Battle Lines/Venomous Creatures
Original Air Date: Jan 28, 2013
Karen Belgrad – Senior Editor
Hearing the familiar strains of the Dallas theme music is like a warm blanket on a cold night. As soon as you see the oil rig in the opening credits, a smirk comes over your face and pretty much stays there for the next hour (or in this case two). The only thing that dampens the mood is knowing what we’ve lost.
The show opened with a touching tribute to Larry Hagman from his fellow cast members. But with many of his episodes taped before his passing, I didn’t find myself too mired in the reality, although I did take notice on a few occasions of his slightly frail appearance. But while we may not have many more instances of J.R. left, I certainly plan to relish the one-liners, funky eyebrows, and trademark J.R. wit while I can.
A lot of what transpired in these premiere episodes reflects back on the past season. Rather than link to every plot and reference, take a moment to catch yourself up by clicking here. All up to speed? Good! And don’t forget to have a shot of whiskey every time someone mentions methane! (TheTwoCents is not liable for any cases of alcohol poisoning that may occur if you play the aforementioned drinking game.)
Ann: Let’s get the stand-alone stories out of the way first. Ryland Harris makes his sleazy presence known fairly quickly. In exchange for the money laundering implicating tape Ann made, he’ll let her know where her daughter is. Yes, Ann’s big, dark secret is that she had a daughter who was kidnapped 22 years ago and never found. Harris offers up DNA proof that the young woman is Emma, the missing child. Ann comes clean to Bobby, who is naturally supportive, and gets her DNA tested. Lucky for her, when they call, she had the foresight to program DNA Lab into her phone. Did that crack everyone else up too? She trades the incriminating tape for her daughter’s address, but when she meets Emma, the young woman wants nothing to do with her. Ann is devastated and has to be sedated (apparently a recurring pattern, per Harris). Bobby is determined to find out why Emma is against her mother and quickly finds out that not only wasn’t Emma really missing, she was being raised by Harris’s mother, Judith Brown Ryland (played by Judith Light) the whole time. Emma herself insists she wasn’t abducted, rather rescued from her mother.
Sue Ellen: Sue Ellen is down to the wire in the gubernatorial race when her bribe to the medical examiner comes to light. She loses the election and may be indicted for bribery. She’s *this close* to losing her sobriety, when J.R. comes a-calling, crediting her for making something of herself. She pours out the wine. And then J.R. does one of his first truly selfless deeds, for him anyways, by blackmailing the state’s attorney to make the impending charges go away. Sue Ellen may not be in the best career shape, but she and Ann both acknowledge that their difficult early marriages have empowered them. Sue Ellen, yes. Ann…err…?
Christopher/Elena/John Ross/Rebecca: OK, this is the twisty turny plot of the two hours. Let’s start at the beginning, where John Ross seduces an unsuspecting bachelorette in order to blackmail her daddy into a business deal. He’s mighty proud of himself, until his cousin puts the kibosh on his oil plans in favor of his methane (drink!) ones. It seems that Bobby and Christopher have 60% of Ewing Energies, John Ross has 30%, and Elena has a lowly 10%. So the united Bobby-Christopher front leaves John Ross stewing and plotting revenge. And Elena is determined to prove herself worthy of a larger share.
Christopher is also determined to have his marriage to Rebecca annulled so he can have a church wedding with Elena. Rebecca isn’t quite on board with this, but first she needs to reveal her true identity to the masses. So, Christopher… meet Pamela Rebecca Barnes. But the name game isn’t quite so simple as she legally changed her name to Rebecca Sutter for the con, so hence forth she will be forevermore known as Rebecca. She wants primary custody of the twins and a share of Ewing Energies, but Christopher wants to destroy her and see her in jail. His ace in the hole, is the real Rebecca (Becky) Sutter, who claims to have knowledge of Rebecca’s duplicitous nature in dealing with her brother Tommy (who is still missing, but as we know, dead).
John Ross gets wind of the secret weapon and approaches Rebecca to make some back end deals so he can get more of Ewing Energies for himself. He brings Becky to Rebecca and it works to their advantage, as Becky flips in court, making it seem as though she had no knowledge of Rebecca being shady after her reconciliation with Christopher. Christopher is enraged, as the annulment is denied and it’s now going to be a messy divorce. But Rebecca is getting a little big for her Barnes britches, ruffling the feathers of Cliff’s right hand man, Frank. So Frank has Tommy’s cellphone delivered to Christopher, which includes voicemails of Rebecca threatening Tommy and Becky acknowledging that she knew of Rebecca’s fraudulent identity.
Elena makes some good business moves, including getting Christopher some abandoned oil rigs to drill for methane (drink!) and John Ross his oil truck fleet. So, all the boys pony up 5% of their shares, making everyone equal 25% partners. And now John Ross strikes a deal with Rebecca to get 70% of whatever shares she gets from Christopher in the divorce, which will give him leverage in Ewing Enterprises. And that much math makes my head hurt! To seal their deal, Rebecca and John Ross end up getting it ON! And while the two have more chemistry than either cousin has had with Elena, there’s still something icky about doing it with the woman who is carrying your cousin’s twins.
And in the background of all of this was J.R. and his glorious eyebrows, manipulating John Ross, making threats to take down the second Pamela Barnes, and being the Machiavellian genius we all know him to be. His one liners continued to be salient and his words of advice put Mike Brady to shame. I’m not sure where the show will go without Larry Hagman, but his presence will always loom.
And now you have my TwoCents, so be sure to share your TwoCents, comments, and feedback below!