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

Friday, May 30, 2014

2.9 - SURVIVAL

A plane crashes in a swamp. Tears squirt out. Faces get slapped. Hugs get hugged. This week's episode has all the drama of a Lifetime movie, and I am not complaining one little bit.

"Survival" begins in New York City, where Pam is on a business trip with Liz Craig. Bobby calls and gives her grief because she didn't accompany him on his business trip, and she's working way too much, and wah wah he's such an insecure manbaby I could puke. Why can't he see that Pam is a True Professional Lady? She doesn't mess around! She's so competent, she even brings every pen she owns to the hotel on this business trip.

I mean, I assume Pam brought all those pens. If I'm wrong, I don't wanna be right! Or something.

Their business meetings concluded, Bobby and J.R. are about to leave New Orleans in a puddle jumper when the pilot tries to beg off. There's a mighty storm a-brewin' out there, and it could mean trouble! J.R., however, waits for no man. J.R. waits for no weather! They take off even though it's a bad idea, and I, for one, am glad. The stormy weather really brings out the evil in J.R.'s magnificent eyebrows.


At Southfork, Jock is told for the millionth time by his doctor and Miss Ellie that he's still recovering from his bypass and he needs to "go easy" lest he keel over.  Meanwhile, LUCY'S HAIR. WHAT IS IT AND WHY.

"Yeah, I tied a bunch of weeds from the yard in my hair. I'm so fucking bored in this house. Please kill me!"

Cliff Barnes is at his office doing lawyer stuff when guess who walks in. Here's a hint:


Wait, that's not a hint, that's the answer. Yes, Sue Ellen has shown up at Cliff's, and when she walked in I let out one of those "ooooOOOOO!" sounds you heard from the audience on, like, Married With Children whenever someone did or said something naughty.

Supposedly she's there to enlist Cliff in helping her track down the Black Market Mama that J.R. drove out of town because Sue Ellen still wants that baby. Cliff says there's absolutely no way she can adopt a baby without J.R.'s consent, but in order to cheer her up he'll take her to lunch. ooooOOOOO!

By the way, there's been a sort of running theme in Dallas so far, that Cliff is really into lunch. I love this.

Oh hey, that plane is going down, J.R.'s menacing eyebrows and all! Uh oh. I sure hope that two of the show's major characters survive!


Miss Ellie gets a call that the plane has dropped off the radar and has most likely crashed in a swamp. She immediately launches Operation: Really Fucking Bad Idea, which entails no one telling Jock lest he, you know, keel over from the news. Miss Ellie commands everyone to go on Emotional Lockdown and pretend that nothing is wrong. Yes, even you, Pam, who returned home from New York early to assuage the feelings of your manbaby husband. Sure, he's probably dead...but wash away your Sadness Tear® and act like everything is fine! That's really what Miss Ellie tells her to do. Miss Ellie is still the absolute worst.

Okay, maybe this Dollar Tree Carmen Sandiego-meets-Charlie Chaplin hat is the worst. But Miss Ellie sucks!

Sue Ellen and Cliff are having a grand ol' time at lunch. She's boozing it up, he's charming it up, and they're primed and ready for some Afternoon Delight, nawmean?



Their plans to do it are thwarted when Sue Ellen calls Southfork; she was hoping to tell J.R. that she'd be home late, but now he's inconveniently (and inconsiderately) gone missing. She has to rush home, but she promises Cliff that they'll have their afternoon "some other time". ooooOOOOO!

Dinner at Southfork that night is super tense. Everyone has to scramble to keep Jock in the dark. They tell him that the storm over New Orleans kept Bobby and J.R. there for another night, and that phone lines there are down. It's bad enough that Jock is clueless about what's really going on, but Pam and Sue Ellen being forced to engage in small talk? Miss Ellie, what a twisted game you play! Well, Sue Ellen doesn't seem to mind so much so long as the booze is flowin'.


flawless queen

Lucy has snuck off to make a few calls. She's hoping to track down her father Gary because she thinks he should be here in this time of crisis. Sue Ellen catches her and hangs up the phone, and then they get into it. Sue Ellen calls Lucy's motivations into question, thinking she just wants her father to take over Southfork if J.R. and Bobby are dead. Lucy reminds Sue Ellen that she's not actually a Ewing, and if her husband is dead she'll be thrown out on her ass. There's a lot of scowling on both sides. It's pretty great.




Later, Ray forms a posse to keep reporters off of Ewing property. Miss Ellie reminds Jock yet again that he needs to take it easy.

