Review – Dallas TNT S2 E8 J.R.’s Masterpiece

Review by By MimiC

Earlier today I viewed the special opening credits and tears welled in my eyes at my desk. I knew right then and there that a box of tissues would be needed for tonight’s farewell to J.R. Ewing. As I stated last week, what is most sad about this moment in television history is that we didn’t just say goodbye to an iconic television character tonight; we said farewell to a fantastic actor, amazing human being, and lover of life, Larry Hagman. All week long, Remembering JR was posted on all of our social media sites as today, March 11, 2013 was declared Larry Hagman day by the Mayor of Dallas. We all banded together to get #RememberingJR trending on Twitter and Dallas made it to the #4 most watched show on GetGlue this evening.

The episode began in a completely sober state… Bobby, Sue Ellen, Christopher, and John Ross landing a helicopter in Mexico, awaiting the news of J.R.’s fate. I was happy that the whole gang didn’t tag along for the trip; it seemed fitting that these 4 be the ones to go retrieve J.R. The crime seem was suspect to everyone especially John Ross who refuses to believe his father’s death was some random act of violence. The scene in the morgue was breathtaking. Josh Henderson is such a fantastic young actor. He conveys every emotion in just a look; he turns away from the body and Christopher comforts Sue Ellen. Bobby is in a state of angry denial and begins barking at the Mexican government about releasing J.R.’s body so he can, “bring my brother home”.

Harris pays a visit to Southfork where Emma is tending her horse and Ann promptly threatens him off the property. Drew hops in for a split second with a pistol… apparently he’s the new head of security on Southfork. In this moment I was screeching at the television that I didn’t give a flying hoot about these people! Where is my Sue Ellen? John Ross? !!!!!!!! Thankfully it only lasted a moment as the limo pulled up that was carrying the four Ewing’s back home. Bobby and John Ross both deuce right past everyone and head into the house. Ann hugs Christopher and walks Sue Ellen inside. Gary is there to greet them, he isn’t sure how to feel. All his life he hated J.R. Bobby, still in angry denial stage, prods off to his office because there are things he needs to get done. Elena is of course only concerned with Christopher and Sue Ellen heads upstairs to check on John Ross. He’s rifling through his father’s room looking for answers. Sue Ellen believes that maybe it was just a random death and there isn’t anything for John Ross to find. She plans on moving forward with operation seduce Gary for the oil rights and John Ross rips into her. He would like her to mourn his father for just a few minutes before jumping into bed with someone else.

J.R.’s memorial service is held at the swanky Dallas Petroleum Club and anyone who’s anyone is there. Jerry Jones, Mark Cuban, and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings are there to pay their respects. Cally Harper and Mandy Winger have a “J.R.’s Loves” moment with Sue Ellen where Mandy comments that at least Sue Ellen was able to make peace with J.R. and Bobby tries to comfort a saddened Lucy as her and Ray share J.R. stories. John Ross is pretty snarky to everyone, but really cuts into Pamela. She says she cares about him… he’s not buying it. Elena attempts to comfort him as well and he gives her the ice shoulder. Upstairs he finds Ms. Emma popping clonazepam and he snatches one from her. No Ewing family gathering is complete without a little drama. Cliff Barnes shows up to “pay his disrespects” and just as Christopher, Bobby, and John Ross are about to pounce on him, Pamela drags her father out of the building. This prompts some drunken fool to make a snide comment about J.R. and Christopher steps in, “I got this one cousin”. A fist fight ensues, Ewing style. Back at Southfork Chris and John Ross compliment one another on their punching skills. As annoying as Christopher can be, I love him when he and John Ross are getting along. He vows to help John Ross avenge his father’s death. After confirmation that it was just a random crime, John Ross angrily heads outside where a blonde hair flowing Emma is waiting. She comforts him in the back of a random parked car… guess she isn’t so sweet and innocent after all. (This horrified me and was completely gross and unneccessary).

