DALLAS – Season 2, Episode 10: “Act of Love”

An odd title, for a Dallas episode, but what do I know? This episode turns up the heat between Sue Ellen and Cliff AND sets up the long-running subplot of who is John Ross’s daddy REALLY!

As we shelter in place and sew masks out of chiffon, let’s travel back in time and sit a spell at SouthFork and enjoy the good ol’ days with the Ewings.

Just another day in TV paradise.

Jock’s been out ranchin’ and Miss Ellie’s waiting with some OJ. He remarks how much he likes the peace and quiet of the ranch at dawn.

Bobby bursts out of one door, frantic to get to Austin with some plans. He doesn’t have time for coffee, which, in a pre-Starbucks world, would make me think twice about a plane trip.  Bobby almost leaves without his plans, but Pam brings them outside.  She remarks that the days of sitting around drinking coffee weren’t so bad.

Jock rightly points out that’s what you get for taking a job you only needed for your own self-esteem. As Pam explains she loves her job, Sue Ellen and Lucy come out another door, squabbling about Sue Ellen driving her to school and Lucy not understanding why she can’t have her own car.

Jock and Miss Ellie sit back and have their OJ. He’s going to have to get up even earlier to enjoy any peace in that house.

“No, I’m not scoping the room for your sister-in-law … wait, isn’t she my sister-in-law, too?”

Suddenly, it’s lunch and Pam is at a restaurant with some friends. She sees Cliff waiting on someone for lunch, but he thinks he’s been stood up. We KNOW he’s waiting on Sue Ellen, and then she walks in, running into Pam. Sue Ellen and Cliff have to act like this wasn’t a date. Pam is pretty sassy and I like her more here than I ever have!

“They want to invest in a line of Ewing® Unfortunate Neckwear Choices.”

Bobby gets a lead on some Yankee investors who want to open a branch of their business down in Dallas. He thinks they should throw a party at SouthFork for them. Meanwhile, Pam gets in an elevator at The Store that has an odd, fish-eye camera angle on Liz as she runs to join Pam. Liz hints at something good coming for Pam, so I guess leaving those coffee-drinking days is going to work to Pam’s advantage.

Why is the whole Store suddenly curved?

At dinner, there’s like four conversations going on. This is a busy episode! J.R. needs Bobby to hold down the office while he goes to D.C. to do some lobbyin’. Jock decides he’s the one to go in to the office and hold it down. Sue Ellen offers to take J.R. to the airport, even though he wants his secretary to do it. Of course, this gives her an excuse to head into town and see her side piece, Cliff.

It is odd to have everyone talking at once – what is this, The West Wing?

As Sue Ellen drops J.R. off, she tells him to have a good flight and he says “I always do.” YOU WERE JUST IN A PLANE CRASH LAST EPISODE! Oh well, she probably wishes this one goes down. I know it’s only a TV set, but it’s like the widest airplane in the world. J.R. sits next to a gorgeous woman, who is obviously who he’s lobbyin’.

“I always fly Business Select, so I get in the A boarding group.”

Bobby gets word his potential investor will attend the party –  and especially wants to meet Pam. You see, he’s old-school and places a lot of worth on a business partner’s personal morals. OMG. Good thing Bobby just built that school for Wayward Boys. Bobby is confident Pam will impress this guy, so we KNOW this will end badly.

ESCANDALO!

Sue Ellen comes out in a sexy nightie with a present for her hidden-from-the-camera lover. Was there anyone in TV land that didn’t think it was Cliff? Sue Ellen proposes a toast and finally Cliff sits up so we can see him. Sue Ellen remarks it’s their six-week anniversary of their affair. Oh my!

No, really … aren’t they in-laws?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Pam is floating peacefully in the pool when Bobby races out and cannonballs over her, knocking her off her float. She’s pissed since now her hair is wet and she’s worried about making a good impression on this Yankee bigwig. A) Surely the Ewings have hair dryers and B) Don’t invite Digger or Cliff over, Pam, and you’ll be fine.

I wish they’d made Bobby adopted from the lost continent of Atlantis.

Pam asks Sue Ellen for help but won’t tell her what she needs. She insists they have lunch and talk. Rude.

Poor Jock.

At the office, the phones ring off the hook, but no one wants to talk to Jock. Frustrated, he heads to an early lunch at the Cattlemen’s Club, while Pam meets Sue Ellen.  Pam finally gets to the point and asks for help on the party and calls it an “affair.” DOUBLE ENTENDRE! Sue Ellen is pissed that she got dragged in to town for this and bolts out before Pam can order lunch.

J.R. is in a HIDEOUS and TOO-SHORT silk robe in D.C. as he talks to Jock on the phone. Jock reminds him to “spread the B’s.” J.R. is happy to explain to us that means “booty, booze and broads.” EWWWWwwww.