And Sue Ellen is pretty blitzed.

Pam comes in to check on her, but Sue Ellen is in full-on drunken soliloquy mode, which nets us two eyerolls from Pam. In other words, I love this scene so much.






While Pam eyerolls are the best, I must admit that Sue Ellen's speech is pretty insightful. She realizes that her entire identity is based solely on her husband: everything she has and everything she is is because of J.R.. She's nothing except "Mrs. J.R. Ewing", and he doesn't even love her. If she loses him, she loses herself. I tell ya, it's the most self-reflection anyone on this show ever engages in!

Then Sue Ellen takes it too far and starts projecting her insecurities and self-loathing onto Pam, calling her a gold digger and saying she's never had anything that a man didn't give her. Pam is all WHAT? BITCH I WORK and smacks her. She smacks her! And geez...Pam's final Not the One form is fucking terrifying.




A pesky reporter finds a way past Ray's posse and shows up at the front door. Miss Ellie brandishes both a shotgun and righteous anger to shoo him away...and while the shooing works, Jock has overheard everything. Miss Ellie cops to lying to him, and although he gets teary-eyed, Jock does not, in fact, keel over.


Miss Ellie blah blah blahs at Pam about her sons and how wonderful they were and are while Jock springs into action by telling Ray to spring into action. Ray's gonna go up in a chopper, see, and find those boys. He just needs to look for anything in a group of three- three rocks, three sticks, three evil eyebrows, etc- because that's a survival tip he gave J.R. when he was a kid.

You know, that info might have been useful to the search party that started looking for the plane for 20 hours ago. It might be useful to them now! But only Ray gets to hear it, because I guess Jock wants to keep even the search and rescue operation in the family.

But not the whole family! Lucy brings up calling Gary to fill him in on his missing brothers, and Jock basically tells her to go screw.

But no matter! Super Ray finds J.R. and Bobby in no time. No word on the pilot, so I guess he's either dead or alive depending on whether you're a glass half full type or not. But really, the fucking plane was totally obliterated and none of them would have walked away from it in real life. I mean:


But walk away they do, and the boys return to Southfork looking not all that much worse for wear.


Everyone is happy, and Miss Ellie says, "Maybe now we can be a family again!" and Sue Ellen gives her the best "Dafuq?" face of all time.


I so, so wish the episode had ended with a freeze frame of that, but it goes on for another minute as everyone goes inside and Lucy scoffs at the idea that J.R. might need anything from his wife. It's a weird downbeat ending, especially after all the high-stakes drama throughout the episode. Not that anyone with half a brain would ever think that Bobby or J.R. would die in a plane crash in a swamp, but still. All that booze, all the tears, all the slapping!

Friday, May 23, 2014

2.8 - ELECTION

This week...it's electionin' time! The Barnes-Ewing feud reaches fever pitch and Pam is caught in the crossfire!

Did that get your blood pumping or what? That's totally what I would write if I were asked to create a little commercial bumper thing for this episode when it aired like 40 years ago.

Really, though, it pretty much sums up this episode. But it's not the snoozefest I've made it out to be, I swear. In fact, "Election" is super-extra interesting in that it could run today and be as relevant as ever because the realm of the American political campaign has not changed a GD bit since this episode aired. Sad, but true. It's even sadder than women just ain't as stylish as Pam and Sue Ellen anymore. I'm at least gonna use them as an inflatable ring in this giant cesspool of depression I've waded into!

The episode begins at Ewing Oil Headquarters where a bunch of rich white dudes sit around trying to figure out which puppet candidate they're going to pay for/support in this race for a state senate seat. I tell ya, my blood begins to boil so hard when I start thinking about the desperate need for campaign finance reform in this country, it's a good thing the action moves across town, where Cliff Barnes is turning down a sizable contribution from Big Oil. I might have had a stroke or something!


Of course, integrity doesn't pay for air time or stickers with Cliff's face on them, so he hits up Pam for some financial help. Though she wants to remain as on the down-low as possible during this whole ordeal, he quickly cajoles her into organizing a fashion show fundraiser. DON'T GET EXCITED: we don't get to see this fashion show. DO GET EXCITED: Pam's outfit in this scene is jaunty casual hot and I love it.


That night before dinner, Pam works on the fashion show by looking intently at some papers. Everyone comes in and starts nosing around, asking what she's doing this (Bobby, Miss Ellie) and throwing shade that (Sue Ellen).


