Dallas Recap, Episode 4: “The Last Hurrah”

This week’s episode of Dallas opens much the same as last week, with the newlywed Christopher Ewing getting mad, passionate stuff from the love of his life. But that particular appellation has become a little muddled when our intrepid young hero finds himself gazing into beautiful eyes belonging not to his wife Rebecca, but to his current research partner and old flame Elena. Fortunately, Chris awakens from this sticky situation to his wife slumbering beside him.

John Ross is entertaining his father J. R. at his Fight Club-era Edward Norton-decorated pad, where J. R. shares info that may help shut down the problem with Bobby’s skeevy, blackmailing lawyer Mitch Lobell. It seems that Lobell Esquire’s no-good son has upgraded his alcoholism (which caused him to run down an elderly woman years ago in an accident Mitch paid to cover up) for into full-on drug abuse, racking up two felony possession charges along the way. As John Ross points out, one more strike on the young Lobell’s record will send him to the state dugout at Huntsville for a very long time. And unfortunately for him, J. R. Ewing is about to take the mound. The plan is simple: set Junior up with possession, and his dad will do anything to keep him out of jail. And because the son is known to have an eye for women, J. R. suggests enlisting Marta for this bit of jerkmanship, but John Ross begs-off by claiming that she has become a tad “clingy.” His father takes this to mean that his boy wants to be clingy with someone else, namely “that Mexican girl” Elena, but John Ross assures him that relationship is over. After J. R. leaves, John Ross calls Rebecca. Armed with the evidence supplied by his PI, he invites her to a sitdown to discuss the e-mail that led to the Chris and Elena’s breakup.

J. R. meets with his own private investigator (apparently played by an uncredited, post-Paleo Diet Meat Loaf) who has been digging up dirt on “Marta del Sol.” Her birth name is Veronica Martinez and she is quite a piece of work. She is bipolar and apparently doesn’t handle breakups well, having stalked ex-lovers and, on one occasion, attacking one with a knife. If jealousy were weapons-grade, then Marta/Veronica is a copy of The Bell Jar and two Tori Amos songs away from DEFCON 1, and J. R. can’t wait to launch her against Elena.

At Southfork, Bobby has signed over the ranch to the Del Sol Conservatory (in reality, Venezuelan oil barons in league with Marta, John Ross and J. R. for a cut of future Southfork oil profits), and Annie, with help from Tommy (in full Eddie Haskell mode) is packing the clan’s belongings for the big move. Chris and Bobby return from counting steers and the family begins to come together for breakfast. Bobby and Annie discuss the big going-away barbecue and their upcoming new life in a condo. Elena drops in to discuss her ongoing project with Christopher, and as the two look over paperwork, they steal awkward, furtive glances at each other. Rebecca arrives late to breakfast but just in time to catch the exchange. She haltingly accepts the situation as innocent and leaves to go study up for the bar exam at the law library.

At her offices in downtown Dallas, Sue Ellen receives an unexpected visitor, her ex-husband J. R., bearing a gift: Miss Ellie’s pearls found while packing up at Southfork. Sue Ellen seems touched by this gesture from her seemingly contrite former spouse, but the touching moment is dashed by the presence of Cliff Barnes, who is still in Dallas after his ill-fated meeting with Christopher and is now advising Sue Ellen on her impeding gubernatorial campaign. The two old coots make up for lost time in their ages-old feud with much trash talk and threats, and much to J. R.’s chagrin, Sue Ellen leaves with Cliff.

Meanwhile, at the Lionel Hutz Memorial Law Library (which appears to be an abandoned parking garage) Rebecca arrives for her bar exam date with study buddy John Ross, who can’t wait to go over the unit on blackmail. He’s got a copy of the e-mail, which he claims was traced back to her IP address. Though Rebecca steadfastly denies that she is the author, John Ross gloats that it doesn’t matter as Christopher will surely believe a piece of paper that can be easily manipulated by anyone who can cut and paste on a word processor.

(Okay, folks, indulge me in a slight digression: Please tell me that I’m not the only viewer out there who has a problem with this whole break-up e-mail thing. I’ve reached the point of throwing my hands up like Gob Bluth and screaming “Oh, COME ON!!!” The fiendish plot seems like it was recycled from a second-season iCarly episode. . .and, yeah, I do know iCarly plots on sight. I’ve got a seven-year-old daughter. Don’t judge me, alright?!)

Anyway, afraid that John Ross will spill the beans about this to Christopher, Rebecca places herself under his control. John Ross gives her photos of Mitch Lobell’s son Ricky, who looks like one of the schlubs who end up at Chris Hansen’s house on To Catch a Predator. In return for his silence on whatever con she’s pulling on his cousin, John Ross is going to get Rebecca to take pictures of Junior doing drugs.

