(Aside: "Black Market White Baby Dealer" is a delightfully irreverent Liz Phair song from her Girly-Sound demo tapes)
(Aside: oh man I love Liz Phair)
(Aside: well, up to and including Whitechocolatespaceegg anyway)
Enough asides, let's get into the main course. It's full of baby!
The episode begins with a "celebration" for Jock and Miss Ellie on their wedding anniversary. I use those quotes because it is not some raucous Kool and the Gang-style affair; rather, everyone sits around quietly in a dimly-lit room as the Ewing elders open some gifts. They receive an ugly Italian sculpture from Sue Ellen and J.R., and a scrapbook filled with old family photos from Bobby and Pam. No contest, Pam and Bobby win this round...especially when you take into account how lovingly the scrapbook was assembled.
it must have taken forever to haphazardly throw those photos in there
Looking at pictures of babies reminds everyone about babies and how there haven't been any babies around Southfork in a while and wouldn't it be nice if there were some babies? Pam recently got baby clearance from her doctor, so maybe she and Bobby will pop one out some day. Sue Ellen mentions that she and J.R. have been trying for seven years to pop one out, but it's sure to happen any day now. The stress of being babyless and the realization that she picked out a shitty gift have her running back into the loving arms of her old friend, booze. This episode is off to a great start!
After the "festivities", everyone retires to their bedrooms. Bobby wonders why Pam seems hesitant about having a you-know-what (baby). She argues that their marriage is still young and they're still getting to know one another- that she's still getting to know herself, even. But she knows she ain't no Sue Ellen, defined solely by her husband and motherhood. In fact, she wants to take Liz Craig up on her offer and take a job at The Store. Bobby says he understands but he's not sure if he agrees, but it doesn't matter because Pam has gotten her hear me roar on.
Down the hall, Sue Ellen slips into something more comfortable, perfumes her bosoms, and continues to slam back the alcohol, all in preparation for the arduous task of seducing J.R.
close your eyes and think of Maker's Mark, dear
Her husband, however, is more interested in reading the newspaper than he is in saddling up for the baby-making race. Before long, Sue Ellen questions if John Ross Jr's Junior John Ross Jr (if you know what I mean) (I mean J.R.'s magic baby wand) is firing blanks. They both drink, they both yell, and they both run outside for some driveway drama. Sue Ellen shrieks about wanting a baby. J.R. tells her he'll buy her a puppy (spoiler: he does not, unfortunately) and takes off for parts unknown.
Before she can wallow for too long, one Mr. Ray Krebbs pulls up. He tells her she'll catch cold dressed like that outside in day-for-night, and she slurs through a clumsy come-on, wondering if Ray can think of any way to warm her up. They kiss! A sultry sexophone plays! The picture fades, a sure indicator that they are about to "do" "it", by which I mean they're going to drink more, and also they are going to do it.
I say to myself, "Wow, is there any female at Southfork that Ray hasn't sexed all over?", and I realize that it is unknown whether or not Ray and Miss Ellie have sexed, or whether they might at some time in the future. I immediately stop myself from thinking about this any further.
The next morning, Ray is all
and Sue Ellen is all
and she claims ignorance about anything that may have happened the night before, as well as demanding that he call her "Mrs. Ewing". Stone cold! Thank goodness. Sue Ellen is too good for The Hayloft of Sin!
Miss Ellie notices that Sue Ellen seems to be feeling a bit down, perhaps about her marriage or life in general, and she offers a solution: HAVE A BABY, they are like a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser for all of your problems. Sue Ellen is, like, "Bitch, we've been trying to have a baby for seven years and also what is a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser?"
Mater Ewing replies that if she can't have a baby for whatever reason, she can always adopt, and Jock and J.R. would totally be fine with it, and I am all, like, "Bitch, have you met Jock and J.R.?"
Sue Ellen seems to think this is good advice, though, and heads to the adoption agency...at least, that's what I gathered when this shot lasted about ten seconds:
The adoption agent...mmm, let's call her 1970s Kristen Bell...is very excited that a Ewing wants to adopt, but she is also very not excited because Sue Ellen wants a newborn. The wait for those is very long, you see, because of single mothers keeping their babies, The Pill, and abortion. Deflated, Sue Ellen leaves. 1970s Kristen Bell gets on the phone and calls...dun dun dunnnn...a black market white baby dealer!
"yes hello, black market white baby dealer? this is 1970s Kristen Bell."
Meanwhile, back at Southfork, Pam tells Bobby that she's totally, really for sure going downtown to talk to Liz Craig about that job. This shocks Bobby, for he thought they settled the matter the night before. Pam stands up for herself, saying that nothing was settled, Bobby just gave his opinion on things. Bobby's all NO and Pam is all YES and I am all I LOVE PAM.
still life: drama
Back downtown, Cliff Barnes (remember him?) talks with a fellow lawyer about lawyer stuff and politics stuff, but what matters is that the lawyer is, in fact, the black market white baby dealer! And he's meeting Sue Ellen! And before he departs, Cliff meets Sue Ellen! She comments that he's much more attractive than he reputation would indicate. He comments that she's much too pretty to be a Ewing. They make moony eyes for a moment, and...do sparks fly?
