DALLAS – Season Two, Episode 9: “Survival”

By now, everyone has finished watching Tiger King and you’re needin’ a Southern-style drama fix. Well, this may be the 70s and it may not have tiger cubs … but Bobby and J.R. are about to go down in a plane crash and will probably (gasp) have to work together to survive! Are you ready for this week’s Dallas recap? Let’s dive right in!

Every day I’m modeling …

While we wait for J.R. and Bobby’s plane crash (that we know they survive) let’s start out with a visit to The Store … and figure out what the hell it is that Pam actually does, shall we? She and Liz are watching some models  … well, “modeling” is the best word — clothes and deciding what to order. If this is actually the job of a clothing store owner, I need to get hired by Speedo, right now. Pam broke a date with Bobby to “work” and his feelings are all hurt. He reminds her that he knows what she makes at The Store and they aren’t paying her to work 24 hours a day.

“Pay Phones and Hurt Feelings” is the name of my next country song.

I imagine this was a conversation lots of couples had in the 1970s, but coming from rich people, it probably comes off a little phony. However, tonally Dallas never felt as rich as Dynasty, so maybe people didn’t take it that way.

J.R. loves his safari suits!

Bobby heads to a passenger plane with the SouthFork logo on it, with Safari-Action J.R. in tow.  The pilot says there’s a bad storm coming and suggests they stay an extra day. J.R. insists they fly around it. Bobby remarks that J.R. always has to be in control and not to try to control Ewing Construction, his new business that now has a name. J.R. says if Bobby controls Ewing Construction the way he does his wife, the business is in trouble. WOW at the sexism.

Doc Harlan is forcing Jock to take it easy –  if not for himself, for Miss Ellie. Harlan remarks that this is the only house call he makes. Rich people DO get preferential treatment!

These Ewings wear me out sometimes, too, Liz.

Back at The Store, Liz pours herself a drink and tells Pam it’s totally okay for her to skip out on a big PR meeting. I’m sensing a theme here –  rich people can do whatever they want!

“Stop trying to make ‘fetch’ happen, Lucy!”

Pam calls the ranch and Lucy, despite her troubles just two episodes ago, is practicing guitar. Were they trying to make her character a crossover pop star? She also has flowers tied into her hair, which is some weird form of teenage rebellion, I assume.

“Trust me.”

On the plane, Bobby broods and J.R. looks at documents in a Not-Red File. Bobby and J.R. discuss how they can work better together and trust one another. In a sign from God, lightning and thunder strike.

Sue Ellen shows up at Cliff Barnes’ office. She wants a favor, despite the recent “unpleasantness,” which I guess refers to his lost election. Sue Ellen wants Cliff’s help finding her baby mama, Rita, whose last name we learn is “Brakes.”

Cliff says he can’t help. Legally, without the husband’s consent, she can’t adopt. Cliff teases the divorce option, but she’s not willing to do that. To cheer her up, Cliff takes her to lunch.

They are TOTALLY holding hands.

Weather is getting worse on the plane, and it looks like Bobby and J.R. are holding hands at one point. Awwww. They’re backseat driving, which, I don’t think any pilot appreciates. Smoke sputters from the console and the electrical system is going out, due to plot reasons? The plane lurches downward and suddenly the frame freezes, which I’m sure is because there was no budget to film a plane crash.

“Social distancing? I won’t have it – not on MY ranch!”

In the ranch study, (apparently there is only one in the whole house, so everyone has to do their work there), Miss Ellie gets a call. The plane has dropped off the radar. She gets things organized for a search and demands no one call the house –  Jock isn’t to know.

What is with those flowers?

She tells Ray and Lucy (does she really think Lucy can keep a secret?) and orders them not to say anything to Jock.

Ray picks Pam up at the airport and gets to park right in the loading zone. People that work for rich people and may one day be discovered to be illegitimate rich people, can also do whatever they want!

Oh, this is going to end well.

Sue Ellen is getting tipsy at lunch and Cliff encourages her. They decide to spend the rest of the day together. See note above about rich people doing whatever they want.

It is a fab hat, though.

Pam is in shock as Ray leads her to the car, but she looks stylish in her hat. Miss Ellie gets a hold of Sue Ellen at the restaurant, which ends her fun afternoon with Cliff. Sue Ellen promises she and Cliff will have their afternoon another time.

Pam and Ellie meet in the stairway, and Pam starts crying. Miss Ellie tells her to get upstairs and clean her face before Jock sees her. Sue Ellen gets home and is super irritated when Pam tells her the scoop. Sue Ellen is cold until Miss Ellie comes out of the study and says there’s no sign of the plane due to the storm.

“We are family …”

Dinner is super tense and awkward as everyone tries to act normal. Jock mentions something about how Pam should have been traveling with Bobby, not her boss. Pam admits they had a fight and now Jock assumes that’s why everyone’s acting weird and Bobby isn’t home yet. The ladies cover it up –  there’s a storm, the men folk stayed in New Orleans and the phones aren’t working. What kind of storm is that, a sharknado? Jock believes it though, and leaves the table to “do some work.”

