TV Recaps

Dallas Recap: "The Last Hurrah" – Things Heat Up…Sort Of

Last night’s episode of Dallas, “The Last Hurrah,” underwhelmed and dragged on a bit too long – that is until the last fifteen minutes.

Let me start off with a little bit of trivial criticism. I enjoyed the opening scene in the kitchen, but the layout of the kitchen made it hard for me to like (I said it was trivial…). I guess that’s what happens when one is used to seeing the inside of Southfork since 1978. It’ll take me some time to get the original Southfork out of my head and acclimate myself to the real interior of the ranch. There…I feel much better getting that off my chest (and I’m not the only one who feels that way either).

Once the episode moved forward, the machinations started to take shape. We find out that Christopher is now going through the very same thing his father went through years ago. This time, instead of having to choose between three women (Pamela, Jenna and the crazy tailed Katherine), Christopher has to choose between his true love Elena (whom he’s in love with), and Rebecca, the woman he loves. There is a difference between the two. Bobby was just as weak kneed then as Christopher is now. Call it a curse on the Ewing men who actually have morals. They don’t intent to hurt anyone, but their indecision ends up causing more pain to all parties involved. The scenes with the calf were downright silly, even though it was used to get a point across (which it did). Here’s some advice for next time – have the characters express their point of view through dialogue instead of a dying farm animal.

The scenes with Sue Ellen, Cliff and JR were surely a time to remember – 30 years later and they all still have it. The more things chance, the more they stay the same. JR is still trying to run Sue Ellen’s life even though he tends to have selective memory. Sue Ellen surely hasn’t forgotten her feelings for Cliff, and she also hasn’t forgotten about all the women JR slept with and threw back into her face. It harkens back to a classic Dallas episode where she asked him which slut he was going to sleep with and he responded “What difference does it make? Whoever it is has got to be more interesting than the slut I’m looking at right now.”

I’m sure JR’s pointed words and disrespectful actions still weigh heavy in her heart and soul, so it’s no surprise she basically told him he had no right to know anything about her life now. But that’s JR for you. He still resides in a mindset centered on his world-class narcissism – that because of whom he used to be, that gives him the right to bloviate about everyone else’s business.

One thing I hope happens later this season or next is the maturation of JR’s character. He’s 80 years old. His father Jock died in 1981; Miss Ellie and Clayton died some years ago. It’s long past time for JR to grow up.  I know there are fans who still want to the character to remain in this vain, but it’s time to move on. Occasional lapses in judgment and maturity is acceptable, acting the same way he did 30 years ago is not. Evolving his character won’t turn him into a hero, but it’ll allow the new Dallas’ younger set – mainly his son – to assume the mantle of the new asshole of the Ewing family.

This brings me to said asshole. John Ross attempted to blackmail Rebecca with the knowledge that it was she who sent the email to Chris, effectively ending his engagement to Elena. Part of his plan? To have Rebecca get evidence proving the son of Bobby’s attorney is back on drugs, or else he’ll reveal to Christopher what she’s done.  First off, John Ross is clearly out of his league. In the pilot, John Ross came out with guns blazing; now after aligning himself with his father (and being humbled), he’s rightfully been de-balled. John Ross is now his father’s flunky, a role JR is quite pleased to have him in. First of all, John Ross in my opinion is not even close to knowing how to play the game. The writers and EPs had him coming out with guns blazing in the two hour pilot. Now, after he shook hands with Daddy Dearest, he has rightfully been deballed. John Ross is now his daddy’s flunky, which JR wanted him to be anyway. The performance of Josh Henderson has improved greatly, but I’m has certain acting tics that are unbecoming, but he is a star in the making.

I’ll repeat what I said two weeks ago – that Marta is one crazy woman, and just like so many times years ago, JR is about to get the whole family in deep trouble when Marta targets on Elena (Jordana Brewster). JR knows that woman is unstable, and he thinks she will only go after Elena. She’s gunning for John Ross for betraying her and I hope it doesn’t cost the young man his life.

Jesse Metcalfe needs to calm down his angst. He looks like, most of time, that he is this close to breaking down and crying. I have also seen flashes of some great acting, but I wish the material was a bit better for him, and that he would stop coming of like a little boy to me at times. I know that Christopher is supposed to be written as the spitting image of his daddy, and that is what I have seen on occasion. It needs to be more consistent on both ends. If it’s not on the page, where can he or any actor pull it from? I have faith in him and the entire younger set.

As the weeks progress, it’s clear that executive producers Cynthia Cidre and Michael Robin truly have a respect for the original series.  When JR gave Sue Ellen pearls as a gift, it reminded me of when he gave her pearls after being shot the first time (then he was trying to take Ewing Oil back from Bobby and needed an ally). Those moments, while a small thing to newer viewers, resonate strongly with me and I hold them dear. Even though the Ewing family is fractured, it gives me hope that the family can still pull together when they’re crossed. As Punk Anderson (Legendary actor Morgan Woodward) said to a group of friends in the original series, “There is nothing like the threat of violence to pull the Ewings together.”

The Ewing BBQ will most likely continue next week, since the episode ended in a cliff (HA HA! Get It?) hanger. If Rebecca (Julie Gonzalo) tells Christopher the truth, the fallout will be tremendous. What will he do to John Ross when he finds out his wife was blackmailed by his cousin? What will JR do when he is confronted by Bobby for going after his son and daughter-in-law? Will Ann kick JR off Southfork once and for all? And who will JR and John Ross blame for this latest Ewing drama?

Next week on Dallas:

Two brothers have the showdown of a lifetime, but will one of them survive? Can one son finally choose between two women, when he finds out one of them have secrets of their own? And has the other son put his trust in a woman with deadly intentions?