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.
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!