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'Dallas' Pilot Episode Recap: The Battle for Southfork


Every Thursday, Philly2Philly.com will recap the previous night’s episode of Dallas. All of the lying, cheating, and backstabbing will be discussed right here!

Episode 1: Pilot

Going against Miss Ellie’s wishesDallas photo: tntdrama.com

We begin with John Ross Ewing (Josh Henderson) doing exactly what Miss Ellie forbade anyone to do on Southfork: Test for oil. As luck would have it, John Ross and his girlfriend, Elena Ramos (Jordana Brewster) strike oil, but refuse to tell Bobby- at least at first.

Bobby Ewing is ill

We first see Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) at the doctors office, and the news is not good. The doctor informs Bobby that he has cancer. Although the remission rate is 70 percent, Bobby refuses surgery until his son Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) gets married in a few days. Moreover, he refuses to tell his wife Ann (Brenda Strong) about his condition, until Ann finds his medication on the floor after an intruder later ransacks Bobby’s office.

J.R. Ewing is on his last legs (or is he?)

In light of his serious illness, Bobby decides to pay his older brother J.R. (Larry Hagman) a visit at the rest home where he stays. Bobby pretty much bears his soul to J.R., who acts like he’s sleeping. Bobby tells J.R. that years were wasted over the two of them fighting over Ewing Oil, and that he doesn’t want the bad blood to spill over with John Ross and Christopher..

Christopher Ewing returns from China with Rebecca, his new fiance

Bobby’s adopted son, Christopher is back from China and is attempting to become a pioneer in alternative energy (much to the chagrin of John Ross). At first he is shown trying to sell his methane extraction patent at the local country club. When he gets nowhere in his attempt, his fiancee Rebecca (Julie Gonzalo) interrupts him in the guise of a french woman in distress. The two find themselves in the women’s locker room, only to be stopped in the middle of their “activities” by a family friend.

Rebecca’s mother and father died in a plane crash when she was very young. Rebecca, who recently passed the bar exam, has a brother, who arrives at Southfork for the wedding but stays on as a farmhand at the persuasion of Ann Ewing.

Rebecca met Christopher on a farm in Asia after he ended his relationship with Elena, who grew up with Christopher and John Ross and whose mother is a cook on Southfork.

Mixed emotions with Elena and Christopher

Christopher sees Elena for the first time upon his return to Southfork, and you can tell right away there is a history there. The two were practically ready to walk down the altar when Christopher allegedly sent an email to Elena breaking things off with her. What further complicates matters is when Christopher finds out John Ross is now with Elena. Being that Rebecca’s bridesmaid is unable to come to the wedding, John Ross volunteers Elena to take her place. An embarrassed Elena relents, until being persuaded by Rebecca. It’s obvious Elena still has feelings for Christopher, so needless to say this makes everything messy.

An awkward dinner at Southfork

Things really started to get heated at dinner when Christopher and John Ross clash over alternative energy and oil. In the midst of this, Bobby, who refuses to take part in any battle for Southfork (as well as his declining health) addresses the table and informs everyone that he is selling Southfork. The money he gets from the ranch will help Christopher fund his project.Dallas photo: blog.zap2it.com

This enrages John Ross, who then takes Bobby to the site on the ranch that he’s testing for oil. When Bobby reminds John Ross about his grandmother’s wishes, John Ross passes them off as nonsense, which draws the ire of the normally mild mannered Bobby. While he’s at it, John Ross and Christopher get into a tussle after John Ross throws around the “adoption” card in Christopher's face.

John Ross files an injunction against Bobby, Christopher gets real bad news, and John Ross goes to visit JR

Claiming Miss Ellie was mentally incompetant when writing her will, John Ross files an injunction against the pending sale of Southfork. Bobby now starts to play hardball, kicking John Ross off the ranch and getting a district judge to issue a court order to cease drilling. The drillers respect his wishes cease their activity, prompting John Ross to visit his father, telling him everything. J.R. couldn’t be happier that John Ross is contesting his late grandmother’s stability, and the two begin to talk shop.

Meanwhile, Christopher gets word from overseas that there might be a link between harvesting methane and earthquakes. As a result, it is not safe to continue drilling, and his dream is put to a screeching halt. When John Ross instructs Elena to stop by Christopher’s work to snoop around, Christopher sees her and informs her of his latest setback. Despite knowing this information, she does not divulge it to John Ross.

A prospective buyer comes to see Southfork, John Ross makes a mess, and Christopher and Rebecca marry

As Bobby helps prepare for Christopher’s wedding at Southfork, we see the return of Lucy Ewing (Charlene Tilton) and Ray Krebbs (Steve Kanaly). He also meets with, Marta Del Sol (Leonor Varela), whose father is one of the most highly respected businessmen in the country who arrives by helicopter expressing interest in buying Southfork. Just before the wedding, Christopher pleads with Bobby to not make any decisions until after they speak. Meanwhile, Bobby warns John Ross to be on his best behavior-or else.

While Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) has a talk with John Ross assuring him that she is in his corner,  John Ross gets information provided by the person who ransacked Southfork that Christopher’s alternative gas is unstable. He then blackmails Christopher into coercing Bobby to take Southfork off the market, or else he will drop the dime on Christopher.
Dallas photo: abcnews.go.com

Christopher then pulls Elena aside, thinking that she told John Ross about his business difficulties. When Elena tells him she said nothing, she also blasts him for sending the alleged email. When Christopher admits he knows nothing about this, he realizes that he still has feelings for Elena and vice versa, but they don’t act on this. Christopher believes John Ross sent the email to break them up and lets him know about it rather physically.

Christopher then informs Bobby of his situation, and that he is not moving forward until safer technology can be developed. Christopher still feels the need to earn his way into the family, wanting to make Ewing alternative energy the next Exxon. Nonetheless, Bobby still moves forward with Del Sol in plans to sell Southfork.

And oh yeah, between all this, Christopher and Rebecca marry (with a sad Elena looking on as the bridesmaid).

John Ross visits J.R. again and gets a surprise, but all is not as it seems

A half inebriated John Ross then goes to visit J.R., who introduces him to Marta, who has been working with J.R. the entire time in an attempt to set up Bobby, much to the disbelief of John Ross.

“Blood may be thicker than water, but oil is thicker than both,” says J.R., as he toasts his latest plan with Marta. Shortly after, John Ross meets a woman at Cowboys Stadium, which turns out to be Marta. John Ross then tells Marta he doesn’t trust J.R., and that the fun is just beginning.

So J.R. is trying to screw Bobby, and John Ross is trying to screw Bobby and J.R. while teaming up with Marta.  

Get all this? Chances are the fun is definitely just beginning.

Stay tuned for a recap of episode 2: Hedging Your Bets

You can watch Dallas Wednesdays at 9pm on TNT!

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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Dallas cast photo: tntdrama.com

Josh Henderson and Jesse Metcalfe photo: blog.zap2it.com