Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Goodbye J.R.: Thoughts On DALLAS

Photo: Zade Rosenthal / TNT
The Ewing family, friends, a few enemies, and fans old and new said goodbye to J.R. last night in a poignant episode of DALLAS on TNT. The script, written by Cynthia Cidre, was excellent and you could feel the history without any flashbacks being used. I will probably watch the entire episode again at some point and notice many things I didn't pick up on at first viewing, but here are some things I really enjoyed most.

The special opening sequence created for Larry Hagman was perfect.

Ken Kercheval (Cliff), Steve Kanaly (Ray), Deborah Shelton (Mandy), Cathy Podewell (Cally), Charlene Tilton (Lucy) and Ted Shackelford (Gary) guest-starred and each one had some type of "moment" in the show, a big improvement over the blink-and-you-miss-it cameos by Ray and Lucy in Season 1. Gary and Ray were naturally conflicted over how to feel about their brother's death. Lucy was reflective and seemed to have at least some appreciation for her Uncle J.R.'s dirty dealings at this point in her live. Mandy and Cally reminded us of what a playboy J.R. was and that he was hard to get over. Surprisingly, the least satisfying of all these appearances was Cliff barging in. For some reason, Cliff had continued to be written as a one-note villain on the new DALLAS.

On a side note, Gary's chemistry with Sue Ellen has been quite a surprising and interesting occurrence over the past few weeks.

Patrick Duffy gave perhaps the performance of his career, especially the scene where Bobby went off on Ann.  Bobby vented months of frustration and the hurt and confusion over losing J.R. and there was not much Ann could say.  Wow!

My favorite character on DALLAS has always been Sue Ellen, and Linda Gray was superb throughout the episode. The pinnacle was at the graveyard when she went up to the casket to speak. This part I had to watch twice.

"When I was Miss Texas and I met J.R., I didn't know what hit me," Sue Ellen said. "I fell in love, madly, passionately, hopelessly in love with the most infuriating, charming scoundrel I think I've ever known. It was enough to drive a girl to drink."

She admitted she spent the night in J.R.’s room, and had a few drinks to get the courage to read the letter he had written her.

"I’m a bit drunk now," Sue Ellen revealed in a line that became an instant classic. She then read from the letter: "I was never worthy of you, ” J.R. wrote. “I loved you the moment I saw you, and I love you today more than I ever did. My greatest hope in life is to earn a second chance with you. So what do you say … when I get back to Dallas, will you have dinner with me?"

Sue Ellen sobbed, and this is when my tears over the entire hour turned into full-blown crying.

"Yes, yes, J.R., the answer is yes! You were the love of my life."

The show picked the perfect music for the graveside service, "Down To The River To Pray." Beautiful.

I was in complete mourning mode by the end which is why the last few minutes felt a bit jarring, but I suppose it was necessary to set up the rest of the season.

Back at the house, Bum arrived with a message from J.R. He held a box marked “fragile” and revealed that while J.R. was in Abu Dhabi, he was really there trying to find out the whereabouts of Christopher’s "mother" (Pam Ewing, right? What about the late Kristin Shepard? It couldn't be her because we saw her dead in the Southfork swimming pool. But stranger things have happened--on TV and in real life.). Then he went to Mexico on Bobby’s behalf, having gotten a lead on something incriminating about Harris Ryland.

Bum presented a small suitcase to John Ross to be given to him if anything happened to J.R. Inside was a gun and a note for John Ross: “If you’re reading this, I must be dead. And if I’m dead, that means Barnes is coming after you, and you must crush him. … when you’re done with that, Bobby will know what to do. … And remember, you’re my son, tip to tail.”

Bum then gave Bobby a note. John Ross and Christopher demanded to know what it said, but Bobby ignored them and left the room with Bum.

"You pay off whoever you need to pay off so that everyone still thinks J.R. was killed by a mugger," Bobby told him. "When the time comes, we’ll take care of this ourselves, as a family."

So what does all that mean? What's up with Pam? Will Harris team up with Cliff? What does Bobby know about who killed J.R.? Share your theories in our comments section and let us know what you thought about the episode.


  1. Harris would be the obvious choice as JR's killer but I don't think it's him.

  2. Once again, I imagine only Linda Gray knows for sure.

  3. I have a sneaky suspicion that the set up was originally for Pam to have shot JR to exact revenge for making her disappear - that may fail to come to fruition if Victoria Principal does not agree to return as Pam. But, what a great storyline and fantastic way to finally write off the character of Pam for good - something VP should like.

  4. I have a sneaky suspicion that the set up was originally for Pam to have shot JR to exact revenge for making her disappear - that may fail to come to fruition if Victoria Principal does not agree to return as Pam. But, what a great storyline and fantastic way to finally write off the character of Pam for good - something VP should like.

  5. Pam would be a great choice. Patrick Duffy is the only cast member that knows and he said he was truly shocked by who killed JR, so that makes me think it's not Harris or Mitch Lobell or Carlos del Sol or any of the new characters. So Pam? Cliff? Kristin, who isn't really dead?

  6. Maybe Morgan Fairchild-as-Jennifer Pace is at it again, LOL!

  7. Ha. Morgan was the original Jenna Wade on DALLAS. Ray hasn't mentioned her or Bobby's other son, Lucas.

  8. they kept saying they were looking for Christophers mother...who actually was Kristin...so maybe Kristin is really alive and she finished off the job 30 years later...that would be a great twist

  9. Bum did say, "He's been trying to find your mother, Christopher."

    Bobby said, "Pam." Not Bum.

    There was a TV Guide story a while back that mentioned JR being responsible for Pam leaving town or something to that effect which is why I assumed they were talking about Pam. I would be thrilled if Pam or an alive Kristin was the killer.

  10. it would be a great red herring and play on the shows history.

  11. I think Christopher is really JRs son. Remember, there was a time they didn't know if it was JR or Jeff Faraday. Wouldnt be surprised if JR paid off someone to rig the outcome. In an even bigger twist, there was also a time where JR didn't know if John Ross was fathered by him or Cliff Barnes. He got the results back, but what if they were tampered with. What if Christopher is the real Ewing Heir and John Ross is a Barnes?!? (Highly unlikely though or else he would be having an affair w/his sister -yikes!)

  12. Kristen came back from the dead and finished what she started. LOL I never thought Pam but it's a great possibility and a way to complete her character off canvas.

  13. The episode was good but the only thing I was disappointed in was Sue Ellen breaking sobriety. The funeral would have worked just as well with her saying I managed to get through the night.

  14. I suspect Mandy or Cally or even Afton.