It’s the Jock has a heart attack episode!
For me, this was when Dallas truly started sinking its hooks into me. I loved it up until now, but when Jock had a heart attack, we moved into the type of soap opera tropes that General Hospital weaned me on. If only Bobby and Pam had gone on the run and looked for the Ice Princess!
Also, J.R. starts really coming into his own. With all the family set-up of the first season and the last few episodes, it sometimes got lost that J.R. was the main character and his driving force was to A) make his daddy proud and B) sleep with every woman he wasn’t married to.
We also saw some hints of the dirty deals in the Red File … and I loved it. So let’s head south, shall we?
We open with a nifty camera angle underneath a herd of running cattle. A helicopter is both hovering around keeping tabs on strays and herding the cattle, without somehow NOT spooking the steers. Ahh, technology.
Jock and Ray are riding herd against some stately march version of the Dallas theme. It paints a great picture. I get the feeling this is the part of the West I would enjoy … if the meat industry didn’t offend my vegetarian soul so much. Jock heads off to rope a stray and we cut to the womenfolk having a committee meeting outside at someone’s yard.
I work in nonprofits and never once been to an outdoor committee meeting tea party, so I am clearly either working in the wrong state or I didn’t marry rich enough. Sue Ellen sums up the life I sometimes aspire to – thinking up a theme for their fundraising ball that helps the underprivileged — but isn’t too depressing.
Pam clearly isn’t into this lifestyle, to which I say, get out of my way and I’ll take over! She calls Bobby at work to ask for a lunch date, but he’s busy doing some nonsense with maps to prep for a meeting with J.R. and the boys.
Bobby questions all the empty land holdings they own. It’s clearly some sort of scam so J.R. tries to divert him with some out of the office errand to get him away from the meeting with Jeb Ames and Willie Joe Garr, which sound like the Hollywood idea of Texan names.
Bobby fights J.R. on this, but J.R. won’t budge. As soon as Bobby gets in the down elevator, the “boys” show up in the up elevator. This show and its incredible timing! The background music gets extremely sassy as J.R. takes the boys out to “the club.”
When Bobby gets back he is pissed – but not as pissed as Sue Ellen is the next morning. She slams drawers to wake the hungover J.R. up. She and Miss Ellie head out to their meeting, sans Pam, who has another appointment.
Apparently, her appointment is with the pool. She and Bobby flirt until she tells Bobby she’s going to lunch with her old boss from The Store, Liz Craig. Liz pops up frequently over the next seasons and I always love seeing Barbara Babcock, who was radiant in an episode of Star Trek, play Pam’s boss.
Bobby however, is not having it. Ewing women should not work in his opinion and his chauvinism is cut short by the phone. Bobby wants to start making real estate deals, and we know J.R. won’t be happy about that.
Ray foreshadows that Jock has been working too hard. Jock tells some tall tale about following in Ellie’s dad’s footsteps as a cattleman. Bobby talks about his potential real estate deals and Jock tells him to talk to J.R. about that kind of stuff. To be fair, J.R. IS the boss, but Bobby wants to form his own company, saying he can’t work with J.R.
Jock wants Bobby to stand up to J.R., demand his rightful share, not fly to Houston and make a new company. Jock puts his fingers to his lips and he CLEARLY needs a cigarette.
J.R. is on the porch mixing a foul-looking hangover remedy. Jock starts growling at him about J.R. working banker’s hours and partying with boys that are as “trustworthy as two stepped-on rattlesnakes.”
Jock tells J.R. he’d better let Bobby into everything about the company – that he’s always wanted the two brothers to run it together. J.R. argues that Bob’s not ready and suddenly, Jock grabs his chest and sinks to the ground.
J.R. truly looks terrified as his daddy stares off into the distance and I can’t lie – I get a little teary watching that scene.
An ambulance roars out of the ranch after the commercial break and Lucy, who’s been riding somewhere, shows up and wonders what’s happening. She calls over to Miss Ellie and Sue Ellen’s meeting, where, you’ll be pleased to know, the non-depressing theme of the dance will be “the Pioneers.”
Miss Ellie takes the call, and like the boss she is, puts everything in order – tells Lucy where the office number is, has her call Bobby, get Ray on standby and probably has Lucy squeeze in an acting lesson as well.
At the hospital, I am only slightly mollified that even the rich Ewings have to go in those awful curtained-off waiting areas in the ER, and even J.R. can’t get answers from a doctor.
Pam and Liz are having a delightful lunch. Liz can tell Pam is bored and tells her she can always find a place for Pam at The Store.
Miss Ellie shows up at the hospital with Sue Ellen and the family doctor, Dr. Danvers. Lucy caterwauls into the barn, looking for Ray to tell him the news. She really only wants to collapse in his arms and whine about not feeling old. You’re just supposed to tell him to stand by, Lucy. Follow orders, please.
Danvers wants to switch hospitals and Miss Ellie leads the charge. Seconds later, Jock’s in an ambulance on the way. Pam tries to find Bobby in Houston. In the ambulance, we see Miss Ellie’s brave façade crack slightly.
At Dallas Memorial, Jock is awake. He asks if he’s going to make it, and I start getting dust in my eyes again. The doctor tells the family Jock is doing okay, but they can only see him for five minutes in a couple of hours – time Pam uses to get Bobby from the airport. Damn, she was able to track down Bobby just through Information!
The Telephonic Age
In the mists of prehistory, before smartphones, or as we call them now, phones — there was no internet. There was a mythical database repository known as Information and its was manned by humans. Occasionally, you could find the phone number and even the address of a business. So, how Pam found Bobby is nothing short of a plot device miracle.
The boys show up in the hospital parking lot, even as Bobby arrives. J.R. and Sue Ellen blame Bobby for Jock’s heart attack. Bobby blames J.R. for sending Jock to a “two-bit” hospital. Ouch! Pam and Bobby head to Jock’s room and J.R. has to have a confrontation with the boys.
They want to see the Red File! Let me tell you, for all the build-up on the Red File … we never really get the good dirt, so don’t hold your breath. If Dallas ever comes back, I hope it does nothing except base its entire premise on John Ross dealing with fallout from the Red File.
J.R. stalls them and Bobby lurks in Jock’s room, feeling guilty. He kisses Jock’s forehead and says, “Sorry, Daddy.” Damn, there’s a lot of dust in my eye this episode!
Next morning, Bobby and Ray round up the cattle. Bobby wants to learn more about this side of the family business. I wonder if Ray thinks every Ewing but J.R. wants his job. In the house, Pam whines to Miss Ellie that she’s worried about Bobby. Miss Ellie slaps back, saying she’s got more on her mind that Bobby vs. J.R. right now. She straight-up tells Pam – “You’re a Ewing now. Bobby’s your responsibility. Handle it.”
Jock is awake and grumpy, complaining about the food. He’s tired of all the tests. Jock is worried he might have to be opened up and he starts wondering if he wasn’t a good father. Miss Ellie tells him to look at J.R. as his success story. And your advice is usually so good, Miss Ellie. Jock gives her the requisite if anything happens to him, she has to keep the family together.
It’s touching to see how strong their mariage is. #relationshipgoals.
On the ranch, we have to see Ray and Bobby doing some cattle branding, which, you know, is just barbaric. Pam rides up and Ray remarks there’s a lot of daylight between Pam and that saddle, which is Texas talk for she’s riding fast.
Bobby vaults a bunch of fences to get to Pam. She wants to ask why he didn’t go to the hospital to see Jock the day before. Bobby gets defensive and says his daddy doesn’t need a crowd around him. She pushes his buttons and gets him to get all weepy from the guilt.
I feel like this was poor timing on Pam’s fault. Don’t make him cry in front of the ranch hands! Yeesh.
Meanwhile, Jock’s having a blast. Three good ol’ boys are catching up with Jock until Bobby gets there. Jock calls Bobby out for not visiting the day before. Bobby tells him the construction business is on the back burner. Jock says he gets the feeling J.R. isn’t always telling him everything. You think?!?!
In a dark safe deposit room, J.R. is pulling out the Manila File With A Red Sticker On It (really, the prop department couldn’t find a red file folder in the late 70s?) and pulls something out.
At the ranch, Sue Ellen is having a dramatic drink outside. Pam is flipping through fashion designs. Sue Ellen comes into the foyer and dances up the stairs, recreating some movie scene or her Miss Texas days in her head.
Pam calls her out, rightly guessing Sue Ellen thinks she is going to become “lady of the manor” if Jock dies. Sue Ellen snarkily asks if Pam’s going back to the working class. She also says when she does take over, she’s gonna kick Pam out. Miss Ellie happens to come out of her room on the stairs above Sue Ellen, and tells her nobody is taking over, casually knocking her down about 20 pegs. Cool as ice, Miss Ellie asks if that’s coffee she smells, leaving a flustered Pam in her wake.
J.R. meets with the boys. He claims all this is not necessary, but they think it is. We hear about the oil reserves on the South 40 of Southfork and this will come into play over and over in seasons to come. The Never Drill on Southfork resolution gets sorely tested, if I recall correctly.
J.R. has them read the codicil that he pulled from the Red File. Jock did in fact deed all that oil to J.R., which makes everyone happy.
Dr. Danvers tells Miss Ellie there is blockage and Jock has to have a bypass. Danvers says Jock is tough and can handle it.
At the ranch, Pam, Bobby Ray and Lucy are watching a foal get born, which, I’m not sure I want to see any of that. Luckily, there’s a phone in the stable. Miss Ellie calls to let them know about Jock’s open-heart surgery.
Jock and Miss Ellie share a tender moment before Jock goes into surgery. Damn, my allergies are bad – my eyes keep watering and I KNOW HE LIVES! Yeesh.
Miss Ellie tells everybody to leave she wants to be alone … in the waiting room. Now, her allergies are getting to her.
Jock heads into surgery. He jokes about hoping the doctors washed their hands. Bobby and Pam walk around the hospital and Bobby reminisces about a merry-go-round he had in the front yard for one birthday.
Bobby tells Pam he suspects J.R. is up to something secret. Pam says perhaps the smartest thing she EVER says in ten years … “J.R. needs secrets. That’s his power. That’s what he’s all about.”
Willie Joe and Jeb drive J.R. to the hospital and drive off with a jaunty horn that sounds like the General Lee’s weaker cousin. Bobby confronts J.R. and promises he will find out what he’s hiding.
With only 3 minutes left in the episode, it’s either a cliffhanger or Jock is fine. The surgery has a flatline moment, but Jock comes back to life quickly. J.R. and Bobby sit at different tables in the cafeteria, visually showing their estrangement.
Bobby comes over and sits with J.R. though, when he sees how truly upset he is.
Jock opens his eyes after the surgery while still in the operating room, which … he clearly didn’t get enough anesthesia if that happened.
Capiche Moment – The whole clan is out at the hospital entrance as Miss Ellie wheels Jock out. Jock asks if Bobby is leaving and he says he’ll work on the ranch for a while. They all wheel off back to Southfork.
I’d give this episode 5 heartbeats out of five if I hadn’t had so many allergy issues. See you next week, when I’m sure Jock will already be 100% himself again!