After the success of the mini-series, the next season of Dallas was quick to air. With most of the important parts of the Ewing mythology established, it’s no surprise that the season premiere brought in the only Ewing we hadn’t seen yet … Gary!
This, of course, is Gary #1, who gets quickly replaced by Real Gary in later episodes. Real Gary ends up being blonde, which makes Gary #1 even more odd, and makes me wonder if either Gary was really Jock’s son, but let’s roll with it.
The new credits are here! The logo is more polished, and Linda Gray finally made the cut, as did Steve Kanaly.
Everyone’s outside enjoying the pool and some backgammon. J.R. shows what a sleazy boss he is by dictating some notes to fire people before their benefits kick in and then destroy the tape. Did you learn nothing from the Red Files debacle, man?
Raoul serves everyone some drinks. Throughout the years, he and Theresa keep things going in this house, but I’m not sure he ever gets any lines other than “Yes, Miss Ellie.” Jock and Miss Ellie talk about Pam’s “condition” which is, of course, she miscarried due to J.R. almost pushing her out of the hayloft. Jock immediately loses a game of backgammon to Miss Ellie. Apparently, he hasn’t won a game since February.
Lucy listens to the radio and when Pam says she loves that song, Lucy reverts to bitchy Season One Lucy and turns off the radio. Continuity, people! Lucy and Pam like each other now!
Bobby looks amazing in 1970s-style gym short swim trunks. He’s off to Vegas for an oilman’s conference and Sue Ellen decides to stir up some shit. She manipulates Jock into asking J.R. to go to a cattle auction. J.R. is pissed that she is interfering in his business. As she walks round the horses with a drink in her hand, he goes off to scold her. She thinks Bobby is taking things away from J.R., and her hackles are up. Sue Ellen says J.R. is losing his grip. He makes some veiled threats. She drinks. So a typical day in their marriage.
In their room, Pam gets angry that Bobby is going to Vegas … until he surprises her that she’s going to. How anyone could get mad at those pecs and that hair, is beyond me.
In a weird disconnect, the Dallas theme suddenly plays over a shot of old Fremont Street. The Strip wasn’t really the Strip in those days. It looks like they are staying at the Stratosphere, which at the time was called Vegas World and was space-themed. If only I lived here then!
As Bobby and Pam head to their rooms and shake hands with a bunch of oilmen, a mysterious figure sees them and stops in front of the camera. You can guess, then, that this is Gary #1.
Everything about this oilman’s party in Bobby and Pam’s suite is awesome. The women wear spectacular 70’s floral prints and Bobby has on a white sports coat. This is exactly like the conventions my father went to, only with less Ewings.
J.R. is actually enjoying the cattle auction with his daddy. Lucy peels off to go shopping, leaving Ray and J.R. with Jock. Ray follows her and Lucy tries to get rid of him.
Ray follows her and she threatens to tell Jock about her and Ray’s affair if he doesn’t get lost. Apparently there were a LOT of afternoons in the hay loft! Oh my! A boy picks Lucy up – it’s that Cousin Jimmy, Digger’s nephew!
Ray thinks they are having sex, but Jimmy drives Lucy to a cheap diner where we see Valene for the first time! Yes, it’s Lucy’s momma … waiting tables in a cheap diner in Fort Worth. Apparently, Lucy has been coming to see her momma for a while now.
Meanwhile, back in Vegas, the party dies down and there’s a knock at the door. The room service guy forces his way in to clean up. Bobby does not recognize his brother as this pushy waiter who won’t stop cleaning. Apparently Vegas room service uniforms are as camouflaging as Clark Kent’s glasses. Bobby grabs him by the arm and dramatic music plays as he recognizes – Gary #1!
Upon reflection, it make sense that Gary was brunette, since Bobby and J.R. are as well, but the blondness of Real Gary visually made him more of an outsider. Pam comes down the stairs as the two are hugging and I’m sure she was like “Did Bobby bring me to Vegas to come out of the closet?”
In Fort Worth, Valene tells Lucy the story of her and Gary for the hundredth time. J.R. was the one who caused Gary and Valene to split and leave town … and Lucy ACTS as she tells Valene how much she hates J.R.