Pass the awkward half-truths and butter, please.

After dinner, Lucy tries to call Gary at the casino he used to work at. Sue Ellen snatches the phone and hangs it up. She thinks Lucy wants Gary to come “take over” SouthFork. Sue Ellen tries to slap Lucy, who then venomously says it’s a shame Sue Ellen doesn’t have a kid, because if J.R. IS dead, she’ll never have SouthFork.

It’s odd how in this season, Sue Ellen’s motivation was to “take over” the ranch. Miss Ellie ain’t dead and what does Sue Ellen get out of that anyway? She’d still be married to J.R.

The phone rings and Miss Ellie grabs it. It’s a reporter from the Dallas Press and she gives him a mad “no comment.” Immediately, she calls Ray. She has all the roads to the property closed and any trespassers are to be taken off Ewing land.

Jock, you understand cigars smell, right?

In the study, she busts Jock for smoking a cigar. They banter about him following the doctor’s orders and it’s a sweet moment.

As Ray has a nighttime meeting with the hands and makes sure no one gets up to the main house, Sue Ellen gets drunk. Pam suggests she slow down, but come on Pam –  have you met her? Sue Ellen says she loves J.R. and she’s counting her blessings –  and they are only her blessings because she’s Mrs. J.R. Ewing.

Hit ‘er, Pam!

Sue Ellen snipes at Pam, calling her a gold digger. Pam slaps her hard and yells she always paid her own way. Sue Ellen cracks and dissolves into tears. She reaches out for Pam’s hand it’s a sad, sad moment.

Say what you will … Sue Ellen has the BEST drunk expressions.

Later, Ray comes to the house. The storm is over and the search party is resumed. Ray and the hands have kicked a bunch of reporters off the property. And yet, there’s a knock. It’s the Press reporter who called Miss Ellie earlier.

Miss Ellie advances on him with a look that would make me pee in my pants. She reads him for filth and calls him a vulture. “Do you know what we do with vultures around here? Ray … get me the shotgun out of the hall closet.”

Do NOT eff with Miss Ellie.

Ray gives a solid “Yes, ma’am,” and doesn’t hesitate to head for the closet. In that moment, I believe whole-heartedly that Miss Ellie will shoot this guy in the face and not face a damn consequence (as rich people don’t).

The reporter stammers while Ray comes back with the gun. The guy turns tail and runs. It’s a powerful moment and I kind of wish she’d shot the guy. She goes back in and Jock is on the landing –  crying.

Excuse me, I have pollen in my eye.

Between Jock’s devastation and Miss Ellie ready to whoop ass –  this whole scene may be one of the best yet. I love this show! He wants to know why she didn’t tell him. He wants her to know he’s all right. They hug tightly and I need a moment before I can keep writing.

Jock meets with Ray. Ray’s going to join the search and Jock tells him to look out for three of anything –  fires, shots or mirror flashes. This was Jock’s code for J.R. whenever they went fishing in case he got lost as a youngster.

No snark, I just love this picture.

Miss Ellie admits to Pam that she’s more afraid than she’s ever been. She reminisces about when the boys were babies and says J.R. was always so shy. When Gary was born, Jock took over raising J.R. Miss Ellie starts crying, but says she hasn’t given up hope.

Next morning, as the choppers fly over the swamp where the plane went down, Lucy makes breakfast for Jock. Lucy tries to act chipper, but Jock tells her he knows. Lucy wants to call Gary, but Jock says no.

I double-checked – there are three fires.

Ray sees three fires and the wreckage of the plane. J.R. and Bobby are alive! I realize this is no surprise to us 40 years later, but it’s still a nice moment. There’s a nice reunion in the driveway –  J.R. even seems glad to see Sue Ellen, but he’s mainly focused on his mom and dad.

That is an amazing lack of injuries for a plane crash.

Jock’s proud that J.R. remembered the rule of threes trick. Miss Ellie is happy and hopes now they can all be a real family. Sue Ellen pipes up that they ARE a real family – “We’re all Ewings.”

Ri-i-i-i-ight, Sue Ellen.

For now, Sue Ellen. For now.

Capiche Moment: A relieved Miss Ellie walks into the house after the family.

An odd ending shot, but powerful.

Such a great episode!  I feel we got cheated of seeing how Bobby and J.R. actually survived the crash (and did the pilot live?) or survive in a fen overnight without cocktails. I guess rich people can do anything, even in a fen!

 4.5 out of Sue Ellen cocktails! Next week, Sue Ellen is pregnant and utters the immortal line “I’ve been just as faithful to our marriage vows as you have.” I can’t wait! You’re welcome to join next time, as long as you’re not a snoopy reporter!

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