‘Dallas’ Season 1 Finale Review

Published 2 years ago by

Larry Hagman Dallas Revelations Dallas Season 1 Finale Review

The moment has finally come when all of the little cliffhangers that bridged the gap between Dallas episodes now give way to the larger, more truly shocking cliffhanger that will leave everyone talking until the series returns (which, apparently, is a lot sooner than expected). As this continuation of the series isn’t attempting to mimic, or pay homage to something from the past, as much as it is simply digging it up, there was undoubtedly some kind of expectation of the writers to provide a story note that even today’s jaded audiences wouldn’t see coming.

While ‘Revelations’ doesn’t exactly achieve that gather-around-the-water-cooler reaction Dallas had managed to cull decades ago, it does certainly raise the stakes for one character in particular. As far as season finales go, ‘Revelations’ feels a little as if the writers started with the final scenes and then tried to figure out the path of least resistance Dallas could take in order to get there from the (multiple cliffhanger) ending of ‘Family Business.’

The result is a series of quick fixes for the various predicaments the Ewings found themselves in that weren’t part of the inter-familial squabbling; namely, Bobby (Patrick Duffy) being rushed to the hospital following an aneurysm; J.R. (Larry Hagman) and John Ross’ (Josh Henderson) dealings with the Venezuelan criminal Vicente Cano (Carlos Bernard); and Rebecca (Julie Gonzalo) having shot her fake brother Tommy (Callard Harris).

As far as quick fixes go, Rebecca apparently has one on speed dial. No sooner can she say, “I’m in trouble,” into her cell phone than a team of faceless individuals show up at her apartment and promptly wrap Tommy’s carcass in a sheet of plastic where it can then fester in a non-descript van parked in an airplane hanger. The effect of this is that Rebecca is now far more connected, and powerful than the lovesick, reluctant thief she’d been portrayed as.

At the same time Rebecca is scrubbing Tommy’s blood out of her hardwood floors, Bobby is recovering in the hospital from the emergency surgery that saved his life, but left some concern regarding potential brain damage he may have suffered as a result of the aneurysm. J.R., unable to resist making poignant statements or gestures while his brother is unconscious, defies the hospital staff to urge Bobby to recover before confessing his true feelings about the tenuous relationship between the two. As emotionally charged as it sounded, there appeared to have been a hint of resentment in J.R.’s words – perhaps because he knew exactly what would be coming his way should Bobby recover.

Josh Henderson Jesse Metcalfe Dallas Revelations Dallas Season 1 Finale Review

And recover Bobby does. Apparently, the brush with death timed perfectly with his lawyer finding the cloud drive Veronica (Leonor Varela) had been uploading her entire life onto – which conveniently supplies Bobby enough juice to put not only Vicente behind bars, but J.R. and John Ross, too. Family being what it is, Bobby holds off on sending his brother and nephew to the slammer, likely finding the pleasure of watching them both confess and assist in bringing Vicente down more to his liking than a prison sentence.

The real loser in the arrangement, however, is John Ross, who had come so close to being the character better suited to Henderson’s acting talents by patching things up with his cousin and uncle, and proposing to Elena (Jordana Brewster) that his eventual, nearly unmotivated confession brings him full circle to the snake-in-training he was during the series premiere. John Ross’ quick turnaround to the world of villainy releases Elena to finally rekindle her sabotaged romance with Christopher – since he’s managed to pick up on the fact that Rebecca is involved in some Jason Bourne-level identity wrangling, and has decided to steer clear of her.

Meanwhile, because Ann (Brenda Strong) still needs something to do besides look worried that Bobby will drop dead at any second, she heads over to her ex-husband’s office to try and convince him to stop blackmailing Sue Ellen (Linda Gray). While Harris Ryland (Mitch Pileggi) goes into some detail about all his various illicit dealings, he proposes a trade with Ann that will effectively get Sue Ellen off the hook and clear her to run for Governor. Instead of caving to his demands, Ann reveals she’s taped the entire conversation and then hits him with the following threat: “The next time you ask me for a hug, you’ll be hugging the business end of my shotgun.” 

Linda Gray Dallas Revelations Dallas Season 1 Finale Review

It all ends with John Ross’ vow for reprisal against Bobby and Christopher, which is at once invigorating for his father, and promising for the future of J.R. on the show. Speaking of father’s leading their children down a path of ruin, Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval) is revealed to be Rebecca’s father (meaning he likely pulled an Anthony Quinn and sired a child when he should have been looking into the benefits of an AARP membership), and his encouragement leads her to swear she’ll follow through on helping him crush the Ewings once and for all. After all, if there’s one thing Dallas has taught its viewers, it’s that there’s no villain stronger than one in your family tree.