Everyone- Jock in particular- is mad that Pam has moved beyond "stuffing envelopes" for her brother's campaign and oh, there goes my blood starting to boil again. What a bunch of sexist, entitled assholes! It's a good thing the action moves to the bedroom, where Pam tells Bobby what's up: that his family is gross for being so into exploitation and greed. Bobby says that anyone could build an empire like his daddy did with a little hard work, and when Pam yells "That's easy to say when you're born rich!" it's like she's speaking from the place where my heart would be if I had one. Phew, dodged another stroke!


The next day, the candidates have a debate sponsored by the Daughters of the Alamo. Cliff's opponent starts spouting off on the evils of Big Government taxing the people who have all the money, and then he busts out some "words of Jesus" and again, I feel like Encino Man or something because what year is it, exactly?

My blood boils again, but this time it's boiling with excitement because Sue Ellen and Cliff get their flirt on- she's not into politics, but she's very into certain politicians, you see- and it's not long before everyone starts making eyes at them making eyes at each other.




Cliff's opponent may have the words of Jesus on his side, but he doesn't have the charisma of Jesus on his side and he's falling behind in the polls. J.R. and Jock worry because J.R. can't find any dirt on Barnes, so J.R. decides that if worse comes to worse, he'll just put some there.

At dinner that night, J.R. goes digging and...well, see for yourself.


J.R. can barely contain his excitement over the potential scandal- after all, Cliff has broken "the cardinal rule of politics: never get caught in bed with a live man or a dead woman." The dead woman bit I can agree with, sure. But since the other half of that sentiment seems to preclude the very notion that (gasp) gay men or (gasp gasp) women wouldn't even be a part of the political arena; I had to remind myself that despite all evidence to the contrary, this show is old.

It doesn't take long for the private investigator hired by J.R. to get the scoop- and it's only a hot second later when it goes public, thanks to a reporter ambushing Cliff right before the fashion show. Dammit! I wanted a fashion show!

Oh yeah, the scoop! Cliff's fiancée died during an abortion. Damn, Dallas ain't afraid to go there!

Cliff wanders off in a daze to try to figure out a way to salvage his campaign, and Pam totally worries.



We learn the whole story when Cliff gathers his troops to fill them in: he and his fiancée were living together when she got pregnant. Cliff wanted to marry her, but she'd just been accepted to law school and didn't think it was the right time for them to have a kid. He got some money together and took her to a back alley doctor- he had to because abortion was illegal at the time. "I loved her and wanted to do what she wanted to do." Oh Cliff, I would totally vote for you! I would even campaign for you if I didn't have to talk to anyone or leave the house to do so.


The story is all over the news, and Sue Ellen takes to her battle wagon and heads right for Barnes Campaign Headquarters to console Cliff. Things between these two have escalated to meaningful light touches, you guys!


Because, you know, the story is all over the news, Pam takes to her black t-top Corvette and heads right for Ewing Oil Headquarters to confront J.R. and Jock. Things between these three have escalated to Pam Righteous Anger Tears® you guys!


For real, though, Pam lets those Ewing assholes have it for ruining Cliff's campaign. Jock waves her off- literally- with a "Politics is politics!" while J.R. says that Pam would also use any advantage she had to protect her own interests. She's a Ewing now, after all. "Then God help me!" she cries. If only she'd, like, move the fuck out of Southfork, amirite?

"feh"

Pam is feeling wicked guilty and decides to come clean with her brother. She heads to his apartment and tries to convince him that talking about his fiancée was an accident and besides, she didn't mention any specifics, but Cliff is having none of it. He figures she blurted his beeswax to help Bobby: "You live with vipers, you become a viper!"

That's a sad development for sure, but I'll tell you what's not a sad development: this bitchin' little tune that played during a scene change. Why oh why is it only 11 seconds long? I want it to go on forever!


At Southfork, Pam doesn't get much support from Bobby, who pretty much echoes Jock's "Politics is politics!" sentiments. Cliff made a mistake, you see, by breaking the law. All J.R. did was exploit it. Man, I hate politics.

Apparently the campaign season was only 40 minutes long, because it's time for the election results! Pam sits squarely in the nest of Southfork vipers as they throw a party, and sure enough, Cliff loses. The only other person who's upset by this is...a slurry, messy Sue Ellen, who, for the first time, actually sits down and talks to Pam. "I'm sorry that the best man lost," she says. "It would be nice if J.R. didn't get what he wants for once." She squirts out a few boozy tears and leaves the room, which can only mean one thing...there is serious drama lurking on the horizon, and I can't wait for it.


At Bobby's urging, he and Pam go to see Cliff to try to convince him that Pam didn't deliberately sabotage his campaign. When Cliff's still not having it, Bobby naturally threatens violence (for fuck's sake, Pam, get out of this family while you can!). Eventually Cliff hears his sister out and they have a make-up hug.


But all is not well! Cliff's hatred of the Ewings has broken that good man. He calls his campaign manager to set his sights on Congress- and he'll buy whomever he has to in order to win a seat.

Who's the viper now, Cliff? Who's the viper now?

Friday, May 16, 2014

2.7 - RUNAWAY

Yes! "Runaway"! Finally someone gets a clue and runs away from the GD insane Ewing clan. But who is it? But why is it? Hey, relax- all will be revealed, I swear.

It's a lovely morning at Southfork and everyone is planning Lucy's birthday party except Lucy: Miss Ellie is hard at work on the guest list, while Sue Ellen tries to decide on a band. When Lucy suggests they maybe hire a band that she enjoys- like The Coffins!- Sue Ellen shuts it down with a quick "Lucy, no one can stand that music." Pam has even picked out some dresses for the birthday girl from The Store, but at least she cops to Lucy being able to pick out a new one if she doesn't like any of Pam's selections. J.R. intends to use the party as an opportunity to engage in business and political shenanigans.

This party is the bullshit that broke the camel's back, and Lucy has had enough! "I hate this family!" she cries, but no one seems to care. "She'll get over it," Miss Ellie says, ever oblivious to her own awfulness.

Pam goes to talk to Lucy, who has a full-blown hissy fit. I was going to upload video of it, but somehow the stills of her "this place sucks" mental breakdown are much more satisfying.









After this conversation, Bobby and Pam- ever the cool aunt and uncle- speak up, suggesting that hey, maybe Lucy should have some say in her own friggin' birthday party. Miss Ellie agrees and decides that she'll actually invite some of Lucy's friends, and maybe Lucy can even pick out the band. Still, Sue Ellen is having none of that: "Certainly not The Coffins!"

Meanwhile, Lucy reads a letter that arrived addressed to her. It's from her mom, Valene, who finally tells her daughter that she didn't really demand money from J.R.- he ran her out of town yet again. Someone on staff must have said "Hey, what about that Ray guy?" because he shows up after being M.I.A. for a while: Lucy tells him she wants to invite Valene to her birthday party. Ray says it's not a good idea, then disappears for the rest of the episode.

At dinner, Lucy decides to ask Jock anyway, saying it's the only thing she wants for her birthday. J.R. immediately votes a big HELL NO, whilst Bobby votes a big WHY NOT. Jock sides with J.R., saying that after the way she left last time, Valene is no longer welcome at Southfork. When Lucy says that J.R. lied about all that, Jock sends her to her room. When asked if he really did lie, J.R. says no and blames Lucy's outburst on her "female emotions", which is so great I can barely handle it. Thank goodness she's not on her period, who knows what she would have done.

All of this plays out accompanied by a series of REACTION SHOTS, which are totally my favorite thing on this show. Well, some of my favorite things, anyway. I have a lot of favorite things on Dallas.









Pam, as always, is not the one

If you haven't figured it out by now, yes, it's Lucy who quits this asshole family. Later that night she sneaks out with only her shoulder bag and her guitar (uh, she plays guitar now? I guess?) and steals J.R.'s car. Yeah, the Mercedes with the "EWING 3" license plate. This can only end well!

J.R. figures it all out first thing the next morning, that Lucy has gone to see her "tramp mother", and he calls the cops.

Lucy ends up at a diner and while she...uh, dines...a van pulls up, and here's what you need to know about it. It's driven by Greg Evigan, the sides are painted with what looks like a sunburst and fish scales, the walls and ceiling are covered in shag carpet, there's a gun hidden in the glove compartment, and the dashboard is covered in Wampa fur.


In other words, it's so amazing.

Lucy and Greg Evigan make eyes at each other, but only for a second; she spots the cops outside, sniffing around J.R.'s car so she splits out the backdoor, her guitar and J.R.'s gas card now her only possessions. She hitchhikes, Greg Evigan picks her up, and MY GOD I wish this is how BJ and the Bear began and that Charlene Tilton was The Bear.


Back at Southfork, they get word that cops have found the car and Lucy's bag. There were no signs of foul play, which is a relief. Everyone is still worried because Lucy might indeed escape the Ewings' clutches this time and- horror of horrors- end up with her mother, so Bobby decides to go after her.