Can’t … un-see …

Cliff and Sue Ellen walk along in a park. He quizzes her about J.R.’s activities. She deflects and wonders if she likes Cliff because J.R. hates him more than anyone else. Oddly enough, this hate-flirting has them end up heading for bed.

Liz brings Pam into her office and gives her a promotion. She’s a buyer now AND she’s going to Paris for Fashion Week. Of course, now this is going to conflict with the party, where she needs to be a dutiful wife and make Bobby look good. DUN-DUN-DUN!!!

Those 70s swatches!!!!!

At dinner, only Bobby and Pam are the only ones at dinner with Jock and Miss Ellie. Lucy’s at Muriel’s and we KNOW where J.R. and Sue Ellen are. Jock complains that “there was a time” when they all ate dinner together. Like, earlier in this episode???

Pam wants to talk to Bobby alone. She tries to equivocate and push the party back, but he can’t  –  these damn Yankees are only going to be here on that date. He reminds her it’s SO important for his career and her presence is SO important. She agrees, so we know there’ll be some resentment later.

“I don’t know what could be making me sick every morning, doctor.”

Sue Ellen is at the doctor’s office. She doesn’t understand why she feels so strange. This is the FORESHADOWING, people!

Liz is in a meeting and Bobby shows up wanting to see her. He’s there to pick a frock for Pam for a special occasion. There’s a moment of cliché “we’re talking about two separate special occasions,” but Liz drops the bombshell that Pam’s supposed to go to Paris, thinking Bobby knows that already, assuming Bobby and Pam talk to each other each day like normal couples. Bobby is super sympathetic with Liz, especially after hearing important it is to Pam.

I feel like this scene was in last week’s Westworld.

Lucy complains that Muriel has a second car (I’m assuming she wrecked or sold the first one – Muriel, IIRC, wasn’t the crazy party animal Lucy was), while Bobby wists for Pam by a column. As Pam drives up, the phone rings and Lucy grabs it. It’s for Sue Ellen and it’s Doc Harlan with NEWS. She reacts badly before she recovers and tells everybody she’s pregnant.

Maybe Jock’s pants were causing you morning sickness.

Everyone is stoked. Jock calls J.R. and makes Sue Ellen tell J.R. she’s pregnant. He sounds happy, and whoops to himself in a bar mirror. How can he not know the timeline doesn’t add up? All that lobbyin’ must have clouded his memory.

Don’t get too happy, J.R.

In bed, Pam apologizes for not being pregnant. WTF?!? Bobby is FINE with her not being pregnant first. Now maybe the pressure is off of who will produce the first heir, he and J.R. can be real brothers. Pam tells Bobby how important her job is, still not knowing he knows.

And just like that, the bloom is off the … whatever that flower is.

Sue Ellen meets Cliff at the park. She likes that he made her terrific but now she feels ashamed for cheating on her husband. She tells Cliff she’s pregnant and of course he assumes it’s his. Sue Ellen denies his logic. Cliff’s right, though. Seven years of marriage to J.R. — never pregnant. Six weeks with him — pregnant. He also hits her with the fact she’s never going to leave the Ewing name and the SouthFork lifestyle.

J.R. returns home, and Jock is so proud of him. For having sex? OMG.

Later that night, Pam waits for Bobby, who says one of his best lines ever — that he’s not seen  J.R. that happy since they “deregulated natural gas.” TOPICAL HUMOR!

“I’ll be the prettiest wife at the party!” GAG.

Bobby has something behind his back.  Pam wants to talk to him but first he busts out the new dress. He says she has to have something to wear to Paris. She tearfully says she’s not going –  she told Liz she had to stay and make Bobby look good for the investor. So … everything worked out? SMH.

In the study, J.R. offers Sue Ellen a drink. COME ON! Even in the late 70s, we KNEW this was wrong! She tells him she’s six weeks pregnant and J.R. FINALLY realizes the timeline’s wrong. He was in Austin for ten days during that time.

You are NOT going to beat Sue Ellen at the drinking game, J.R.

She wonders if he “forgot” the last time they did it. He claims he wouldn’t have. She retorts, “I’ve been just as faithful to our marriage vows as you have.” OUCH!

Capiche Moment: Sue Ellen tells him she finally has something he wants. J.R. is stuck –  he can’t let his daddy and friends know it isn’t his baby. She delivers the knockout blow, “Chances are, it’s yours.” Double Ouch!

Told you not to get too happy!

4 out of 5 Sue Ellen martinis for this one. Despite Pam and Bobby’s silliness, Sue Ellen rocked this episode. I love that she finally took control of a situation. At least for now.

That is NOT a Starfleet regulation hat, Captain!

Join us next week for one of my fave guest-starring roles of all Dallas … Captain Janeway herself, Kate Mulgrew, stars as Ray’s new flame, country singer Garnett McGee! See you then!

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