Julie’s dead, Cliff is in jail, but we still don’t have access to what Julie hid somewhere … what has she done with the Red File? Let’s get right to it in this week’s Dallas recap!
It’s a beautiful, SouthFork morning and Miss Ellie is pruning some plants as Jock wonders if Bobby is going to stay locked up in his room all day. His wife did just tell your whole family off and left him for a hotel, Jock. Give him a few hours to sulk.
Moreover, Jock doesn’t understand what’s going on – Ray is laid up in the barn from his injuries in the last episode of Ray Krebs, Roughneck PI, though Ray claims it was a winch in the barn that came loose.
Miss Ellie heads up to bring Bobby some coffee, as he takes a call from Liz Craig at The Store. Bobby’s shirt is extremely unbuttoned, so there’s that. Miss Ellie, despite having told Jock two seconds ago that Bobby doesn’t like this family very much, doesn’t seem to understand why Bobby would like to “resign” from the Ewings.
Has she seen the last two seasons of this show? Has she, in fact, met J.R.?
They do have some interesting backstory exposition. Bobby wants to take the Barnes side of the Barnes/Ewing feud and claim J.R. is doing to Cliff what Jock did to Digger. Ellie has had enough of this talk. She says nobody knows Digger Barnes better than she does. Digger destroyed himself and would have regardless of Jock Ewing.
In the novelizations, there’s more room to explore this, but it’s nice that they reflect that Ellie and Digger used to be a thing … and the novels definitely portray Digger as a sex machine.
Miss Ellie reminds Bobby she likes Pam, but not to turn against his family. Bobby likens the situation to a puzzle that he doesn’t have all the pieces for.
At Pam’s hotel, it’s another slow news day and the headlines are all about Cliff. Bobby calls and says Liz has had to make Pam take a leave of absence. Ouch! Back at the ranch, Sue Ellen and J.R. snap at each other. Sue Ellen knew Julie was one in a long line of J.R.’s bed partners. As he makes another Unfortunate Neckwear Choice, he dismisses Sue Ellen’s claim that he is jealous of Cliff’s affair with her. He tells her “Don’t flatter yourself.” She’s another Ewing possession like an oil lease, and easily disposable.
I am not a Texas oilman nor do I play one on TV … are they that disposable?
J.R. has coffee with the manslaughter-causers, Willie Joe and Jeb. They are worried about what Cliff was doing at Julie’s apartment and of course, about the Red File. Meanwhile, Bobby meets Pam at the jail. He claims she is looking for excuses to stay away from him and she says this has exposed all their differences. Bobby, who is generally 90% more reasonable than Pam, says they should work it out together and goes to see Cliff.
Cliff and his lawyer aren’t happy with the judge they’re getting for the examining trial, which is a thing I didn’t know existed. Along with not playing an oilman on TV, I also don’t play a lawyer. Cliff thinks Bobby is here to bug his cell.
Now. It’s been what … a year at least in Dallas time that Bobby and Pam have been married. Surely Cliff at this point can see there are major philosophical differences between Bobby and J.R.? Or maybe not. He is stubborn. He refers to the jail as the local bastille, which I feel is a joke that wouldn’t necessarily land on the heads of the average 1970s prime time viewer.
Bobby asks Cliff what he can do – loan him money, get him some hookers (okay, he doesn’t offer that). Cliff says he can find out who really killed Julie. The rest of the episode then becomes Bobby Ewing, Righteous Oil Baron, PI.
There’s a lot of courtroom drama and all the Ewings are there for this examining trial, which Google assures me IS a thing and is open to the public, so of course J.R. would come see it. The coroner says she died from a fall (uh … d’uh) and she had bruises likely caused by being grabbed.
Cliff’s lawyer suggests maybe they were from her holding herself too tightly. As you do. I often bruise myself from holding myself so tightly. Pam knows this all looks bad and wants some comfort from Cliff, who tells her she can’t worry every step of the way. Ummm, Pam you’re not the one on trial here! Evidence gets introduced and I am a tad surprised the lawyer hands it directly to the judge. I feel like that’s the baliff’s job to handle that stuff, or is Judge Judy lying to me?
The parade of evidence continues. Her shoe, her dress, her partial prints in the stairwell, Cliff’s fingerprints all over Julie’s apartment as if he were looking for something, a tenant in the apartment building pointing at Cliff and practically screaming “That man right over there!” rode up in the elevator with her … Bobby Ewing, Righteous Oil Baron PI is going to have his hands full!
Sue Ellen is disgusted and wants to leave. J.R. is extra snarky, punishing her for having an affair with Cliff and says she should think of it as a civics lesson and she’ll be able to help Lucy with her Government Studies class. OUCH and LAST EPISODE CALLBACK!
When J.R. testifies, it comes out that Cliff and Julie had an affair and that she had take some confidential papers to him. Was there anything in the Red File about Cliff? J.R. is quite reserved and masterful as he admits, yes, there was any number of references that could be harmful to Cliff’s career … So harmful that he might pay her to get the files. J.R. claims he feels betrayed the Julie could try to blackmail him. SADFACE EMOJI!
