The episode begins in some sort of weird Hospital for Drunks. Pam has arrived to see how Digger's doing, but her Aunt Maggie tries to dissuade her: "Digger's not a pretty sight." That ain't gonna stop Pam! She heads in anyway and discovers that Maggie done spoke the truth; Digger's all sweaty and shaky. Not a pretty sight at all.
Enough of one poor man's health and addiction problems! Let's head over to Southfork, where Gary and Lucy have dragged poor Valene. She's still nervous about getting involved with the Ewings again after all these years. She's still sure that the peaceful beauty of the ranch hides a nest of snakes living inside. She's still unconvinced that J.R. and Jock have truly changed. She's still a lot of things, apparently.
The Saga of Val and Gary is rehashed yet again. Okay, we get it, Dallas, we know what happened. For fuck's sake, tell another story already!
did you guys know that Gary ran off and then Val tried to take baby Lucy away but J.R. tracked her down and some good ol' boys took baby Lucy and told Val never to come back to Texas? no? well wait thirty seconds, they'll tell the story AGAIN
Dramatic music plays as the three pull up to the house, and I found myself honestly surprised (and terribly disappointed) that it wasn't a dramatic reinterpretation of the show's theme. Oh well, I'm sure that jaunty theme will be repurposed yet again soon.
Everyone stands around awkwardly, saying hello and the such. J.R. says he wants to bury the hatchet. At this, Sue Ellen and Miss Ellie give the first of this episode's many side-eyes. My heart has already grown three sizes!
Back at the Hospital for Drunks, Pam says she wants to take her father home, but Aunt Maggie tries to dissuade her from that, too, telling her that Digger doesn't want her around. Pam insists, and finally Aunt Maggie has had enough of her selfish shit: "You gotta stop thinkin' of you, girl, and think of him." Pam relents, but not before a single Pam Sadness Tear® gently falls.
The action (oh lawd, how loosely I use that word) moves back to Southfork, where Ray passive-aggressively lets Gary know that he has no intention of giving up rancho honcho duties. He and Jock run things just fine, you see, and there's not really much work...but if Gary wants to be another set of hands, that's a-okay. As Ray pulls away, Val and Lucy walk up. Gary tells them what transpired, and Lucy promptly suggests that he fire Ray and take over the ranch. Damn, don't mess with a tiny sex goblin scorned!
Gary ain't that kind of Ewing, though, and it doesn't matter anyway because J.R. then pulls up and offers his brother a job running a "jewel" of a business. But last episode, we learned that it's really a "loser" of a business. Gary's gonna be duped by ol' J.R., but only Valene suspects it.
J.R. and Lucy drive back to the house and Val pleads with Gary to split now, to head to California, to head anywhere so long as it's away from Southfork. Once they're settled somewhere else, they can come back for Lucy...the important thing is that they flee from this snake nest pronto.
You guys, Pam is struggling. Should she try to see him against his wishes? Of course she should! She heads right over to Aunt Maggie's and simply will not take FUCKING NO for an answer. Digger's Drunk Vision® clears up...
...and when he sees it's his dewy-eyed daughter, he promptly tells her FUCKING NO, get out. She refuses and pushes the matter further: she loves her husband! What is she supposed to do here? Digger's reasonable response is that Pam saw the way Jock humiliated him at the Ewing Barbecue, yet she still lives there. His less reasonable response is "You're dead to me, get out." Finally, Pam gets out.
Back at Southfork (yes, all we do in this episode is flip-flop locations!), J.R. has Gary buried under a ton of paperwork. Valene remains concerned about this, and stupidly tries to suggest to Miss Ellie that Gary should leave. Like Miss Ellie would ever go for that! I swear, if that woman truly had her way, she'd probably cram each and every one of her sons back into her baby cave and have her legs sewn together so they could never, ever escape her ghoulish clutches.
When Miss Ellie says that Gary should stay because history won't repeat itself, Val replies "I guess if you say so, that makes it true," and I wanted to make out with my TV I was so happy that someone finally sassed that old bat.
the face of a woman burnt
Jock offers help to Pam regarding The Digger Situation and she totally sasses him ("You've helped enough already!"). Jock sasses her right back ("If it helps you to keep this up, keep it up!") and you guessed it: I wanted to make out with all the TVs.
