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

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?