28 June 2012

"Dallas" (2012) Episode #4

"The Last Hurrah" (Episode 104)

Alas, this is only a partial episode review because I missed both the 9:00 airing and the first ~18 minutes of the 11:00 encore airing on account of seeing Billy Elliot: The Musical. As such, I can only say that I really enjoyed the subplot of Bobby and Christopher with the tragic cow birth. I knew that the delivery would come to represent something else, but I didn't anticipate its actually sweet symbolic value at the end when Bobby reiterated his love for his son and made clear (again) that Christopher being adopted is not at all an issue for him. That's the side of Bobby that I've always admired.

Not only does Dallas need him to help offset J.R., but I think TV in general needs more Bobby Ewings. I readily concede, Dallas would lose its appeal if it was Bobby-centric; the show thrives on the machinations and double-crosses in which he rarely wittingly partakes. But there's something really healthy about him being present throughout all of it, reminding both the other characters and us the audience that people like J.R. and John Ross should not have an unchecked go of things, and that there are values and ideals that don't require being ruthless. Too many shows are afraid to have a Bobby Ewing, because they worry it takes away from their edginess somehow. I couldn't disagree more. Bobby's presence is what has always allowed us to feel comfortable with Dallas.

As for J.R., it was quite a lot of fun to watch him play everyone to set in motion his claiming Southfork for himself. Watching him throw John Ross under the bus was the payoff that makes last episode more palatable in retrospect. It never felt right, J.R. going from having a straight razor to his son's throat to immediately pleading with him for forgiveness, etc. This, however, feels a lot more like J.R. and now I feel validated for saying last week's behavior felt off-kilter.

This is twice, by the way, that we've seen Ray and Lucy and both times they've appeared together at a Southfork function. What's their deal? I'd like to see them in different contexts. If nothing else, I'd like to see Bobby and Ray trade stories over a beer, or for Anne and Lucy to develop a closeness. Just something that lets us know these characters are actually allowed on the ranch outside of formal events, y'know?

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