Emma and J.R. Junior, and their cheatin' hearts. Photo by Skip Bolen for TNT.

Dallas Season 3, Episode 3 Recap: Lesser Chickens

Will Southfork get all drill, Bobby, drill?

After finding out last episode that Harris Ryland is undercover CIA, Bobby and Annie realize the threat posed by Harris’ cartel frenemies to Emma and beef up security around the ranch. This doesn’t sit well with Emma as this cuts into her campaign to win the Southfork Slut Invitational—Lucy’s jersey being retired—and steps up her game to wrest John Ross from poor Pamela. She joins the bride for a shopping trip to Victoria’s Secret to find some babymaking couture for Junior and Pamela’s honeymoon, but when she and Junior get some alone time later, Emma surprises him with a smokin’ green negligee to get the mood started.

All Emma’s machinations do not go unnoticed. Sue Ellen goes to Annie with her concerns regarding Annie’s daughter and her son and the two moms get busy trying to stop the illicit romance. Annie tells Harris, who later tells his mom, who is more concerned about the information Junior is pumping out of Emma than the pumping itself. Only when Harris tells her that there’s damning stuff in the files that Emma stole from the safe about her that Mommy Fearest springs to action. Judith tells Harris to dig up some dirt on John Ross that will get him off their backs.

Meanwhile, John Ross’ campaign to frack Southfork doesn’t sit too well with the ranch hands, who take to spray painting motivational messages such as “Go Home! This Is Cattle Country!” and “Greedy Pricks” all over his equipment. Tempers flare hot enough for Junior to receive a good old-fashioned ass-whuppin’ courtesy of one of the wranglers by the name of Bo. Bobby shows up (taking his time to ensure that Junior gets the most of his scholarship at the School of Hard Knocks) and reassures his employees that Southfork will remain frack-free. He meets with the state railroad commissioner to see about getting an injunction against John Ross, but the commish puts the kibosh on the idea. Short of three-eyed fish and the citizenry complaining about the taste of Pennzoil in their sweet tea, the Lone Star State is ready to drill, Bobby, drill.

Christopher Ewing, meanwhile, goes down to Juarez to look into Nicolas Trevino. He hooks up with Cliff Barnes in prison, and there is definitely no love lost (Cliff being the de facto killer of Chris and Pamela’s twins—his own grandchildren—by blowing up the oil rig last season). Cliff maintains his innocence of J.R.’s murder and remains confident that he will be exonerated. After leaving Cliff (who’s starting to look more and more like Nick Nolte’s mugshot with each visit) Chris gets pickpocketed by a scrappy Juarez urchin, who takes the gringo’s wallet to some shady guys following him in an SUV. His next stop is a local bodega, whose manager was once a chemist whose patent research was conned out from under him by an up-and-coming scoundrel by the name of Nicolas Trevino. The poor schlub is more than happy to give up his files (which he keeps under the counter in a handy manila folder, underneath the stacks of bootleg “Justin Beaver” CDs) with a helpful hint for Chris: there are no records for Trevino prior to 1987, so he isn’t who he says he is.

Shortly after, Chris is met by the Juarez welcome wagon—the two guys in the SUV, who know he’s asking questions about Trevino. They invite him inside the car for some answers, and Chris, probably the world’s most astute foreign traveler since Michael Rockefeller and a dude in a striped shirt named Waldo, hops in.

Elsewhere, Elena and Trevino stick to their plan of revenge against the Ewings. Elena goes to the gun range to sweet talk the range operator into letting her see the surveillance cameras, hoping to catch a glimpse of who stole Cliff’s gun (which, if you recall, was taken from his locker and used by Bum to kill J. R.). . .but the tapes have been erased. Nicolas tries to bribe Rhonda Simmons with 25 large to recant her testimony of what went down the night J. R. was killed. . .only to find himself baller-blocked by Bobby Ewing. Though their mutual plans seem to come up short, it drives Nicolas and Elena closer together and soon it’s R. Kelly time.

Sue Ellen has dinner with Bum, who put the family fix-it man on the task of catching John Ross with Emma. Although he did find proof of infidelity, he had let Junior slide, hoping that the kid would get his act together. Sue Ellen puts the screws on Bub, praising his sense of honor, loyalty, and honesty, though something tells me Bub didn’t put these qualities on his application to J. R. After seeing Junior once more about to get busy with Emma, he mawkishly shows up at Sue Ellen’s doorstep to admit that he tried to cover up Junior’s extracurricular activities.

John Ross sends for Bo at Ewing Global. Fans may remember that Bo is the same roustabout at the ranch who sold Emma Ryland the drugs last season. Junior sure does, and he produces a blackmail-ready bag of yayo to give to his uncle Bobby and the narcs unless Bo comes off his anti-frack stance. The next day, Bo and Junior get the cowboys (who show the same devotion to the cause as your average Springfieldian mob on The Simpsons) on board, but Southfork Ranch remains frack-free, thanks to Bobby Ewing. He shows up with what he calls “a lesser prairie chicken” (genus gallus gallus whateverus), indigenous to the area and on the Sierra Club’s endangered list. Until it can be determined that no harm will come to the fowl, there is now an injunction against oil operations on the ranch.

John Ross goes home to sulk and sees Pamela, who thinks what her man needs is some sexy time to take his mind off being such a tool. She drops her robe to reveal…duh duh duh, the same green nightie that Emma wore when they got it on. Junior loses his drive and begs off, leaving his wife befuddled.

In Mexico, Christopher is driven to the same heavily-guarded fortress/mansion where we first meet Nicolas Trevino. This time, a beautiful woman and her two children meet Chris. She apologizes for the militaristic ambiance of the place, as her family is a lovely kidnapping target for the drug cartels. She introduces herself as Lucia Trevino and why, yes, she would just loooove to answer questions about her husband Nicolas. . .

. . . and that, guys, is why you never, ever forget Valentine’s Day.

So that’s what went down in this season’s third episode, “Playing Chicken.” For the record, TNT, I thought that Pamela wore the negligee best (Julie Gonzalo can frack my Southfork anytime). See y’all in seven, for next week’s episode. For now, I’m going to enjoy this plate of lesser prairie chicken wings that my hookup at Southfork fried up special.