SPOILER ALERT YES THEY DO.
Over lunch, the black market white baby dealer explains that he's got a 17-year-old girl who's seven months pregnant and wants to skirt the adoption agency rigamarole; for $15,000, Sue Ellen can have that baby. Sue Ellen decides that she wants to meet the girl, and I decide that whoever picked out the centerpieces for this restaurant was trolling hard.
"oh let me just reach for the sweet-n-low– OW YOU MOTHERFUCKER"
Sue Ellen has made good on her promise to visit the mother-to-be, who lives in an efficiency on what is clearly the wrong side of the tracks. You can tell because there are scrubby-looking kids standing listlessly, boards strewn everywhere, a random tire, and an African-American fellow hanging out.
Unsurprisingly, the girl is surly and bitter, and she tells Sue Ellen to stuff it. Sue Ellen won't give up, though, and promises to rent a better apartment for her and buy her everything she needs.
The next morning, Pam has gone to talk to Liz Craig yet again. This puts a newly-enlightened Bobby in the uncomfortable position of having to explain to his horribly sexist father that if Pam wants a job, it's fine by him. Jock replies, "A job? What's she need a job for? Ewing women don't work!" as Miss Ellie looks on with a herp derp face and I'm reminded how much I hate them both.
"rarr me am chauvinist!"
"ha ha oh jock you sure am!"
At the newly-rented deluxe apartment, Sue Ellen and her baby mama bond over their shared beauty pageant past, and how they both had to deal with losses therein. It is very touching, by which I mean not at all touching. I do like that this is only the tenth episode of the series and we've already gotten two over-the-shoulder, gazing-at-a-pageant photo shots (the other being in this horrible episode).
Sue Ellen and Baby Mama decide to go shopping for some baby clothes and that's awfully nice except for one thing...they go to The Store! The Store where Pam was just talking with Liz Craig! Of course they run into each other, and as Baby Mama talks there's a beautiful moment where you can see Sue Ellen's life pass before her panicked eyes.
Sue Ellen scrambles and creates a story about the girl being part of a Big Sister charity, and Sue Ellen is just helping out. Pam accepts this and splits, but Baby Mama overheard and finds it insulting that Sue Ellen is embarrassed by her. Sue Ellen explains that she's not embarrassed, it's only that this whole adoption thing is a secret at the moment. By the time everyone finds out, it'll be too late and everything will be fine! After hearing this super great plan in which nothing could possibly go wrong, Baby Mama gives us the quote of the episode:
"You're buying a baby and you haven't told your husband?"
Buying a baby is fine, you see, but not telling everyone is morally suspect!
Back at Southfork, Lucy delights at stirring up shit: she tells J.R. that she's taken phone calls for Sue Ellen from some guy named Buzz, and also from the apartment realtor. What oh what could that mean? Oh Lucy, I do love it when you're devious.
J.R. immediately gets on the phone and calls one of his good ol' boy types to investigate.
Later, Pam is swimming (as usual) and takes a phone call for "Mrs. Ewing". It's Baby Mama, wondering what hospital she should go to when it's Baby Time. When Pam is all "Uh, you have the wrong Mrs. Ewing," Baby Mama hangs up, leaving Pam alone with her curious thoughts and her bosoms.
"did I leave the iron on?"
Pam goes to talk to Sue Ellen about all this, telling her this baby contest is ridiculous. Sue Ellen throws "shop girl" at her as an insult and tells Pam that it's none of her beeswax.
She leaves to bring some items to Baby Mama's apartment, but guess who's there instead?
Of course he found out everything, and he informs Sue Ellen that Baby Mama is on a bus to California. I'm sure everything will work out just fine for her!
They head back to Southfork and have it out. J.R. tells Sue Ellen that he wants a baby, sure, but he wants it to be theirs. She reminds him that having a baby requires sex, which in turn requires touching, and J.R. hasn't touched her in months. Then shit gets really weird and gross: she slaps him and he gets turned on...she's all GET OFF ME and he's even more turned on...she starts saying "I don't want you" but in a way that means she does and then they do it, finally, geez. I've already ruminated on what I imagine to be J.R.'s secret kinks and I don't want to do it anymore, thank you very much "Black Market Baby".
Or do I?
No! Well, maybe.
As the episode winds down, Sue Ellen and J.R. wander outside just in time to see that Bobby has bought Pam a shiny new black t-topped Corvette so she won't have to drive his car to her new job.
I'd like to take this moment to remind you that this is what Sue Ellen drives:
J.R. tries to snuggle up on her and she acts rather disgusted, leaving us to wonder if it's residual feelings of ick or whether he did basically, you know, rape his wife. Thanks, Dallas, always a good time!
Poor Sue Ellen, loveless and trapped by the trappings she loves. Or something. Eh, booze will make it all better!