Later, at the bar where he and Chris had the falling-out, John Ross is having a noon-day celebratory can of Lone Star (of course!) when Elena comes in. Apparently her research in buying up lapsed oil deeds has shown that an especially large quantity of crude is located under the homestead of old Miss Henderson, who won’t hear Elena out but will probably be more than agreeable by the wiles of a good ol’ boy like John Ross. Although he’s obviously still stung by her dismissal of his affection, John Ross agrees to turn on the charm for the old girl. Their exit from the bar is secretly noted by J. R.’s flunky Meat Loaf.

Back at Southfork, Bobby tries to have a father/son chat with Christopher. Bobby saw the breakfast incident earlier between Chris, Rebecca, and Elena and wonders if it’s really conducive to have your ex within such close proximity to your new wife because, uh, chicks, y’know? Chris downplays the situation, and Bobby lets him know that Annie had reservations about competing with Pam’s memory, but he dealt with it by confronting it. A ranch hand appears, demanding that Bobby check on a pregnant steer — looks like it’s going into labor.

John Ross and Elena show up at Old Lady Henderson’s, and the matron remembers a cow-tipping incident by the young scamp years before (seriously, cow-tipping?). We get a dose of the patented John Ross Ewing III charm as he remarks that Miss Henderson is the sexiest woman in Texas when angry. Now, any Texan meemaw worth her salt would’ve smacked that stupid smirk off his face for saying something that cheeky — and sent him to fetch his own switch — but it’s enough to get the two inside the house, where she gives her approval to start drilling. Elena tells John Ross later that she will need approval from her financial backer, Sue Ellen, and invites him along to meet with her. John Ross’ isn’t very excited, as his relationship with his mother has become quite strained. A drink from a water hose inspires him to some teasing horseplay with Elena, spraying his ex-girlfriend with water. The two share a laugh and an embrace (captured on film by Meat Loaf), but Elena pulls away before things heat up past the point of no return. Meat Loaf, who finally gets a name (“Baum”), reports back to his master J. R.: he’s got the goods on John Ross.

After her meeting with Elena, Sue Ellen asks John Ross aside to ask about his father. Has J. R. truly mellowed out in his old age? John Ross’ replies curtly that J. R. has taken him under his wing to show him the oil business as he always promised. While her son leaves, Sue Ellen silently considers the pearls that J. R. brought her earlier. Well, maybe.

Chris and Bobby resume their talk while caring for one of their cattle going through labor. Chris confides that he and Elena were planning to elope but their plans and relationship were dashed when Elena received that freakin’ e-mail, which he still firmly believes that John Ross sent by hacking into his account. He also admits that although he loves Rebecca he still can’t help what wonder what might have been if he had remained with Elena; he never told his father about his inner turmoil because he was afraid that Bobby would tell him to do the right thing. Bobby tells him that in the end the choice is Christopher’s to make and if he is truly in love with Rebecca then he has to let go of Elena.

Rebecca hooks up with Lobell’s kid, who seems to be trying to actually get his act together by leading 12-step meetings. Rebecca introduces herself as an addict who is having trouble kicking the habit. Inspired by his story, she wants to know if Junior will meet with her outside the meeting to give her some pointers. The dumb schmuck is too happy to oblige.

Baum shows off pictures of John Ross and Elena’s earlier tryst to J. R., who almost twirls his eyebrows in villainous glee (man, those are some killer brows!). As the increasingly creepy PI listens, J. R. outlines phase two of his evil agenda; getting Marta to see the pictures, and unleashing the psychohosebeast on his unsuspecting son at the family barbecue.

John Ross drops off Elena at the ranch. After they discuss the fun times had earlier, Elena entreats John Ross to come with her into business. She also leaves the door open to possibly resuming their prior relationship. When John Ross returns home, Marta has been waiting up for him. She asks him why has he been out so late (drinkin’), with whom (with some old buddies), and why hasn’t he returned her calls (shootin’ pool, it was kinda loud). It looks like John Ross forgot about their date and now it’s too late-Ruh-roh! But she forgives him. She puts on her best come hither look, but what is he coming hither to? A bedroom full of headless Barbie dolls? Watch your step, Fredo.