For a sometimes-uneven season, Dallas mostly managed to rekindle interest in an old series – if not entirely convince the flames to burn as brightly as they once did. Still, with the announcement of a longer second season, it’s hard not to look at the series’ continuation as a success. It’s only too bad that while this latest chapter of the Ewing story welcomes the kind of unironic and addictive trashiness of its predecessor, it may have done so by relying too heavily on its past.

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Dallas season 2 will air in January 2013 on TNT.

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  1. I kept expecting Sue Ellen to be shot while giving her speech but was glad that didn’t happen. Seeing John Ross turn bad after swearing he wwas changing made me wonder how sincere he was to begin with. And Cliff had a daughter, surprise! It was an interesting finale but not mind blowing.

  2. LisaM,

    Ha. That’s funny. I thought Sue Ellen would be shot during that speech as well. The old show had a lot of gun shots in the season finales so I expected that pattern to be repeated here.

    I was okay that they didn’t go with that though.

    Season finale was still great!

  3. It would have been better if some one “heard” jr admit his love for Bobby. As it is it will be as it never happened and Bobby will never know. I WAS surprised Bobby came out so assertive and angry at JR and also it was a way too quick return to health. John Ross and JR turning on each other like children just didn’t seem right somehow and neither did seeing JR and John Ross at the end. Cliff is way too old for this part and could barely stand. Not to mention how did he get so rich in the first place and now he is like some villian kingpin still wanting to crush the Ewings. Why did he wait till now for? Also, wouldn’t JR have kept tabs on Cliff and do something to keep Cliff from all this power? You know, it would have been major shock to actually have Cliff n JR in that high stake poker game we never saw and have Cliff outplay and outspend him and and send JR away with his tail between his legs totally humiliated by Cliff who would have this now evil your not worth my time now look on him. But, I guess this show can’t go that way since it has to be geared to the new generation and their trials. Besides, these old timers might not even live out the next season. I am wondering though= by John Ross’s threat to return JR to the asylum if JR crosses him again, if this means it was John Ross who put JR there in the first place? This show has sub plots they do not even realize! Another unexplored plot came from Tommy who while was trying to get Christopher’s plans for Cliff said he had another rich dude on the hook for the information. WHO is That supposed to be?

  4. It was clearly written..and understandably so…that they could tie up the story in case it did not get pickedup. NOW they can really get going…bring PAM back at the end of season 2 ..in the same episode we find out that Anne is actually Chris’s bio mom

    • They would have to do some serious wrangling to pull that off considering Christopher was around for the last 10 years of the classic series, Ann didn’t exist as a character at the time, and Kristin Shepard (Sue Ellen’s deceased younger sister) is his biological mother who claimed J.R. as his biological father (which, to my knowledge, was neither confirmed or denied).

      In essence, as it stands, he is Sue Ellen’s nephew as well as John Ross’ paternal half-brother and cousin by adoption. How’s that for twisted family ties?

  5. It was confirmed that Jeff Fairday was Christopher’s biological father. The bad thing is, the terrible writing and research continues in this revised series. For example, Miss Ellie was never put in an institution. That still bugs me!!! Why Cliff is after the Ewings again makes no sense…since the last time we saw him, he owned Ewing Oil (which its demise was NEVER explained this season), and he made peace with the Ewings in the last tv movie. Which, he gave it all up to go with Afton to raise their daughter. In my opinion, the writers managed to make Elena the sluttest character…she jumped back and forth between John Ross and Chris the entire season. They had an opportunity to introduce a new villain and blew it. Rebecca’s true past was obvious since first episode. Don’t get me wrong, I love Dallas and follow the canon well…just disappointed with the lack of intelligence put into the writing.

    • I do know that the show runners are officially ignoring the reunion movies and that this series picks up from the end of the classic series in a partial reboot. That may explain the discrepancies. I am not sure when they revealed Fairday as Christopher’s father and if it was in the reunion movies that could be tossed out, along with Barnes owning Ewing oil and the truce. While I hate the reboot mentality of Hollywood and television, the TV movies are now much like the post-dream Knot’s Landing / alternate universe.

    • I did some looking into this since it’s been years. After Kristen’s death it was revealed that Fairday MAY have been Christopher’s real father as he stated that she claimed a miscarriage with J.R.s child but with her being dead and only this to go on it could still go either way. I suppose only a paternity test written into the show would settle that one.

  6. And, I will officially call Season 2 a waste if the writers say Cliff is after the Ewings because they stole the empire from Digger….because, if they do their homework, it was proven in Season 10 (I believe) that Digger indeed sold his share of the company, in which Jock tried to keep company afloat and maintain Diggers fair share.

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