Ann attempts to comfort Bobby by offering that he shouldn’t keep it all in… and boy does he let it all out. Bobby flips out on Ann about everything. He has been so supportive and understanding these past few months about everything… how could she not tell him about Emma… all the things about her he found out at the trial… she’s not the woman he thought she was.. after 7 years of marriage and he had no idea about any of these things. Bobby is hurt and understandably so.

Sue Ellen finds herself in J.R.’s room all alone. While a sad song plays in the background, Sue Ellen sits herself down at J.R.’s table, photograph from their wedding in hand, and the letter he sent her. She begins drinking from his bourbon bottle (oh no!) before getting up the courage to open the letter.

At the cemetery the next day, Ray, Lucy, and Gary all say a few words about J.R…. Elena even speaks. I have to digress here and express that while I can understand that Cynthia Cidre decided to create this family that never existed on the original Dallas, I really wish she wouldn’t completely rewrite history. Elena and her mother should have taken a back seat in this episode. Having her stand there and tell us some story about what J.R. said to her when she was 9 years old ruined the moment for me. She wasn’t there when she was 9… I know we’re pretending she was but I need her to sit down and shut the hell up. Rant over. Christopher gets up and talks about the time J.R. let him into the inner Ewing circle, right after his mother left him. Then Sue Ellen… oh Sue Ellen. This scene absolutely broke my heart. Linda Gray is such an amazing actress. I was hysterical crying as she told the crowd she had taken a drink… and kept drinking and was perhaps, ” a little drunk right now”. She reads the letter J.R. sent to her… it was what we expected. An apology for all the wrong he’s done her, asking for one more chance. Would she have dinner with him when he returned from Abu Dhabi? She remembers when they first met and how she fell madly in love with him… and she answers his question, “the answer is yes J.R.”… she practically falls over the casket crying that he was the love of her life. (SOB!!!!!!!!) Bobby ushers her back to her seat and then he speaks. He says that he was always good and that was easy because he knew J.R. would be bad. He hated to admit it but most times the things J.R. had to do were necessary. Now, he has to figure out what he is supposed to do.

John Ross doesn’t speak at all, just sits silently the whole time. Josh Henderson is so amazing with facial expressions. Just a look tells a whole story. I don’t think there was one person watching that didn’t want to reach into the television and hug him. I loved that Christopher stood around waiting for him, trying to comfort him. Bum arrives with a message… from J.R.

Bum reveals that J.R. had traveled to Abu Dhabi in search of Christopher’s mother, Pam Barnes. He was in Mexico chasing a lead on Harris Ryland and he hands over files to both Christopher and Bobby. He gives John Ross a box containing a pistol with a note saying that the Cliff Barnes will come after them and he must take him down. Bobby will know what to do with the gun. Then Bum hands Bobby a letter. He looks at it and calls Bum into the other room. He will not be sharing the contents of the letter with Christopher or John Ross. He tells Bum to pay off who ever he has to in order to keep J.R.’s death known as an act if violence. Taking that final sip from J.R.’s bottle of bourbon, Bobby finally dissolves into tears, “I love you brother”. He knew J.R. had one more up his sleeve.

While I must admit that I was a sobbing mess during Sue Ellen’s scenes, when they discovered the body, the new opening theme, and Bobby’s final breakdown… the whole episode fell a bit flat for me. I expected more.. much more. The entire episode felt a bit rushed and while I love that this show is fast paced, this seemed like something that should have taken two episodes, at the very least a 2 hour episode. The cameos were a waste of time as usual… why did we need Cally and Mandy if we were going to see them for 30 seconds. Where was the montage of great J.R. moments? I know there are royalties and rights to the original show, but one would think that Cidre and company would have fought harder to get those clips… a J.R. montage for the end. I could have waited until next week for the secret reveals at the end. I wanted this episode to be all about J.R…. all about Larry and while the stand alone performances were heart wrenching, I felt over all this could have been done better. That’s not to say that Linda, Patrick, Josh, and Jesse didn’t give stellar performances, because they absolutely blew me away… I just wanted more time with J.R. before our final goodbye.

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