Pilot: Changing of the Guard

Episode Report Card
Tippi Blevins: A- | Grade It Now!
Who Stuck J.R. in a Nursing Home?

Bobby drops by an upscale nursing home to pay brother J.R. a visit. (Lord help me, but I thought Larry Hagman had died many years ago, so I was just a little confused when I heard he'd be on this show.) J.R. stares, unresponsive, out a window at the parking lot beyond. A nurse says he has clinical depression. Maybe he'd cheer up a little if he had a better view. Bobby makes an emotional speech about family and their times fighting each other and how he doesn't want Christopher and John Ross to be like they were. He tells the silent J.R. that he loves him and gives him a kiss on the forehead, just above his magnificent Lorax eyebrows. The whole thing has the flavor of a "goodbye" visit.

Everybody gathers back at Southfork for Bobby's birthday. Carmen, the Ewing family cook, is also Elena's mother. When Elena walks in on John Ross's arm, Carmen looks to Christopher and sighs, "See what you did?" Everything's all weird and awkward and Christopher stares at Elena and Rebecca has to introduce herself. Sue Ellen pulls up to the party in a hot white Porsche, looking like time forgot to have any effect on her. The Ewings need to forget about drilling for oil and methane and start prospecting for whatever it is that's keeping Sue Ellen in mint condition. Over chocolate cake, the birthday conversation turns to how Rebecca's family is all dead except for her brother and her bridesmaid can't make the wedding. John Ross decides the whole get-together wasn't quite awkward enough already, so he volunteers Elena to be Rebecca's bridesmaid. Everybody looks at him like he went to a Polaner party and asked someone to pass the jelly. Rebecca graciously accepts, but she's smiling just a little too hard. Bobby changes the subject and tries to get John Ross to go visit his father before it's too late, but John Ross would rather argue with Christopher about fossil fuels vs. alternative energies. Bobby interrupts them by announcing that he's decided to sell Southfork. He didn't want to bring everyone down with his cancer, but this was on the approved conversation list?

John Ross decides to make a case against the sale by bringing everyone to his secret drilling site. Elena thinks there are a couple billion barrels of light sweet crude down there, but Bobby doesn't want the family tearing itself apart over money again. He reminds them that his mama forbade drilling on Southfork. John Ross says, "I think we're long past caring about Miss Ellie's precious little wishes." In my mind, Miss Ellie appears in a heavenly shaft of light to slap the Dirty Sanchez he calls a mustache clean off his face. On my TV, Bobby quietly warns John Ross against ever speaking his mama's name in his presence again. The version that happened in my mind was better. Then John Ross and Christopher come to blows after John Ross snits that he's not really a Ewing and Christopher's father sold him. I... do not know the history of this. Bobby stops the fight and throws John Ross off his land.

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