Friday, July 6, 2012

"Truth and Consequences" rear their heads on Dallas

For those who wondered if the new TNT continuation of Dallas would unfurl the drama slowly, this week's episode, "Truth and Consequences," proves the answer to that is a resounding no. Only five hours in, J.R.'s (Larry Hagman) scheme to buy Southfork has come to fruition, leaving Bobby (Patrick Duffy) scrambling to save his family estate from his conniving brother. This can only be done if Bobby finds proof that J.R. knew about the fraud in the sale, which is pretty difficult, what with J.R. skipping town and all.

To have Southfork trade hands from Bobby to J.R. so early in the series'  run is very surprising, but gratifying. Personally, I assumed Bobby would catch on before it was too late. There is a very real chance that Bobby will wrest control back by the end of the season. But the battle over the land certainly seems to be the first major struggle between the brothers, and one that will definitely have some legs for awhile.

In this contest of wills, Bobby is most definitely the good guy to J.R.'s villain. Yes, J.R. has a right to be angry that Bobby acted behind his back. Yet, J.R. doesn't deserve the property. And because Bobby is honest about his intentions and motivations, at least, that looks to be true based on what we've seen, it's hard to imagine how anyone could root against him. Which doesn't mean that J.R.'s evil glint isn't thoroughly enjoyable.

As clear cut as the brothers' feud is, the fight between their sons is much more murky. Both Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) and John Ross (Josh Henderson) have their positives and their negatives. While the balance has thus far put Christopher in the better light, the events of "Truth and Consequences," no matter how justifiable, may just begin to tip the scale.

John Ross is a snake. Viewers have seen this. He did help his daddy plot to take Southfork, and just because J.R. cut him out of the deal doesn't absolve him from his earlier involvement. For this, John Ross deserves to have bad things happen.

Yet, there is a certain amount of sympathy due to the young man. After all, he is J.R.'s son, and that surely comes with some suffering. And he really does appear to be in love with Elena (Jordana Brewster), even if, in the name of business and family loyalty, he cheats on her and doesn't stay true to her. Plus, with Christopher breaking into John Ross's place, and Elena mistrusting John Ross for the wrong reasons, he doesn't deserve everything that is heaped on him. Though he does deserve punishment for things that have not yet been exposed.

Christopher, on the other hand, isn't dealing with matters so well. Losing Southfork is pretty tough to stomach, and finding out that his new wife, Rebecca (Julie Gonzalo), is trying to steal his money isn't exactly easy, either. Getting drunk, breaking and entering, theft, blackmail, and being mean to Elena are not excusable, even under these pressures. Christopher needs a break if he is going to retain his humanity. Which he still has, as seen in "Truth and Consequences," when he decides not to hurt Elena by showing her John Ross's sex tape.

There is much room for debate in the question of who should be with who, romantically speaking. John Ross loves Elena, but she shouldn't trust his lies. Christopher deserves a second chance with Elena, now that he knows she didn't break up with him via e-mail, but he'll need time to regain her trust and affection. Rebecca does care about Christopher, even if she only gets that message across to Ann (Brenda Strong), so I kind of want Christopher to give her a second chance. After all, most of the bad stuff she did was Tommy's (Callard Harris) fault, with Rebecca remaining partially ignorant, even if she should have known better. And Dallas hasn't even tried a John Ross / Rebecca pairing, which will have to come up at some point.

Now that J.R. has control, the drilling on Southfork has begun, forever alternating the picturesque landscape. Ann wants to halt the work before it destroys too much, so she goes to her ex-husband, Harris Ryland (Mitch Pileggi, Grey's Anatomy, The X-Files), who just happens to be essential to J.R.'s plans. It's a coincidence, to be sure, but not too far outside of the realm of believability. After all, the big oil men of Dallas all must move within certain circles, so for Ann to have a connection to another power player, besides the Ewings, comes across as natural.

What will Ann do to help Bobby? What should she do? Her ex appears to be abusive emotionally, if not physically. What might he ask for from Ann to kill the deal? There is a lot of money on the line, so Ann has to offer him something extremely worthwhile. It doesn't appear that he wants anything sexual. This story should be fun, whatever way it goes, and at least Ann finally gets to do something besides play the supportive spouse.

With so many interesting and twisty plots constantly developing in new, unexpected directions, Dallas is the guilty pleasure show of the season, all the more welcome now that Desperate Housewives, whom it sports a not inconsequential number of alumni from, is gone for good. There are some plot holes in the stories, but overall, it's fun, and that's pretty important for a summer series. Watch Dallas Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on TNT.

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