Lucy has asked Greg Evigan to take her to San Antonio, Valene's last known whereabouts. They check her apartment, only to find she's moved. They go to the restaurant where she waitressed, only to find she's quit. Hmm, it's like she's off living her life somewhere or something.

While Lucy chats with the restaurant owner, Greg Evigan decides to bust open the register and steal all the monies. Lucy and the restaurant owner are both totally shocked.



Outside, Lucy is all "Okay, I wasn't aware that you're a crazy criminal, I should go!" but Greg Evigan is all "SHUT YOUR FACE!" and makes her go along with him.

That night, as Greg Evigan catches some zzzs, Lucy tries to sneak away to no avail. You see, Lucy told him that her last name is "Clements" and that she stole J.R.'s car and gas card. While that last part may not technically be a lie, the telling has given Greg Evigan the wrong idea, which is that they're a real Bonnie and Clyde kinda duo. Oops.

The Littlest Bonnie

The next day, everyone at Southfork decides "Fuck it!" and has Lucy's birthday party even though she's not there.

certainly not The Coffins

Jock has a feeling and tells Miss Ellie that he feels responsible for Lucy running away, that he may have been wrong to say that Valene couldn't come to the party. Instead of nudging her husband towards continued change, Miss Ellie tells him that he "said what he had to say" and none of it matters because Bobby will have Lucy back any minute.

still life: sociopath and asshole

Lucy's in trouble, sure, but not to worry- Encyclopedia Bobby is on the case! He tracked her to the restaurant, tracked her to a gas station, and found out that she's on her way to Austin, which is for sure Valene's real last known whereabouts. He calls a Ewing contact at the Austin PD which is a good idea considering that Lucy's basically been kidnapped by a wackadoo who's already committed armed robbery a few times this weekend.

Crime's hottest new couple have already made it to Austin, and this sign causes a big metaphorical lightbulb to go off over Greg Evigan's head:


DON'T GET EXCITED: despite the fact that everything about that sign- from "The Overcomer Club" to "Amateur Day"- undoubtedly has you thinking "strip club", it's just a bar. And by "talent" they mean, like, talent show talent, so Greg Evigan has decided that Lucy will haul her guitar up on stage and win them a hundred bucks.

"I can't sing," she protests, to which he simply responds, "Yes you can." Well, alright then.


He tells her not to be nervous, since he's "gonna be right up front, watching every step you make," which you'd think would make her, you know, even more nervous. They head inside, and we see that Greg Evigan foolishly parked in a no parking zone. A cop starts writing him a parking ticket and wow, this is so Son of Sam, you guys!

(Meanwhile, back at Southfork, the party winds down and Pam spends a tender moment with Lucy's birthday cake.)



The moment we've been waiting for all our lives is here: Lucy sings. You may notice that she doesn't play guitar, that Greg Evigan does not sit right up front, that the clapping is off rhythm, the lip-synching is off track, and everything is so perfect. And whoever's actually singing, sounding like ground up glass washed down with whiskey...I swear it's like Charlene Tilton of the future went back in time and sang this for Charlene Tilton of the past. Or something. It's Lucyception!


Lucy doesn't have time to bask in that standing ovation, however, because Greg Evigan grabs her and they skedaddle out the back door...where the cops and Bobby are waiting. There are like twenty guns pointed at him, but when told to freeze Greg Evigan is so badass that he yells "You freeze, turkeys!" and then there's a totally intense standoff.



Bobby offers up himself and all the money in his wallet in exchange for Lucy's freedom. Greg Evigan decides it's a good deal, and Bobby slowly walks forward until all hell breaks loose: Pam grabs Greg Evigan's ear, and Bobby punches him out. The cops slap the cuffs on him- crime doesn't pay!- and a reunited uncle and niece share a hug.

and then they saved 15% on a nice ficus

Back at Southfork, everyone is relieved that Lucy is okay and Jock says he'll have his birthday dance with her tomorrow, when she's back home. Puke.

As with pretty much every episode of Dallas, the great thing is that everything learned will be forgotten by next week. Miss Ellie and Jock will continue to smother everyone. Lucy will stop trying to see her mother, while no one will take J.R. to task for running said mother out of town. There will be no criminal trial for Greg Evigan, and Lucy will not receive any decent emotional support for everything she went through. If we're lucky, though, maybe someday she'll sing for us again!