Dallas: "Life Is Cheap In Prison, Vicente. And I'm A Very Rich Man."

There are some definite advantages to the abbreviated TV season you find on cable networks. Freed of the constraints found on the Big Four (sorry, CW), networks like AMC and TNT can cram their shows with more action and advance the plot while their free counterparts pack on the bloat in order to pad out their 20+ episodes.

The main drawback, of course, is your season's over a little after two months and you end up waiting a year to see what happens. Meaning we'll be cooling our heels until 2013 to find out what nefarious schemes Cliff Barnes and daughter Rebecca have in store for the Ewing clan.

As cliffhangers go, this was kind of "meh" (We shot somebody a week too soon!). At the same time, it's a nice change of pace from the old Dallas, which probably would've ended with blowing up the office building we saw John Ross and J.R. standing in at the end.

Lots of stuff went down last week - Bobby's anuerysm, J.R.'s crying - but the real question is: who done got shot?

Oh, well, we answer that pretty quick: it was Tommy. Well, good. Rebecca (Julie Gonzalo) calls...someone and a cleaning crew shows up to spirit the body away. Man, I wish I had a bunch of guys with rubber gloves, tarps, and (probably) vats of hydrofluoric acid on my phone's contact list. Whatever, Tommy won't be missed.

Bobby (Patrick Duffy) is out of surgery and stable, but he's still unconscious and they don't know if he's going to have brain damage. Our kindler, gentler J.R. (Larry Hagman) pays him a visit. "I love you, Bobby," he says, "And I don't know who I'd be without you."

Well, you'd probably have uncontested control of Southork without him, but it's probably best not to dwell on that.

Cano (Carlos Bernard), however, is unmoved by family health concerns, and wants John Ross (Josh Henderson) to find out from Christopher when he can take possession of the methane extraction system. And I thought Slavs were insensitive. I guess living under Chavez makes everyone a bit testy,

Rebecca shows up at the hospital, visibly bruised (hey, at least she's in a hospital). Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) wants to go after Tommy but she tells him her bro split town. Nevertheless, Christopher (he continues to emptily claim he "wants to make it work") asks John Ross to get Bum to track Tommy down for him. Ruh roh.

For her part, Rebecca searches Tommy's hotel room for the stolen rings, going so far as to call her mystery men to let her know where the body is, which she loots, discovering a pawn ticket for said jewelry. [sarcasm] Didn't see that coming.[/sarcasm]

Oh, and Bobby wakes up. And is apparently fine. With that good news, John Ross tells Elena (Jordana Brewster) he's leased Ewing Oil's old office space for the new company. And apparently J.R. isn't the only who's newly sappy, because John Ross proposes to Elena. Aww. BUT WHOOPS. Christopher is happy about the office, less so about the engagement.

Bit of a turnaround as well, as our newly awakened Bobby is also newly pissed off, and tells J.R. that Lawyer Lou has discovered video evidence J.R. was in fact in cahoots with Marta/Veronica. Will he send J.R. to the hoosegow? Will the peace between the cousins be short-lived when Lou divulges, well, everything else?

Ever the bearer of good tidings, Sue Ellen (Linda Grey) tells Ann (Brenda Strong) she's bowing out of the Governor's race to avoid submitting to Harris' blackmail. Ann visits her ex and Harris (Mitch Pileggi), ever the debonair type, suggest he'll reconsider the money laundering if Ann sleeps with him. And just when it seems like she might, we find out she's wearing a wire. And she has a hell of a right cross.

And just for grins, she also threatens to shoot him. I think Ann's maiden name is actually Nugent. The upshot being, Sue Ellen's staying in the face.

John Ross, on the hook for bringing Cano and Veronica into the scheme to take over Southfork, asks for assurances from Lou and that his testimony be sealed to keep Elena from finding out. Good idea, except you probably shouldn't have had that meeting in AN OPEN DINING ROOM. Elena, of course, overhears. Looks like this will be a short engagement.

Smiling Frank's back (Faran Tahir), negotiating the sale of Bobby's technology (and Southfork) with Cano. All looks in order until the FBI shows up. Ohhhhh, so close, Cliff! Bobby gets a private audience (well, with J.R. and Christopher) with Cano, letting him know his deal for Southfork and the methane technology are invalid. Cano thinks John Ross' head will roll as well, but it appears he and J.R. got immunity for their confessions. Threats (and glares) are exchanged, but Cano's the only one going to prison.

And Bobby got a back-up of Veronica's drive as a hedge against further J.R. fuckery. We'll see.

Christopher's still cheesed about John Ross lying (but mostly he's pissed his cousin hurt Elena...sack up, kid). Their face-off is interrupted by a call from Bum: he's found Tommy. Well, his hotel room. Except it's been completely cleaned. Then there's a phone call: from Tommy's *real* sister Rebecca. OH SHIT, SON.

He takes the news as well as can be expected, which is to say "poorly." He confronts Rebecca, she throws Elena in his face. Christoper's riposte: threatening to find out who she really is, then send her to prison and take her kids from her. Doesn't sound like a lot of motivation for her to stick around, frankly.

So of course he goes to Elena and confesses her true feelings. Damn girl, two proposals in one episode?

Final montage: Sue Ellen announcing her campaign; John Ross getting his ring back...from Elena's mom; Bobby and Ann triumphant (though you'd think Southfork would rate a bigger pool).

Finally, big surprise: Cliff is Rebecca's father, and he's been pulling her strings the whole time. He wants her to (somehow) "get a piece" of the new Ewing Energies (how the hell is that supposed to happen?), with Frank riding herd. Again, I have to go back to Cliff's one-night stand with a woman played by Strong in a 1987 episode. Having Ann be Rebecca's real mother would be, well, pretty awesome.

Johnny Cash again plays us out ("God's Gonna Cut You Down) as Christopher and Elena do the deed while John Ross broods with daddy, plotting to take over Ewing Energy. John Ross wants to learn all is dirty tricks and threatens to send J.R. back to the home if he tries to screw him, which gets a positive reaction from dad. That was a bit disappointing, after the occasional bursts of emotional growth we've seen from John Ross.

Solid first season, in my opinion. Goofy and laughably convoluted at times, but still entertaining. Looking forward to Evil Rebecca in 2013. And maybe in the interim they can convince Victoria Principal to make a cameo.

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