As the first season of this Dallas continuation progresses, it becomes clear that once the scheming had begun, there would be no way for it to stop – not by the writers of the series or the characters. The series now carries itself by the volition of the various factions plotting to undermine, take over or completely destroy one another. That kind of cruise control is rare, and possibly explains why continuing the series was chosen over a complete reboot. If the original program could run for 14 seasons, driven by the eternally twisting mechanism that is the character’s plots against one another, why not this one? It’s the lifeblood of the soap opera, and here, for better or worse, Dallas clearly understands its role on television.
Because of this, by the time we’ve reached ‘The Enemy of My Enemy,’ some of the various schemers are already moving on to the next round in the ruin-the-life-of-another-person game. For example, confident enough in the son he barely knows to run the drilling of oil on Southfork, J.R. (Larry Hagman) finds himself in Vegas looking to barge in on a high stakes poker game run by his long-time nemesis, Cliff Barnes. Barnes doesn’t even pop up in this episode, instead allowing his driver/right hand man, Frank (Faran Tahir) to deal with J.R. and passively accept his butting in on the poker game. It seems that J.R. believes Cliff is scheming to bring gambling to Texas, and plans to play spoiler to whatever endeavor that crusty, old Cliff is aiming to achieve.
The lesson here is this: annoying J.R. will result in his leaving behind his birthright to crush your hopes and dreams. It also proves that even with an overabundance of infighting and conspiracies, the most interesting thing on Dallas is whatever J.R. Ewing has on his plate – literally and figuratively.
So, with the knowledge that J.R. hasn’t removed himself from the equation entirely, we can now move on to the issue at hand: Southfork.
With legitimate proof of J.R.’s involvement in the fraud proving difficult to find – even through the use of blackmail – Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) still holds the threat of jail time over John Ross (Josh Henderson), but to little avail. At first it appears John Ross simply calls his cousin’s bluff, but it turns out his mind is occupied with more pressing concerns like the fact that Ryland Trucking and Shipping has a veritable monopoly in the state, and without their tankers, there won’t be any drilling on Southfork – which could lead to the investors taking control of the land. In addition, Veronica (Leonor Varela) has it in her head that she and John Ross should run away together and live off the proceeds from her part in the Southfork swindle. John Ross, however, makes it clear he’s no longer interested in a woman who would screw him out of ownership of Southfork and secretly record them being intimate. Veronica takes this information as her cue to begin a series of Glenn Close-like threats against Elena (Jordana Brewster). Of course, Elena is kept in the dark on this, further solidifying her role as the most oblivious person on the show.
John Ross, on the other hand, with all those fingers in so many different pies, is probably holding on to Christopher’s threat as a means by which he can earn a little rest and relaxation, should things get too overwhelming. Until then, he’ll settle for leveraging guilt against his mother, Sue Ellen (Linda Gray), to help get the Ryland trucks back on Southfork. She comes through, but not before Harris Ryland (Mitch Pileggi) creepily insinuates he’ll be asking for more from her in return than an appointment to the railroad commission.
But, hey, at least Harris didn’t ask Sue Ellen for a hug in return. Still, his creepiness garners a visit from an angry Bobby Ewing, after he catches wind of Ann’s (Brenda Strong) dealings with Harris in ‘Truth and Cosequences.’ Despite his illness and distaste for fighting fire with fire, Bobby sees Harris’ involvement as justification enough to storm his office and lay a Texas-sized backhand across the man’s face. Message received, Bobby.
Even though Bobby is willing to overlook his ethics when it comes to creepy ex-husbands, he remains firm that his dealings with his older brother and nephew must be on the up and up. That’s why he’s unwilling to move ahead with the blackmail Christopher suggests, and why he’s more than willing to go digging for a key to a safety deposit box that may contain proof the mineral rights to Southfork are in fact separate from the land rights.
The search is on after Rebecca (Julie Gonzalo), makes the Ewings aware of the development by means of the increasingly futile con she and Tommy (Callard Harris) have been attempting to run. Much like Ryland, though, Rebecca’s allegiances are swayed because of the strong emotional response the Ewings apparently stir up in everyone they meet (forget oil, they should be bottling whatever essence it is that makes people so interested in them).
For her part, Rebecca earns Bobby and Christopher’s thanks, but she’s a long way away from redemption in their eyes. Unfortunately for her, she’s come to realize her love for Christopher is stronger than the bond to her brother – and with his fashion sense, it’s easy to see why. Though perhaps it has something to do with the fact Rebecca finds out she’s pregnant with what is most likely Christopher’s child. Of course, making Tommy the first person to know is probably the least intelligent move she could have made, as an unborn child is almost certainly something he’d use as leverage in his quest for cash.
Dallas returns next Wednesday with ‘Collateral Damage’ @9pm on TNT. Take a peek at the episode below: