really begin to build him up as a villain. Pretty much everyone in the episode mentions how awful he is and how miserable he makes their lives. Boy, if he's not careful, he's liable to end up getting shot! Right? Get it? J.R. getting shot? Wink wink!
At any rate, Bobby successfully needles Gary into going home to Southfork, where this news generates different amounts of excitement. J.R. and Sue Ellen are nonplussed. Jock is cautiously optimistic. Miss Ellie is about to have a stroke.
Sue Ellen worries that J.R. will slip even further down the totem pole of power if he has yet another brother to contend with, but J.R. isn't worried. Gary's always been a loser and he'll screw things up for himself without any help from J.R.
Out in the barn, Lucy tries to get Ray up into The Hayloft of Sin, but Gary shows up at Southfork and distracts her before Ray succumbs to her goblin charms. I couldn't be happier about this because I just...I can't take any more Ray/Sex Goblin canoodling. I JUST CAN'T.
Out in the driveway, the first two minutes of the reunion are going splendidly, with hugs and handshakes and smiles all around. Everything is wonderful. Reunions, hooray!
During after-dinner cocktails, however, things get a little tense. Jock has had enough small talk and thinks it's time everyone clears the air. "If anyone wants to punch me in the mouth," he says, "just stand up and do it right now." I stood up, but thankfully I stopped myself from punching my TV because I can't afford a new one. The air does get cleared, however, as Gary essentially says "Eh, it's fine" when J.R. starts to bring up old business.
must...resist...urge to punch...
As Gary and Bobby enjoy some late-night milk, Miss Ellie noses her way into the conversation. She hugs all up on Gary, and when he says "Glad I came home for a visit, mama", she replies...
"Not a visit, son. You're home for good."
HOW INSIDIOUS IS THAT? Not only because, you know, Gary has his own life now and maybe he doesn't want to move back to fucking Southfork, geez, but also because that "...for good" is so damn ominous-sounding. Miss Ellie's (and, to be fair, Jock's) pathological need to keep everyone under the same roof forever and always is but a hair's breadth away from making this all a horror movie. It's so great!
Gary's face relays regret over his decision to come home and/or, perhaps, that he's about to murder Miss Ellie. Either way, I totally get it.
The next morning, Lucy convinces her dad to take a drive with her to Fort Worth. Where are they going? To The Hot Biscuit of course! Lucy's got some Parent Trap-style scheme to get Gary and Val back together, you see, and her eyebrows let us know that she's super pleased with herself about it. I love the over-the-top faces she makes so much.
While Gary and Lucy try to convince Valene to take a ride out to Southfork with them (Everyone's changed, even J.R.! Everything is wonderful. Reunions, hooray!), Pam receives a phone call. Digger, who's been on a bender since that barbecue, was found "half-dead in the street" and is in the hospital. That's sad and all, but I admit to being distracted by the new bedside phone. A new phone, a new Jimmy, a new credit sequence...such a renaissance in Season 2!
Gary calls the ranch to say that hey, you know, just to throw things into further disarray, Valene is coming home with me. Surprisingly, everyone is on board...except, not surprisingly, J.R., who told that tramp never to set foot in Texas again.
When it becomes obvious that he's alone in his opposition, however, he acquiesces...publicly, at least. Then he scoots inside and makes a phone call. He tells some guy in a suit that he doesn't want to liquidate some loser company the Ewings own because he's found just the loser to run it. I didn't care about any of that, though, because I was too focused on the giant dogcyclopedia behind him. What the hell is with that?
Sue Ellen comes in at the end of the call, yet again concerned about J.R.'s potential fall from grace. He tells her not to worry, that he's going to be exactly what his family wants him to be: his brother's keeper. But...no one has mentioned anything of the sort. In fact, everyone has told J.R. to shut up and leave Gary alone. But, no matter! The episode ends with a freeze frame on J.R.'s soulless/evil laugh, which is just fine by moi. Can't wait for next week!
This episode didn't feature enough Pam for my liking, but it was still a real delight. Joan Van Ark! J.R. taking his first steps into true villainy! Sue Ellen taking her first true steps into conniving-y! And best of all...The Hot Biscuit. Hey, I worked that in seven times!