Gary tells Bobby and Pam how he wound up as a Vegas bellboy. He was $50,000 in debt, and been drunk for two weeks, got beat up and finally decided to turn his life around. His strategy? Become a bartender and blackjack dealer. This is called confronting those demons, people! He and Pam bond over their hatred of J.R. and they can’t believe Bobby thinks J.R. isn’t that bad.
Every time Gary #1 smiles, it’s little creepy. He would be better cast as a serial killer. Bobby calls Miss Ellie to say Gary’s coming home, but hold the phone, little brother! Gary #1 isn’t ready for that. Bobby tries to convince Gary #1 he has to at least come visit.
Before dinner Pam sits right down and orders a vodka tonic. Rude. Pam and Gary #1 talk about possibly coming home. Before they can decide anything, Bobby has already bought plane tickets for them all to come home. Must be nice to be rich.
The next day, Miss Ellie excitedly tells Jock the news … Gary (#1) is coming home. No one is excited as her, and she won’t stand for anything going wrong. She totally misreads Jock’s reserve and thinks he doesn’t want Gary to come home.
Even though it’s not even 9 am, J.R. heads for the bar. It’s a wonder all the Ewings aren’t alcoholics. Sue Ellen thinks Gary wants something, but J.R. knows Gary’s going to mess things up all by himself.
Lucy gets flirty with Ray in the hayloft. Ray resists. Suddenly, Bobby and Pam and Gary #1 get home. That was a quick flight! Ray and Lucy break out the handy binoculars, and I am starting to wonder what Ray uses them for when Lucy’s not in the hayloft.
Lucy doesn’t recognize Gary, of course. Miss Ellie comes out for an emotional reunion. Gary #1 is not a good enough actor to go toe-to-toe with Miss Ellie or Jock. Ray tells Lucy he knows who it is. She finally clues in and runs to the driveway.
Even more dramatic music plays as she meets her daddy for the first time. They just hold hands — which makes for a nice shot, but is weird.
The pre-dinner cocktails are interrupted when Jock wants to clear the air and find out who needs forgiving and who needs to forgive. Good ol’ Jock, cutting to the chase. This episode is fairly lackluster, given that it’s the premiere of the season and the introduction of a key character. I wish they’d taken Jock’s advice and gotten to things quicker.
J.R. apologizes to Gary first and suddenly, it’s a given that all is okay now. Conflict – resolved! Later that night, Gary is in the kitchen drinking milk. Bobby comes in and he is wearing a very short robe. Everything I know about gay sensibility, I think I got from Bobby Ewing.
Miss Ellie comes in. Bobby leaves so Miss Ellie and Gary can have a Serious Conversation.® She doesn’t want it to be a visit and he can already tell he’s not gonna make it, as he looks pensively into the distance as she hugs him.
Next morning, Lucy forces him to go to Fort Worth. Can you guess what’s coming? Yep – a certain diner that advertises hot biscuits and cream gravy in a sign larger than a truck.
Valene and Gary re-meet. It’s all awkward, made more so by the fact Lucy says her daddy is “still pretty.” Cringe. The scene cuts back to Southfork and the camera has some strange jerks and jiggles before centering on the house and the horses running by. This shot gets used a lot, but only the stable part. Ah, the magic of editing!
Pam is woken up by Aunt Maggie. Digger is in the hospital drying out … again.
Back at the diner, Valene drops a hot biscuit (literally … not a simile) due to her nerves. Turns out Valene found Lucy at her school and that’s how they reconnected. They really need to look into the Braddock County School System’s policies. Lucy wants Val to come back to the ranch. Val and Gary talk. Gary convinces Val to come back with him. She reluctantly agrees.
Bobby and Jock get into an argument and Raul tells Miss Ellie there’s a phone call. He got a line! Miss Ellie lets them know Valene is coming to the ranch. Bobby’s sweater with shoulder stripes looks amazing. No wonder I kept watching this show for years. J.R. has a predilection for safari-looking clothes. Is that the look of evil?
Capiche moment – J.R. sets up a plan involving a shell company to be run by a loser … and tells Sue Ellen he’s going to be what his family always wanted him to be … his brother’s keeper. OMINOUS!
To be continued next week!