Original Air Date: Mar 11, 2013
Karen Belgrad – Senior Editor
How does a television drama pay tribute to an icon, a legend, a nefarious, yet beloved bastard? Luckily for us viewers, they do it with legacy, fisticuffs, and mystery. And it all combined to a fitting hour that paid tribute to J.R. Ewing, and Larry Hagman along with him.
One of the most touching moments of the hour was the opening credits. Slowed to a haunting rendition of the normal theme, it set the dark tone for the hour and was a befitting instrumental tribute to the character. The whole hour was tone-perfect, and despite not loving the episodes that led up to this one, I now can’t wait to see what comes next.
Sue Ellen, Bobby, Christopher, and John Ross travel to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico to find out what happened to J.R. Despite the police’s insistence that J.R, is dead, the family is skeptical and John Ross demands to see his father’s body. In the coroner’s office, the family fights back tears as they realize it is J.R. and he has been shot and killed. The police think he may have been killed in a random mugging, but nobody is buying it, least of John Ross who does not understand why his father was in Mexico and not Abu Dhabi. Carlos (who for the life of me I can’t recall the back story for), offers to handle getting the body back to Dallas.
Before the family arrives home, Harris Ryland shows up and tries to get Emma to return home to him, promising to let her visit Ann whenever she wants. Emma is now hip to her father’s controlling ways and declines the invite, but it takes a little Ewing muscle (and Drew) to get Harris to leave, leaving behind a message that Bobby has no idea what he started.
Once the family returns home, the grieving process finally begins. Bobby goes off to plan the memorial and funeral, knowing J.R. will haunt him if it doesn’t go according to plan. Sue Ellen tells John Ross that she plans to continue working Gary to get him to agree to drilling on Southfork, but he’d rather have a moment to mourn his father than hear about his mother planning to nail his uncle. Alone in J.R.’s room, Sue Ellen makes goo-goo eyes at his personalized decanter of bourbon.
At the Dallas Petroleum Club, various folk have gathered to pay their respects from family (Lucy, Ray, Gary) to ex-wives (Sue Ellen, Callie, Mandy) to famous folks (Mark Cuban and some others I didn’t recognize). Sue Ellen cozies up to Gary under the guise of assisting with sobriety, and it’s more than a little desperate. John Ross notices Emma in a storage room taking her meds, Clonazepam, and simply downs one with her. Pamela shows up to offer condolences, but he rebuffs her as only carrying about herself. Things go to hell pretty quickly, when Cliff Barnes shows up to pay his disrespects and good riddance to his nemesis. He vows to take from Bobby what he has always wanted, and makes a comment about dancing on J.R.’s grave as Pamela quickly gets her (possibly inebriated) father out of there. But the damage is done, as other “mourners” beyond to voice discontent with JR., calling him the usual litany of names. John Ross steps up for a brawl, but Christopher throws the first punch on his behalf, as Ewing family comes first.
Back at Southfork, the family is brimming on the edge. John Ross and Emma opt to handle the situation by getting it on in the back seat of an SUV. Bobby takes out his anger on Ann, railing at her for not confiding about her lost and presumed child for the seven years they’ve been married, saying he has no idea who she is. Ann, and her very, very big Texas hair, is apologetic, but Bobby isn’t in the mood. And Sue Ellen sits alone in J.R.’s room with a letter he sent her before he passed, as she opens it to read, she eyes his decanter and pours herself a drink…and then another. Linda Gray absolutely breaks viewers hearts in these solemn scenes… I see an Emmy nomination in her future.
At the cemetery the next day, the family stands up to give their eulogies. Ray knew he could never measure up to J.R. Lucy realizes in retrospect that much of what her uncle did was not horrible, but honest. Gary acknowledges that every step forward or back in his life was due to his brother. Elena recalls that he challenged her to honor her own father’s memory and make him proud. Christopher recalls that when he was seven, and Pamela (his mother, not ex-wife) left, J.R. told him he was a Ewing and to be strong. And Sue Ellen, acknowledging that she drank the night before, and is still a little drunk, shares J.R.’s letter with the group. In his letter, he says that there isn’t enough time, in old age, for all the apologies he owes her, that he was never worthy of her, and that he loves her more today than he ever did. He asks for a second chance, for dinner, and Sue Ellen breaks down as she says yes to the love of her life.
John Ross declines to speak, so Bobby gets up and talks about how it was easy to be good, because J.R. always handled the bad. But with J.R. gone, now Bobby has to figure out what to do in the grand scheme of things. John Ross is handed a folded flag to commemorate his father’s veteran status. He sits graveside for a bit until Christopher begins to lead him out. And then Bum shows up, to reveal what J.R.’s final masterpiece, or master plan was…
J.R. had been in Abu Dhabi, searching for Pamela Ewing. Bum gives Christopher a folder, but we don’t see what was in it. He reveals that J.R. had been in Mexico to get ammunition to take Harris Ryland down for Bobby, and that’s all that John Ross needs to hear to assume that Harris killed his father. He receives a box with a gun, and a note saying that they have to take Cliff down before he takes them down. And a note for Bobby contains some perilous information, but the family and viewers are left to wonder what it is, as Bobby directs Bum to make sure the family thinks J.R. killed by a random mugger… for now.
Alone in J.R.’s room, Bobby pours himself a drink from the never-empty decanter. He eyes his brother’s Stetson hat as he drinks, complimenting J.R.’s last plan. “I love you brother.”
And with that, new mysteries are unfolded, but the show bids farewell to the man behind all the plans, the master of Machiavellian schemes… Farewell J.R. Ewing, 1939-2013.
And there you have my TwoCents! Share your TwoCents, comments, feedback, and favorite J.R. stories below!
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