Dallas Recap, Episode 2: “Hedging Your Bets”

Last night offered a two-fer. “Hedging Your Bets” (Episode 102) opens with a boom-chicka-wow-wow going on in the bedroom of the newly-married Christopher and Rebecca Ewing, cut with the sad trombones playing in Elena’s head as she reads the Dear Jane letter that Christopher- or was it John Ross? – sent her before. John Ross is blowing up Elena’s phone from the old folks’ home, where he is having breakfast (or, for laymen, “scheming with toast”) with his daddy J. R. and Marta. J. R. wants to get a line to Marta’s papi Carlos (earning some nervousness from Junior) which she promises. John Ross gets testy with his dad when prodded to get cracking with his end of the deal, which earns him another black pearl of villainous wisdom from J. R.: Never pass up a good time to shut up. In the parking lot, we find out that John Ross’ nervousness is well-founded; he and Elena are running a con on the old man that can blow up if J. R. gets in touch with Carlos. Elena says that the situation is well in hand, trusting that she picked the right Ewing in this game. Good luck with that, because J. R. has heard their loud smooching from his nursing home window with his Super Evil Hearing and is starting to put two and two together.

After their morning nookie, Rebecca tries to encourage Chris to ask father Bobby for a loan to make his renewable fuels start-up a reality, offering to put their Tahitian honeymoon on hold. Bobby is all but doubled over in pain as he speaks to his doctor over the phone, while a concerned Annie watches secretly. Bobby decides that the best cure for gut cancer and the stress of covering it up from your family is to go bobbing up and down on a horse. His wife confronts him and underneath the shade of the courtin’ tree (which has “Jock + Ellie” and “Bobby + Annie” carved into its massive trunk, but no “Bobby + Pam”?) he promises to fight it, going under the knife later that week. Speaking of confrontation, Elena does so with John Ross and demands to know if he authored the break-up e-mail. John Ross issues a flat denial and slowly realizes that Elena would still be with Chris — and likely be his wife — if not for the letter. He was a consolation prize, so he leaves in a huff.

At Southfork, Annie is comforted by Rebecca’s brother Jack Johnson, who decides that he wants to remain in Dallas to go to school and find a job, at least until the next Coachella. Christopher begs Bobby to reconsider his plan of selling Southfork because he’s got plans to get the Ewing name back on top of the energy business, but Bobby has given his word on a non-legally binding handshake, so tough luck, kiddo. New Pam (Rebecca) winsomely apologizes to Annie, who rewards Rebecca’s sweet “can’t we all get along?” outlook that will get her eaten alive in this family with what appears to be the Necronomicon but is actually Mee-Maw Southworth’s century-old tome of cholesterol-laden delights. The two “outsiders” are now bonded.

John Ross meets up with shady lawyer Mitch Lobell, who has been a double agent this whole time, snitching out any potential moves on Bobby’s end. The Shylock takes the opportunity to shake down Fredo for more cash; get him $2 million by the night of the Cattle Barons Ball or he tells Bobby what’s been going behind his back — and J. R. will find out that his son has been planning to screw him over as well.  John Ross then runs into his cousin Chris at what used to be their favorite bar (hi there, Cedars Social). Chris tries to appeal to his sense of family, but John Ross ain’t having it. Give this kid an Emmy: We’re not family, bro! are the words that actually come from Josh Henderson’s mouth. Somewhere there is a gag reel with a hundred scenes that end in eyerolls and gales of laughter. Christopher ends their argument with a warning. He still believes that John Ross sent that e-mail to Elena and that a day of reckoning is nigh. He then leaves, and John Ross is about to give the closing door a piece of his mind when he gets a text from Nurse Candy (follow her awesome Twitter feed!) wanting to know where those TPS reports his father asked him for earlier.

Elena goes to see Sue Ellen, shows her a map of Southfork, which I expected to burst into flames Bonanza-style. Elena explains that we, lucky Dallasites Collin County-ers, are sitting on billions of barrels underground and if Sue Ellen can use her juice as a bank board member to pony up a loan, Elena will buy up the long-dormant oil leases.

(Time for a sidenote: As a public service to my fellow residents, please do not go digging up your backyards hoping to strike it rich Jed Clampett-style. This is a television show, remember: I don’t think Elena’s report is actually bona fide truth, but then again, I’m no geologist. But I do know quite a few: Where my UTD Geology Club homies at? Back your boy up!)

Anyway, Sue Ellen admires the kid’s pluck and (in a darker version of Annie and Rebecca’s bonding) decides to kick Elena down the cash herself, seeing a kindred go-getter in Elena. Then Sue Ellen offers her new BFF to come with her to the Cattle Baron’s Ball later that night. Sisters are making it for themselves!

Scene: The Cattle Baron’s Ball. Hell’s yeah! It’s the redneck version of the Players Ball, with more Stetsons than fedoras, more boot than zoot.  J. R. and son arrive (at a suddenly filled Victory Plaza with Cattle Baron’s logos on the big screens) in John Ross’ Escalade, which sadly doesn’t have the Ewing (#) license plate like the old school Ewing cars. (These kids today, with their hippety-hop, Intertubes and no sense of tradition.) To his child’s chagrin, Pop insists on bringing his walker but I for one think that only Larry Hagman can pimp strut the red carpet with a walker and still look awesome. Sue Ellen tells the assembled cattlemen that tonight has set a new fundraising record: they’ve raised $35 million, and that’s just by checking under the sofa cushions! While leaving with her posse to check the lint trap in the dryer- there’s probably 200 grand in pennies and nickels stuck in there- some Billy Bob Bo Jeff yells out for Sue Ellen to declare herself for gov’nor.  Sue Ellen flashes a coy smile and departs. Man, Linda Gray is smokin’. . .

J. R. moseys over to Bobby’s table for a little brother-on-brother mindscrew. He thanks Bobby for visiting him at the home, saying that he remembers everything about his visits. Leave it to Hagman to totally sell Southern charm laced with minute traces of venom, he sticks the landing every time. He is introduced to Marta del Sol (wink, wink) and even bids Junior to come over and make nice with his uncle. While Bobby and Annie excuse themselves, J. R. goes back into evil mode and asks Marta about when he’s gonna get some face time with her father, Elena says she working on it and she’ll hit him back with an e-mail. J. R. tells her his addy: J. R. [email protected].. .’cause grown men don’t tweet about business, they meet face-to-face. Grandparents acrossAmerica stand up and cheer.

Sue Ellen has her impromptu gubernatorial strategy session interrupted by J. R. who seems to give a heartfelt willingness to bury the hatchet with his ex-wife and regrets over the combative nature of their relationship. Before he leaves, he tells her with a trace of tremble in his voice that he thinks she’s still “the prettiest girl at the ball”. Awwww.

John Ross and Elena meet up.  After he tells her that they still make a good team, Elena wants to keep it just at that as she still believes he was behind she and Chris’ breakup. She also reveals that his mother is her new benefactor. Mitch and J. R. have a tense meeting as J. R. threatens to make his life hell if he doesn’t get those damn TPS reports pronto.  The old coot allows himself a smile as he savors the sweet nectar that is the lawyer’s newly-minted punkdom. Fredo tries to get it on with Marta and asks for a hundred grand. Marta doses his drink before they get down to business, and the next day he awakens with no recollection of what happened in the bed and unaware that he now has a new entry in the underground sex tape industry. Marta gives him the money and tells him that she has ways to deal with Mitch Lobell.

Meanwhile, Annie pleads with Bobby to reveal his illness to his son and to man up and fight to keep Southfork. Christopher visits Elena and enlists her geological prowess in his quest to show his dad he can take over the family business. His innocent entry into his ex-girlfriend’s crib doesn’t go unnoticed; apparently his brother-in-law Tommy’s job search has led him to behind a tree spying on Bobby. Cut to Tommy back with sis in the Southfork kitchen, telling her about scoring a job on the ranch. They are now in. It’s slowly revealed that these two are working a con of their own over the past few years and they have a big score to make from the unsuspecting Ewings. When Rebecca seems to have growing qualms over her duplicity, Tommy tells her to keep her head in the game. On a State Fair gondola car (must be October!), John Ross meets with a man who must watch a lot of Telemundo and who might have dirt on Lobell. He puts the guy on finding out just who sent Elena that e-mail.

And somewhere in Mexico, El Diabolo himself — also known as one J. R. Ewing — shows up at a palatial mansion with two armed men standing sentry at its door. J. R. finally gets his sitdown with Don Carlos. Before the two get down to business, his host asks J. R. to meet his lovely daughter Marta (wink. . . wait a minute).

That girl’s not Marta, at least not the one we’ve seen back in Big D!  Even J. R. is hit with a hefty dose of WTF. As always, something’s definitely shady going on in Dallas.  Till next time. . .