In an underground parking lot, Rebecca and Junior are talking in his car. She says that she’s going through a very bad breakup and that she needs to get blitzed, like now. Junior declines, saying that fought hard to ditch the monkey on his back. After all the years of struggle he’s clean, and he’s gonna stay clean. He also lets Rebecca know what else is keeping him on the straight and narrow: the love of a good woman. As he shares his girlfriend’s wallet photo, he tells Rebecca that he’d couldn’t fathom a life without her and what she would think of him if he backslid. Telling Junior that he ”talked (her) out of it”, Rebecca leaves Junior, his car, and apparently John Ross’ plans, behind. She comes home to find Tommy in her bedroom with her husband’s laptop. He knows that she never installed the backdoor program that would allow him to hack the computer. Tommy then demands that while he combs the files found in the stable, she gets to cracking on her end of the scam.

John Ross and Marta go on a late-night shopping trip to Neiman Marcus (you know that’s how Ewings roll). He receives a call from Rebecca relaying news of her aborted mission. Like her bro Tommy, John Ross ain’t trying to hear that. Get it done by the time of the barbecue tomorrow afternoon or he tells Chris everything. After hanging up, John Ross tells Marta about the plan to bust Junior Lobell with possession, and she’s more than willing to suit up for the team. She even offers to have it done by the end of the morning.

The next morning, J. R. sees Elena at breakfast and gives her a backhanded compliment on helping a young, dyslexic John Ross with his reading. He then meets up Sue Ellen, who arrives early to the last day festivities at Southfork. Over breakfast, she discloses that Cliff has offered to bankroll her campaign.

After a long night at the delivering the calf (sadly, the mother died), Christopher emerges from his bonding session with his father with new purpose. He enters Elena’s quarters bearing a check for $20,000. He coldly tells her that it is her payment for her help in his alternative fuels start-up and that cashing it would negate any chance of her claiming ownership of any of their research. Elena insists that she helped out of friendship not out of greed, but Chris tells her that she helped John Ross in his scheme to secretly drill on Southfork. If she would compromise her morals once, who’s to say she wouldn’t again. He then leaves without another word, leaving Elena in shock. Hey, at least it wasn’t a tweet.

Elena texts John Ross, inviting him as her date to his family’s barbecue, an invite that he’s happy to receive. Then J. R. gives John Ross a call, demanding to know the status of the scam on Junior Lobell. John Ross reports that he put Marta on it and that he will go to discuss terms with Lobell Senior the next day. He then texts Rebecca (are all the Ewings on a family plan?) to let her know that he’s coming to Southfork, where he’s going to snitch to Chris about the e-mail. J. R. makes an unexpected stop to call on Marta, who’s downing prescription drugs with alcohol while waiting for John Ross. J. R. reveals the pictures of John Ross and Elena which, considering the Long Island Iced Lithium she just gulped, can’t be going too well with Marta. But it turns out she’s got pics of her own to share, of her coke-fueled sex romp with Junior. Seeing a girl willing to go above and beyond the call of duty — heck, they just needed a couple of pictures of him doing drugs and she gave them Late Night at Charlie Sheen’s — J. R. invites Marta to team-up with him in a new partnership.

Meanwhile at the barbecue, Lucy and Ray (sigh) show up to join everyone for the last goodbye to Southfork. As Bobby speaks to the assembled in gratitude, Rebecca tries to preempt John Ross’ revelation by talking to Christopher alone. J. R. leaves Marta to lay the smackdown at Mitch Lobell’s law office, where he dictates the way things are going to be to the sputtering attorney. Lobell’s days of extorting money are finished and he will reorganize the Southfork deal that will give J. R. full ownership of the ranch after the del Sol plan goes through, effectively cutting John Ross out of the deal he created.

Christopher takes Rebecca out to see the baby calf, and declares his love for his wife. That’s when Rebecca starts to tell him about the e-mail.  . .and we’ll see what happens next week.

So, Fellow Dallas Watchers! I’m sure that, like me, y’all get a gas trying to figure out where in the city our heroes are wheelin’ and dealin, livin’ and lovin’ every Wednesday. Though I’m from Big D, born and bred, I now live out in the hinterlands of Collin County, where the Ewings and Southfork are down the street in Braddock (cough, Parker, cough). Since I now go into cold sweats whenever I’m south of George Bush, I can’t as quickly point out the sights as I one could. I thought it would be fun for us to share whenever we recognize any of the locations featured in the episodes.

I’ll go first: John Ross’ swinging bachelor pad is probably in the lofts southeast of downtown (my mom says somewhere around Lamar). If you live there, you might want to grab an Apartment Finder: looks like Marta’s going to burn it down soon.

Amirite?: Sue Ellen’s office is in the Bank of America building off Main, the tallest joint in D-Town.

John Ross’ favorite bar appears to be in West Dallas, probably not too far from what my more trouble-prone friends lovingly call “Uncle Lew’s”.

Anybody else?


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