Can people really change? Or are we forever locked into repeating the same destructive (to self and others) behaviors? And if so, do we ascribe that to outside influences, the composition of our personalities, or some combinations of the two?
[Keanu Reeves head shake]
Sorry. So if last week's episode was all about focus on the family (ugh), last night's penultimate installment examined the potential for change, with J.R., Rebecca, and John Ross and Christopher all coming to decision points about their futures.
With mixed results.
We start with a question from Elena (Jordana Brewster): "Have you seen my other boot anywhere?" Only in Texas. And maybe Wyoming. She's pissed at J.R. for getting his son into this mess, while John Ross (Josh Henderson) attempts to charm her into submission. Tough to do with the evidence of your jail beatdown still all over your face.
Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) accompanies Rebecca (Julie Gonzalo) to her baby doc appointment, telling her that in spite of everything, their new family is what "really matters." The brief moment of tranquility is interrupted by the return of toolbag "brother" Tommy (Callard Harris...even the name "Callard" is kind of grating), who breaks into Southfork. Tommy's tune is as annoyingly consistent as ever: get him Christopher's methane extraction plans or blah blah world of hurt blah blah.
Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) gets a visit from Harris (Mitch Pileggi), who's eager to capitalize on her goof with the ME (wow, that was quick). He wants to launder money through her campaign, or something, or he's going to -- I don't know -- go to the cops with a he said/she said accusation about bribery. Yeah, airtight blackmail scheme, Harris.
And hold the phone, Frank (Faran Tahir) is the buyer Tommy's trying to get the extraction techology for? Meaning Cliff is the actual buyer? Ooh la la. Frank's also a lot less pliable. All balls, Tommy wants to renegotiate the terms of the sale in the wake of Exxon's interest. Frank agrees, but, you know, with threats.
John Ross and Elena have a plan to retrieve the oil under Southfork through slant drilling, thereby allowing Bobby to buy out the Venezuelans and preserve Miss Ellie's dying wishes. They present the idea to Bobby (Patrick Duffy). Slant drill Southfork? It's so crazy it just might work! Christopher doesn't see it as an altogether altruistic move, but before fisticuffs ensue, Bobby collapses. Never a dull moment.
[Commercial time with Martin Scorsese: "Siri, what can I do about these eyebrows?"]
Bobby is suffering from a "brain cloud," er, seizure. Elena lets slip to John Ross about Bobby's cancer, and about how Bobby didn't want him to find out because he knew he and J.R. would use it to get Southfork. This news isn't well received.
Turns out Bobby actually has a cerebral aneurysm, but refuses to wait at the hospital. "If it's really my time to go, I don't want to be surrounded by strangers."
So they hire a nurse. Okay.
Rebecca drops by to offer sympathy and a back rub. She also contemplates stealing Christopher's keycard for Tommy, but once again thinks better of it.
And J.R.'s back, to Ann's (Brenda Strong) considerable dismay. In spite of his owning the deed to the ranch -- and therefore perfectly within his rights to be there -- she threatens to shoot him in the balls. Annie sure does like to get her gun. Meanwhile, Bobby and Christopher (all together now) share a tender moment where Bobby confesses wanting peace for the family. Shall we collectively hold our breath?
Christopher tells John Ross he'll agree to the slant-drilling operation if the latter can get the deed to Southfork back from J.R. He uses the whole "My dad was there for you when yours wasn't" card, which is dirty, if accurate, pool. J.R. (Larry Hagman) is disinclined to acquiesce to John Ross's request that he "let it go," but also visibly disturbed by the apparent wussification of his son. John Ross realizes he's never going to measure up. Oh, buck up, little camper.
Sue Ellen has a come-to-Jock meeting with her ex-husband, laying bare the pathetic loneliness of his existence. Then, while commiserating with Ann, she spills the beans about Harris's blackmail. Gee, I hope Ann doesn't do anything foolish...
J.R. appears...reflective as he sits in Bobby's office. The brothers finally come face to face, and Bobby tells him he loves him, no matter what. There's either honest regret/commiseration on the elder brother's part, or yet another angle. It HAS to be another angle. Doesn't it?
Their sons also think about the way things might have been, before Christopher strikes upon a partnership of sorts. The two can join forces for "Ewing Energies" (with Elena and Bobby as partners), using oil money to bankroll the gas hydrates operation. Bobby gives his blessing.
And J.R. gives Bobby the deed to Southfork. Well, slap my ass and call me Shirley.
Don't answer the phone, Rebecca! Too late, Tommy is the least effective criminal mind on the planet, and still fails to convince his ex-lover to get the program. Seeing as how Rebecca can hardly be described as "of steely resolve," we have to lay the blame squarely on his narrow shoulders.
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The final act is played out nicely to the accompaniment of Johnny Cash's "The Man Comes Around." Rebecca retrieves a sweet 9mm from her safe deposit box; Frank tells Tommy his services are no longer required, punctuating it with a sweet arm bar; and Lou calls Bobby with a lead on proof of Marta and J.R.'s fraud, but before Bobby can contemplate sending his bro to jail, the aneurysm apparently ruptures.
Finally, Tommy pays Rebecca a not-so surprise visit. They struggle for the gun and someone's shot (please be Tommy please be Tommy).
C'mon, Rebecca, Ann would've plugged him before he got within ten feet.
Next week: the SHOCKING SEASON FINALE. Bodies are rolled up in tarps, Bobby ain't looking good and Ann does something foolish.