Though it’s unlikely that a manual on feuding families exists, there has been plenty of examples of their rules and functions throughout much of popular media – with Dallas itself serving as an excellent illustration for the delicate intricacies of how proper family feuds work. In almost every example, there comes a time when outside forces initiate an attack on one member of said feuding family that unites the clan against a common foe – if only to welcome more infighting another day.
‘No Good Deed’ serves as a reminder that, for all their eternal squabbling, the Ewings still wield a mighty fist when it comes to protecting their interests against intruders foolish enough to think any division between them means a weakened front. It may force folks like Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) to make sacrifices he wasn’t prepared to make, but it reinforces the idea that the Ewings would prefer it if any threats against a family member’s life came from someone inside the family. And as the season winds down, this notion of banding together to deal with a deadly outsider may have some disastrous consequences for the in-too-deep Rebecca (Julie Gonzalo).
Following the lamentable death of Veronica – a.k.a. Marta (Leonor Varela) – during last week’s ‘Collateral Damage,’ John Ross (Josh Henderson) scrambles to fill Elena (Jordana Brewster) in on what he knows about the allegedly slain woman – making sure to edit any reference to just how well acquainted they were – before he is formally charged with her murder. While the official cause of Veronica’s death is still unknown (the writers did make it a point to hammer home that she was mentally unstable) the evidence against John Ross is enough to keep him locked up for the sake of the episode’s plot.
As John Ross participates in his episode of Beyond Scared Straight, his mother, Sue Ellen (Linda Gray), considers cashing in some of her pre-gubernatorial favors in exchange for seeing her son go free by convincing the M.E. to rule Veronica’s death a suicide. Apparently, the guilt of spawning a child with J.R. and then ignoring him for most of his life has finally become too much of a burden. Still, after John Ross finds himself on the losing end of an obligatory jailhouse beating, it’s unlikely Sue Ellen could have chosen a better time to slip into mother-bear mode.
It turns out, morally bankrupt Venezuelan businessmen are real sticklers for contractual commitments. In fact, they’re willing to visit jail in order to remind those with whom they do business that the 2,000 barrels of oil a day they were promised are well past due. You know, because the fact that John Ross is in jail for a crime he (surprisingly) didn’t commit wasn’t reminder enough that drilling had yet to commence on Southfork. After realizing that John Ross’ hands were tied (cuffed, really), Vicente Cano (Carlos Bernard) decides it’s time to pay a visit to Bobby (Patrick Duffy) and let him know the severity of the situation J.R. and John Ross have gotten the Ewings into. Bobby informs Vicente that the mineral rights belong to him, but that only serves to bring about the aforementioned jailhouse beating.
As the Ewings gather in the hospital to look at John Ross’ bruised face, Sue Ellen hilariously informs everyone that a “Latino gang” was responsible – proving she is now completely ready to enter the world of politics. Afterward, Bobby visits his mother’s grave, saying he knows what he needs to do to make things right, and surprisingly, it is not slapping around Venezuelan criminals in much the same manner as one would slap around Harris Ryland. Instead of some Texas justice, Bobby decides the solution is to roll over and begin drilling oil on Southfork.
Christopher, however, has another idea: Since Exxon is interested in his methane extraction process, why wouldn’t criminal scum be interested too? It’s kept Tommy in the picture for eight episodes, so it’s got to be worth something, right? Well, Christopher decides that in exchange for John Ross’ life, and the evidence to exonerate him, Vicente can have exclusive South American rights to the methane process that will yield him far more wealth than the billions of barrels of oil he was promised by J.R.
Speaking of J.R. (Larry Hagman), he seems poised to return to Southfork after he creeps into John Ross’ hospital room to check on his son’s condition. The promise of having J.R. back in the fold is a welcome reprieve from the dark corner the series has turned down these past few episodes. Hopefully, some dry witticisms from J.R. will help to remind viewers where this program’s strengths lie (hint: it’s not in tossing women off balconies), and welcome in the season’s end with a classic Dallas cliffhanger.
In that regard, ‘No Good Deed’ cleans up its own mess by putting Christopher on the verge of resolution with Rebecca – based mostly on her assurance that there is nothing else she’s been hiding from him. On that empty claim, Christopher makes the first step at forgiveness; it’s a long road, naturally, but those wounds will heal and in time be opened anew after the not-so-surprising revelation that master-criminal Tommy isn’t really Rebecca’s brother after all. In fact, after the kiss he plants on her, the only way Tommy could be allowed to be her brother is if Dallas were on HBO.
Dallas returns next week for the first season’s penultimate episode with ‘Family Business’ @9pm on TNT. Check out a preview for the episode below: