DALLAS — Season Two, Episode 17: “The Red File, Part I”

Oh, my! I love and hate this episode. I wish Julie had stuck around longer, but when you cross J.R. AND the Cartel … well, clearly your life expectancy on this show (in fact your life expectancy, period) goes down!

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood …

Julie and J.R. are having a lovely stroll on a pier and apparently, they’ve been strolling and “inspecting offshore rigs” (clearly code for “banging each other senseless”) for three days. Julie wants to know if J.R. is bothered by her betraying him to Cliff, but tries to hedge and say  she could have given him the WHOLE Red File.

This is, I think, a spectacularly stupid thing to bring up. He could push you right off that pier. However, she is driven by the need to know how J.R. feels, which, if you’d seen this show, J.R. only feels one thing and that’s glee at getting money, power and back at his enemies.

SO much drinking in this episode!

J.R. brushes it aside, and just wants to know how Cliff rates in bed on a scale from 1 to 10. I can’t with this … he plays it off like a joke, but I think he really did want to know, so he could use it against Cliff later. Low, even for J.R.

See?

Speaking of Cliff … he’s now the head of the OLM, which is NOT the BLM, despite what I heard in the prior episode. Maxwell, his shady benefactor, says he’ll just want some favors now and then, but until then, he has free reign to make life miserable for a certain independent oil baron who recently asked about Cliff’s sexual prowess.

“Give me attitude! Chin down, that’s good! You’re a tiger, baby!”

Cliff then calls the ranch and ends up speaking to the recipient and possible result of some of that prowess, the finally pregnant-looking Sue Ellen. It’s the first baby bump we’ve seen and it’s still tiny. Now Sue Ellen is indignant that Cliff is calling her, but he’s actually calling for Pam. Ouch!

That child is barely growing.

He wants to celebrate his appointment to the OLM, but Pam is still mad that her brother was sleeping with Sue Ellen. She decides she’ll think about it and then we see … his phone is being tapped.

Dun … dun … DUN!!!

Bobby and Ray are in the office. Bobby is drawing up plans for Ray’s house on his plot of SouthFork land. Ray is often unappreciative and he claims he’s not even sure he wants to live so close to J.R. It’s not as though J.R. is ever going to come over and have a beer, Ray. Ray then starts whining about his work as Ray Krebs, Roughneck P.I. and sure that J.R. is behind some roughneck names Charlie Waters.

I’m sorry, were you talking? I wasn’t paying attention. #noneckwear

I am not listening to any of this because A) Bobby’s shirt is unbuttoned almost to the waist and B) CBS still hasn’t greenlit Ray Krebs, Roughneck P.I. as a series, which is truly the detective show we need in these pandemic times. I’ll throw out my casting suggestion for Armie Hammer as the re-envisioned Ray Krebs. You’re welcome.

I know Donna Culver wouldn’t mind.

At the OLM, Cliff is having a meeting about his priorities and one of his employees brings up his feud with Ewing Oil. Cliff says he won’t let personal feelings get in the way, but happily suggests his employee investigate them the way he would. Hmmmm.

All I hear is the Go-Gos singing “Vacation.”

J.R. and Julie are enjoying a fireside evening and then the phone rings. It’s O’Neal, the OLM employee who asked Cliff about investigating the Ewings. J.R. is tickled that his mole will be handling the investigation. He encourages O’Neal to keep visiting his P.O. box, there will be nice things there. I think I want to work for J.R. However, he does cut he and Julie’s vacation short.

That’s Bobby … classy and tacky at the same time.

Pam shows up to lunch with Cliff and then Bobby comes in. He ribs Cliff about ordering cheap wine and then brings out a sandwich, assuming Cliff wasn’t going to feed him. It’s a bizarre but fun scene, and I actually would love more of that.

THOSE PILLOWS!

Julie swooshes into her apartment in a crazy cool cape. As much as I like her personal style, that apartment is godawaful She does have some tacky white shag sofa cushions I want. As she hangs up her cape, she realizes her apartment has been searched. She chuckles, knowing J.R. hasn’t found what he’s looking for and doesn’t know where to look.

Pssst, J.R. … look here!

However, Ray Krebs, Roughneck P.I. DOES know where to look … at least for Charlie Waters. In a roughneck bar.  Charlie shows up and a fight ensues. Ray gets beat pretty bad, and when Bobby and Pam get home, Ray is lurking on the patio waiting. He had a “meeting” with Cahrlie and Bobby actually tells him to stop trying to be Barnaby Jones. However, Bobby says he’ll help track down this Waters character.

Ray is not that good at fights, I think.

Next day, Cliff eats in a cafeteria (of course he does) and Julie is there. Their banter is awesome and Julie says she sold out very cheaply the last time. OUCH! Cliff calls J.R. the Michael Corleone of Dallas. MID-70S REFERENCES!

Annnd, that’s a wrap on Charlie Waters.

J.R. meets Charlie in the roughneck bar and tells him to get out of the country. This does little good, as five minutes later, Bobby is in the study at the ranch and gets a call that Charlie is now in Mexico. Jock hears the tail end of it and says he fired Waters five years ago for stealing a truckload of tools. DUN DUN DUNNNN!

If Bobby MUST wear a shirt, it should be a polo.

Jeb Ames and Willie Joe Garr meet with J.R., who is pissed that he had to clean up after their mess … i.e. Charlie. In the middle of the meeting Seth Stone calls … the panhandle wells are gushers! J.R. smiles and says that will “put a little meat on the table.” The Cartel boys tell J.R. they saw Julie and Cliff at the cafeteria (really? Oilmen eat at the cafeteria, too?). After the meeting, they decide J.R. has always been blind where Julie is concerned and decide to call J.R.’s OWN PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR TO SPY ON HER FOR THEM AND HE’S ALREADY SPYING ON HER FOR J.R.!!!!!

What’s Not To Love About Willie Joe? coming this fall from CBS.

J.R. sleeps with Julie, then brings up the fact that she was with Cliff. She knows he had her apartment searched and he decides she needs to start sleeping with Cliff to get info … and her P.O. box will have some nice surprises, too.

Can you send champagne to a PO box?

At home, J.R. and Bobby almost get into a fight, but J.R. says it’s time for sinner and he doesn’t want to eat with a split lip, which has to be someone’s band name, somewhere. Meanwhile, Julie calls Cliff and leaves a message on his answering machine that now she wants to sell, and all that she needs to do is determine the price. She takes her hidden key and business card and puts it in an envelope and I believe she actually mails it.

A clue!

Cliff gets home and checks his messages, then heads to Julie’s.  Unfortunately Jeb and Willie Joe are there, harassing her. Jeb tells her it’s time to move on … they can’t let her spill the beans on all their deals to Cliff. She sneaks out through her apartment’s back door (!) but can’t get to the elevator fast enough.

She tries the stairs, but Willie Joe is down below waiting for her. So, of course … she heads to the roof. We all know where this is going. Never run upstairs from attackers unless you know some serious parkour.

The call came from inside the luxury apartment building!

Cliff shows up in his powder-blue sedan, goes into Julie’s open apartment, realizes she’s not there and blithely heads back to his car EVEN AS she struggles with Jeb and Willie Joe on the roof and FALLS TO HER DEATH.

Annnd, that’s a wrap on Julie Grey.

How in the holy blue hell does he not hear her scream or see a falling body or anything? Cliff is oblivious.

Slow news day.

The next day, thanks to the incredible Headline Power of the Dallas News, Jock reads the gigantic front-page story that an ex-secretary no one knew was back in Dallas is dead by either MURDER OR SUICIDE? J.R. doesn’t have much reaction, but you do see a bit.

Granted, it’s hard to react in that Unfortunate Neckwear.

Cliff is picked up by McSween, J.R.’s favorite cop, for questioning. As J.R. learns his double-agent P.I. (he should have gone with Ray Krebs, Roughneck P.I., if you ask me) taped Julie’s message to Cliff through his illegal wiretap, J.R. makes a helpful call to Harry McSween. He only wants to let him know that Julie had an answering machine and who knows what kind of messages are left on that. McSween is thankful to such public-spirited citizens like Mr. Ewing.

“Public-spirited” BWAH HA HA HA HA

Pam comes to see Cliff in jail. He knows his phone was tapped and is positive J.R. did it. Pam drives back to the ranch and arrives during cocktail hour. She blasts J.R. and the entire family, then heads to her room to pack. She’s not sure she wants to be a Ewing anymore!

I’m pretty sure J.R. doesn’t want you to be a Ewing anymore, either.

Bobby lets her go and J.R. and Sue Ellen watch Pam drive off.

Capiche Moment: J.R. says it’s no loss to see Pam go and Sue Ellen is pissed that J.R. would let Cliff go to jail. J.R. says it’s time for dinner and thinks it’s not proper for the mother of his unborn son to go all teary-eyed over a murderer!

Bye, Felecia.

I love this show so much, sometimes! We are heading into the golden era of the next three to four seasons. It’s really found its stride and it can only get better with more Ray Krebs and his investigatory efforts! 4 out of 5 Red Files for this episode!

Bonus Image – actual 1970s Technology! Collect ’em all!

Next week, the finale of the Red File!

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