YOU GUYS AND THEN THIS HAPPENS:
A muscle car comes tearin' into Southfork and plows into little pedestal-things and I watched it like ten times.
It's Digger, drunk again, come to return all the convalescin' gifts that Pam brought him...and to get Jock to pay up. For the oil wells he "stole" and the such? No no...for the one thing Digger had left to lose: he wants a payoff for Pam! Everyone is rightly mortified.
"You're unbearable, Barnes," Jock says. "How much do you want?" When Digger says he wants ten grand for his daughter, Jock just laughs and throws a hundred dollar bill at him. Digger scoops it up, says "Sold!"...and Dallas has entered a whole new realm of fuckery!
It gets worse (for my eyes, anyway) when Pam and Bobby retreat to their monstrosity of a bedroom:
It's so so soooooooo ugly, but I can't lie- I now have a burning
Later that night, Gary is still going over the paperwork that J.R. gave him. Pam and Lucy come in to talk, and Miss Ellie arrives with some milk and cookies like her son's a ten-year-old and ...aw, who am I kidding? Man, I could eat the fuck out of, like, a hundred and fifty cookies right now.
Anyway, like a total clod Gary knocks over the milk. The women start clucking and scurrying and wiping until Gary flips ("It's only a glass of milk, dammit, leave me alone!") and runs out of the room. The ever-wise Miss Ellie chalks it up to simple embarrassment and stops Lucy from going after her quite obviously unhinged father.
But...is Gary so unhinged that a milk spill and an ensuing brouhaha will drive him to drink?
No! But it will drive him to...dun dun dunnn...leave Southfork without a word to anyone. History, it seems, totally does repeat itself. In your face, Miss Ellie!
He can't get away before Valene catches him, though, and pleads with him not to leave like this. What about Lucy? What about the embers of their hearts, which threaten to reignite into a raging bonfire of rediscovered love? Sorry, babe, Gary's splitsville...but not before locking lips with Val in a kiss that's so painful and nonsensical-looking, it's like an M.C. Escher drawing come to life.
what is even happening here
Gary walks off into the, uh, day and Valene goes to break the news to Lucy. But guess who saw everything that just went down?
that light is preposterously huge
J.R. gives Valene two options: get an escort out of town and $5000, or just an escort out of town. Val tells him to shove his "Ewing money", that she'll be leaving of her own accord...and so she makes for the spinoff called Knots Landing, where a new life and yes, a new Gary await.
While I applaud her decision- I so loved Knots Landing, you guys (duh)- I have to give some side-eye of my own at Val not telling Lucy she's leaving. Everyone thinks Gary and Val are a couple of turds, which is true- don't wordlessly run away from your problems, geez. But they think Gary and Val are turds for all the wrong reasons, which is bad! They were basically driven out by King Turd J.R., after all. Valene, was, at least. Gary...well, I don't know what's going on with that guy.
They could both learn a thing or two from Pam, who does not at all wordlessly run away from her problems! Despite everything that's happened, she goes to see Digger and give him one last piece of her mind and tell him that he smells bad (no really, she tells him that he smells bad). She tells him that next to Jock Ewing, he's "the most unwholesome man" she knows...but she loves him anyway and she's not going to let him shut her out of his life. Digger still has the hundred bucks Jock threw at him, and offers it to Pam, but she tells him to keep it- after all, "the old louse" owes him a lot more than that, right? Aw, they made up! It's so touching I could puke. In a good way.
stern Pam is not the one
It's After Dinner Cocktail Time and everyone is still rehashing the Gary business. Bobby lays down some truths: that Gary couldn't hack it in the family simply because he's not a ruthless, backstabbing jerk like the rest of them. Don't worry: no one will take this to heart and mend their ruthless, backstabbing ways. Things only get worse from here on out...and I do mean right this moment, when J.R. shows Lucy a check stub- forged, of course- showing that he paid Valene that five grand before she left because she asked for it. Then a wonderful thing happens:
It was pretty tense, you guys, like suddenly this was some Agatha Christie shit and they all realized that the murderer was right there in that very room.
Hey, that gives me an idea...time for some Dallas/And Then There Were None crossover fanfiction!