It’s the scruffy Bobby episode! Although, that does NOT look like real beard stubble. In this episode, Bobby gets kidnapped, the Ewings have to work with Cliff to get him back and Teresa is to blame for Lucy’s weight gain! Let’s head to the ranch, shall we?
Before breakfast a shady character is spying on the ranch. Given the problems they have had since the first season, you’d think the Ewings would beef up security a bit.
Inside, Lucy tries to skip breakfast, but Miss Ellie isn’t having it. Lucy complains that she’s gained a few pounds and Miss Ellie chides her for hitting the candy machines at school. Lucy throws some shade at Teresa and “all those mashed potatoes” she makes! Way to toss that blame!
Sue Ellen reads a letter from her momma, who plans to come out for the baby. J.R. is NOT having them stay at SouthFork, which is rude.
We cut to a hovel where the kidnappers, Will Al and Fay (I don’t remember that being a popular 70s name) are showing slides of past episodes and planning their crime. They are fairly meticulous in showing photos of each of the Ewing mobiles and even the office’s underground parking garage, which those Ewings never once use in 13 seasons. They ALWAYS park on the street.
They discuss that J.R. is worth 100 million dollars and mistakenly call Lucy J.R.’s granddaughter. Al is the loose cannon of the bunch and also the creepiest. That night, they bury instructions in next to a tree in front of the ranch. Again, people, we need better security out here!
Next day, Bobby has to handle a crisis at his builder’s site. When he gets to the never-again used parking garage, his tire is flat.
J.R. is having some afternoon delight and Louella calls to tell him his 2:30 appointment is already there.
NOW … how did J.R. get to his side-piece’s hotel room without his car which is clearly parked next to Bobby’s? Bobby takes J.R.’s car and drives off. Can we sense the mix-up that’s coming?
Bobby can tell he’s being followed and yet STILL drives off on a dirt road. This seems to be a poorly-thought out strategy. Al is stunned when he points a gun at the car and Bobby gets out and exclaims. “What the hell? Holy … We’ve got the wrong Ewing!”
Fay cackles that they may have the wrong goose but he can still lay the golden egg. The dialogue! They drive back to their hovel near the airport. The hovel is … extra hovel-ly. There’s a lot of lame, Hollywood-idea-of-graffiti on the walls.
They chain Bobby up (which, admittedly, a fantasy come true) and Fay hopes his family “likes” him a lot.
J.R. WALKS back to the office, which is NOT what I expected. How far is the hotel? Is it hot? Why not a cab? I have questions! He is peeved that Bobby took his car.
Bobby tries to get info from his captors. They plan to use Cliff Barnes to be the intermediary, since he’s Bobby’s bro-in-law.
Now. They did all this research … they knew Ray was the ranch foreman. How did they NOT know of the Barnes/Ewing feud? And yet, Fay knows Cliff has a “cool head.”
Will reminds Al that he shot their last kidnapping victim, so I have to wonder how lucrative this business can be when one does a risk-assessment.
Cliff gets a call that his secretary BARELY screens. He finds out Bobby has been kidnapped and heads straight for SouthFork.
Even as Miss Ellie gets a call from the builder Bobby stood up, Cliff arrives at the ranch. He tells them about the phone call and J.R. thinks it’s a Barnes scam. Cliff pulls out the letter buried in front of the ranch, and it says they want one million five hundred thousand.
The note, written before the mix-up, says they have kidnapped J.R. There’s not a ton of reaction to this, but if I were J.R., I would be thinking about more security everywhere. There’s some argument about Cliff being involved, but ultimately, the trope of enemies working together prevails!
The kidnappers specificially say don’t call the cops and FBI … so of course that’s what J.R. does! The next day, the FBI guys bemoan the fact there’s no time to mark the bills (the gang also said unmarked bills, but okay). Cliff heads out with a million dollars in a big suitcase.
Back at the ranch, J.R. enlists Ray’s help. He wants Ray to put together a team of crack shots. J.R. does tell Ray he knows there’s bad blood between them (due to the whole Captain Janeway fiasco), but they have to save Bobby.
The kidnappers call (after a false alarm from one of Miss Ellie’s friends – hilarity!) and they saw the FBI agent. Now the plans have changed. They send Cliff all over town on a scavenger hunt. His first stop – a great-looking restaurant called Regular Jon’s. Then to a playground (which doesn’t feel creepy at all – what if a kid found one of those notes?) and then a railroad track. No one shows to TAKE THAT MILLION DOLLARS! He does find Bobby’s wallet and a photo of Bobby with today’s newspaper. Cliff heads back to the ranch, deflated.
Meanwhile, back at the hovel, a now faux-stubbled Bobby listens to Al and the others fight over why Al didn’t pick up the money (he was worried about possible FBI agents … even though Cliff was CLEARLY alone on the railroad tracks). Bobby tries to escape and gets caught and punched by Will, who hasn’t had as much to do as Al in this episode. They bring up the fact the last prisoner got shot.
The Ewings and Cliff wait for the next contact with some EXTRA dramatic music stings. At the hovel, Fay is feeding Bobby berating Bobby since he’s never been poor and had to clean up rich people’s trash for money like she has. Fay then hits on Bobby. Instead of pretending to go along with it to try and overpower her, he resists. Al and Will come back just then, so she has to give up on Operation” Make Out With Chained-Up Bobby.”
Al calls Cliff and gives instructions. Cliff demands they meet in an open spot. Al agrees to meet out at a deserted power substation outside at Denton at dawn.
J.R. frustrated, says he’s “tired of frying meat” here and goes off to be useful. I never head that saying before and it’s my new favorite. J.R. heads to Ray and “the boys” to make plans. They will all camp out there from midnight on.
Fay isn’t happy – she thinks they are walking into a trap. She’s right, but Al won’t listen.
At dawn, Cliff arrives. The kidnappers show up and count he money and bring Bobby to Cliff. It looks like the deal is done, and suddenly, Safari-Action J.R. and Ray start shooting. You don’t truly get the sense J.R. was aiming at Cliff, but Bobby jumps over the throw Cliff to the ground.
Al and Will are killed and Fay slumps against the car devastated and gets her gun taken. Cliff tries to punch J.R., but Bobby stops him.
Capiche Moment: At the ranch, Bobby and Pam reflect on the experience. As J.R. passes them, Pam calls him out for almost killing Cliff. He smiles and says, “Killed? With me there, he was never safer in his life.”
OMG I love J.R.! Overall, 2.5 Sue Ellen martinis out of five. I really could’ve used a little of J.R. reflecting that HE was the kidnapping target. And the gang was lame, though Al stars in a pretty amazing late 80s sci-fi film ROBOT JOX, that I now have to see.
Next week … Miss Ellie’s missing older brother shows up! Will he take SouthFork! Tune in next week!