Cliff’s lawyer knows they are trying to lay the foundation to get Cliff’s answering machine used as evidence, which would pretty much seal the deal. Pam asks what she can do, and Cliff says he hasn’t seen his mail in days (this was before the internet … maybe he was waiting on winning the Publisher’s Clearinghouse prize) and he could use a fresh shirt. How long has this trial gone on?
Bobby says he’ll go get it. He goes to Cliff’s and has to buy Cliff a new shirt – none of his others were clean. How … what … what went on in Cliff’s that he knows this? Is all the dirty laundry on the floor? I just can’t fathom this.
Cliff looks at his mail and we now know he lives on Hobart Place. He sees a letter from Julie and inside is a pawn store ticket and a key! Bobby heads out to crack the case.
I love that when he pulls into the paw store parking lot, you see the Culver City sign in the background and the Big Five Sporting Goods store which I believe is still there. The case never sold, after all as the pawn store guy says, how can I sell a locked attaché case with no key? Julie was no dummy – except for the whole running up the stairs to get away from Willie Joe and Jeb.
Bobby opens up the case and starts reviewing the Red File contents … and see’s Jock’s forged will.
Pam takes the stand. The waiter at the restaurant claims she and Cliff fought over an affair Cliff was having. Was it about Julie? Pam hems and haws before the lawyer objects. VISIBLE RELIEF from Pam, Cliff and Sue Ellen! The DA asks if Cliff has lots of affairs, and Cliff sits up a little proudly at this. His lawyer says the DA is trying to make Cliff the subject of cheap tabloid headlines. Have this guy seen the daily Dallas paper?
Then, the DA brings up the time Pam was accused of stealing the Red File and Julie AND Cliff let her take the blame. He asks if Cliff came to her defense and she admits he didn’t. KARMA!
Bobby storms into Ewing Oil and sends the secretaries home. He confronts J.R., who doesn’t like Bobby’s attitude and says his first mistake was to let Jock talk him into bringing Bobby in off the road and have an office next to his. Bobby says that was his SECOND mistake and shows him the files of payoffs and photos, etc.
J.R. claims Julie was a cheap little tramp to Xerox the Red File, but Bobby has saved the knockout punch – the will. He reads the codicil that grants J.R. drilling rights in Section 40 after Jock’s death. Bobby wants to know how he can explain that to mom and dad and brings up the fact that Ray was damned near killed while J.R. was conning his family.
J.R. counters that he was only trying to make Ewing Oil the most powerful independent in Texas … he needed the muscle. And then Bobby realizes others in the Cartel knew about the forged will. Now, Bobby thinks J.R. had Julie killed. J.R. says he’s not a murderer, he didn’t even kill anybody in the war, so, J.R. is a veteran?
Bobby heads out to talk to J.R.’s PI and J.R. wonders if Bobby is going to tell Jock and Miss Ellie. Bobby has no response. The PI squeals after Bobby threatens him, letting him know Willie Joe and Jeb also hired him to spy on Julie. Bobby calls the PI “garbage” and heads to Jeb and Willie Joe’s office.
Their secretary, who gets a name (Alice) because Bobby decides to charm her, says they are on the way to Alaska to check their holdings … as you do when you are a Texas oilman, I guess. She knows they don’t want to talk to Bobby, but dials the airport number for him.
Bobby just happens to know the security chief there and has him delay Willie Joe and Jeb. Bobby gives Alice a $100 and she is giddy over it. This woman clearly needs a raise.
Bobby gets to the airport and confronts them. He tells the Cartel boys that the Red File contains records of all their payoffs to political figures … but none of J.R.’s. Once again, J.R. was two steps ahead. Willie Joe and Jeb claim Julie’s death was an accident and Bobby says they could get off with involuntary manslaughter, but these documents would make it murder one.
The case is dismissed and Cliff is thankful to Bobby Ewing, Righteous Oil Baron PI, but still wants to go after J.R.. After all, J.R. did cause him to get set up for a murder rap. Fair. Pam tells Bobby to pick her up at the hotel later. So, all’s well that ends well, no? Have you seen this show and the irrational decisions Pam likes to make?
Bobby burns the will in front of J.R. at the office. J.R. says they’re crippling them with the Cartel and wonders why Bobby is burning the will – now he has nothing to hold over him/ Bobby says he has something better. For the first time in his life, Bobby knows exactly what J.R. is all about. Again, has he not met J.R.?
Capiche Moment: As Bobby and Pam enjoy an evening stroll in downtown Dallas, Pam says she can’t come back to SouthFork yet, it’s too soon. This is some nonsense, but Pam loves a bad decision. Bobby walks off after reminding her he was born a Ewing and he’ll die one … so if she can live with that, she can call him. OUCH!
Three out of five Sue Ellen martinis for me. Sort of letdown episode after the first part, I feel. I liked Bobby running around being a detective, and his scenes with J.R. were good, but since we’d seen Julie accidentally fall, the courtroom scenes never really built tension.
Next week, though, we get tension in spades … Sue Ellen’s gold-digging sister Kristin is back, played by yet another actress, and she makes a move on the temporarily wife-less Bobby! Join us, won’t you?