The show’s producers increase viewer pain by giving us “the pretty,” first – a recap of last season that begins with Pamela and John Ross hand-in-hand, happy and newly married. That was then, this now.
Not that there was any real doubt about the outcome, the new season opens with Bobby and Christopher safe and sound, rescuing Bo. While Christopher drags him out, Bobby goes to look for Ann and SueEllen. Not realizing that Ann is with Ryland, Bobby runs through the burning house, calling for his Annie. As this is going on, John Ross fights to save Pamela, waiting for an eternity for help to arrive. He picks Pamela up to take her to the hospital himself, the EMTs arrive. What the hell? I’m actually wondering what they must be thinking seeing two women in the same lingerie and a shirtless sleaze bag like JR jr. If this is the first five minutes? This season is going to be a KILLER!! What I should have been worried about is the significance of Jr. hesitating when the EMTs ask if it was Pamela’s first suicide attempt. His hesitation means something, but what?
Elena is in bed with her lying cheat, Nicolas, who tells her they would make beautiful babies (something i’m sure his wife would like to hear). Her mother calls to tell her about the fire. Despite whispers of sweet nothings and his baby making plans – put into place last season, Elena runs off to the hospital. She’ll have a lot to sort out when she gets there: Bobby confronts Emma about the video Pamela received, news to John Ross who is angry when he hears about it. John Ross then learns that on top of nearly losing his wife, his mother was also trapped in the fire.
The mother of all mothers, Mama Ryland, brings her baby boy a glass of milk remembering how difficult it was for him to fall asleep as a child until she “gave him her breast.” He refuses it telling her that milk makes him nauseous. You can count me in that number, now, too. I think he should check the arsenic levels in that glass. She catches him mooning over a picture of a younger Ann “a pretty packet of poison.” She calls Ann a grasping succubus hiding behind a smile. He says he can see that, seemingly referring to his mother’s smile. She tells him she saw the kiss and if he wants pain, she can set him up with one of the whores in the brothel. He tells her he would stay home if he wanted pain from a whore. Methinks Oedipus would be shoving spikes in his ears and cutting out his own tongue, listening to these two. Hearing, seeing, and speaking no evil aren’t the sort of behaviors the Rylands find useful.
Christopher is embracing Elena for just a little too long when Heather walks in with Doodlebug. She brings him in to see Bo and doesn’t want to believe that Bo set fire to the Ewing ranch, as has been suspected. She wants evidence before having to tell Michael that his father is a monster.
Emma is getting the cold shoulder treatment from everyone, including Annie who learns about Pamela and asks Emma to leave Southfork. Annie , who lies and tells Bobby that she was out buying groceries when the fire started, is stunned that Emma isn’t shamed by her behavior. Emma actually thinks it is unfair that she is being asked to leave, it’s not her fault Pamela took pills. Annie tells Emma that she tried to love her enough to undo the damage she suffered but realizes that the Emma she wanted to save may have never existed. While they are talking, Elena is checking in and tells Nicholas that Bo is responsible, and that she’s happy that it wasn’t her brother, Drew. He lies (as he is prone to do) and tells her that her brother is probably back in Mexico. Drew is under armed watch by the cartel – in the next room. Nicolas is watching him through the window.
Christopher is upset when the investigator seems skeptical of Bo’s guilt until the inspector informs him that most arsonists don’t stand in the middle of the fire to watch it burn. He also learns from Heather that a beam that fell on Bo, breaking his back and potentially leaving him paralyzed. I will forever love the writers if they don’t go “old school soaps” and have Bo use his injuries to worm his way into Heather and Michael’s home and lives. I will be even more grrateful if they don’t throw a rejected Christopher back into Elena’s orbit. While they are commiserating, we see Sue Ellen pouring water and remembering pouring alcohol into a glass before the fire. The doctor recognizes that she ia jonesing for a drink and offers to get help for her. DENIED! She refuses. Bobby comes in and explains what is going on with Pamela – both hope for the best for her. Bobby asks Sue Ellen what she remembers. Watching TV? Check? Drinking? No. Hanging out in John Ross’ room where he found her? NOPE! Almost on cue, in walks Jr. but Sue Ellen screams for him to go.
Emma, in her wisdom, follows John Ross down the hall and tries to pull a “united front” move. They shouldn’t feel guilty for making love. He lets her know two things. The first is that they didn’t make love. They screwed around. Second, he tells her that he wants nothing to do with her. She holds their business relationship over his head, he does not care, he walks away. Is it worth it to hope that he won’t go back to her?
