‘Dallas’: Who Shot J.R. — The Sequel

"Dallas": "The Furious and The Fast" (Zade Rosenthal/TNT)

Imagine the last words of J.R. Ewing, one of television’s smartest, wittiest, most memorable characters of all time. Imagine if you had to craft his final scene from leftover footage and looped dialogue after Larry Hagman’s  sudden death. That’s the task the writers of “Dallas” faced in this week’s episode, “The Furious and the Fast.” It’s an interesting parlor game to figure out which parts of the episode were as originally planned and which were rewrites. There is not a single reference to the fact that most of the main characters were held hostage by Vicente last week, so that was probably a rewrite designed to get the characters to where they would have otherwise been as the result of something J.R. did and then forgotten. The big set piece, a methane versus gas car race, was set up in the season premiere. So that’s supposed to be there. The outcome, however, may have been changed as set up for the episode’s long spoiled cliffhanger: who shot J.R.? Here, for perhaps the last time barring flashbacks in next week’s funeral episode, is the wit and wisdom of J.R.

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“If there was ever a part of you that believed in me, believe in me now.” – Christopher to Pamela

We open on John Ross (Josh Henderson) on the phone with J.R. through the magic of old footage. The cobbled together conversation establishes that J.R. is in Abu Dhabi for some oil deal. In an awesome moment, all of the current board members of Ewing energy power walk in slow motion through the office. If there’s a silver lining to losing J.R., it’s that Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) is now getting down and dirty with the rest of the family. During the meeting Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe)  and Bobby (Patrick Duffy) are as self-righteous and whiny as ever about Sue Ellen choosing to exercise her legal rights. Yes, using the morality clause to oust Elena (Jordanna Brewster) was dirty, but if she had developed the land like she said she would, it wouldn’t have been an issue.

Christopher has gotten Uncle Gary to rescind his mineral rights, which means there will be no more drilling. Until they get controlling interest back, the company can’t function. John Ross is like, “Whatever, we’ll just sell off your methane patent to earn some money.” Pamela’s (Julie Gonzalo) ten percent makes her the swing vote. Christopher takes her to see his methane-fart powered race car. When his driver wins a race, he’ll win a huge contract for all of the city vehicles in Dallas. Can we step back and talk about how ridiculous this plot point is? Does Dallas need its city buses to drive over 100 miles an hour? Wouldn’t the city want to test run a school bus or a police car to see if the engine actually works in a real world environment? How does one professional driver being more skilled than another prove anything? Pamela is as skeptical as I am. But she tells John Ross that she spoke to her father, Cliff. He thinks the company is strongest with both oil and methane. Well, yes, a diversified company will almost always be more likely to succeed than one with a single product.  If John Ross forces her to make a decision now, she’ll go with Christopher.

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“Who the Hell Let You Off the Cul De Sac?” – John Ross to Gary

This episode is continuity porn for fans of “Knots Landing,” the original “Dallas” spin-off. Gary (Ted Shackleford) shows up at Ewing energy. John Ross fills in viewers on the history of the other Ewing brother: “From what I remember, you couldn’t stand it here unless you were hiding behind Miss Ellie’s skirt, or a bottle.” I love that the show doesn’t shy away from references to things that happened 30 years ago. Fans who didn’t see the original series can figure it out or look up old footage online. Gary tells Bobby that he and Valene (!) hit a rough patch a year ago, He fell off the wagon and she left him. He doesn’t like losing the oil money that is getting him back on his feet. Bobby offers him a loan, saying Gary is the one brother he could always count on. Hey, taking on more debt when you’re broke is a great idea!

“You’ve certainly come a long way since Miss Texas” – Gary to Sue Ellen

Sue Ellen and Gary bond over being alcoholics. Sue Ellen points out that Gary is the one who gets screwed if Bobby bankrupts the company. That inspires Gary to marvel at her transformation from drunk former beauty queen to power player. She flirtatiously invites her ex from a long, long time ago to the race. Gary sends her a stack of his old love letters and a new one. He brought them with him on a shortt erm trip from California? That’s creepy.

At Bum’s suggestion,  John Ross pays off the gambling debts of one of the Team Methane in exchange for him sabotaging the car. During the race, something goes wrong with the pressure regulator, whatever that is. But the pit crew is able to fix it. Worst saboteur ever! Shouldn’t he have made the car catch on fire or something else that would horrify the city of Dallas? Methane beats gas. The Dallas City Council rep who was observing plans to recommend that all city employees drive Methane powered raced cars. Christopher tells John Ross to give back Elena’s shares so the company can move forward. Instead, he and Sue Ellen call his bluff and refuse. This plot is a good argument against family run businesses.

“I’ve got a plan. It’s going to be my masterpiece. Because you shouldn’t have to pay for my sins.” – J.R. to John Ross

A despondent John Ross calls his father. J.R. gives him a somewhat uncharacteristic pep talk that has been cobbled together from other episodes. Some enterprising fan will probably create a Youtube video sourcing each line.

“It’s going to be my masterpiece” is from a scene of J.R. telling Bobby about his plan to take down Harris, something we will sadly never get to see. This is what J.R. says in its entirety:  “But don’t you worry son. I’ve got a plan. It’s going to be my masterpiece. Because you shouldn’t have to pay for my sins… Just remember, I’m proud of you. You’re my son. From tip to tail. ” The call ends when John Ross hears gunshots. He screams. However J.R. planned to die, it’s safe to say it wasn’t off-camera.

Watch J.R.’s Final Moments Below:

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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