Watching the two-hour premiere of Dallas, I've come to the conclusion that neither John Ross nor Christopher has much finesse in regards to business, scheming, double crossing or anything fun like that. At least, compared to the small examples I've already seen and that were displayed this episode by their fathers. It's times like these when I wish I could have been around during Dallas' original run to see if their fathers managed better (I mean, I wish I could have watched all 13/14 seasons before watching this show. But that's impossible for even the best of us).
John Ross is trying to do the impossible: drill on the sacred grounds of Southfork. To do so, he's doing every Ewing thing he can to maintain his power, including double-crossing his father J.R. Like I said though, John Ross (and his cousin Christopher) lack finesse and grace in their evil-scheming. Because in this episode, John Ross is conned, revealed and out of the dark all at the same time. He is manipulated by Marta who is in fake cahoots with Bobby over buying Southfork when she drugs him and records them during sexy time. Because he's shacking up with this fake philanthropist do-gooder, J.R. finds out. Naturally. And he's left in the dark because he's accused of sabotaging the former romance between Christopher and Elena. Good heavens, it seems impossible that John Ross is going to be a halfway decent villain.
And if John Ross is struggling to be a villain, I can't even tell you how terrible Christopher is at being the good guy, or any guy for that matter. Firstly, Christopher is trying to build an empire based on alternative energy. But methane, so he learns, is quite dangerous. So much it causes an earthquake when his team tries to extract it. I can't even respond to that plotline.
Unfortunately, Christopher proceeds to whine about how he has to find a way to build this empire so he is accepted as an Ewing. And finally, but most importantly to this guy, Christopher's confrontations lack the suave that it would for someone like J.R. or even Bobby. Whenever Christopher confronts John Ross, he plays all of his cards right to him, showing all signs of vulnerability and weakness.
These kids need to learn how to scheme better. What could also use some work is the show's need for great shock value and drama with every little beat. The infamous email that broke Christopher and Elena up is a stretched idea at best, but its importance is blown out of proportion each time. "Who sent Elena that email?" It wasn't John Ross because, hello, obvious. I feel like this show is trying to push everything as the next "Who shot J.R.?" when in fact no one really cares who broke these two up. The audience is waiting for Christopher's new wife Rebecca and Tommy to bring hell on the Ewings.
Once I get frustrated with these things though, the show almost magically knows that I need to watch Bobby and J.R. be old and bold. It's a combination of little things like J.R. walking the red carpet with his freaking walker and an embellished belt. Or Bobby threatens someone for messing with his territory. Literally.
Those are just small examples that lead to greater ideas. Such as J.R.'s old school business dealings that allow him to stay ahead of the game because old folks like him don't do email (guess we can rule J.R. out as the person who sent Elena that email). J.R. ends the episode in Mexico, being old and not the devil. Marta isn't actually Marta. J.R. realizes he's being double-crossed. And that's why it pays to be J.R. and to be old.
/For Bobby, he is so protective over who buys Southfork as he is about to go into surgery because he's worried about its legacy rather than his own. It leads to a nice moment with his new wife Ann, who is played by the ever wonderful Brenda Strong, over the fate of not only the estate but of the family.
It's clear after watching this episode that Dallas is working at balancing between new and old still. Naturally, we are going to want to compare the two generations. From this episode, I've learned that no one knows how to do business like these older gents. Of course, they've had seasons to perfect their finesse. The younger boys have had an episode. Still, this was a good follow up to the pilot, including fun camp, outrageousness, and trying to establish the differences between the old and the new, to get out of the mindset to compare and contrast.