Drew is being held captive by the cartel. They found a letter in his pocket, one he planned to send to the paper, exposing every detail of the Ewing past with his family, and Nicolas’ childhood connection to the Ramos family. Nicolas is warned that one more failure to neutralize Drew and it will be the end of both of them. It’s clear that Drew should be counting that last of his time on earth in minutes, not hours or days, He shouldn’t worry. If Nicolas kills him, to save himself, AND impregnates his sister, something tellls me Nicolas has the kind of shiny stones that wouldn’t stop him from naming their first born son after Drew.
Mama Ryland shows up at the ER to pick up Emma and snarks that at least Ann didn’t dump her at the fair this time. Words are exchanged with Bobby as Ann looks on. Her facial expression seems to convey a hope that there is a good cardiac arrest unit on staff. Oh yes, Mama throws Annie under the bus and brings up the toe-curling make out session with Ryland. Bobby refuses to believe it. When Ann later tells him she wants to explain what happened, he is stunned and walks away from her. She tells Bobby that Ryland kissed her, she didn’t know what to do but she can’t control what he does. Bobby tells her she can control the truth, and she’s lied to him, AGAIN! The dialogue writers are sorely underappreciated, I’m sure. The dialogue has been beautifully orchestrated, not one missed note. The characters leave me wanting for nothing in their interactions!
Later, Bobby looks devastated standing in the burned out shell of his childhood home. John Ross has shown up to get a change of clothes for Pamela. He confesses to Bobby that truly loves his wife and that he knows his actions were wrong. He justified his actions as just business, but Bobby tells him he’s full of justifications, ignoring the path of destruction he leaves behind. Bobby tells him words are cheap, you are what you do and that if he wants to be a better man, he should be one.
Bo wakes up and Michael (Doodlebug) thanks God his father made it. Christopher asks the investigator, who is standing by, to give Bo a little time. It’s still not clear whether Bo will completely heal, yet.
No healing can take place in the Ryland household. (Grand)mama Ryland is telling Emma to use her pain to seek vengeance. She definitely didn’t bake cookies for Emma when she was a child, I’m guessing. Emma is getting colder as John Ross is getting warmer – thinking only about his wife and wanting her to survive. Elena, who approaches him, tells him he has a chance to start over. John Ross shares news about video sent Pamela with Elena, faulting Ryland for it. Elena does not tell him that Emma’s father had nothing to do with it, and also doesn’t tell him it was Nicolas. She does leave Nicolas, “that son-of-a-bitch” (her words, my sentiment) an angry voicemail, letting him know that she knows what he did. He actually looks afraid — and yes, Drew is still alive – I KNOW!! It shocks me, too!
John Ross is finally able to visit Pamela and tells her he never loved Emma. She responds by saying that it seems that she and Emma have that in common. He wants forgiveness and begs for another chance. He gives her the plastic ring he bought her in Vegas (slightly melted). She throws it away. It doesn’t deter him. He tells her he never meant to hurt her. She asks what makes him think she was hurt. He points out the obvious when she tells him that if she wanted to commit suicide, she would never have driven over to his hotel. She adds that from now on, when he thinks of screwing “that trash” he’ll see her. John Ross begs her not to do this, he’s not giving up on them. She responds with “Good luck with that” and refuses to look at him.
Sue Ellen is in the gift shop when a Wedding Day card triggers her memory of drinking and setting John Ross and Pamela’s wedding invitation on fire and then passing out. She starts breathing heavily, picks up a bottle of after shave to check for alcohol content and grabs the bottle to put in her pocket. Instead of drinking it, she goes to Bobby and Ann to tell them that she started the fire. She admits to being an alcoholic, and that she will be until she dies. Annie, a lying wife but good friend, embraces her. Bo is explaining that the house was on fire when he arrived. He tried to save SueEllen. Christopher thanks him. Bo thanks Christopher for saving him. Michael runs in to be with his father while Christopher is there.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch (HA! I’ve always wanted to have a reason to write that) Ann and Bobby are talking. Bobby was once feeling lucky to have her in his life, now he looks at her and wonders what secrets she’s hiding and he can’t live like that. He wants to stay at the house and oversee the renovations. He wants time away from his Annie.
How does it end? Sue Ellen’s memory was faulty. She didn’t set the fire, Drew did. Drew feels no relief over her false confession. Despite being warned to leave them alone as he (Nicolas) tries to make things right for the Ramos family, Drew says that he’s not done with the Ewings. Nicolas warns him that he’s putting both of their lives in danger when the cartel boss comes in. Drew gets incredibly stupid and tells Nicolas that Elena would despise him if she knew why and how Nicolas was using her pain for his own benefit. Drew is not fooled. They both knew Drew was dead the moment he was brought there. Nicolas removes Drew’s necklas and says a prayer. Drew says that he knows he’s going to hell because of what he’s done, but that he will save Nicolas a seat. The trigger is pulled, Drew falls, the episode ends.
This first episode would have been another show’s entire season. Amazing! See you next week.